The Goonies: Adventure Card Game (prepublished version)

Please Take Note: This is a review of the final game, but it might change slightly based on the success of the Kickstarter campaign. The game is being reviewed on the components and the rules provided with the understanding that “what you see is not what you might get” when the game is published. If you like what you read and want to learn more, we encourage you to visit the publisher’s website or visit the Kickstarter campaign. Now that we have all that disclaimer junk out of the way, on with the review.


The Basics:

  • For ages 6 and up (publisher suggests 14+)
  • For 1 to 4 players
  • Approximately 30 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Cooperative & Team Play
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Embark on a dangerous adventure to save your homes


  • Gamer Geek mixed!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!


The Goonies is a movie I remember fondly from my childhood. I have watched it many times throughout the years and have shared it with my kids, too. The movie captures the wonder, excitement, and danger of being a child…with pirates…and crooks. Will the game? Let’s find out.

The Goonies: Adventure Card Game, designed by Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle, and to be published by Albino Dragon, will reportedly be comprised of 15 Exploration tiles, 5 Path tiles, 60 Item cards, 16 Encounter cards, 15 Location cards, 8 Challenge cards, 7 Character cards, 4 Reference cards, 1 Ship card, 1 The Goonies card, and 1 The Goonies meeple. As this is a review of a prepublished game, I cannot comment on the component quality. The artwork provided in the game depicts iconic props found in the movie (such as the Skeleton Key and map). The rest of the game components show still images from the movie and its characters. If you feel any nostalgia for the movie and its story, prepare to squeal with delight.

Note: We were not provided the Challenge cards for this review. As such, they will not be discussed. Yes, I know I just discussed them…

Hey, You Guys!

To set up the game, first find the 5 Location cards and place them in a sequential row starting with “I” and ending in “V”, from left to right.

Second, place the Ship card to the right of Location “V” card and. Place the 5 Path tiles face-down below the Ship card so the “unmapped” side is showing.

Third, separate the 15 Exploration tiles by location. Each pile will have 3 Path tiles each. Shuffle the tiles and place them in a stack above their matching Location card.

Fourth, find the 10 Item cards that have the Fleur-de-lis symbol and place them, face-up, below their matching Location card. There will be 2 per location.

Fifth, shuffle the remaining Item cards and deal 2 Item cards to each player (or 3 cards if only playing with 2 players). Place the remaining cards face-down above the Location cards to create the Item draw deck.

Fifth, shuffle the Encounter cards and place them face-down above the Location cards to create the Encounter draw deck.

Sixth, either deal to each player 1 Character card each or allow the players to select the Character card of their choice. Used Character cards are placed in front of the player with the side that has the phrase “Once Per Game” face-up. All unused Character cards are returned to the game box.


Seventh, either place The Goonies card or The Goonies meeple next to the Location “I” card. Draw 1 Item card from the Item draw deck and place it at its matching location, adding more obstacles for the Goonies to overcome. Flip over the Path tile under the Ship card that matches the Item card that was just placed. This Path tile is now “mapped”.

And so begins the adventure of The Goonies.

Ruth! Ruth! Baby! Ruth!

The game comes with a wide variety of cards. Many of them have multiple purposes, making the game easy to pick up and to learn. A summary of the major components is provided here.

Character Cards

Each Goonie is represented by a Character card. While each is part of the group, they all bring special talents as individuals. Each Character card lists a special ability that can be used by the owning player during the game.


Location Cards

The Location cards represent the different key spots the Goonies will visit on their adventure. Each location may contain obstacles that slow the player’s down. Once the obstacles are cleared, the players can search the location for a treasure. Caution should be taken, however, as treasure is often guarded by booby traps.


Item Cards

Item cards are used by the players to move to different locations, remove obstacles, outwit the Fratellis, and find One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship.


Item cards are also used to represent obstacles and escalate the level of danger being faced by the Goonies. Players will each have their own hand of cards, but will share the Item cards to help achieve their common goal.

Encounter Cards

Throughout their adventure the Goonies will encounter both friend and foe. The Fratellis are hot on the Goonies’ heels and threaten life and limb, but more than just danger will be found. Friends and fortune are also possible, too. Draw an Encounter card and see who you bump into.


Technically, Sloth is a Fratelli…

Path and Exploration Tiles

Path tiles represent the journey of the Goonies. The more the path is mapped, the closer the players are to winning. Exploration tiles are above the Location cards and either represent a treasure or a booby trap. These tiles are revealed when the players explore an area that is free of obstacles.


Goonies Never Say Die!

The Goonies: Adventure Card Game is played in turns. During each turn, the players will complete 4 sequential steps. A turn is summarized here.

Step 1: Team Actions

As a group, the players can take up to 4 actions. The actions available can be taken in any order and as many times as the players like. At least 1 player must contribute to the action and all players can contribute, as well.

Item cards played for actions are placed to one side of the game playing area and not initially discarded. This area is referred to as the “Action Area”, which serves to not only collect the cards being used, but to count the number of actions the players have taken. Cards are placed in piles for each action and each pile counts as 1 action each.

If the players do not have a specific card, they can use 2 of the same type of Item card to represent any 1 different specific Item card. This rule is referred to as the “2-for-1”.

If the players take 3 or less actions, they can collect 1 Item card each at the end of this step and before moving to the next step. This can be done as early as the players’ very first turn and throughout the entire game.

Move the Goonies

This action allows the players to move The Goonies card/meeple to a new Location card. An Item card is played and then the card/meeple is moved to the matching location.

Clear an Obstacle

Below the Location cards are Item cards that represent obstacles hindering the Goonies from being successful. Obstacles can be cleared by playing matching Item cards that match the same symbols on the obstacle. Some obstacles  will have more than on symbol, requiring players to play more than 1 Item card. One player cannot contribute all the Item cards, requiring teamwork to overcome the obstacle.

Explore Location

If all obstacles have been removed from a Location card, the players can explore it in hopes of finding treasure. While there very well might be riches, there could also be booby traps. Only 1 Item card (of any symbol) needs to be used to explore, but the The Goonies card/meeple needs to be located at the Location card before this action can be taken.

The Exploration tile above the Location card is flipped over. If it’s treasure, the Exploration tile is moved to a mapped Path tile that does not have an Exploration tile already on it. The Location is now explored and the Location card is flipped over. The threat, however, that has taken its place is active for the duration of the game. If the players do not have an empty Path tile, the tile is reshuffled in with the rest of the Path tiles for that location.


If a booby trap is revealed, additional Item cards are drawn and placed below the Location card as obstacles. The Goonies card/meeple is then forced to move to the Location card listed on the “Booby Trap” Exploration tile. Finally, the “Booby Trap” Exploration tile is shuffled back in with the other tiles for that location.

Map a Path

The path to the ship represents the overall progress of the Goonies. All 5 Path tiles must be completed (i.e. “mapped”) to find One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship. Players must play 3 Item cards that have the same symbol as the one shown on the Path tile in order to map it. Mapping a path can be done from any Location card.

Remove a Fratelli

The Fratellis are bad news and the Goonies will encounter them on their adventures. When drawn from the Encounter deck, the “Fratelli” Encounter card is placed in a special area referred to as the “Encounter Area’. To move a Fratelli from this area, 3 Item cards with the same matching symbol must be used.

Step 2: Discard Used Items

All Item cards used during step 1 are now discarded.

Step 3: Draw New Items

All players now draw new Item cards (the number drawn is based on the number of players in the game). These cards are drawn in addition to the bonus card the players get if they take less than 4 actions during step 1.

Players have a set hand limit (also based on the number of players). Cards are drawn first and then the players gets to decide what to keep and what to discard. Players are welcome to discuss their cards with their fellow teammates.

Step 4: Escalate!

Time is not on the Goonies side! To portray the growing danger to the Goonies’ homes and health, an Item card is drawn and placed on the corresponding Location card as an obstacle.

Based on the small symbols found on the Item card’s corner (skull and crossbones or chevrons), the players will either draw an Encounter card or draw more Item cards (resulting in even more obstacles and even more encounters).


This completest the turn. A new turn now begins starting with step 1 noted above.

Hi, Willy…

The game will end one of two ways.

If the players are able to map all 5 Path cards and add a “Treasure” Exploration tile to each, allowing them to get to One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship before the Fratellis, they win!

However, if a 5th obstacle is added to any Location card, a 5th Fratelli card is added to the Encounter Area, or the Encounter draw deck is exhausted, the players have lost the game.

Game Variant

The game can be played several different ways, allowing players to customize their gaming experience. A few are mentioned here.

The Truffle Shuffle

The game has 3 different levels of difficulty. These are Beginner, Hard, and Epic Hard. The game can be set up using symbols that define the game’s initial level of difficulty, allowing those who enjoy a challenge that is both “epic” and “hard” to have a great time, as well as catering those who just want a lighthearted adventure.

Sloth Love Chunk!

The game can also be played solo if a player wants to brave the adventure by themselves. The game is much the same, except the player is given more Item cards to use and a bigger hand size limit.

To learn more about the game, visit the publisher’s website or visit the Kickstarter campaign.

Final Word

The Child Geeks very quickly learned the game and were able to play it by themselves without adult assistance. For those Child Geeks who had watched the movie the game is based on, they liked talking about what they remembered and their favorite scenes in between turns. For those Child Geeks who had not watched the movie, they spent their free time asking questions about characters, locations, and plot lines (the skeleton pirate fascinated them). In all cases, being familiar with the movie or not had no impact to the game play or level of enjoyment. According to one Child Geek, “You don’t need to know anything about the movie to play this game. You just need to be a good team member.” Another Child Geek said, “I like seeing all the places and people I remember from the movie. I don’t feel like a Goonie, but I like the game a lot.” When the treasure was found and the homes saved, all the Child Geeks voted to approve The Goonies: Adventure Card Game.

My little Goonies joke and discuss their next Team Action

My little Goonies joke and discuss their next Team Action

The Parent Geeks, being even more familiar with the movie than their children, enjoyed the game and the trip down nostalgia lane. According to one Parent Geek, “After playing the game, I want to go back and watch the movie again. Then I’ll want to play this game. Then the movie. I can see myself being caught up in a loop here.” The Parent Geeks found the game play to be intuitive and challenging, mixing just the right amount of strategic game play, cooperation, and luck. As one Parent Geek put it, “It doesn’t matter if you are a good player, a bad player, new to games or a geek, this game is for you.” High praise, indeed. All the Parent Geeks found The Goonies: Adventure Card Game to be a welcome addition to their family gaming table, mutually enjoyed by everyone.

The Gamer Geeks were familiar with the movie, as well, but this turned out to be more harmful for the game than beneficial. According to one Gamer Geek, “If you are going to base a game on a movie, I expect the game to feel like or at least use a lot of elements from the movie on which it’s based. This game uses some – enough to make it legit – but not nearly enough, in my opinion.” Another Gamer Geek said, “This is a solid game. Pretty casual. You have to play smart and work together to win, which I like, but it felt pretty repetitive after the first 15 or so minutes.” This came up a number of times with the Gamer Geeks. While the obstacles were always changing and new cards were in play, the way in which to tackle them never changed, resulting in the same decisions being made just about every round. Finally, one other Gamer Geek said, “I’d say this is a casual game, at best. I’d play it late at night or when a lighter game was requested.” When the votes were in, the Gamer Geeks gave The Goonies: Adventure Card Game a mixed level of approval.

The game’s theme and game play do not connect strongly enough, in my opinion. Both exist side by side and work well together, but are not intertwined strongly enough to really bring out the movie characters and story. But nor is the game’s theme pasted on. The Goonies: Adventure Card Game is based on the movie, not about the movie. That’s an important distinction for those who are looking to relive the adventure the game promises. For those who are familiar with the movie, there will be a lot of smiles and reminiscing. For those who are not, the game won’t help them to understand who the characters are, why they are putting themselves in danger, and the importance of One-Eyed Willy. Which, again, may or may not matter to you.

For me, it didn’t. Not in the least. The game’s theme was there as a background, but I was much more interested in the foreground where the players are and the game takes place. This is not a complicated game to grasp and players as young as 6-years-old were able to enjoy it with a little help from older players when it came to reading. Since everyone is working together, information can and should be shared openly. The biggest challenge in the game is learning to get along with others and compromising. Fellow team members will have different opinions on how best to proceed and the importance of certain cards. Some great conversations will be had and more than a few debates. Ultimately, the game is about contribution, not leadership. Everyone has a part to play and important cards to provide.

That being said, even the best cards and most organized players will fall prey to bad luck. Risk management is essential in the game, but you can throw risk analysis to the curb. When players explore a location, they have a 60% chance of finding a booby trap and making things worse. These odds never change. In addition, Obstacles will continually build up, forcing players to either tackle them or risk ignoring them in hopes it doesn’t get out of control. Nothing new here for those familiar with cooperative games, but The Goonies: Adventure Card Game is unrelenting in its pursuit to ensure the players do not win. If the players are not careful, victory will come down to luck instead of skill.

I disagree with the Gamer Geek’s suggestion that The Goonies: Adventure Card Game is repetitive. I do think it’s obvious, most of the time, what should be a top priority, but I never felt like the game was monotonous. How you go about selecting tasks for each turn always changes. Players have to reevaluate their cards continually, use what they have to determine where to put their focus, and then get things done. All the while, each step of the process is discussed, debated, and ultimately agreed upon. That’s not repetitive. That’s engaging.

The Goonies: Adventure Card Game is a solid piece of work that can be enjoyed by 1 player or by 4. The game’s theme is there, but emphasis is placed on the game playing experience rather than pop-culture. The simple act of playing cards is not as simple as it first appears and cooperation is a must if the players are to address, manage, and overcome the many obstacles that are in their path. This is an enjoyable game for the family, for friends, and for those who are looking for a casual cooperative experience. Do go on this adventure and see where it leads you.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

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About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner. Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....

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