Review: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica ‘Race to the Family Reunion’ Board Game
The minivan media kit that's also a portable family game
Most media kits distributed at auto shows consist of a simple USB stick branded with an automaker’s logo; you might even be able to pick up a glossy photo booklet sometimes. But the media kit for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica took press promotion in a new–and playful–direction.
To hype the unveiling of the new Pacifica family van at this year’s North American International Auto Show, Chrysler packaged a hefty, premium media kit that included Race to the Family Reunion, an original game created to promote the Pacifica.
This Pacifica-themed board game is designed for travel play in your family minivan, and it sure is unique!
2017 Chrysler Pacifica Race to the Family Reunion Board Game Review
Publisher: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Release: January 2016
Box Dimensions: 10 x 7.5 x 2 inches
# of Players: 2-4 people
Ages: Box recommends “all ages,” but 6+ is ideal for in-game reading & small pieces
Category: Roll-and-move family game
Play Time: 15-25 min
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How to Play
The aim of the game is simple: be the first Chrysler Pacifica–represented by four different colored playing pieces–to drive through Michigan and reach the “Family Reunion” end space.
The mechanics of the game are conventional: roll the die and move your token along the colored path of spaces. Depending on which space you land on, draw a card and follow its instructions (“lose a turn,” “go back X spaces”). The uniqueness of the game comes from the cards themselves, which describe scenarios when the Pacifica’s features–like 360° Surround-View camera, ParkSense Park assist, and eight-passenger seating–come in handy.
Once a player reaches the family reunion finish line, the game ends.
Unboxing & Game Components Evaluation
Chrysler Pacifica: Race to the Family Reunion includes:
- 1 game board
- 4 Chrysler Pacifica game pieces
- 30 cards
- 1 six-sided die
- Instructions pamphlet
This travel edition board game comes in a Chrysler-branded zip case, suitable to fit in a glovebox or stowaway compartment. The entire unit is a media kit that also includes a 200-page full-color booklet on the Pacifica (which features the same design scheme and fonts as the game cards) and a two-inch, Pacifica-shaped USB drive with additional resources.
The sectioned foam casing housed within the zip case is remarkably high-quality and snug, having a distinct slot for every item, including each individual playing piece. The artwork on the foldable board is a lot of fun, depicting iconic Michigan landmarks like Greenfield Village, the Detroit Zoo, and the Fox Theater.
The playing pieces are rubber, which grip the board better than plastic and won’t slide off as easily. They even look like little Pacificas! On the the other hand, the dice is smooth and tiny, making it easy to lose if it drops during play in the car. We recommend using a cup or small container to roll the die in. The same goes for the deck of glossy cards.
The only drawback to the packaging itself is the Velcro straps meant to hold the game board in place. While the idea is admirable–as playing board games in a car is challenging for obvious reasons–most of the time the rough straps are tucked inside the case and scratching the contents–including the delicate cards and foam.
Review of Learning Experience
If you’ve ever played a board game as a child–or ever–you probably already know how to play Race to the Family Reunion.
One glance over the instructions and you’ll understand how it works. The notecard-sized pamphlet is brief, assuming you already know how to play this type of game (so if you don’t, you won’t get much detail here). More time is spent explaining how the Velcro straps work than playing the game itself (as well as the only diagram in the booklet).
The wording on the directions is simple, basic English that’s easy to understand–which is all you need.
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Review of Playing Experience
Our experience playing Race to the Family Reunion wasn’t as thrilling as our initial reaction of seeing this bizarre media kit-family game hybrid. Its draw is definitely in its actual existence, rather than the actual gameplay.
We gave the game a spin in the back seat of our car and it played out like you’d expect: we rolled our dice and moved our pieces. The direction cards that promoted the Pacifica’s features were entertaining reads, but once we exhausted the 30-card deck during one play-through, the novelty wore off.
Playing in the vehicle while it moved wasn’t as difficult as we thought. The board stayed in place thanks to the straps. Passing the board around to different players, however, proved to be problematic. We decided that the game is best suited to staying in the backseat between players there.
If you can track down a copy of Race to the Family Reunion as it’s floating around this year’s auto shows or second-hand on the internet later, I would recommend grabbing it–not because it’s that fun of a game, but because of the sheer novelty of it. But if you’re not a collector or are entertained by the idea of this media kit’s dual identity, you won’t miss be missing much in the way of gameplay–just a unique way of learning about the Pacifica.
Product obtained at the Chicago Auto Show by The News Wheel’s photographer Brad Lefeld
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.