If you listened to yesterday’s episode of the Too Much Awesome Podcast, you’d currently be jittering with anticipation to learn what my favorite board game growing up happened to be. The time has come and the secret is out. My favorite childhood board game was…the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza Power Board Game. Surprising? Not really. Awesome? You bet your sweet bippy it is. So let’s rock!
Sweet Memories of Pizza
I first got the Pizza Power Board Game during the height of the TMNT craze, or rather, the original craze separate from the more recent resurgence. The first cartoon, however, had a much more devastating force on merchandising all around though. There was literally a Ninja Turtles item for any occasion, so it really wasn’t all that strange when a personalized board game came along that included the Ninja Turtles in some way.
The rules were pretty simple, if I remember them correctly. You start by selecting one of the four Turtles to play as, then go around the board trying to get Good Guy Cards, cards that had one of the four Turtles, April, or Splinter on them. They had a rating to tell you how good they were when battling. That number was important because you’d also have to go around the board landing on Bad Guy Card spaces wherein you draw a card, selected one of your Good Guys to fight, and battled. Pretty simple.
The battle system was actually pretty creative for the time. You couldn’t just wander around the board without needing at least some level of skill when it comes to the battles. During a fight, you had a little blue flipper thing that you had to use. How? It had four slots in it; you’d place a die in the first slot, and then try and flip it into the other spaces, preferably the space that had a 3 in it. If you were fighting Shredder, you’d need to have a Turtle Good Guy Card, and then you’d still usually have to hit the 3 space to defeat him.
Now, I’ve been looking around the Internet a bit and I’m getting the sense that this battle flipper thing is what either made or broke the game for most people. Half of the time people think the flipper was really cool, an opinion I share, because it required at least a bit more skill beyond just rolling dice and hoping you got a higher number than the card. This way, you still have to work on getting the technique correct. Regardless, a lot of people hated the game purely because of this feature.
Anyway, dice flipper aside, you had to have defeated at least three Bad Guys and have at least four Good Guy Cards before you’re allowed to take on the Technodrome in the middle, which consisted of basically flipping the dice into each of the three spaces. Nothing too difficult, but nothing overly exciting I suppose. It still worked for my childhood needs just fine.
One thing I always found odd about the game has nothing to do with the way it’s played but rather how the Turtles looked. They looked awesome, and the artwork on the box and the board was really cool, but the color of Michelangelo got me every time. See, the Turtles are typically all the same green color except when they’re action figures. Each Turtle had a different shade of green with Donatello being a brown/olive color. However, the Pizza Power Board Game gave Mike the brown/olive color instead of Don. It wasn’t a big deal, and it never dawned on me until just recently, but it was always in the back of my mind when I played that something was wrong somewhere.
Is it the best game in the world? Nope, not by most people’s standards. But was it my favorite? Absolutely. I’d still play it to this very day if I could find it again. I think it’s somewhere buried in my parents garage, so we can only hope it’ll turn up again someday. Until then, I’ll just have to remember the good times and forget how much the battle flipper sucked.