The Vintage 1954 Game of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea
The game 20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jaymar games is based on Walt Disney’s first sci-fi film of the same name. The film, following the book published by Jules Verne in 1870, was the second highest grossing film in 1954 and won two academy awards. It continues to be loved by many and is a Walt Disney Classic.
The vintage 1954 game was produced to allow players to take the excitement from the film and have it at their own game table. As with most games which include television, film, or cartoon themes, unique game play is not always the publisher’s focus. These kinds of games usually consist of elements and images from which they are based, but playing the game is often a simple race type style. 20,000 Leagues under the Sea is such a game.
Although the game box is beautifully illustrated, the board (in my opinion) is kind of drab. Still, highly collectible and rare, I love the game and it is enjoyable to play. Placed on a book shelf, with game and book beside (even movie), initiates some interesting conversations and it is often brought down for some fun.
The object of the game is to be the first player to reach ’20,000 leagues under the sea’ to the treasure chest at the bottom. The player must land on the red arrow. An interesting detail here; 20,000 leagues in the title of Jules Verne’s book refers not to a depth, but to the distance traveled ‘under the sea’ in Captain Nemo’s submarine. This doesn’t affect game play, though.
Players begin by spinning the Nautilus (Captain Nemo’s Machine) to indicate the moving of their pieces. The spinner contains R’s and L’s for Right and Left moves. In front of each letter is a number specifying the amount in which to move.
The rows of the board signify depth and are marked with a few special spaces.
When a player lands on ‘purple arrow’ spaces, he submerges to the next level down and spins again.
When a player lands on a ‘green starfish’, he submerges two levels down or an additional 2000 leagues under the sea and spins again. If the space is occupied by another player, though, he rises to the space above.
When a player lands on a ‘red octopus’, he rises 1000 leagues directly above the space. He does not spin again.
Whenever a player lands on a space occupied by another player, he rises to the space directly above.
As the spinner determines Right or Left moves, if a player is on a space on the edge of the board, he must wait until he spins a move he can make. For example, if he is on the extreme Left side of the board, he cannot move until he spins a ‘Right’. He is not allowed to ‘wrap around’ the game board.
Players, as divers, can imagine themselves exploring under the sea in search for treasure. However, spending time with friends and family playing the game is a treasure in itself and so everyone wins playing this game!