Playing the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” Board Game

In 1978, Knopf books made a rare foray into board games, publishing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Game. I was fortunate enough to find a copy of this on Ebay a while back, and recently I coerced a group of friends into playing it for the first time.

Perhaps unsurprisingly (since it was created by a book publishing house), the game is entirely made up of cardboard and it fits neatly on a bookshelf. The game features Joseph Schindelman illustrations and artwork throughout. The cover unfolds into the game board and all of the needed game pieces pop out. Instead of dice, there are 22 numbered tiles that players select from to determine their next move. There are also five Golden tickets, five cards for each of the children, and six player chips that move around the board (the children plus Mr. Wonka). You win the game if you hold the Charlie card as the Charlie chip reaches the Television Chocolate Room.

You guys… the rules are complicated. We read them multiple times and it was still confusing. (Granted, we were drinking wine, but still.) It was also a much slower game than I expected. First there’s a setup phase where you draw Golden Tickets and claim children. Then there’s the tour phase, where Mr. Wonka and the children sloooowly progress through the factory. At each of the rooms, one of the naughty children disappears and is removed from the game. No child can move in front of Mr. Wonka, and he has to stop at each of the rooms until all of the children have joined him. So the game effectively resets at each of the rooms, and basically none of the gameplay until “The Nut Room” actually matters. Most of what you’re doing is just swapping child cards around. Whenever someone finds a Golden Ticket (which can happen at any time during the game), that player can claim the lowest numbered child card from someone else as long as its token is not “safe” (ie on a space with a dot the same colour as it). In addition to that, whenever a child chip lands on a Switch space OR lands on the same space as Willy Wonka (if he’s not in one of the rooms), the player can switch child cards with any other player (again, as long as that child’s token isn’t “safe”). Oh, and every time you run out of number cards you have to collect them all, mix them up, and put them back in the pot. So it’s a lot of stopping and starting, swapping child cards, and consulting the rules repeatedly – and really none of it actually matters until the very end. Not the most satisfying of games I’ve ever played, to tell you the truth.

That said, my friend Rory certainly enjoyed when he won!

So in summary: As a piece of Dahl memorabilia, I love this game. The illustrations and typography are gorgeous (I’ve always loved Schindelman’s slightly grotesque style), and the design of game board and pieces is very clever. If you’re a Dahl collector, you should definitely try to get your hands on a copy. As a playable board game though, it leaves a lot to be desired. The rules are overly complicated, and I can’t really picture any kids enjoying it. (I guess that’s why it was never republished!)



Roald Dahl’s nature journal My Year republished after decades out of print

My Year, which Dahl wrote shortly before his death in 1990, has been out of print since 1998. Packed with illustrations by Quentin Blake, it deals with everything from the changing seasons to the pranks he pulled as a child on unsuspecting passers-by, moving through the months of the year as Dahl documents the flora and fauna around his house in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire. The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre has collaborated with Penguin Random House and the Roald Dahl Story Company to bring the book back into print.

Head over to The Guardian to read more!


September 13 is Roald Dahl Day 2018!

This Thursday, September 13th, will be Roald Dahl’s 102nd birthday, so it’s time to celebrate! The official Dahl site has loads of ideas for activities:



Roald Dahl Easter Crafts

I hope you’re enjoying the Easter weekend! I’ve seen some fabulous Dahl-related Easter crafts on Twitter lately…

A Violet Beauregarde Easter egg!

Chocolate bar invention!

A pair of Golden Ticket-inspired Easter Bonnets!

And Puffin Books have a tutorial to make your own Willy Wonka Easter Egg!

If you craft something inspired by Dahl, be sure to tag the site on Twitter!


The return of the Trivia Master Boards!

This site used to have a very popular feature, where – if you got 100% correct on one of the trivia quizzes – you could put your name up on the Trivia Master Board. Unfortunately I had to discontinue the feature when I redesigned the site, and I hadn’t had the time to bring it back… until now!

As a trial, I have re-enabled the Master Boards for The BFG Quiz and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Quiz. Please try them out and let me know if you encounter any bugs!


Some Dahl videos to watch!

I’ve found a couple of interesting Dahl-related videos for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

The first is a clip from Season 14 of the show Pawn Stars, where a collector shows off his set of original props from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You won’t believe the price he wants for an everlasting gobstopper!

And the second is a one-off sketch comedy special from the UK in 1980 called Peter Cook & Co. It features a spoof of Tales of the Unexpected that starts around the 1:09 mark! (I’ve got a transcript here if you can’t make out the dialogue.)



Rainbow Theatre Company audio books?

Has anyone heard of a set of Roald Dahl audio books from the Rainbow Theatre Company? I received the following request from a site visitor named Blake:

i am looking for a specific series of Roald Dahl audiobooks. They were produced in 1983 i believe by the Rainbow Theatre company and included dramatized versions of Fantastic Mr Fox, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate factory. I have found the latter on Youtube. The two others were on Youtube too several years ago, but have since been taken down. I would like to procure my own copies of each but I have hit a brick wall with my own internet research. I was curious whether you or anyone in your fan community had them, or maybe even some advice on where I could go looking

any help would be very much appreciated

If you have any information on these, please leave a comment or contact me and I’ll put you in touch with Blake!