Hello, I’m Chaz Marler of Pair Of Dice Paradise, and welcome to another episode of Thrift Sift -- the series all about board games that I pick up at thrift stores because they look interesting, bizarre, or a combination of both.
Today, what’s left of my will to live brings you 2010’s Justin Bieber Backstage Pass board game. The game that dares players to answer disturbing questions about the pop star and themselves as they race each other for a backstage pass and a special message prepared especially for the biggest Bieber believer.
So, weave your way through the concert aisles with me as we scramble to be the first behind the concert curtain. It’s a journey of discovery about the pop star, and ourselves, as we compete to earn a Justin Bieber Backstage Pass. Today, on Thrift Sift.
2010 was apparently a banner year for Bieber based board games. That year saw the publication of two games; Justin Bieber Backstage Pass -- which I’ll fulfill my contractual obligations by coming back to in a minute -- and also also Justin Bieber: Always Be Mine, a game in which players repeatedly, virtually (gag) kiss (gag) Justin Bieber. Why do I bring up Always Be Mine? Because I’m pretty sure that game was created for the sole purpose of helping us keep our perspective on this game. I’m sure this one can’t be as bad as as that one. Well, there’s only one way to find out. Let’s find out how to play Justin Bieber Backstage Pass.
In Justin Bieber Backstage Pass, the object of the game is to race through the concert hall to get backstage. The first player to do so will receive a special message from Justin himself.
The components you’ll use to achieve your objective include: one game board representing the venue where the concert is taking place, 50 Justin And His Music cards (filled with trivia questions about the Canadian prepubescent pop performer), 40 You And Your Life cards (featuring survey questions the players will have to answer about themselves), 20 Backstage Pass cards (containing the wisdom of Bieber that the winner is rewarded with), 4 player pawns in the form of colorful concert tickets, anda numbered die (waitaminute, aren’t ALL dice numbered? The numbers are what makes it a die. Otherwise, it’d just be a cube!?!).
While setting up the game, the first thing you’ll notice is that everything in this game is designed to look like its telling you, “Hey, girl”.
The rules state that after setting up the board, shuffling all decks of cards and putting them in their respective piles, and selecting a player pawn, you are now ready to play the game. That’s a bit presumptuous, isn’t it rules? I don’t know if I’ll really ever be ready to play this game.
All players begin on the Entrance space on the game board. On their turn, the player rolls the numbered die (or just die, because it’s not a bloody cube!). The number rolled determines which question from the top card of the Justin And His Music deck they must answer.
And what kinds of questions about the man and his music can we expect? Here’s some sample questions:
What two things does Justin’s mom sometimes take away on tour? His phone and computer.
What a bizarre thing to do. Where does one take a phone and computer away on tour to? Radio Shack? Oh! Unless you meant she takes them away “from him while he is on tour”. Alright, we’ll assume that’s what was implied. Sure, the way this question is phrased may seem lazy, but I’m sure it was just an oversight, and they’ll redeem themselves with the next question. Which is:
What computer video broadcast did Justin first upload his videos?
Alrightie, I’m not certain, but there seems to be several words missing from this question. Did you mean “video broadcast service” and “videos to”? Regardless, the card tells us that answer to this question is “YouTube”; even though YouTube is an online broadcasting service, not a broadcast itself. We’ll come back to this game’s inventive use of grammar a little later. But, for now, let’s give this game one more chance to redeem its lazy writing. Next question:
Switching letters in Justin’s name, gives you what nickname?
Ooh, anagrams! I love these. Okay, game, what inventive solution did you come up with? Bustin Jieber.
Bustin Jieber?!? Really, game? That’s what you came up with?
The writing in this game is so lazy! I mean, come on, game, “Bustin Jieber”? How about:
Sit in, jeer bub
Injure Be bits
ie: Bib ruin jest
Jeer, Bib is nuts
Anyway, if the player can decipher their question and answer it correctly, they move ahead the number of spaces that they rolled on the die. I’m sorry, on the "numbered die".
As you move along the board, you’ll find that some of the seats in the concert hall are already occupied. These occupied spaces are depicted with a Happy Face icon. If a player lands on one of these spaces, they are asked a question from the You And Your Life deck that they must answer. But if you’re playing this game, I think there’s really only one question about You And Your Life that you need to come up with an answer for.
The game uses the You And Your Life deck to take the opportunity to veer off course from pop trivia into some deep, insightful introspection. Some of the questions players are asked about themselves include:
Describe one thing you regret having done.
Describe the saddest you have ever been.
Describe the worse pain you ever felt.
Wait a minute, “the worse pain”? Don’t you mean “the worst pain”? You’re talking about the maximum quotient of pain that you have ever felt. It’s not a comparison of various levels of worseness, but the most worst. Surely, game, you can understand the concept of being the worst. Seriously, learn the difference between your superlative and comparative adjectives. Is this the “better” that you can do?
Now, I wouldn’t harp on this if it was just a solitary typo on a single card, but not only is the word “worse” misused in this way on multiple cards, but other questions are phrased as:
Who help to teach Justin how to dance?
What country did Justin go bungee jumping?
What baseball team did Justin throw out the first pitch on May 3rd?
What city does Justin currently live?
Aaugh, it’s so frustrating. Misusing vocabulary literally makes my head explode.
Once a player has made it to seat A1, they have a chance to try for a Backstage Pass and win the game on their next turn by rolling a one on the numbered cube. Oh, for the love of Bustin Jieber…Yes, that’s right, after players race their way towards the stage by demonstrating their trivia prowess in a bombardment of Bieber factoids, the winner is determined by a lucky roll.
The winner then receives a Backstage Pass containing a very special message from Justin, which I'm sure is brilliant and spelled correctly.
So that’s how to play Justin Bieber Backstage Pass. Alright, I’ve been harping on this game pretty bad, but I don’t want to be completely negative about it. So, I’ll come up with one positive thing to say about it. I do like the shade of purple they used on the box.