Welcome Back Heroes! I have all the corp together today in a hidden part of the Satellite…. the gaming simulation deck. We are orbiting over the desert planet of Tatooine, home of the notorious Hutts that we are familiar with as fans of the Star Wars franchise. I am about to take us all to the Star Wars version of the Bermuda triangle..the notorious Sarlacc Pit! Its a place even the bravest of souls fear. As this is a simulation..we are going straight into the mouth of The Mighty Sarlacc! Strap in tight crew..this could go bad at any point!
Transmission Date Oct. 5 2016
Birthdays as a kid always were an exciting time. It meant sometimes a party, friends, cake, and of course getting stuff! Unlike Christmas, Birthdays were the only times you didnt have to go by the “Giving is better than receiving” mantra. It was 1983 and I was turning 9 and as you all know I was a huge Star Wars toy collector! I had not yet seen the third chapter of the Star Wars series Return of the Jedi as we did not have a theater in our community at that point…however I did see the merchandise and felt despite not having seen the movie I had a good grasp on this thing.
The commericals for the toys told me all the backstory I needed while I waited to hit a theater to see the movie. My Marvel Comics Adaptation spoiled the hell of the movie so I was an expert before I saw it on the big screen ruining it for any of my friends who dared go to the movie before me.
Merchandise for the first two movies were pretty extensive. There were a plethora of action figures and multiple playsets and vehicles available for The original movie and its sequel Empire. Things changed with Jedi however..we saw plenty of figures and vehicles..however Playsets took a significant hit. With so many key scenes in the movie some of the toys were recycled from the empire collections but among the vast collection there were few playsets to encompass the great sets of Jedi! No Jabbas palace and or Skiff Barge? No new Death Star? They did have an amazing Ewok treehouse set that almost makes me forgive them for dialing back on the big sets.
One glaring ommission was the Sarlacc Pit! If there was ever a playset waiting to be made it was that. A key part of Return Of The Jedi was when Jabba The Hutt ordered the rebel Heroes Han, Luke and Chewbacca be thrown to their death into a large pit containing The Sarlacc Monster that swallowed living things whole..including humans! The heroes were delivered over the top of the Sarlacc via a wicked floating skiff barge and sports the biggest action scene in the movie! Yet…no Sarlacc Pit toy was made in that time. The toy commerical had kids playing with a bucket and sand to simulate the infamous scene!
For all intents and purposes Star wars kids better have an active imagination to recreate this part of the movie! Then it happened..Parker Brothers the leading board game company at the time released the closest thing to a Great Pit Of Carkoon playset as we would get..The Battle At Sarlacc’s Pit board game! It was a multiplayer boardgame which featured a cardboard 3D Sarlacc Pitt complete with hole in the mouth area to swallow game pieces! It also boasted an excellent cardboard skiff! Finally…I had myself a small skiff and Sarlacc! Ill be honest..I may have played the game twice then it simply became a playset for my figures!! It was probably a little less cool than I am describing but I have strong memories of unwrapping and playing with this thing!!
Was the game itself anygood? The answer is simple….NO. To understand how this is possible Ill fill you padawans into why the game aspect of the toy sucked. First lets start with more positive…not only did we get cool 3D versions of a Skiff and The Mighty Sarlacc pit we also got 16 StarWars plactic molded mini figures. I hated them at the time as they were non posable..poorly painted and very small. We got a very horrible Jabba figure which was very stumpy, poorly painted and small? They didnt even try with Jabba clearly…
We also got a decent Nikto figure (What no Weequay??) and 9 Gammorean Guard figures! We also got a Boba Fett pawn which would normally excite any Star Wars fan..but sadly he too was poorly rendered and painted.
The 4 Player pawns of course were Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca and Princess Leia. Leia was surprisingly NOT in her slave girl costume from the actual scene in the movie but rather she was clad in her Endor forest garb?? Not sure if the powers that be assumed the slave gear was not kid friendly but eitherway having Leia in her Endor moon attire in the miserable desert heat is an interesting quirk!
The game play was very simple. The skiff itself was the game board and featured a number of tiles from one side to the other of which the player pawns moved about. Most of the spots on the board where taken up by Jabbas cronies. On the very opposite of the board rested the vile Hutt himself Jabba!
The objective of the game was to cross the skiff successfully to the other side while dispatching Jabbas goons into the waiting Sarlacc and avoiding getting eliminated yourself to finally send Jabba packing and become the winner!
Sounds fun right!! It sure did..however the ackward board setup did not give a ton of surface space to actually play so you were constantly sweeping extra undeserving badguys into the pit and sometimes your fellow players! As frustrating as the falling pawns situation was the card system sucked too. As you knocked badguys into the pit you collected points cards and of course whoever collected the most card points won the game..the trick is though usually the first player always had the advantage..ugghh.
After exactly two days the cards and plastic game pawns were discarded into the closet and the Cardboard Skiff and Sarlacc Pit became the best Sarlacc Pit Playset available for Return Of The Jedi at the time!!
In summary..despite the poor game play and horrendous figurine collection this game is an amazing playset..so I would encourage collectors to not pass over this rare piece of Star Wars history!
So much for this post being a Flash Transmission as we went slightly into overtime but it was well worth it!
Hope you have enjoyed your stay aboard The SuperHero Satellite much more to come in the coming weeks…stay tuned!!