Review: Polly Pocket
Publisher: RoseArt
Year: 1994
Players: 2 to 4
Tagline: Party Game

Cover shows cartoon Polly Pockets standing on some grass looking happy

how we met

I found Polly Pocket at a thrift shop that rarely disappoints. The store is nearly an hour away, so I don’t get there very often; usually we only travel there when we need something for the sheep that is not available closer to home. And this shop usually only has eight to ten games at a given time. But more often than not, a single one of those games is pure gold. And one fateful day that golden game was Polly Pocket.

I am a bit too old to have enjoyed Polly Pocket dolls when they hit the shelves in the U.S., but I was very willing to pay $1.99 to see how this doll line was interpreted into a board game. And the cuteness felt guaranteed!

how it plays

Polly Pocket is a roll and move, pick up and deliver game where your object is to get invitations to parties, buy presents for the kiddos, obtain a balloon from each party and land back on your home space by exact count. Then you win Polly Pocket!

On their turn players roll the die and move that number of spaces (any direction but no changing direction in the turn). If they roll the envelope they can draw from the Invitation pile to get a party invite yay! If they don’t want an invite, like later in the game, they can move one space.

Overview of the board
Here we are setting up and almost ready for play

Once a Polly Pocket has a party invitation they can stop at the gift shop (does not need to be exact count to stop) and grab a gift in the color of their vehicle. Then they will race to the closest party they have an invitation for – and have not visited yet – and trade the gift for a balloon. They are able to leave the party at their next turn and continue the quest for four different colored balloons, one from each party.

Spaces on the board with purple hearts allow a Polly Pocket landing there to draw a Lucky Card. These can allow you to draw Invitations, steal Invitations, Move additional spaces, things like that.

Example lucky cards let you move or draw invitations or take a gift, etc
A few of the Lucky Cards

If a Polly Pocket tries to get an invitation but fails over two turns then they are able to draw one from the top of the pile – which still might be the wrong one so…

The invitations include a picture of the girl and say Invitation to Midge's Party, for example
A couple of the Invitations

The first Polly Pocket to collect all four different balloons and return to their home space wins Polly Pocket!

how it went

I was pretty excited to find Polly Pocket for a couple bucks. It has soooo many little pieces. It turns out that my copy was missing 3 balloons, 2 gifts and one house partition. None of this impacted gameplay. The game comes with extra pieces so if you are only playing with four players then you will have more pieces than you need. That’s important if you are looking to purchase a copy that is incomplete.

A shot of our play

However there are only four vehicles and four Polly Pockets, which are exclusive to the game!

The Polly Pockets are just taller than a penny
Gross old penny for scale

FUN FACT: While I feel like Polly Pockets were more popular with people slightly younger than me, I did have a few Sweet Secrets when I was young and I loved em. I would go nuts over a Sweet Secrets game and keep it forever.

Polly Pocket is adorable and really fun to take pictures of. It did not disappoint on the cuteness factor. It probably goes without saying that I appreciated not having to land by exact count when stopping at the gift shop or stopping by a party for a balloon.

A bunch of Polly Pockets waiting to join a party
Here’s a few Polly Pockets lined up to party

The biggest problem with Polly Pocket is that at some point you are likely waiting on getting the right invitation. Maybe you got lucky and are hoarding invitations, but if not then you are stuck waiting for the roll of the die to let you draw the top invitation. Then if you manage to get the right invitation you still need to get a gift, get to the party, chill for the rest of that turn, and then you need exact count to win. Our play became long.

This frustration mounted with some of our players. Bill tried to cheat by choosing the invitation he needed and claiming victory. For those of us that played properly, I won Polly Pocket!

The winning Polly Pocket just about to leave her final party for home!

play or pass

Props for cuteness but Polly Pocket is a pass. Next to a penny, my enjoyment of the game would appear very small. Polly Pocket suffers from typical roll and move shortcomings that overly extend gameplay. And if it’s that difficult to get invited to a party, you probably shouldn’t go. Maybe Midge doesn’t want you there.