The Simpsons Mystery of Life Game

Created and Maintained by Bruce Gomes Sr.

This document was created to provide additional information about The Simpsons Mystery of Life Game, released by Cardinal Industries in 1991. In addition, for those of you who purchased the game but no longer have the original instructions, they are also provided below.

We welcome any additional suggestions for this list or information you would like to provide on this game, including game strategy, corrections to the rules, alternate rules or variations in manufacturing which can be supplied by contacting us. We will gladly add your name to the list of contributors at the end of this document.

Note that this game was also released in Germany under the name Die Simpsons Die Geheimnisse Des Lebens.

Notes on Manufacture

The game box features our favorite family on the cover in the now classic grouping with Bart front and center aiming his slingshot at the audience saying "Yo Dudes! This Game is Great!". The game box measures 18" by 9" by 2".

The game itself illustrates all the typical features of a game released on the heels of a hot show; other than the game board, the "Check Chips", "Agenda Cards", "Donuts", "Mystery Cards" and "Space Related Cards" are all made of thin white cardboard with black printing on one side, blank on the other. Unlike the games released a decade later, which cater to the fans of the show and are of high quality, this one was put together quickly.

Detailed Description of the Contents

Here we expand on the "Component" description supplied in the Game Instructions below.
4 Character Playing Pieces - Homer, Marge & Maggie, Lisa and Bart. Unlike the cover, which illustrates the Simpsons in the 1990 styles, the characters harkens back to a style from the Tracey Ullman show; for example, Bart has eight spikes (vs. nine).
40 Simpsons Check Chips - not chips, but 3/4" cardboard squares illustrated with the character.
12 Agenda Cards - Labelled "Daily Agenda for Homer, Marge/Maggie, Lisa or Bart", 3" by 6". with a list of five tasks to accomplish during the game.
12 Donuts - Twelve 2" by 2" cards with a donut pictured on them (well, duh!)
50 Mystery Cards - Fifty cards with a large question mark on one side and on the other a mystery - either two trivia questions, blank (so you can make up your own trivia questions), or instructions (such as "Move another player anywhere you want.) Some instruction cards also have "KEEP THIS CARD" printed on them. (Not "Save This Card" as it indicates in the instructions below).
28 Space Related Cards Twenty-eight 2" by 2" cards with the name of a location on one side (such as "Playground") and an item (like a skateboard) on the reverse.

The instructions below are verbatim with the exception of several corrected typos from the original and the insertion of several words [like this] to correct grammatical errors.


For two to four players, ages ten to adult.


One game board, dice, four character playing pieces, 40 Simpson Check Chips (ten per character), 12 Agenda Cards (3 per character - Marge & Maggie are one), 12 Donuts, 50 Mystery Cards, 28 Space Related Cards, Simpson Bucks. To assemble playing pieces put bottom of folded characters into slot in plastic stand.


To be the player who gets all five of the items on his Agenda Card checked off and back HOME first, or ignore the Agenda Card and get HOME with all 12 Donuts first.


Set Up

The board is set between all players, the Mystery Cards are mixed and placed in the center of the game board, face down. Each player is given $5.00 in Simpsons Bucks, and the rest is left to the side with one player acting as Banker. The Space Related Cards, Donuts, and Simpsons Check Chips are placed to the side (Check Chips face down).

To Begin

Each player picks a character game piece; Bart, Lisa, Homer or Marge/Maggie and an Agenda Card with the same name. (There are 3 cards per character). Each player starts at the HOME space, the player who owns the game goes first with each player to his left following in his turn.

Movement on the Board

Players throw the dice, move accordingly and follow the directions on the space they have landed on. The player's objective is to obtain the goals written on his Agenda Card; he can do so by landing on the appropriate space and either playing a game, making a purchase, or in some cases just receiving a card for landing there. Inner path items (around Homer, School, the Mall, or Power Plant) can be earned by following the directions on those spaces; i.e., by making purchases or getting credit for school or work by the throw of the die, or just landing on the spaces like Parent/Teacher Conference or Concert. Credit for school or work is accumulative throughout the game.

The Space Related Cards are given or sold to a player upon landing on that space... Music Lessons, Friends, and Play Ground spaces automatically give you a card, while others require you to make a purchase. In some cases, where a cost per order is indicated, you can purchase as many as you wish (providing money and availability hold out!)


The number of Space Related Cards is limited so a player using keen strategy can prevent others from getting what they need by purchasing it first. He/she may use it later to trade for something he might need. But WATCH OUT!... You never know when the next card may allow another player to steal what you've got.

Simpsons Check Chips

As a player achieves one of the items on his Agenda Card, he takes one of the Simpson Check Chips. If he picks his own character, he receives a Buck as a bonus. If he picks another player's character, he can still use it to check off that item on his Agenda Card (but no Buck).

To earn a check for this Space Related Cards, the player must first collect the necessary cards than trade them in for a 'check'. The check is put on the card immediately and the cards are put back into play. Players may also obtain checks by obtaining Donuts. Donuts are very valuable because for every three donuts you purchase, you can trade them in for one check and place it anywhere on your Agenda Card, allowing you to ignore that particular item. When you land on the Donut Shop space, you may purchase as many as you can afford. A special advantage is given when you purchase all 12 donuts, because if you get all 12, you do not have to check off anything on your Agenda Cards, all you have to do is get HOME with all the donuts fast!!! It is the player's choice as to whether he wishes to trade in 3 donuts at a time for each Check Chip or just hoard them to the side until he gets all 12. There are advantages to both strategies, if you trade the Donuts in for checks, another player could steal a check from you. If you hoard the donuts to the side and someone has a way to steal just one of your Donuts, then your strategy for quick 12 to WIN is lost. So be careful and sly to WIN!!! Remember, whether your strategy leads you towards Donuts or earning checks, you still have to get HOME first to WIN the game!!!

Mystery Cards

When a player lands on a Mystery space, he takes one Mystery Card from the top of the pile and follows the directions right away unless it says "Save This Card". This allows the player to use the card at any time during the game. If he chooses to use it later, he uses it in place of his turn and then places it at the bottom of the Mystery Card pile.

There are two types of Mystery Cards - those that tell you to do something, and the trivia Q & A which allow the player to act as game show host: the player reads the question of his choice out loud and all players try to be the first to call out the answer. The first one to answer correctly wins a Buck from the bank. If no one answers correctly, the player who asked the question gets the Buck. (The Card is then placed at the bottom of the pile.) There are blank Mystery Cards; these are for the players to fill in their own trivia Q & A.

If a player runs out of money, but must pay someone... he can sell back anything that he has bought to [the] bank for $1.00 Buck each or trade anything he owns to the other players. He can also sell Check Chips to the bank for $1.00 Buck each. If he has nothing left to sell or trade, and still owes money, he is out of the game. During the course of the game, players may land on or pass the HOME space to get an additional $5.00 per time.

If a player lands on a space occupied by another player, he moves to the next space. If a player rolls doubles, he takes another turn.

Players are encouraged to purchase items even though they may not need them to meet their Agenda, because they might come in handy later on when they want to do a little 'trading', Extra checks may be saved for trading.

Hey man, don't have a Cow... just have fun and win.

Simpsons Trademark and © 1990 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Game instructions © 1990 Cardinal Industries, Inc.


Benjamin Robinson

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Last Updated on Jan 22, 2002 by Bruce Gomes (