Say one thing about this game, designer Stephen Ko doesn't make any exaggerated boasts about it. The blurb on the box describes the board as 'plagiarised', the play money as 'bland', the rule book as 'poorly written' and the meeples as 'the cheapest I could find'. This may not be hard sell but it does offer a taster of the tongue-in-cheek 'realism' of Real Life.
At its heart, Real Life is a simple roll & move game. You roll a die (in this case an eight-sided die) and move that number of spaces around the board taking the action indicated on the space you land on and when you pass yellow 'yield' signs. Pretty much anything and everything you encounter is negative, in that it will either incur further debt (the currency in the game is designated as debt) or it will require you to pick up a Trauma card. Accumulate £1 million of debt or 10 Trauma cards and you die. Game over. You also die if you land on the board's single #BlackLivesMatter space or when your meeple reaches the end of the track. As in real life, in Real Life everybody dies.
Tho' there's no playing length on the box, Real Life isn't going to intrude on real life for very long. Your debt will steadily mount, as will your stock of Trauma cards. You have a little bit of scope for discarding Trauma cards but usually at a cost of $100,000 of further debt, so you'll be swapping one game-ending condition for another. In practise, you'll find the game will end after a dozen or so turns - making this a filler-length game rather than an interminable Monopoly-style slog.
OK, so Real Life isn't going to win any prizes for innovative game play but griping about that rather misses the point. This is light, light-hearted satirical commentary packaged up in a board game format. It's the sort of thing you might've found years ago in Mad magazine. You'll get laughs from some of the cards and you'll find some of the cards prompt thought and maybe even a philosophical debate. But the designer doesn't want anyone to take Real Life too seriously so he's also offered suggestions in the (not so poorly written) rulebook for turning Real Life into a drinking game.