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Subject: Solid board game, solid humor rss

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Andrew Walters
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Okay, first off, I'm one of the Men In Black and I demo Steve Jackson Games products so if you want to say I'm biased, whatever. Most of the below is objective, and what is opinion is clearly presented as such, so it should be useful to people who want to get a handle on this game. I'm not sock-puppeting, I've told you where I'm coming from, now I'll tell you about the game.

I like Munchkin pretty well, but its a card game so its pretty random. You draw a card, and that's what happens to you, and there you are. As a boardgamer, I don't find it very satisfying, as I don't have much control over what happens. This is not the case with Munchkin Quest.

Let me describe the game, and then I'll tell you my play experience.

Its a heavy box. There's a lot in there. In fact, it will ship pre-punched, as all the cardboard wouldn't fit in there with the tray if it wasn't.

Its *not* the card game with a board stapled on. They're not charging you $50 USD for the same art you already own. It does not take four to twelve hours like some dungeon crawl boardgames I could name. Actually, it doesn't take twelve hours like *most* dungeon crawl boardgames I could name.

Here's the principal differences from the card game: first, you have a board. This helps. You're not just flipping the next card, kicking down the next door, and fighting whatever's there. That often means you get a race or class card when you really want to fight a monster, or you'd *like* to fight a monster, but you get a race or class card. In MQ you can move into an unexplored room and you *will* get a monster. Or you can move through explored space, and you will run into known monsters, or avoid monsters altogether – see that? You get some choice. Its less random than the card game.

So if the monster deck is now all monsters, where are race and class cards? In the new DXM deck, for Deus Ex Munchkin. You get one of these every turn (so if you get stuck you will have a chance to get going again), and you can pick up some extra draws in certain situations.

Getting back to the differences, you now roll dice in combat. You will add a d6 to your level+items, and someone else will roll for the monsters. This adds some nice uncertainty, and if you're desperate to catch up you can take on a monster one or two levels higher than you and hope. Heck, if you've got a Loaded Die card…

You also have hit points. You start with three and lose one if you lose a fight and have to run, and another if you fail to run away, in addition to the other bad stuff. There are rooms and a few cards that will let you heal, Dwarves get an extra hit point, etc. There are also money and movement rate tokens.

Playing on a board also effects who can help and hinder who. You can help a player in an adjacent tile, but not clear across the board. If memory serves you can also play one use items to help either side in an adjacent room, but not across the board. Monster enhancer cards can be played from anywhere.

The connectors between rooms can be doors, walls, secret doors, etc.

The board is awesome. There's an entrance tile, and twenty four color, double-sided room tiles. I like double-sided, because it means that if you get the room on one side, the room on the other side will not be in this game. Since you rarely use all 24 rooms, each game will see a different assortment of rooms. The rooms and connectors fit together with dovetail shapes, so if someone wants to explore a new room off the edge of the table you can easily slide the whole board over a few inches. Heck, you can also rotate the board, if the need arises.

The various rooms have different effects. Some are two narrow for the large monsters to pass, some give bonuses or penalties to different races or classes, some offer "Deals" whereby you can trade some gold or items or movement points for some kind of benefit. There are plenty of reasons to move around the dungeon besides looking for treasure. You *can* search already looted rooms for overlooked treasure, but you may find a monster after all, and you can't search them endlessly, they get Looted Out markers.

Combat does not end your turn. If you're not feeling up to taking on an unexplored room with a random monster you can move a couple of spaces and take on a low level monster (so that you don't leave low-hanging fruit for someone else), beat it, gain a level, win its treasure, and then decide that the new you is buff enough to move into unexplored room and fight another monster.

The cards are neat, and they are poker-sized, so they're larger than Munchkin cards. I believe they'll have a linen finish, as opposed to satin, but I'm not positive. But they are in COLOR!

The monsters move after each player's turn. You roll a color die and they follow colored arrows and long story short, you can't necessarily predict the direction or distance of their move, and they will likely change direction. It only takes a second to do so it doesn't slow the game, but you get really random monster movement – you really can't predict where they'll go, so if you really want to be sure Squidzilla doesn't move on to you you have to put some effort into it, either by being far, far away, being in a room that the monster can't enter (like the entrance tile), or hoping really, really hard.

Let me see, what else… the rule book is beautiful, if you die or drop an item it remains in the room you dropped it for others to pick up, there are tighter, better rules on how many unused items you can carry, all kinds of stuff that's more like a board game and less like a card game.

Oh, and each class has a d10 power. This is a special little extra (Clerics cancel curses, Warriors get a combat bonus), but for it to work you have to roll under your level on a d10. This adds some more pleasant uncertainty, and it adds to the ramp up of power as you increase in levels.

If you count the room tiles, I'd say over half the art is new. Most of the monsters and items are familiar, though many of their abilities and effects are new, since they interact with the DXM deck and the room tiles.

To win you must reach level 10, get back to the entrance tile, and beat a boss monster, which is always level 20. No more reaching level 10 and then winning by fighting the potted plant from your hand.

I really enjoyed the game. I like having the extra choices. In the card game you have to take what comes, but here you can run after a monster that you can beat, you can dodge the dragon by running into the twisty maze, you can keep going back to the map room, wherein if you can spend a couple of movement points to choose the next room tile you'll explore, instead of drawing one randomly. Do you grab some healing or kill the easy monster before someone else gets it? Will that position make you more likely to be attacked by a wondering monster?

In the card game some of your turns are short and not much happens before you're waiting for your turn again. In MQ you can do several things on your turn, and I really like that. Between turns you can help in combat, if you're hanging out near the other players, but you also get to watch the monsters wander around and hope they don't stop in your space.

So I like Munchkin, but I think I might love Munchkin Quest. If the card game seemed haphazard to you, the board game may be the answer.

I'm looking forward to it. I like it. I don't think anti-Munchkin sentiments should necessarily pass over to Munchkin Quest.

A lot of BGGers don't care for Munchkin, and I think I understand why. Munchkin Quest significantly increases the amount of strategy involved. There is a little more management of your options. Its still not Puerto Rico, but its certainly not Dungeonville.

Andrew
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Simon Lundström
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Does sound about precisely what I would want from a boardgame of Munchkin. Thanks for a good review.
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Philip Reed
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andreww wrote:
The cards are neat, and they are poker-sized, so they're larger than Munchkin cards. I believe they'll have a linen finish, as opposed to satin, but I'm not positive. But they are in COLOR!


The diecut components are linen finish, but not the cards.
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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Howdy, Andrew! Fancy meeting you here. Will you be demoing this game at ConQuest SF, by any chance?
 
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Andrew Walters
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
Howdy, Andrew! Fancy meeting you here. Will you be demoing this game at ConQuest SF, by any chance?


Drat and double drat, that was my plan, but now the game won't be out until October.

I won't be at ConQuest. I'll be camping with a bunch of families.

When the game comes out I'm getting two copies and I'll start taking them to every Bay Area Convention.

Andrew
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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Oh, that's a shame. Well, if I don't end up owning the game by February, then I'll certainly elbow my way into one of your demos at Dundracon!

Have a great time camping; we'll miss you at Conquest.
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Philip Reed
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ced1106 wrote:
Bizarrely enough, this is the only dungeon-themed game I know of where there are wandering monsters which... actually wander.


Do you mean wander as in "random movement" or wander as in just "move?"
 
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Peter Franke
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Nice review, I look forward to playing this with my friends. We enjoyed playing Munchkin every once in a while but this seems like more of what I was looking for originally.

As a big fan of Warhammer Quest this should satisfy some of the "dungeon crawl" experience I was missing from the card game.

-Frog
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Andrew Walters
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Wandering Monsters:

The final phase of each player's turn is the Monster Turn. A six-sided die is rolled, selecting one of six colors. Each room has four exits, each with a colored arrow. All the monsters follow the arrows of the rolled color until they come to a room with no exit of that color. They may pass through your room or even end this turn in your room, but you don't have to fight them unless your next turn starts with them in your room. They wrap around if they go off the edge, some monsters don't move on certain colors, and some monsters can't enter certain rooms. Its quick and fun and gives you something to worry about when its not your turn.

And the monsters actually wonder around. No telling where they'll be next, they could move one room or many, they could change direction. In other games you can move to the far side of the board or make sure you're not in a straight line and avoid the monsters, not here.

Andrew
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Christian Grundner
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One thing that should be said to this game is, that even though the game only takes 3-4 hours you only get 4-5 turns in that time!

It is one of the worst IGO, UGO games that I´ve seen for years. In Essen you could easily go grab some food check out some more booths and be back before your turn was again.

IMO that was not due to slow decision making by the players but due to gettin 4 turns in a row (and sometimes +1 and sometimes twice that) which drags on and on.

It did seem like a neat dungeon-crawl game were it not for that factor.
 
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Andrew Walters
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Game speed is dependent on the players. I'm glad they put "3 Hours" on the box, because it can take that long

My son (13) and I played our first game in 50 minutes. Turns can take awhile when players need to read every card all the way through and figure out how they fit with the other cards. Also, you get several movement points, so a lot happens in a turn, possibly even multiple combats.

But again, compare it to Order of the Stick or Descent and its quicker. Its probably the same as Dungeon Twister at thirty minutes per player.

In theory you can interfere with other players during their turn, and you have to roll for the monsters in your charge, but like most games you are mostly idle during other players' turns.

Andrew
 
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Terry Pack

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Hi Andrew,

Our group just played the game for the first time tonight, It took us about 6 hours for four players.

It was slow going at the start but picked up once most players got past level 5 or so.

One of our players hated the way the monsters tended to clump together. We had one group of high level monsters, all with yellow bases that were drawn early on that stayed together the whole game.

C'Ya,
Terry
 
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