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Subject: Munchkin Quest : The same as Munchkin, but different rss

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David Aubert
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As a fan of Munchkin, I had no choice but to buy Munchkin Quest.
After two games in three days, I though giving this game a little review, so … here it is.

Part One : The component

When you open the box, you see it’s full of stuff … better than that, it’s full of quality stuff :
Three decks : D&M, Treasure and Monster. The cards are solid and much more resilient than their card game counterparts.
Four Miniatures : Each one represent the ‘Basic Munchkin’ with hammer and chainsaw. They’re made of solid plastic.
Dice : 6D6, 1D10 and a ‘Monster Die’ which has colors instead of numbers. Nothing to say here, except that the color as a little too flashy for my taste, but that’s a very minor point.
24/25 Rooms (number depends if you get the promotional room of not) : Made out solid cardboard, each pieces represent 2 squared room with four exits (one room in each side). Like other components, the quality is above top.
Monsters and supports : There is three supports per players where one can put cardboard monster in a fashion similar as the one used for investigators in Arkham Horror. The monsters are easily put in and out the supports (A little too easily for the tiny Monsters) and like other components, the quality is above top.
Tons of tokens : There is Life, Movement, Ransacked/Looted, Gold Piece. Tons of them but … immediately usable ! Unlike most FGG games, you don’t have to punch out of a sheet, they are already packed in plastic bags, ready to use ! A very very good point.
Four level counter : It’s cardboard disc with a rotative part to keep track of your level, not indispensable if you have some D10 in backup, but all the same it make the game playable without outside components. NB : The contact between the metallic parts of two disks is really painful … like a screech in a blackboard …
A rulebook : More on it in the next part.

One can criticize the fact that the box holds no section to keep the cards. It’s not really a problem unless you travel a lot with the game : in that case, you’ll propably have to sort the decks before playing.

All in all, there are great components, no ‘punching out’ step before playing. So I give MQ a very well deserved 9/10 for it’s components.

Part Two : The Rulebook and the Rules

Rules are relatively clear, the booklet contains many munchkin jokes, but it doesn’t alter the comprehension of rules.
The only black point of the booklet is that sometimes, when you search a precise rule you know it’s in the manual, it could take some time to find it. There is a glossary, but it doesn’t contain all terms used in the game (I think about ‘Target of a monster’, here).
And of course, there is no FAQ since it’s the first edition … but given the numbers of stange cases that can happen, I’m sure one will be created soon …

The purpose of the game is quite simple : You are in a dungeon and you start level 1 and must become level 10 (like the card game) and then return at the entrance of the dungeon and kill a boss. To gain level, you explore rooms, which lead you to fight monsters and gain Treasures and gold that you can sell to get more level.
During each turn, the active player gets 3 actions and a D&M card (D&M are random event that players can play to give an advantage to their character or (more often) to screw other players’ turn). With his actions he can do the following:
Search the room to find gold or treasure. (1 action) The player roll 1D6 with bonus/malus depending on his equipments and the room he is in, and check on the ‘search table’ what he get. He can only do that once per turn in a given room.
Make a deal. (1 action) Meaning using the special ability of the room he is in.
Explore (1 to 3 action) : Going in another room, the cost of this action depends of what is the link between the two room : For example, a simple door or a open hallway cost one point and a locked door cost all three points. If a new room is explored this way, it is chosen at random and the player get an extra D&M card and draw a Monster card to find out what monster lurks in the room.

Whenever the player is in the same room that a monster, he must try to fight it. The bases of the fact is the same than the card game (Player add his level and bonus, if it is higher than the monster’s level, he win otherwise he must flee or ask help to another player. Every player can play card to give bonus either to the player or the monster.) but with two twists : First after all cards are played, the result of the fight is altered by D6 throw. Meaning that if you don’t have seven points more than the monster there is still a chance for you to lose and take a hit. Moreover, only player in your room or in a room next to it can help you or hinder you with item. This adds a lot of randomness in the game … way more than vanilla munchkin has.
To increase further the randomness, each monster has a color chosen at random by the throw of the monster die. This color (represented by the support of the monster) matches one player’s color. Meaning that this monster want to kill that player, and if that player manage to kill this monster, he will get a small extra bonus.
Problem is, every time the die is rolled, if the result match a player’s color, that player immediately draw a free D&M card … added to the cards from exploring pieces … with little luck a player can hope to draw 5 or 6 D&M cards in a row (even more) in his first turn and use them before the other player have even began to move…
After all actions are used, the monster die is rolled one last time to make remaining monsters move and the next player began his turn.

So, it’s complete refont of a classic system with some twist, to make it a boardgame : I give 7/10

Part Three : The fun factor

Now it becomes difficult to judge, but I will say a thing right now : If you don’t like munchkin, you’ll hate Munchkin Quest, so don’t bother with it.
There is basically a big flaw with the game : It is simultaneously too slow and too fast !
Munchkin Quest is the union of three games : Descent (for the theme), Munchkin (for the parody) and … Runebound for the downtime.
With three actions, at the beginning of the game you can do three explorations and draw an insane amount of card, meaning that a player’s turn can go on for 15/20 minutes … (and a much more when you’re discovering the game.). The best the cards you have, the longer your turn will be … and that’s only with the three basic actions. This length is increased when a player gets extra actions.
So you spent a lot of time watching other players doing stuff without actually doing everything … As a 4-players Runeboud praticant, that don’t bother much given the fact that usually you get a lot of cards to play on opponent’s turn and you can manage to help other so it forces you to keep an eye in the action. But I know that lot of people are bored by downtime, so I’m telling you : this game is slow !
But in the other hand, it is fast in its slowness (OK, now we are in the world of munchkin) : It’s not unusual to have at least one player at level 4/5/6 at the end of first turn, and brushing with level 10 at the end of second turn. Meaning that right now, for me, it seems that the average number of turns to finish the game is between 3 and 5. So a player unlucky enough to have a descent starting hand and/or luck with monster on turn one is out of the race for winning if other player manages to have a good first turn.
To my mind, 3 movements are too much. With only 2, the frequency of active turn would have been slightly increased without changing the global length too much.

About the theme and the ambiance : If you don’t mind downtime, the game is all the same very fun to play, all ‘cliché’ of Door/Monster/Treasure are in, and the more powerful a munchkin is, the more ludicrous his items are.
Contrary to the card game, position in the dungeon matters and can change a lot of thing in the negotiations : If a player is in a room with tough monsters, he will consent to help you for a lower price (and even he would want to give you item to make you accept his aid) than if he was in the same room alone. This can lead to some seriously fun discussions.
How about to note the ‘fun experience’ ?
For a Munchkin player, as I am, I give it a 7/10, but only 6 or 5/10 for nonMunchkin player (depending how the theme attract them) and 2/10 for the Munchkin haters.

Part Four : Replaybility

Like the card game, after a while you tend to know all cards, but with 50 rooms different, you’ll have a good time before knowing all cards and room. Like the card game again, once the discovery factor will be passed, Munchkin Quest won’t the game you’ll play every session, but will be the game that you’ll be playing again after some week just for the fun.
Replaybility : 8/10

All in all, even if I still prefer the card games (a lot more fast paced), munchkin is very refreshing. It’s still the first edition and I hope with a little tinkering of the rules for a future second edition, it would be a over the top game.

Right now, I’ll give it a very well deserved 7/10 as a Munchkin fan and I will council to all other fan to try it. I don’t think they’ll regret it.
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Philip Reed
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Kyle
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In the expansion (which is now on the boat and headed to our warehouse), we suggest playing with 2 move when first starting the game or when playing with six players.

Thank you for the review. I'm happy that you took the time to write up your comments about the game.
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Wouter Dhondt
Belgium
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The 3 move is way too much. Best case: you can explore 3 rooms (draw 3 DxM cards) and win against 3 monsters (another 3 DxM cards cause the monster will have your base + any treasure). That's simply too much.

I wonder if the following isn't a solution: you are limited to explore 1 new room each turn. This should keep your movement open for other options and it would limit the down time a lot.

It's a shame really. The game looks great and seems interesting, but there are some rules which simply don't work that well.
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Drew Spencer
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Kwakkie wrote:
I wonder if the following isn't a solution: you are limited to explore 1 new room each turn. This should keep your movement open for other options and it would limit the down time a lot.


This is how I played the first few rounds because for some reason I thought that limit existed. The result was that there were very few monsters left in the dungeon for a long time and so players had very little to do and monster movement was pointless.

For full disclosure, I did not like the game, but prior to letting people explore fully I didn't even see the point of it.
 
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David Aubert
France
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I read about the 'only 2 movments' rules, but we really wanted to play it 'as the basic rules say' (3 players) at first.

We'll give it the 2 moves a try next week when we play again. But I'm afraid about items that gives extra-movment. They will be overpowered.

After this, if it doesn't work, the Explore-limit can be tinkered, say 'You can explore any number of room you want UNTIL you kill a monster' or 'You can explore any number of round you want, but each one beyond the first cost an extra movement (meaning that you can only explore twice at most par turn (thrice with 5(!) movments) given that you have only hallway and normal door in your path.
 
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Philip Reed
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banyan wrote:
The result was that there were very few monsters left in the dungeon for a long time and so players had very little to do and monster movement was pointless.


Yeah, the game loses some of its fun when there aren't several monsters moving around the dungeon.

I'm sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy the game, it sounds like it's not your sort of game, but thank you for giving it a try.
 
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Will Schoonover
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We've started limiting the first turn of demos to one move each and that really seems to help start the game off quickly, and not force anyone to have a lot of downtime.
 
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Daniel U. Thibault
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Yes, the game is more fiddly than card Munchkin, it has longer set-up/tear-down time, and overall plays somewhat longer. But that's okay.

The catch lies in the difference and sameness with the card game. One rule we played badly the first time because of our familiarity with the card game is the fight/flee sequence. In the card game, you reveal a monster, then decide to flee or fight. In Munchkin Quest, you reveal a monster, and then you must fight it --only if you lose do you flee, attempting to avoid the Bad Stuff. Very different!

Monsters seem more powerful overall, if only because they persist. Equipment seems to accumulate less. Plus you have to worry about death and health...

Good game, and a good thing the box is big enough to accommodate the forthcoming expansions!
 
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