Friday, November 20, 2009

Munchkin Quest. First Impression review.

One of the times I had the Bratii over I tried to introduce them to the board game "Arkham Horror" in hindsight this may have been a little complicated for them. I say this despite the fact that Bratus Minor picked it up quickly and enjoyed it so much he wanted to play again next time they came visiting.
With that in mind I ordered "Munchkin Quest" from Amazon on Monday ready for the coming Sunday, as I had 6 days leeway I went for the miserly free postage option. Minor panic set in when I found dispatch wasn't scheduled until Wednesday with an estimated delivery of next Monday or Tuesday. If the order was being processed I could have switched the postage or fully cancelled, but it was in the process of being packed and therefore in flux.

It did indeed end up being dispatched on the 18th and it seems that Amazon has farmed out delivery to the Home Delivery Network Ltd along with a tracking number. Applause to their system I could see it arriving at the central office, then the Kidderminster branch, then loaded onto the van on Thursday and it arrived during the afternoon. Phew.

It's a box about a foot square and 3-4 inches deep. Removing the lid resulted in the surprise discovery that almost half of the interior was padding. The size of the box seemed more designed to accommodate the width and height of the manual rather than the pieces inside. Take out the cardboard padding and you get two large lids to use as containers, but still seems a little wasteful.

First things first check every thing's there. Packages were a mixed bag (pardon the pun) with some components in thin zip-loc bags and others in normal baggies tied at the ends. The zip-loc bags were so thin that I accidentally opened one along the bottom seam with no effort.

So to start with the biggest pieces the room tiles. Other than the entrance piece these are double-sided cardboard constructs - nice sturdy cardboard that seems unlikely to peel; the same goes for the multitude of linking pieces that connect them. These were contained in one large zip-loc bag that also had a lot of the smaller pieces with it. I left those for the moment. The level counters were cardboard with a rotating dial and were also nice and sturdy.

The dice come in their own bag, not 'ye god beautiful' dice, but not crappy ones either. The figures are plastic rather than cardboard cutouts which are nice as is the attention to detailing including the "Orc-B-Gone" written on the side of the chainsaw each figure brandishes.
The gold pieces came in their own bag too again nice sturdy cardboard.

The monster pieces came in the big bag and I sorted those out, again nice cardboard. Then the health and movement tokens which are turned over to exhaust them; a style that perhaps "Arkham Horror" might think about using. I was a couple of Ransacked/Looted counters missing until I found them in a separate baggie, hmm how has this been packed? Anyway I used my own sturdy zip-loc bags to label and store them.

Onto the cards which had been split into two shrink-wrapped packs. The manual states there should be 200 of these split into three types, but fails to enumerate the split. I'll check but the split was 83, 76, 41; which seemed odd and required double-checking when it didn't add up at first. The cards are reasonably thick and unlikely to bend, but it does make an an initial split-shuffle difficult despite being necessary due to the cards clumped ordering.

So on the physical side they're a good thickness and likely to last, the illustrations are excellent and the humour evident. Packaging needs a little work though.

The manual itself was big and bold and laid out reasonably well. My only problem was that certain points weren't connected as well as they might be. For example when a monster appears the monster die is rolled and is assigned to the player with that colour and they get a Deus ex Munchkin (DxM) card. Nothing is mentioned about what happens if a colour is rolled that doesn't correspond to a colour in play. I guess you re-roll and it may seem petty to ask; but at the end of each player's turn the die is rolled again to determine how the monsters move and the player whose colour is rolled gets a DxM card. Just a minor lack of consistency.

This also shows up in the combat example. When fighting a monster other players can help or hinder, but this depends on their position to the combatant, or does it? Reading between the lines only those next to the combatant can move to help, throw potions, backstab etc. whilst anyone anywhere can use monster cards to boost or cripple the monster or combatant. I say between the lines because the one example they give of combat has everyone in adjoining rooms and thus shows no difference between them.

Likewise it's unclear as to what happens when you pass through a link that isn't an open passageway. If it's a locked door, does it become an unlocked door, does a hidden door stay hidden?

Yes this is a fun game and house rules will and will kick in, but my queries are basic things that should have come up in the very first (non-full) game played and included explicitly in the rulebook.

Also, as someone else has already done with "Arkham Horror", I might try to design a player mat that helps organise what each player is wearing carrying and holding, what race they are etc.

Anyway I look forward to a game on Sunday and I'll report how it turned out.


Unknown said...

I'm glad you had a good time, and I appreciate your thoughtful criticisms of the rulebook. We're looking at ways to make things clearer in the next printing.

To answer a couple of your questions:

* If you roll a color that is not available when placing a monster, the person whose turn it is picks one of the colors that IS available. This does not give that player a DxM card.

* Links are never flipped unless you have a card or room that tells you to. It is assumed that hidden doors remain hidden and locked doors lock behind you.

If you have more questions, don't hesitate to come ask on our webforums: We'd love to have you!

Thanks for giving Munchkin Quest a shot.

Andrew Hackard
Munchkin Czar, SJ Games

FlipC said...

Hey thanks for that always good to see those in charge taking an interest.

We found the rule regarding monster colour after we'd finished playing - heh. As at the time it had been a drawn monster from a search we were looking under the Combat section rather than Exploring. We used a house rule that ended up the same anyway.

Again house rule was that the doors are fitted with spring latches so automatically close behind you and lock (if locked) or magically change the open trigger (if hidden). This neat bit of logic also covered those cards or monsters that bashed through them.

Anyway the 8 and 13 year old had fun as well as the 36 year old :-)