The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

B-Movie games

There’s a category of games I refer to as “Experience games.” (I’m not sure where I first heard that). These games usually have simple rules, and a ton of cards that modify or break them.

These can be fun once or twice, particularly if the humor in them is well done. Of course, with the right crowd, any game can be fun. In order for the game to be routinely fun, there should be the potential for novelty each game. After al, these games are chaotic.

I pick on Munchkin, even though the jokes work well, because you cycle through the deck several times per game. The jokes wear thin before a single play. I suppose if you have all of the decks, then that isn’t true.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying I played “Berserker Halfings from the Dungeon of Dragons“, part of Z-Man’s “B-movie” series of games that started with Grave Robbers from Outer Space. Every player films a movie, and plays cards that add to their movies value — Sets, Characters, Props. Of course, there are monsters … you use them to attack other people’s movies. [Don’t think too hard.] There are a ton of “Take that” cards. One card ‘rolls the credits’ to end the game (or when you exhaust the deck). You can mix and match the games to your Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Genre X crossover delight.

Plusses —

  • The game ends when you run through the deck once. For a single game, that means maybe 30-45 minutes. Plus it could end much faster. Expand the game at your peril (although each game has an ‘end the game’ card, meaning eventually someone will play one…
  • The Jokes are passably funny. [At least one card was funny]
  • People mentioned combos that they’d seen, so presumably you’ll still have something amusing happen from time to time. I wish more movies had sharks attack a car wash. [Don’t we all?]
  • The movies make more sense than the routine dreck coming out of Hollywood. And cost less. And are better acted. In fact, I now wonder if scriptwriters just film games of this as it’s played and use a program to convert it to an actual script…

Minusses —

  • There’s not that much of a game here.

You draw your cards. You play them. Other people play their cards. You build stuff, it gets knocked down. About what you’d expect. But, since it’s an experience game genre, that makes this head and shoulders above many of the games it’s competing against. Which is to say, I’ll never ever suggest it, but wouldn’t refuse.

Good experience games are actually tough to make, in my opinion. [I don’t really like the pure-Genre, but like it mixed into other games]. Most designers don’t get past the “bunch of cards that provide theme” to design interesting mechanics, and most don’t have enough variety to actually keep you coming back past a few games…

Parenting Sidenote — High on the list of “Things I never thought I’d say” was “Take the cat out of the pan.” [NB: Cat Doll.]

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Written by taogaming

December 21, 2005 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Reviews

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3 Responses

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  1. “Things I never thought I’d say” – mine is “Give me two flesh-colored camels, please.”

    Chris Esko

    December 22, 2005 at 2:04 am

  2. You can see the article on Giocarea on the subject :
    http://www.davincigames.it/giocarea_eng/16/cover.htm

    ReiXou

    December 22, 2005 at 4:46 am

  3. A nice link, thanks

    Brian

    December 22, 2005 at 1:35 pm


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