Monday, December 28, 2015

Munchkin Loot Letter - The Review


AEG's Love Letter has been a popular game for the past few years but there are a lot of themed versions that are being released now. These themed versions include Love Letter: Batman, Love Letter: The Hobbit, and the one we’ll be looking at today - Munchkin Loot Letter. This version was developed by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) and Steve Jackson Games and the artist is John Kovalic from Munchkin fame. The game was also published in 2014. It plays with 2-4 people and takes approximately 20 minutes to play. While the theme is different, it plays exactly the same as Love Letter. It just adds a thematic flair that fans of Munchkin will absolutely love. It even comes with a special Munchkin card you can add to your Munchkin game. Let's take a look at - Munchkin Loot Letter.

The Cards

There are a total of 16 cards that will used. The cards are numbered from 1-8 and each numbered card is unique character or item. Each character or item has a special feature than can apply to others or even yourself. It's important to understand how each card works so let's look at each type real quick to get an idea of they play in the game.

The Reference Card


There are four Reference Cards included that each player can use to know how many cards there are in the game. It helps to show you what each card does as well as how many of each card is included in the game. It also goes over the rules and play sequence on the other side so it's handy to have.

The Potted Plant


The Potted Plant is the 1 card and there are five of them. This allows you to pick another player in the game and guess which character they are as long as it's not another Potted Plant. If that player is the character you guessed, then they must discard it and they are out of the round.

The Maul Rat


The Maul Rat is the 2 card and there are two included. This character allows you to look at another player's hand (secretly) and then give it back to them. This is a great way to figure out which cards are in play, if you're keeping track of that sort of thing.

The Duck of Doom


The Duck of Doom is the 3 card and there are two of these as well. This is also my personal favorite. Not because of what it can do, which is actually one of my least favorite “powers”, but because it's a Duck of Doom. Who doesn't love a Duck of Doom. Munchkin fans will understand. This character lets you compare you hand with another player's hand, of your choosing of course, and whoever has the higher card number will win. The player with the lower card number must discard and is out of the round.

The Wishing Ring


The Wishing Ring is the 4 card and there are two in the deck. When played, this card will protect you from the effects of other players card until your next turn. This is a real handy card to make sure that no one can mess with you (Munchkin reference there, did you see that!?) and to protect that Loot! that everyone knows you have - or maybe not. It's a fun card to play so you know you're safe at the very least.

The Net Troll


The Net Troll is the 5 card and there are two in the deck. This character allows you to choose any player to discard their hand and draw another card, including yourself. This is a great card to use when you know someone has a good card and you want it gone. Or even help yourself out by getting a better card than you already have. The Net Troll is definitely a fun card to use.

The Dread Gazebo


The Dread Gazebo is next as the number 6 card and there is one in the deck. This character allows you to trade hands with another player of your choice. Very powerful in the right situations.

The Turbonium Dragon


The Turbonium Dragon is the 7 card and there’s only one in the deck as well. The kids just like to say Turbonium Dragon so it gets a lot of play for us. This card doesn’t really do anything for you other than it is the next highest card in the deck. If you happen to have the Turbonium Dragon and either the Dread Gazebo or Net Troll in your hand at the same time, you must discard the Turbonium Dragon. Booo!!

The Loot!


The Loot! card. The 8th and final card in the deck. The supreme card that everyone wants. If you happen to discard this card, though, you are out of the round so be sure to keep a hand on this and hoard the Loot! for yourself.

Additional Components


There are two other pieces used in playing the game - Loot Tokens and a Loot Bag (if you purchased the game with this included). There are 13 Loot Tokens (little wooden squares) that are used to keep track of who won a round. Whoever has the most Loot Tokens at the end of the game wins! The totals are broken down this way: a two player game requires the winner to have 7 Loot Tokens, a three player game requires the winner to have 5 Loot Tokens, and a four player game requires the winner to have 4 Loot Tokens. The Loot Bag is used to hide the card taken out during each round. This is a neat piece and adds a lot of flavor to be game so I highly recommend buy it this way instead of the box version.

Game Play


Munchkin Loot Letter is played in rounds and the winner of each round is given a Loot Token. Whoever has the most Loot Tokens at the end of the game wins. To begin the game, you distribute the Reference Cards to each player and shuffle the 16 playing cards. Lay the deck face down as the draw pile and take the top card and set it aside (or in the loot bag if you have it). This is the wild card and no one can know what it is. Then each player takes a card starting with the player who encountered a wandering monster most recently (or the youngest player if you're feeling nice). Be sure to keep your card hidden so no one else sees it! Once each player has drawn a card, the first player will draw another card and begin their turn. One of the two cards must be played face up in front of the player and the card’s effect takes place immediately, even if it's bad for that player. Once the card effect has been applied, the play moves on to the next player. The round continues until either one player is left in the game or all the cards in the draw pile are gone. Once play ends, all remaining players reveal their card and whoever has the highest numbered card wins the round. If you're left in the dungeon by yourself before the draw pile runs out, then you win the round automatically. Once the round is over, reshuffle the cards and start another dungeon crawl!

Thoughts

Munchkin Loot Letter is fun, quick, and simple to play. The mechanics are easy to learn while the quick play and portability of the game allows you to play this almost anywhere. We bring this game with us whenever we go to family gatherings, wait for parades to start, or even just get to together with people and have 20 minutes to kill. The Munchkin theme is great and adds a flavor to the game that you can really get into. The only pet peeve I have with this version of Love Letter is the Loot Bag. It's not made of the same material as the bags for other versions, it's like a potato sack. I suppose that's part of the thematic element of the game but it's a bit stiff. It's still a great piece to have, though, and adds to the enjoyment of the game immensely. The bonus Munchkin card that is included is also a great piece. Most Munchkin materials come with a bonus card so it's nice to see that the tradition continues. This is definitely a must have game to include in your collection.

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