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Torches and Pitchforks Card Game Review

Posted By Matt-M-McElroy On November 10, 2008 @ 6:23 am In Other Games | No Comments

Available at Amazon

The Card Game of Monster Movie Mayhem!

This is a funny card game from Green Ronin with spoofs on various horror classics ranging from Frankenstein to Dracula with ghosts, beasts and other monsters mixed in to keep things interesting. The local townsfolk team up to destroy these monsters and deal with mayhem along the way.

There are three decks in this game, Townsfolk (representing the local “citizens” that are battling the monsters), Mob (including weapons, actions and other enhancements) and Monster (which also includes events that are often detrimental to the heroes).

Dividing them up at the beginning of play is pretty easy since they are clearly labeled and have funny images showing off some of the cards included in the deck. Each player gets 6 of the Townsfolk cards at the beginning of play, with leftover cards going back in the box, if any (if there are 5 players there won’t be any leftover Townsfolk cards).

The Mob and Monster cards get shuffled and left on the table in reach of all the players. Each of these will also have its own discard deck once play gets going. With several players these decks may get shuffled through rather quickly, but there are enough of each to keep things interesting during a rowdy game.

Mob cards include:

Action Cards – which can add bonus points to one side or another in combat, steal items from other players and other cross-table situations
Enhancement Cards – which include weapons (not only Torches and Pitchforks, but also Pistols, Swords and more) and leader cards (these are played on top of one of your Townsfolk cards and often give bonuses to the entire team); Defense Cards that protect the team from specific types of monsters or events
Townsfolk Cards – which are just like the regular Townsfolk cards and are used to bulk up a player’s team during combat.

Monster Cards include:

Event Cards – can affect the entire table or specific players, these often take away bonuses, weapons or some other detrimental effect for a turn.
Monster Cards – The “bad guys” of them game. Monsters are worth a certain amount of points and when they win combat can kill a certain amount of Townsfolk each turn.

A turn is pretty simple:

Draw – Make sure you have 5 Mob cards
Attack – Fight a Monster (or deal with an Event) by drawing from the Monster deck
Hunt – Fight a Monster from the Moor (optional)
Recoup – Bring back any dead Townsfolk and equip weapons, leaders and other enhancements
Discard – Get rid of any cards you don’t want

The Moor is a special type of discard pile for Monsters that have not been defeated during combat (either because someone escaped or was unable to defeat the Monster) or placed there based on specific circumstances. It is basically an extra battleground that can be worth a few extra points if a player is feeling lucky. This is a little bit like the various Munchkin games from Steve Jackson Games where a player can choose to fight a Monster from their hand if they did not meet one at the beginning of their turn.

This game requires a mix of clever strategy and a lot of luck. When you play an action card or decide to use an enhancement can make or break victory, but some players just might get lucky now and then with a roll of the dice or drawing the right Monster at the right moment. You can only have one leader and one defense card in play at any time, which may result in decent protection from some of the worst Monsters in the deck or not help at all when up against a different type of creature.

Similar to the Munchkin games, you can stab other players in the back by enhancing the Monsters during combat with specific cards, steal weapons and other cards from them on your turn and generally sabotage their efforts to score points.

This game is a lot of fun and plays fairly quickly. There is a suggestion for varying the win total depending on how long you have to play (30 points is standard, but I’d suggest bumping it up for 4 or 5 person games). The art from Rich Werner is comical and there are plenty of jokes based on the genre inspiration from movies and fiction.

Review by Matt M McElroy


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