Sunday, October 19, 2014

Munchkin Treasure Hunt

On Tuesday and Wednesday, my beloved Orioles played their way out of the World Series. But after those games, playing Munchkin Treasure Hunt lifted my spirits, even though I did about as well as the Orioles.

My helpers those games were my daughters. For the first game, only my youngest daughter, Sophia, played against me. Sophia is an incredibly cute 6-year-old who is truly smart though still new to reading and math. For the second game, her older sister Hannah also played. Hannah is 8, and a bit geeky as she likes both Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings, and, like her sister, is both truly smart and adorable. Their cousins, however, have spoiled anything to do with zombies for them, and both are scared by anything to do with them, even Sophie, who usually isn't scared of anything.

None of this mattered, however, since the girls had fun. Sophia beat me in the first game, though near the end, things got too easy since we missed the rule about a limit of two permanent items. Hannah won the next night. Both had a blast, though Sophie didn't take too well to losing to her sister. She isn't a great winner or loser. And Hannah, when I just asked her, liked that she got to fight the zombie, so no fear.

As for the game itself, Andrew Hackard tells the basic game play in the video. You roll a die, choose a direction, move your game piece, and do what the square on which you land tells you. If you move into a monster's lair or the entrance, your movement stops and you fight the monster in that lair, if you didn't go into the entrance. The game board has little in the way of writing, making it easy for young readers to know what to do. To fight a monster, you draw a monster card to modify the monster's level, then roll a die. If your level is the same or higher than that of the monster, you win and draw treasure cards. If you lose, you must run away. Whoever has the highest value from her treasure cards at the end of the game wins.

There are six monsters on the board. Two—the Witch and the Goblin—fight at 5 + the value on the monster card (which is always positive), and beating them gives two treasures. Two others—the Zombie and the Ogre—fight at 8 + the value on the monster card, and beating them gives three treasures. The last two monsters—the Troll and the Dragon—are the toughest, and give five treasures. The Dragon fights at 12 + the value on two monster cards, while the Troll fights at 10 + the value on a monster card + a die.

In play, I spent my time moving back and forth between the weaker monsters to build myself up. Maybe I was too wary, since my kids went for the Troll and Dragon earlier than I did, and they did beat me. However, most players will try something akin to my strategy, since going at the Troll or Dragon is suicide until you get more treasure cards.

Now, those treasure cards. Like in regular Munchkin, treasure can boost your level in a fight. Most treasure cards are one-time only cards, while a few are permanent. Like I said before, you can only have two permanent treasures in play at any one time, and if you run away, you must get rid of one of your permanent treasures, if you have one in play. Sophia says she that hates losing her permanent treasures. Almost every fight needs a treasure card to help you beat the monster.

The cards are small, and the words on them aren't big. The typeface wasn't that clear, though I had no trouble reading it, and neither did my daughters, to the best of their skill. This wasn't a problem for my 8-year-old, but Sophia, my 6-year-old, couldn't read the instructions on cards, which did hamper her when using cards like Sticky Fingers, which lets you play a one-time card and take it back.

The humor of grown-up Munchkin is there, just not adult. When you fight a monster, it is always modified due to the monster card, so you are always fighting silly combinations like a Snotty Witch or a Hairy Troll or a Boring Stinky Dragon. Kids like this better than we do, of course, but the treasure cards are just as fun. You fight a monster with the help of a Foam Bat or Something You Just Found Under Your Bed. And we all know the awesome +5 bonus that That Look from Mom gives is accurate.

Missing from the game is the cutthroat attitude of grown-up Munchkin, which makes sense, since these are kids. Any parent will know that we don't want to deal with a crying elementary school student because his sister played the Wandering Monster card with Tiamat just as he was about to kill the Lame Kobold with his Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment and get to level 10. There is a way to help others, though only with players whose pieces near the lair where you're fighting. I do think kids picking up full Munchkin after this will be amazed to see the viciousness, however.

In short, this is a fun game. Kids who are starting to learn reading will need a little more help, and there isn't any kind of messing with the other players, but otherwise, the game is what it says on the box: Munchkin for kids. And we know what fun Munchkin is.

Game log for 19 October 2014

Dramatis personae:

Yémos, a cleric

Anêr, a swashbuckler
Mayhem, a barbarian
Caleb, a wizard

Quid occurrit:

Oh, they've been through the forest with a pony with no name,
And they're about to step into the rain.
Name the fucking horse! — Richard Jeni

The pony got the name of either "Greymare" or "Bill" when the group found him, wandering outside on the afternoon of 3 Blôs. They chose to head northeast to Káddrakos.

After a few hours of walking, though still before nightfall, six wolves suddenly set upon them. The pony, whatever her name is, stepped back, while the wolves rushed to the two fighters afore the others, and got little nips at them before they could gather their wits about them. Anêr and Mayhem started taking swings, while Yémos cast Shield on Mayhem, and Caleb cast Explosive Fireball. The wolves started biting at their legs, and one ran around towards Yémos. Mayhem got a killing blow, and as it died, the wolf turned into a hairy man.

Not quite.

Caleb threw his Explosive Fireball, but it didn't make the werewolves panic, as it would true wolves. Still, it killed another wolf, but the living wolves cripple the legs of both Anêr and Mayhem, Anêr dropping his sword while trying to parry the blow. Another took a bite out of Yémos's chest, and he falls down.

Now, the wolves tried to drag off the three heroes. They bit on the heroes and started to pull them off. Anêr grabbed his sword and stabbed at the wolf. The wolf must let go of Anêr to get away, but did and then bit on him again. Mayhem swung his axe into the wolf dragging Yémos, while Caleb tried to lob a Fireball at the last wolf, who had run after the now-spooked pony, but he missed.

After a few more seconds, Mayhem and Caleb, who had run up to the others, killed the wolf on Yémos, while the others howled and fled. After a few minutes, Caleb caught up with their pony, then brought her back and did some first aid on the others. Both Anêr and Mayhem found they can walk on their legs, so Mayhem set up camp and shelter.

The night went without issue, though Yémos didn't sleep well. He healed Anêr and Mayhem, then the others loaded him onto the back of the pony, and grabbed their gear. Early that morning, a beetle almost as big as the pony set on them while they walked to Káddrakos. As they tried to kill the beetle, Anêr ran around to the back of the beetle, and it let out a cloud of harmful mist, which makes both Anêr and Caleb, who had run up to the beetle to stick his sword between its plates. Anêr, however, stayed in the mist, and put his sword through the plates in the back of the beetle, killing it.

Yémos healed both Anêr and Caleb, though his spells didn't work well on the latter. Mayhem went hunting while Yémos healed, but didn't catch anything. Yémos cast Create Food on the bug, which gave them both two meals and the farts, much like the bug, though not deadly farts.

They didn't make good time due to the wounds to both spellcasters, so they set up camp that night, still a few miles from Káddrakos. Mayhem set up the camp well, but he couldn't make a good shelter from the reeds and sticks in the grasslands. The next day, Yémos healed Caleb, and that afternoon, they found the body of an orc in leather and bearing a shield and axe. Yémos figured out the burnt Celtic cross on the shield of the orc marked him as one of the Vile Brand band, and they found eight silver pennies on his body. They easily found his cause of death: vines covered him, and had strangled him.

That night, they made it to Káddrakos, storm clouds overhead. Anêr and Yémos went to the Church of Bagóbros, and there, a plump gnome woman named Dīrónē leaned up from her cobbling and healed them for a few pennies. They asked Dīrónē of any quests. She told them that she had heard of a dragon in a ruin in the hills to the northwest, and told them the tale of Atilíā, a thin gnome woman from Dīrónē's youth. She was a peddler who had sold a stone statue of a baby, who, when dipped in water, turned into the lost son of the Duke of Magápos. A few months after this, the other gnomes found Atilíā's body in the middle of the road, stakes nailed in her hands and feet.

Meanwhile, in the Winking Friar, Vískōl, the barkeep, was glad to see them. Allikolía, the one-armed gnome ranger, was not there. In the small crowd of drinkers was a hobbit with deep-set eyes, who talked loudly about going to sell leather to the army in a keep in a land filled with dead trees. When they figured out about whom the hobbit was talking, Mayhem went up to him, and the hobbit mocked Mayhem for being a barbarian, then let him know that, if the wizard in the keep had money, he'd be happy to do business with him.

That night, it rained, which made the roads bad. Mayhem, however, thought he knew how to get to Ōndrûnks without going through too many puddles, and so they set out. However, that morning …

Extra ludum

This ends on a cliffhanger since it was five minutes to four, and we were going to go at four-ish. I gave out two character points since I let the werewolves fail their second morale check, which was a gimme. The next encounter is five bandits, and I have some time to roll them up: 9 November.

It's hard for me to believe it had been so long since they had started a walk and set up a camp that I had trouble remembering the rules in Dungeon Fantasy 16. It took a minute or two to get through that again.

The most creative idea that happened was that, while the wolf was dragging Yémos, Eric wanted to cast Create Food on the wolf. After all, the spell doesn't say you can't cast it on still-living matter. It seemed so wrong but so clever that I wanted to find a way to let it work, but I couldn't. The Butcher spell in GURPS Magic: Death Spells is Very Hard and needs Magery 3 to work. Prerequisites aren't a big balancer, but this is a guideline that says you just can't do this. Still, it was a great idea.

And what do werewolf bites do, anyways? Do they turn the victim into a werewolf? Or into a furry?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Game log for 12 October 2014

Dramatis Personae:

Yémos, a cleric
Anêr, a swashbuckler
Mayhem, a barbarian
Caleb, a wizard

Quid occurrit:

After backing away from the hellshots, they go into the hallway and open up an old armory. The swords here are rusted and the leather armor is rotten, and nobody can guess the age of the weapons, though they're still usable. Mayhem picks up a few arrowheads, hoping that maybe a fletcher can work with them.

They leave the old armory. After passing a hallway that they think would go to the hellshots and a tapestry that hides an empty room, they open another door. Here, there is a stairs, a door to the right and a passage to the left. Near the door to the right is an iron ring with a rope tied to it, and the rope rises into the air and hangs in midair.

After checking out the rope, which Caleb sees is magic, they check out the door, and see that it is trapped. So instead of trying to open the door normally, they try prying it open at the hinges. Yémos and Mayhem get the door open, and the floor under them lowers to a slope, making them tumble past the door and down the sloping hallway into water. Both keep afloat, and Anêr tosses them some rope to bring them up. As that hallway goes underwater, they choose to go to the hallway on the other side of the room.

They walk down the hallway and take a turn to the left, and walk into a room with five fellows in leather armor and bearing shortswords. The leader is a baby-faced woman with milky white skin, and wild light auburn hair to her ears, but with wooden teeth. She's wary, and asks the heroes about a bunch of wizards who "make the crystal jelly." She and her gang want to reap a bounty on their heads. Nobody knows anything about that, so after Yémos reasons with her, the two groups tell the other the way each came to this room. The bounty hunters go the way the heroes came, and the heroes go through a door.

They walk up a short flight of stairs, and find themselves in a room with old pews and musical instruments, as well some fluid dripping in a corner. However, the four ghouls eating dead bodies of men catch their eyes. After a few insults towards the heroes, the ghouls agree to let them go past, though Anêr faints from the ghouls eating men's bodies and Caleb swears off any raw meat ever again.

They go past a hallway to the right, and heed the bounty hunter's words and go left. There, they find a table with a mortar and pestle on it, a door, and a suit of plate holding a halberd next to the door. Yémos looks at the halberd, and sees that it has blood stains on it. So for the moment, they look at the table, and find jars under the table. One of the jars has coins (47 copper farthings and 6 silver pennies) in it, and Mayhem opens it, letting the spores from the old herbs in it into the air. He takes 4 FP of damage while Anêr, downwind, takes 1 FP.

Next, they check out the door again, and see the tripwire at the doorway leading to the suit of plate. Thus, they get the door open without triggering the trap, and step into a roughly-hewn room with many barrels in it, and eight big centipedes. They scuffle as the centipedes come towards them, and one bites Mayhem, and the poison saps his DX. After a few seconds, Caleb gets off an Explosive Fireball, which makes the centipedes scatter.

The heroes go on past the centipedes, and find themselves at a small drop off, which they climb. From there, they start to go up, and, after a nasty fight with some hellshots after walking for about a half hour, they make it to the cave where they met the dwarves a few weeks before, and from there to fresh air.


I was generous and let them find their pony wandering around, albeit without her saddlebags. Regardless, they need to make their way back to Mīstássun without the demon blood, which has many clear issues. Back to hex crawl mode.

Three character points all around.