Sunday, March 16, 2008
If I were to think about what it takes to make the world's worst board game, I think Monster Quest would have most of those elements. Confusing, nonsensical rules? Check. How about being unnecessarily long, to the point that most players would rather eat sewage than finish the game? Yep, we've got that, too. Thoroughly ugly cards and game board? You betcha! How about horrible components, so bad that they actually make it harder to play the game? Yeah, baby, it's all here. This is less like a board game, and more like an earthquake taking place during a tornado. It's possibly the worst game I've ever played.
The game is supposed to be about rival adventurers. Think Runebound, but with a Candyland board. You follow this path, and if you get lucky, you land on a side path and can take a trip through a haunted dungeon, criminal-infested boatyard or boring desert. The goal of all this traveling is to win six jewels. These little beauties are represented by ugly, black, plastic, cribbage pegs shoved into a completely undecorated piece of white foam board. And when you get six of them, you win. Only in all fairness, the winner is the guy who, just before you started playing, stepped on a rusty soup can lid and had to be taken to the emergency room, and was thus spared an evening wishing one of his children would light the house on fire so he could rush home.
Sometimes, you will land on a space and have to fight a monster. Then you will find the monster card with that monster's name on it. I would say 'that monster's picture', but sadly, there's no art. Just the name. Want to know what the giant gillamonster looks like (no, I didn't spell that wrong, that's what the card says)? Tough nuts. Use your imagination.
So then combat starts, and you start rolling dice. Combat is pretty straight-forward - you roll two dice, and if you hit, you do damage, and if you miss, you get hit. If you hit the beastie, you roll a die for damage, but monsters always do consistent damage. So far, nothing original, but nothing terribly wearisome. Just slightly boring fighting.
Oh, but you're not getting off that easy. You have up to 41 hit points, and with armor, you'll lose like 2 at a time. And the monsters? They've got anywhere from 10 to 35, so even fighting weak monsters means you're going to roll a lot of dice. You roll, miss, take damage, roll, hit, roll damage, roll, hit, roll damage, roll, impale your hand on a kitchen knife to get out of having to play any more.
And then there are all these cards. Map cards and spell cards and wisdom cards can be drawn all over the place, and they let you teleport, or reroll dice, or otherwise change how you move, or just get back some of your hit points when monsters stab you (apparently with butter knives). You can collect a hand of 20 or more cards over the course of the game, and you'll use them to have a little more control over where you go. Which is smart to do, because otherwise you have to go past all 226 spaces to get back to where you came from...
Unless you've bought property. Yeah, because a game this bad has decided to also be Monopoly. You buy property, which lets you go backwards, and when other people land on it, you get to charge them rent. So now, not only are we eternally roaming this enormous and convoluted board, but we're turning into real estate moguls. If you ever wanted to build a hotel in a gypsy's tent, this is the game for you.
If you could finish Monster Quest in an hour, it might not be such a travesty. You still wouldn't want to play it, but at least it would be over fast, like ripping off a band-aid. But a four-player game can take five hours. There are flights across the country that could take off as you lay out the board and land before the game is over. You could get from New York to Los Angeles in less time than it takes to play Monster Quest. And if your plane has horrible turbulence and the stewardess spills a drink on your pants, you will still have had a better time.
Monster Quest is like what would happen if your 13-year-old cousin decided to make a game with two stoner buddies in the basement of your mom's house. The rule book is nearly incomprehensible. The components are just this side of worthless. There are meaningless rules meant merely to make the game longer and aggravate people who have families. It is definitely the least professional game product I have ever seen, and I am thoroughly sorry I ever asked for a review copy.
So you know what I'll do? I'll save it, and down the road, I'll have another contest. And the poor bastard who comes in last place can have my copy of this game. It will be a consolation prize, at least until the sucker tries to play it. Then he'll be stuck with it, and I'll be laughing hysterically.
Heavy box can be used to deter home invaders
Great threat material - 'do your homework or you'll have to play Monster Quest!'
Worst game I ever played
Should you desire more information about Monster Quest, you can get a better idea of the game here:
Posted by Matt Drake at 5:02 PM