Thursday, May 2, 2013

Barely a Game Review - Rumble in the House and or Dungeon

I'm reviewing two games at the same time tonight, but they're basically the same game twice, so I think that's OK. For that matter, there's so little to either one that they barely deserve a review at all. In fact, by the time you finish reading this review, you could have read the rules for either game and set up to play. Read this review twice, and you could have played the whole game. The games in these boxes are barely games at all.

Interestingly enough, the Rumble games feature one of my favorite game mechanics - the hidden identity. I love the feinting and bluffing and guessing that comes with games where you're trying to figure out who is working for the resistance and who is a toaster. But those games (the ones I like) have other stuff, ways to throw opponents off the scent or provide perfectly viable excuses to lie.

The Rumble games do make an interesting experiment, I suppose. What happens when you strip a game down to its absolute minimum? In this case, you have a hidden identity and twelve pieces on the board, and at regular intervals, you get to kill people. The trick is to survive the longest by getting your opponents to kill someone else.

That is it. That is the sum total of the game. Well, Rumble in the Dungeon adds this thing where you win if you can get the treasure chest off the board, but nobody is going to let you do that so it's kind of a moot issue. You move, you stab, you die, and three minutes later the game is over.

I'm actually a little offended that Rumble in the House and/or Dungeon exist at all. They are only barely games. They are a half-step above the drinking game where you draw cards off a deck and do a shot when you draw a face card. They are just lazy, and rely on a fun idea to make up for the fact that there is no real game to play.

The thing that really chaps my ass is how much fun these games could be if there were more to them. If characters had special powers that you could exploit on your turn, even if they were not your characters, there would be more play options. If the games provided more ways to guess who was controlling which character, that would add some interesting elements. But as they are, there's a bare-bones idea and no meat.

The Rumble games look to me like a designer was having a talk with another game designer and he farted, and it reminded him of something he left on the counter at home, which made him check his phone to see what time it was, and then the other guy said, 'what about a game where you don't know who the other people are?' and the first guy said, 'yeah, sure, I gotta get my wife to DVR the game.' They're afterthoughts, half-conceived notions, only the slightest excuse for ideas. So much more was possible, but instead the Rumble games are tiny square boxes of missed opportunity.


2-6 players

Hidden identity

There isn't enough here to define a 'con', per se

If you want a game that barely constitutes a game at all, you can find the Rumble games at Game Salute. I don't have a link because I'm posting this bitch on an iPad. Look it up, lazy ass.

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