Brent Lindeburg
United States
Goose Creek
South Carolina
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I love the idea of the game, but I kinda hate the game. After playing the PnP version a couple of times, I don't get it. It's good for a few laughs, but success or failure comes down to rolling a die to beat a nearly arbitrary number that the group decides on. Once you get two kills in, is anyone going to let the group fail? I'm looking for a rules change that will make this game more interesting.

I had high hopes for the Apples-to-Apples-like "Psychopath" variant listed in the rules, but there simply isn't enough variety/specificity in the Gift Cards to match the variety and humor of the death cards.

I was thinking of adding a Resistance-like element where someone is a Guardian Angel, working to derail the assassination and save the victim. Or make it a free-for-all where each player draws a death card and the other players form/dissolve alliances to try to kill them appropriately. Perhaps turn it into an elimination game.

I've trucked MOD out twice so far, and the reception's been pretty lukewarm. I'd like to have something new to test next time, because I'm running out of guinea pigs. Any thoughts, those of you who've played it, or thought about playing it?
 
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Dave Chalker
United States
Silver Spring
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You've confirmed exactly my fears on this game, but I'm already backing- so hopefully there's a good solution to making a better game with these components. I might take a crack at it myself once I receive it.
 
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Joke Meister
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Backed this game as well and while I've not played it, I know exactly what you mean. From looking at the video demo, its less of a game and more of a collaborative story telling experience.

I figure this game works best if you can grab some beers and see who can be the most ridiculous.
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Eric Matthews
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Boston
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Looks pretty upfront to me from the video.

Isn't it supposed to be more of a silly storytelling game than a competative one? Something like Once Upon a Time where winning is there but not really important to the gameplay? That's why I backed it, not because I'm hoping there is some strategic competative element hidden some
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Kyle Bee

Washington
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You're sort of missing the point. While there is a time and place for games with winners and losers and scores and such, a game like MACHINE OF DEATH isn't one of them. It's more along the lines of DIXIT and FIASCO. Scoring is secondary in terms of gameplay. This is a storytelling game. While you could man-handle it into something more black and white, the fun of these three games are the stories and interactions you experience from a group of creative, foul mouthed friends.

There are DIXIT cards that a dozen or so friends of mine will glance at and instantly start laughing based on rediculious ARISTOCRATS-esque stories we made for the art.

It IS what you make it!
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Dave Chalker
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Silver Spring
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Noodleworks wrote:
You're sort of missing the point. While there is a time and place for games with winners and losers and scores and such, a game like MACHINE OF DEATH isn't one of them. It's more along the lines of DIXIT and FIASCO.


Except that Dixit is a very well-designed party game, where if you do care about winning and losing (like most party games), it still holds up, in addition to having a great set of cards. And Fiasco is entirely a story game and is labeled as such (which also has a very satisfying, gameable endgame.) Even something like Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity's mechanism seems like it would work fine.

I was hoping this game would be at least on that level- and I could be wrong and it might be- but my glance through the rules and what I've been hearing, it doesn't hold up to that level.
 
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Brent Lindeburg
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Goose Creek
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Sooo... Now that I have the printed game in my hands, I am hopeful that they have been able to fix it. The variety in the Black Market gift cards is way, way up. The game should feel a lot less samey from round to round now. Can't wait to play it and see.
 
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Jasper Barreveld
Netherlands
Den Haag
Zuid-Holland
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More or less. slightly less scuba now due to time constraints, though :(
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Please let us(me) know if the game is as good as it looked, or more a story telling experience.

I'm sad that I missed the kickstarter at the time, and am now contemplating just pre-ordering it instead.
 
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Here's my review. I'll post it in the Reviews forum for soliciting GeekGold, but here it is for now.

Machine of Death

Edition: Kickstarter edition. Expansions are yet unopened.
Bottom line: Rewards the clever, or creative, or loud. Even in Apples-to-Apples style, best played as a story-telling game. Play with friends rather against them.
Materials: Attractive, thick, and durable cards. Otherwise, medium quality components.

Gameplay: Use three random items to plan an assassination using a predetermined murder weapon. If something fails, make up with something on the fly using another card while the timer runs out. If you run out of items you lose, and if you go fast enough you get bonuses. Designers recommend four successful assassinations per game session and project a 30 minute play time.

In co-op mode: As with many party games, it's definitely a game best for type-A personalities or clever people. Once it gets going, it's a barrel of laughs, but the fun dies quickly if anyone lets it stops moving. Having never played a storytelling game before, I had a blast. On the other side of things, a friend of mine with Aspergers ended up looking at memes on her phone for most of the game.

If you have the sort of people who enjoy playing with others, and you're looking for a apertif between, say, a double feature of Eclipse and Advanced Civilization, it would be a great palate cleanser in short sittings. People can easily come and go, so, unlike light games like King of Tokyo which really require some buy-in from the beginning, it's also a good choice to begin a light game night while folks are still filing in.

You can make your own targets, but the options for this in the rulebook are not all that extensive, with maybe a half-sized page or two of adjectives and personalities to mix and match. There are more options available on the Web site, however, and you are not only free to create your own Mad-Libs style but encouraged to do this.

In aggressive mode: I haven't played in this style yet. However, this round-robin style of game is difficult to do badly. There are an incredible variety of causes of death --- we're talking a stack the size of your fist --- and only a few repeated item cards, at least from the Kickstarted version.

With Machine of Death the base game suffers from a kind of complexity not found in Apples to Apples. (Use three items to kill a guy with this murder method, rather than quickly match card to card with the first thought that comes to mind.) It can easily be simplified, though, so that you can run through a game quickly. There are so few cards in the original that you should keep in mind you might run through all the base cards in an hour-long setting at the brisk Apples-to-Apples speed, if there are enough players drawing a hand, if not sooner. Therefore, even in Apples-to-Apples style, you probably should have a slower, more story-telling game.

Out of the box: It's the sort of game whose components mean you can ignore all the rules and still have a blast making up a game. With a little creativity, there's tons here to toy with. You could make a rummy-like game, or drafting-type game, what with all the cards --- "put together three items with something in common." That is, you could try to figure out what a Pen, a Legion of Gnomes, and a Dead Moose have in common. This may be a little forced, but it is still doable, and funny enough if you can pull off.

As with all party games, it doesn't really last longer than a half-hour, and you never want sittings to go too long. As with all party games, there's so little buy-in --- and the gimmicks wear off quickly enough --- that nobody minds putting back on the shelf. While the base game can be tricky, there are enough included game modes to mix things up and a plethora of possibilities to come up with a game on your own.

I cannot imagine a mode which does not require a certain amount of thinking, however, nor one that uses too many cards per round. If nothing else, it is best that very few cards are used per round to preserve their novelty. It's expected that you use maybe four or five cards in each round, not tens --- therefore, don't expect to build a game of any length if it gives players their own hand. As many cards as there are, there aren't all that many for a game that is too fast-paced.

Conclusion: However you play it, you need to be either loud and personable or creative and clever. This not just very much a party game, but a party game that emphasizes thinking quickly and cleverly. Wallflowers and the autistic will not enjoy Machine of Death. Loudmouths and even the sufficiently wry quiet type should. Only with the right group --- and this is vital --- will anyone relish it.
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Ringo Stalin
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I was thinking the same thing, re: competition, and came up with a rule set that you might enjoy.

I've posted it in the Variant thread:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1110341/machine-of-death-com...

Let me know if you try it out!
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