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Subject: I really wanted to like this game! rss

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Clarence Simpson
United States
Raleigh
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I really did. I like the theme. I like the style and artwork. I like the humorous cards. I like the dice rolling. But after about 5 games now I've decided that I really don't like the game...

Let me start by saying that I'm not the biggest fan of Munchkin, the game that Torches and Pitchforks is most commonly compared to. If somebody whips it out, I'll join in for a while but I don't really enjoy it that much. I like the humor/artwork in Munchkin, but if you strip the humor and artwork away I think you have a very mediocre game.

With that said, I had high hopes for Torches and Pitchforks. It was Munchkin-esque while also changing some of the things I didn't like about Munchkin.

First, there is no teamwork. Teaming up to attack monsters in Munchkin always seemed a bit contrived to me and resulted in negotiating that could sometimes slow the game down.

Second, your strength is not constant. In Munchkin, you always know whether you will be able to kill a monster or not. In Torches and Pitchforks, some of the weapons require dice rolling to determine how powerful they are, or if they even work at all. If you attack with the grenade, for example, you roll a d6. 1-3 means the grenade is a dud and does nothing. 4-5 kills the monster no matter what the monster's strength is. 6 kills the townsfolk using the grenade.

If the cards come out in the right way, Torches and Pitchforks can be really enjoyable. Unfortunately, that's usually not the case.

Your mob starts at strength 6. However, there are only 1 or 2 monsters in the deck you can kill at that strength. So, you have to equip weapons and other enhancements to get your mob's strength up enough to start killing monsters and getting towards the magic 30 points.

However, there are too many cards that end up taking away all the enhancements that are so hard to get to begin with. There are cards that take away your weapons, cards that take away your townsfolk, and even cards that take away points from monsters you've already killed! So, at any given time, no matter how strong your mob is, you can find yourself back at 6 strength (or less if some of your mob has been killed off) and the game can drag on and on and on. The fact that your mob can become even weaker than when you started the game can also be very frustrating.

I also think the estimated 30-60 minute playtime is far off the mark. My last game was with 5-players and after 1.5 hours one player had 6 points (winner is the first to reach 30). Part of the reason the game can drag on is that there are too many cards that "reset" things.

Summary

Torches and Pitchforks could have been good. I think if there were more cards that gave temporary bonuses/penalties during combats and less that gave permanent bonuses/penalties (like taking away weapons or points) the game would be MUCH more fun. The fact that all your hard work can be undone so easily simply makes it too frustrating of an experience to recommend playing as-is.
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Wes
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Hamilton
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I felt the same way about it. The style is so great, but in gameplay, it fell apart for my group. We ended up fleeing every monster we came across for about a half an hour, and quietly packed the game away.
 
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Bryan Maxwell
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Burtchville
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I played this last night for the first time and really disliked it. There are no interesting decisions to make in this game, it practically plays itself. I realize being in that mindset means I'm not the target audience for this game, but...just...yuck. I may as well have been sitting at slot machine for as random as the game feels.
 
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Doug Andrews
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Aliso Viejo
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Funny, I played this game a long while back and only remember that I too really wanted to like the game but couldn't remember exactly what happened that after 1 play I packed it in.

This thread reminded of those - in particular the limited number of monsters you can kill to start and then losing equipment that you worked so long to get.

I broke out the game today to give it another look before I clean it permanently from my shelf - might I change my mind? Maybe it was just my gaming group? Considering that the previous night I dusted off Groo, did a test run and decided (regardless of my Groo-Love) that I would part with it, I don't have high hopes for this game.

Although I will try it next with additional strength to start - maybe a +1 or +2 bonus. And maybe also never allow my mob to drop below 6 active people.

I can't remember the rules and what happens to a person's equipment when killed, but I wonder if I could also house rule equipment so that they stay in play to be picked up / used by someone else.

 
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Doug Andrews
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Aliso Viejo
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Did a solo test as 3 players.
I did not use the cards that are played on other players since this is a bit difficult solo and let's me get the flow of the game going.
I also gave a +1 bonus to each mob.

1) The test: Without the 'take that' cards and thus knowing right away if you can defeat a monster, it went very well, in fact it was overly easy. No Townsfolk killed as I never needed to fight a moor monster. Had enhancements on 14 or so of the 18 characters in play. If there had been some kind of variable for the battles it would have been better.

2) Cards that remove weapons: Looking through the deck I only see a few that specifically remove weapons from a townsfolk. And only a few more that indirectly do so. I would say that concern is not as high level as I thought.

3) Take That Cards: On the other hand, I certainly see a LOT of other take that cards and can see how it could be too much in a real game.

4) Hunt Phase: I am glad I looked through the forums and re-read through the rules rather than just using my cheat sheets - just as someone else may have mentioned, I thought that if you Flee that you MUST Hunt! That's why we had such a hard time all those years ago!
Can you imagine!

So in the end, I will keep the game for a real test play down the road.
Maybe one of the house rules I mentioned in the last post could still be used to help offset the 'take that' cards (maybe just remove some of those from the game? (But then you get into the age old issue of deckbuilding and not know how many to remove without testing in many many times).

I also had another idea - one negative aspect I remember was only getting back 1 townsfolk each turn - Maybe getting back half of them (rounded up) would help so you wouldn't be terribly hampered for more than 1 turn.
 
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