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Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, February 11, 2006

[Review] Minion Hunter >> One of My All-Time Favorites

I finally was prodded (guilted?) into writing a full blown review for Minion Hunter, one of my all-time favorite boardgames. The full review details the components, gameplay, core mechanics as well as highlights the main pros and cons of the game. You can read the full review over at BoardGameGeek, but here's the main op-ed piece to whet the appetite.

OVERVIEW: Minion Hunter is a cooperative board game for 1-6 players, published in 1992 by Games Designer Workshop. The game is set in GDW's "Dark Conspiracy" setting, a dark, gritty futuristic setting of the world gone to hell. Into this cheerful setting step the players, working together to fend off the forces of evil from destroying the world -- or at the least messing it up worse than it already is. The players will succeed or fail based on their teamwork, risk management and (admittedly) more than a few die rolls.

Minion Hunter is far more than the sum of its parts, and remains one of my favorite games. It is a "classic" game with novel gameplay and fun cooperative elements. Despite showing its age in terms of production quality, Minion Hunter still delivers an overall gameplay experience that other cooperative games fail to live up to.

I first played Minion Hunter back in college, and keep pulling it out. Its blend of luck, odds stacked against you and the component quality (compared to snazzier modern games) may not be for everyone -- but it offers a rich, rewarding experience for the right group, and is at least worth a shot for anyone at least moderately interested... I've played 20+ times, and still enjoy playing Minion Hunter.

There is an excellent expansion, titled Minion Nation, which offers new twists to add even more replay value (so you can't just memorize the Plot deck to know which events occur in which regions) as well as nicely summarizes all the charts and tables (with a few new options) that are occassionally referenced during the game. I'd rate this expansion as "must have" for anyone who enjoys Minion Hunter, or wants to get the most out of what this system can provide.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Minion Hunter is still one of my All-Time favorites, and I don't see that changing any time soon. It is one of the best cooperative games out there. Yes, there is a lot of luck involved, but clever groups with good teamwork can overcome luck and will be rewarded with a wonderful gaming experience. One of the most often played games I own. A social, outgoing and talkative group will get the most out of this game.

A recent replay confirmed just how much I love this game. It is indeed an "experience" game moreso than a "strategy" game, but for what it does, and the niche it fills, there is none finer. If the current version of Minion Hunter mechanically stayed intact but benefited from the excellent production quality and marketing that someone like Fantasy Flight Games is able to apply to a game, it would easily be among their top rated games, quickly outdistancing Lord of the Rings, Fury of Dracula and Arkham Horror as the best cooperative game in their library.

RATING MODIFIERS:
9.0 Base rating
+ .5 Nostalgia bias (still have warm fuzzies recalling previous plays)
+ .5 Best In Show bias (best cooperative game I've played)
- .5 For Components (especially the money)

FINAL RATING: 9.5/10

3 Comments:

  • Make a VASL module for it, and teach me. :)

    By Blogger ekted, at 9:37 AM  

  • That sounds like a neat game to play. Wish I had an opportunity to try it with you. Hope you get to continue enjoying it for a long time.

    By Blogger Gerald McD, at 10:56 PM  

  • I played once back in college, eventually bought a copy with Minion Nation, played it a couple more times, then sold it off... it just never took off again in our group.

    By Blogger Todd D., at 6:34 PM  

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