Why do we want the MacGuffin anyway?
We have all followed the MacGuffin for a number of years. Simply, the MacGuffin is a tool that is used as a trigger in a plotline. Think the Holy Grail, Pulp Fiction’s Briefcase, even the Infinity Stones – they explain why the characters are in play.
So what better way to explain why you are playing a game than you are trying to Get the MacGuffin?
Playing the Game
Get the MacGuffin is a really simple game. Designed as a filler experience, you really don’t want to mix things up with too many things.
The objective is simple – be the last player with cards. As long as you don’t get eliminated, you win. As I said – simple 🙂
Component wise you only have cards, and they come on two categories. Action Cards that you play and use immediately, and Object Cards that need to be prepared before they can be used. All of the powers are listed on the cards, so this is pretty much all you need to explain to new players.
On your turn, you can do one of a small number of choices.
You can play an Action Card – just play it and follow the card text.
You can play an Object. This is simply taking the card out of your hand and placing it face up in front of you. Everyone knows that you know have a trick up your sleeve.
Lastly, you can use an Object, and depending on the Card Text this doesn’t necessarily mean on your turn. Depending on the Card Text this may also force you to discard the card.
Setup is simple – deal up to 5 cards to each player, and discard any unused cards. You are ready to play now!
So gameplay is the player to the left of the Dealer begins following one of the above actions and following the card text. All you are trying to do is get all other players to have no cards – nothing in front of them, nothing in their hand. It’s it. You are playing Get the MacGuffin.
Ummm, hang on. What am I doing again?
And this is the initial problem all players will have with Get the MacGuffin. If you haven’t played already, or have someone in the group that can teach, this is going to be the feeling at the table.
The rules do not help you to get ready to play. This is similar a problem with another Looney Labs creation – Fluxx. You have a lot of text in front of you with the rules printed on the cards, but initially, there is a wall of “So what am I doing?”.
The best resource I can give is the sample game that can be found on the Looney Labs Video Index, and I have put a link to the video at the end of the review.
That feeling playing Get the MacGuffin
At its heart, Get the MacGuffin is similar to games like Fluxx and Love Letter – just play and do what the card says.
The problem is this is designed as an incredibly quick repeatable experience. People that have played Fluxx and other similar games tend to quickly realise what they are sacrificing for the game speed.
This itself doesn’t make Get the MacGuffin bad – it is a good diversion. It’s just people like myself with a lot of games played would usually rather play something else.
And that is why I have put the video at the end rather than in the centre of the article – you don’t need to know the in’s and out’s of a game that I think there are many better examples of.
So stay away from this one?
Not really – more don’t go out of your way to get it if you have light filler games you already enjoy.
Also for the price point (under AUD$20), it’s an attractive gift option. But so is Love Letter and No Thanks. Yes, both games take longer to play, but in Love Letter you can play just one round and declare a winner.
This will give you almost the same feeling as Get the MacGuffin, with less confusion.
Also, the 11 player count, while it sounds interesting, means everyone gets 2 cards and a lot of waiting for your turn. Not what you want from a quick game.
I can’t see myself ever playing more than 2 games of Get the MacGuffin back to back. While not everything has to be a ‘must play’, this does illustrate to me the limited enjoyment factor of the game.
For a quick, fun filler game Get the MacGuffin meets all of the checkboxes. It’s simple, quick and a diversion. I will teach anyone how to play, and maybe jump in, but I won’t be putting it forward as an option with my library either.
As a fan of Love Letter and Fluxx (from the same designer!) and I can see all the missing mechanics and fun. This is unfair, as Get the MacGuffin is a quick filler experience vs full game, but it is something Fluxx fans will feel as well.
There is nothing wrong with Get the MacGuffin, but there are other options I would prefer that fill this niche, one of which I reviewed recently.
Until next time,
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