Torches & Pitchforks
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Torches & Pitchforks is the exciting card game of monster movie mayhem! Your townsfolk have suffered attacks for years but they're not going to take it anymore. Those creepy monsters have haunted the moors long enough and now it's time for you and your mob to do something about it! Arm your townsfolk, fight off the monsters, and don't let those other mobs steal any of your glory.
Torches & Pitchforks is a great filler card game that is very straightforward. I'm always trying to find gateway games and lighter games to play after I've exhausted my beginner gaming group with heavier games, and this one fits in just right.
The general gameplay is that each player starts with 6 townsfolk who go chasing after whatever monster is currently threatening the town.
Each turn you turn over a Monster card and the side with the higher strength total wins. Each townsfolk card is worth 1 strength and you can add weapon cards to make the group stronger. The monster cards have a Power value. If you have a higher number, you collect the Monster for Victory Points. If you lose or tie, 1 or more of your Townsfolk are killed.
Of course you can also try to run away in which case a die roll determines how many cards you must discard to do so. The monster then goes to the Moor, the center of the table which is where all the unbeaten monsters hang out until you hunt them down.
Game plays to 30 points (each monsters power number is also its victory point value - with the majority ranging from 4-9 points).
There are other facets to the game, you do have a hand of 5 cards which may include Defense cards, Action cards, enhancements and more Townsfolk. And the Monster deck contains event cards.
Importance of Discarding: We get so used to playing games where we want to KEEP cards in our hand that seem to be valuable, but in this game it is important to use your discard phase which lets you discard as many cards as you want so you can draw more cards and thus quickly track down weapon cards to increase your base strength. It took a while for some of us to get this point and we all ended up losing because of it.
Defense Cards and the importance of discarding 2: Without going into detail, keep in mind that Defense cards can be discarded at any time and are not meant to defeat creatures for you over the entire game - these creatures are not defeated and do not earn you any VP, they only get sent to the Moor. The reason you want these cards in play is, for the most part, only to protect you from monsters which are currently stronger than you. As soon as you can defeat the indicated monsters or level of monster, you want to ditch the card so you can easily defeat it and gain the VP! (A couple of us didn't grasp that concept and ended up losing out on some important Victory Points.)
The other game we currently play that I put in a similar category is Treasures and traps, but that one has a little more strategy so for the purpose these games serve in my gaming group, Torches and Pitchforks is easy to jump into and fits in perfectly.
I'm excited to hear from the designer that an expansion is forthcoming too!