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get the macguffin card game

Card Game Review: ‘Get the MacGuffin’ from Looney Labs

Get the MacGuffin from Looney Labs is one of the fastest games on or off the tabletop. Looney Labs, famous for its Fluxx card games, is well versed in quick-paced games where players must constantly re-evaluate their strategies to win. Get the MacGuffin is the quickest yet, with just 23 cards that can serve nearly a dozen players with a complete game in under 10 minutes.

Even though Get the MacGuffin is so quick, its theme comes through with immersive surreality. A “macguffin” is the term for a plot device that drives the story, something every character is after, perhaps best featured as the titular statue in the Maltese Falcon. The game cards follow the pulp style, with the MacGuffin being a briefcase with light pouring out (a delightful Tarantino reference). Other cards include Money, Backup, the Switcheroo, the Thief, the Interrogator, and the classic twist I’m Not Dead Yet, filling the game with classic tropes.

The object of Get the MacGuffin is straightforward: to be the last player holding cards. Each player is dealt a hand at the beginning of the game, and players take turns doing their best not to spend their cards too quickly. On a turn, players have the options of playing an Action card, laying an Object card on the table, using an Object card, or discarding an Object card. Objects are valuable cards as they can be tapped or given a second chance as a discard, while the Action cards give opponents a chance to steal cards, switch hands, or just burn one turn by completing a simple action like waving or shrugging.

Get the MacGuffin has a deep mix of luck and strategy. Luck sets the foundation as players are dealt their hands once, and crafty players will have to keep an eye on their own cards as well as those of their opponents to see which card is best played when. The MacGuffin itself is the most powerful card, of course, with the owner being able to replay the card, basically passing on the turn while everyone else frantically loses their cards. Played too early, however, the MacGuffin could be stolen, and that player will be left empty-handed and eliminated from the game.

Get the MacGuffin is a card game for two to eleven players aged eight and up. Playtime is minimal, just five to ten minutes, largely depending on how fast players make their decisions on what to play. Since it is a small deck and such quick play, Get the MacGuffin includes special rules for playing even without a table. Players could go through a game, or two or three, while standing in line or sitting in a waiting room. With the game’s uncanny speed and diverse range of actions, players will want to deal out again and again to see whose strategy is best to capture the MacGuffin.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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