High Programmer > Alan De Smet > Rants > Reviews > Urban Myth

Urban Myth

Rating: 6/10 - A good idea for a party game with an okay implementation.

Urban Myth is Yet Another Trivia Game. This time you're guessing if a given urban myth is true or false. It has a few interesting twists and the topic is entertaining. Unfortunately it's marred by a number of flaws.

The board is arranged into four rings that share a single large space in the middle. Each player has a pawn that starts in the middle. With the exception of the center space, each space is marked with one of the categories of myths: business, celebrities, classics, crime, health, and nature. Some spaces have the Urban Myth logo and are wild.

The questions themselves are urban legends, one or two per card. The myths are put into one of the six categories. The backs of the card are labeled with one of the letters E, H, M, R, T, U, and Y, or a wild card. The goal of the game is to collect these cards by correctly guessing if a myth is true or false. The first player to spell MYTH or TRUE wins.

Players take turns acting as the quiz master. They pull out a card and read the category and myth. The other players all decide if they believe the myth is true or false. They secretly indicate their decision by hiding a card under their hand; one side is labeled "myth," the other "truth." The players then reveal their guesses and the quiz master reveals the correct answer. Players who answered correctly moves their pawn a single space. The quiz master moves their pawn a single space for each incorrect answer.

If none of the players correctly guessed the myth's veracity, the quiz master takes the card. Otherwise those players who correctly guessed are eligible to take the card. To be eligible a player must also have landed on the same category with the move they just took for correctly answering the question. This gives players currently in the middle of the board an advantage as they can pick between four different categories to match the card. If multiple players are eligible then the quiz master will continue reading more myths until there is a single winner.

Adding to the complexity, many of the myth cards have two myths. Each is offered by the quiz master in turn. Each correct answer moves the player one space. To be eligible for the card, a player must correctly identify the truthfulness of both myths and end on the appropriate category after both moves.

At its core there is an amusing trivia game here. Most of the time everyone is playing, either guessing or playing quiz master. The topics are amusing, leading to lots of, "There is no way that's true!" and "Eeeeeew!" moments. Everyone has even odds when guessing, making it a good game for a mixed group. Unfortunately it has a number of flaws that drag it down.

The rules aren't entirely clear. Add in that everyone moves at once and you'll occasionally end up confused about who needs to move and how far.

Adding complexity is that the rings are directional, but the direction marking is easy to overlook. In our games players frequently accidentally moved the wrong way around a ring.

The categories of myths don't fit very well; more than one myth feels like it was placed in its category solely because it was the least incorrect category. Not a big deal, but a little annoying because you could not reasonably predict the nature of questions in a given category. Given that you never get to pick which category of question to ask, it's not important.

The two-sided myth/truth cards are too large, making it hard to secretly select your choice. It would have been easier with a smaller pair of cards, one myth, one truth. The smaller size would make it easier to conceal ones initial choice. Two cards with identical backs would mean players wouldn't need to conceal it with their hand.

The goal and random distribution of cards means that the game's length is hard to predict. Our first game ended in about 90 minutes with most players have eight or so cards. Our second game ended in about 45 minutes with most players only having two or three.

Most seriously, it seems that the makers of Urban Myth didn't have enough myths. Some myths are repeated directly. (It may be that game comes with two copies of the same deck.) Other myths are repeated with minor variations. Did a woman bring a cactus home only to have it explode and release spiders? Did a woman bring a cactus home only to have it explode and release scorpions? Did a woman contract HIV from a needle placed on a gas pump? Did a woman contract HIV from a needle placed in a coin return slot? Once you know the answer to one, you know the answer to the other.

Also annoying is that the game comes with the decks sorted by category and type of myth. The rules encourage you to sort the decks, take it seriously. Unfortunately the large deck of relatively light paper is hard to shuffle. Cards will tend to remain clumped, leading to very similar questions appearing close to each other.

All in all an amusing trivia game. Unfortunately its flaws keep just a good game, not a great one.

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