Wikipedia says that in fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself.
It’s the Holy Grail. It’s the Maltese Falcon. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what “it” is. “It” is the goal, and could be largely interchangeable with any other goal, with very little impact on the structure of the story.
In Looney Labs’ game Get the MacGuffin, the MacGuffin is even more abstract. The goal of the game is to be the last person with a card either in your hand or in play. The card The MacGuffin can be very beneficial in that goal but is not required to win. In fact, it may not even be in every game.
The retail deck only contains 23 cards and can support up to 11 players. At the start of the game, every player is dealt an equal number of cards, up to a maximum of five cards. This may, or may not, result in leaving cards set aside, out of play. On each player’s turn, they can play an Action card, put an Object card into play in front of themselves, or use an Object card (if they started their turn with one already in play)
I love how they describe the cards as being “ridiculously powerful to just ridiculous” because that really is an accurate description. There are three object cards that do nothing but interact with each other. Rock. Paper. Scissors. There are cards like The Hippie that do exactly nothing and cards like The Switcheroo that has the potential to knock a player from the lead to right out of the game.
I had planned to review this game some time ago but delayed so I could play it with a greater variety of players. Everyone, in every game, had a blast. It runs quickly and smoothly, and even for potential players who may dislike take-that style games, it’s compact enough to be enjoyable. The oversized cards are made from extra durable cardstock, and the art is delightfully whimsical. There is basically nothing about this game that isn’t packed with awesome. There aren’t many games I really regret having not played sooner, but this is very much one of them. I have a small list of games that will regularly bring with me places. Get the MacGuffin will be one of them.