It should come as little surprise that I like Magic Realm. It includes all sorts of features that I like in a game. A fast, diceless, player-skill combat system. A mysterious and unrevealed backstory. Player agency, with clear and deadly consequences for bad decision-making. A wealth of opportunities for both player cooperation and competition. A circumscribed game length of only one month (28 days), which turns victory into a race against the clock.
And most importantly? Counters. Lots and lots of counters.
Magic Realm is notorious for its fiddly bits and long set-up times. You can easily spend 45 minutes to an hour setting up Magic Realm. That may not seem like a long time, for those of you who enjoy spending hours, as they say in the modern D&D parlance, "building your character", but it does become a barrier to casual gameplay, when other boardgame setups take only minutes.
But those other boardgames don't have cool counters like Magic Realm does. And since i'm also a big fan of Melee and other chit-and-hex microgames, I really dig counters with artwork.
Here are a few Melee counters, juxtaposed with some comparable Magic Realm counters. Metagaming missed the boat with their counters, as they could have easily printed some of the monster and npc stats on the counters included with their various death test adventures.