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Brian Nguyen
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Introduction to Tekshi

Heya there, I got into board games about two year ago and by into I mean REALLY INTO board games and expanded my collection exponentially. I've had a chance to try many games from exploding kittens to T.I. I will state my biases in this section so you have a grasp of who I am and what kind of games I like.

Mechanics/Features I like in games.
+Table-Talk
+Minimal downtime
+Strategy
+Easy to teach
+Meaningful choices
+Colorful theme
+Comeback mechanism

Mechanics/Features I don't like in games.
-Take that games
-Pure luck driven games
-Games with obvious optimal moves
-Super heavy games i.e. Twilight Imperium
-Dry themes
-Co-Op games
-Long downtime between turns.

Who will this game appeal to?
I will say this now that this is my all time favorite co-op game and easily makes it to the list as one of my top ten games that I own. If you like fast-paced, mass-slaughtering of creatures co-op games that has ever-changing conditions, this is the game for you. The game is nothing but pure, controlled chaos as you go through each unique mission. The rules are intuitive and very easy to teach to both new and experienced gamers.

How does the game play?
Mechs vs Minions is played in scenarios/missions with map tiles serving to change the playing field each mission. Each mission has a certain win condition and introduces new rules to the game. I will go over the basic concept of the game.

At its core, it is a simultaneous, programming game where players draft cares, and execute the abilities on your cards. These cards will control your mech that you will use to move around, kill minions, and complete map objectives.

How it works:

During a round, five cards will be drawn and placed face up on the table. Then starting with the first player, each player will pick one card and place it in his command line. (A command line consists of six spaces where you can place a card on.) There is a minute glass to prevent players from discussing the draft for too long.

Then after everyone has placed their cards, again starting with the first player, each player executes their command line. Their command line activates each card in order from 1-6, and executing these cards are mandatory.

The three type of cards that are in the deck are generally:
1. Damaging cards that will kill minions.
2. Movement cards that will allow you to move on the map.
3. Turning cards that will allow you to turn your characters which will change what you can attack or where you can move.

After you execute all of your actions, minions will march and attack. Each mission provides a different way for minions to move, but minions will always attack if they are adjacent to you. Once a minion attacks, you receive a damage card that will interfere with your command line by switching the order of things, replace a card on your command slot and so forth.

Once again each mission is different so I can't explain the end-goal of each mission, but it's pretty nifty.

My personal experience and thoughts
Seriously once again, my all-time favorite co-op. I love that while the game isn't completely in your control, the RNG present in the game isn't heavy. In that way, I mean there is never a moment where the game seems unfair. Due to the presence of a minute-glass (really 40-second glass) is a huge boon to the game as it creates a more frenzied atmosphere that speeds the game along.

In that regard, the game plays extremely fast once everyone starts getting into the groove of things. Towards the end of the game, due to players having multiple abilities on hand, it does drag a little as each player have to resolve how their command line is played and whether or not to use their special abilities. It is negligible overall, as it just means the game has moved from being a chaotic battlefield into an interesting puzzle that we have to solve as a team.

The most important aspect of the game was that I felt like every player was contributing to the mission. I have found often in co-op game there is always that one player that's just following what people want or is just plain useless for the majority of the game outside of doing one specific role. In this game, due to how easy it is to kill minions, it feels as if every action we do can help in some way, or not help by accident which people can't even get mad at. Another thing that I love is how mistakes in this game aren't treated as something to criticize, but rather it is something that creates a funny moment or situation.

While I have only played it with one group so far, I do fear that I will get tired of teaching the same tutorial over and over again as I introduce it to more groups. This is the case for all scenario-based games, but at the very least there is plenty of replayability in each mission as one game is almost never the same.

Pros
+Table Talk
+Easy to Learn/Teach
+Pseudo legacy mechanics that make the first playthrough special
+Meaningful choices
+Every person matters
+Non-elimination
+Minimal downtime between turns
+Lots of miniatures, very well-produced.
+Memorable moments
+Very thematic, great story elements introduced through Riot's Radioplay that features professional voice actors.

Cons
-Alpha leader prone players can try to dictate what a person can do with their command line. It's usually not a problem until later on in the game when it reaches its final stages.
-The rule book could use some work, but that's what erratas are for.
-Difficult to learn the game beforehand as rules are introduced through missions.
-The box is massive and heavy, making it difficult to transport.
-It is impossible to sleeve your cards without taking out the trays.
-Set up / tear down is a pain. (The fact it's so well-produced is the only reason I haven't taken out the trays and put everything into baggies.)
-Due to the nature of the game, it is possible to figure out the solution 1-2 turns ahead of time making the rest of the game just a matter of executing the actions which can be anticlimactic.

Rating

10/10
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Tom S
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You know, you say that you wish there was more story dialogue at the end of a mission... Did you take into account the additional radio play that Riot Games has up on their MvM's website?
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Chris Cantrell
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http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/featured/mechs-vs-minions/c...
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Mathue Faulk
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tekshi wrote:

-It is impossible to sleeve your cards without taking out the trays.

This is not true. My cards are sleeved, and everything fits just fine. I just throw the Schematics in the secret box (although there are a few placed you could put them).
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Brian Nguyen
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Most definitely did not take into account the additiional radio play. It's super cool, will adjust my rating accordingly.
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Kosit Phanthanusorn
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Hi there. Thanks for the review. I have this game on order already, so I'm sold on it. My wife also doesn't like co-op games. You said you aren't a fan of co-ops, but I was wondering if there are any at all that you like or if this is the first co-op that you like.

So far, my wife hasn't liked any cooperative games yet. In fact, if it's co-op, she says it's a lost cause on her.
 
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Brian Nguyen
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kositp wrote:
Hi there. Thanks for the review. I have this game on order already, so I'm sold on it. My wife also doesn't like co-op games. You said you aren't a fan of co-ops, but I was wondering if there are any at all that you like or if this is the first co-op that you like.

So far, my wife hasn't liked any cooperative games yet. In fact, if it's co-op, she says it's a lost cause on her.


I've generally liked dexterity co-op games like Dungeon Fighters. Zombicide Black Plague is alright depending on who I play it with. I liked playing with just my girlfriend, as we have multiple characters that we can work with.

I haven't really liked any other pure co-op games. I've played more deception or team-related games, but they're not really the same thing.

I just hate when i'm shoehorned into a role where I can't really contribute to the game anymore outside of one specific thing. Alpha leadering is also a big problem and i've seen a lot of people who passively just waits for people to make their moves for them. Mechs vs Minions eliminates that problem by forcing you to make your own decisions and allowing you to feel like you're making an impact on the game with each kill.
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Dr Gosburo Coffin
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Great review, but there's one thing I have to disagree with:
tekshi wrote:
-Set up / tear down is a pain.

Maybe it's a question of what you're used to, but we never need more than 10 minutes for set up and tear down respectively (and we're taking every single minion out of the box!), which really isn't all that much for a game that's rather heavy on miniatures. The Cthulhu Wars core game (with a game box that's nearly identical to MvM in terms of volume, 'only' 64 minis and no card decks to shuffle) takes a bit longer to set up and much longer to get back into the box, assuming that you're using the standard insert. And I won't even start to compare MvM to, say, Arkham Horror, where preparation usually takes us more than an hour - and we're even using custom organiser trays for that game ...

Besides, my wife just loves putting all the minions back into their slots, so maybe that's why our impression of this aspect of Mechs vs. Minions is much more positive than yours.
 
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Jeremy Mease
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kositp wrote:
Hi there. Thanks for the review. I have this game on order already, so I'm sold on it. My wife also doesn't like co-op games. You said you aren't a fan of co-ops, but I was wondering if there are any at all that you like or if this is the first co-op that you like.

So far, my wife hasn't liked any cooperative games yet. In fact, if it's co-op, she says it's a lost cause on her.


Wow that is a bit surprising, unless she is super competitive and likes to "beat" others and not just beat the game itself.

We like both but tend to lean towards co-op since it is a puzzle everyone is trying solve together. I feel like I am fighting against the game designer in a way, just as satisfying.

I hope she can budge a bit, so many amazing titles she is missing!!
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Brian Nguyen
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DrGosburoCoffin wrote:
Great review, but there's one thing I have to disagree with:
tekshi wrote:
-Set up / tear down is a pain.

Maybe it's a question of what you're used to, but we never need more than 10 minutes for set up and tear down respectively (and we're taking every single minion out of the box!), which really isn't all that much for a game that's rather heavy on miniatures. The Cthulhu Wars core game (with a game box that's nearly identical to MvM in terms of volume, 'only' 64 minis and no card decks to shuffle) takes a bit longer to set up and much longer to get back into the box, assuming that you're using the standard insert. And I won't even start to compare MvM to, say, Arkham Horror, where preparation usually takes us more than an hour - and we're even using custom organiser trays for that game ...

Besides, my wife just loves putting all the minions back into their slots, so maybe that's why our impression of this aspect of Mechs vs. Minions is much more positive than yours.


Yeah you're right, there are definitely games that requires much more set up and tear down. I'm sure i'll get more efficient the more I play the game. I'm used to just tossing inserts and bagging everything to make things way more efficient. The tray's just so well produced that my guilt won't let me do it. I wish there had been a way to organize it so that all the important bits for missions weren't located on the very bottom tray so I didn't have to take out every tray to play the game.
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Dr Gosburo Coffin
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tekshi wrote:
[q="DrGosburoCoffin"]I wish there had been a way to organize it so that all the important bits for missions weren't located on the very bottom tray so I didn't have to take out every tray to play the game.

Well, at least getting to the important bits is as easy as lifting out two large trays and the mech box. It could have been much worse.

But I see your point, especially tear down would of course be even quicker if you could just throw all minions into a bag ...
 
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Kosit Phanthanusorn
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ReluctantFr0g wrote:
kositp wrote:
Hi there. Thanks for the review. I have this game on order already, so I'm sold on it. My wife also doesn't like co-op games. You said you aren't a fan of co-ops, but I was wondering if there are any at all that you like or if this is the first co-op that you like.

So far, my wife hasn't liked any cooperative games yet. In fact, if it's co-op, she says it's a lost cause on her.


Wow that is a bit surprising, unless she is super competitive and likes to "beat" others and not just beat the game itself.

We like both but tend to lean towards co-op since it is a puzzle everyone is trying solve together. I feel like I am fighting against the game designer in a way, just as satisfying.

I hope she can budge a bit, so many amazing titles she is missing!!


I agree with you. But because most co-op games are really hard on the first play, we always lose, and pretty bad too. That first play is enough to leave a bad taste in her mouth; too punishing. And since we have lots of games, she doesn't want to give the game a chance to grow on her. To her there's already games she knows she likes, so why give a game a 2nd chance if she didn't like the first play of it?

Oh well, at least she plays games with me. And if we have guests over, she's always willing to play what they want to play for the sake of hanging out.
 
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James Palmer
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kositp wrote:
ReluctantFr0g wrote:
kositp wrote:
Hi there. Thanks for the review. I have this game on order already, so I'm sold on it. My wife also doesn't like co-op games. You said you aren't a fan of co-ops, but I was wondering if there are any at all that you like or if this is the first co-op that you like.

So far, my wife hasn't liked any cooperative games yet. In fact, if it's co-op, she says it's a lost cause on her.


Wow that is a bit surprising, unless she is super competitive and likes to "beat" others and not just beat the game itself.

We like both but tend to lean towards co-op since it is a puzzle everyone is trying solve together. I feel like I am fighting against the game designer in a way, just as satisfying.

I hope she can budge a bit, so many amazing titles she is missing!!


I agree with you. But because most co-op games are really hard on the first play, we always lose, and pretty bad too. That first play is enough to leave a bad taste in her mouth; too punishing. And since we have lots of games, she doesn't want to give the game a chance to grow on her. To her there's already games she knows she likes, so why give a game a 2nd chance if she didn't like the first play of it?

Oh well, at least she plays games with me. And if we have guests over, she's always willing to play what they want to play for the sake of hanging out.


It is literally impossible to fail the first (tutorial) mission in Mechs vs Minions, and I have played the first real mission multiple times with my 6 year old son on standard difficulty and have yet to lose. Difficulty doesn't really start until a couple missions in.
 
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Brian Nguyen
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Felkor wrote:
kositp wrote:
ReluctantFr0g wrote:
kositp wrote:
Hi there. Thanks for the review. I have this game on order already, so I'm sold on it. My wife also doesn't like co-op games. You said you aren't a fan of co-ops, but I was wondering if there are any at all that you like or if this is the first co-op that you like.

So far, my wife hasn't liked any cooperative games yet. In fact, if it's co-op, she says it's a lost cause on her.


Wow that is a bit surprising, unless she is super competitive and likes to "beat" others and not just beat the game itself.

We like both but tend to lean towards co-op since it is a puzzle everyone is trying solve together. I feel like I am fighting against the game designer in a way, just as satisfying.

I hope she can budge a bit, so many amazing titles she is missing!!


I agree with you. But because most co-op games are really hard on the first play, we always lose, and pretty bad too. That first play is enough to leave a bad taste in her mouth; too punishing. And since we have lots of games, she doesn't want to give the game a chance to grow on her. To her there's already games she knows she likes, so why give a game a 2nd chance if she didn't like the first play of it?

Oh well, at least she plays games with me. And if we have guests over, she's always willing to play what they want to play for the sake of hanging out.


It is literally impossible to fail the first (tutorial) mission in Mechs vs Minions, and I have played the first real mission multiple times with my 6 year old son on standard difficulty and have yet to lose. Difficulty doesn't really start until a couple missions in.


Yeah I think he was more referring to previous co-op games as the reason why she doesn't like co-op games. She does have a point that some co-op games are really punishing the first few times around.

Mechs vs Minions completely solves that problem by easing you into the game, while not hand holding you the entire time. (Minus the tutorial).

So I'm sure that you and your wife will be able to enjoy this game far more than previous co-op games.
 
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David desJardins
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tekshi wrote:
Mechs vs Minions completely solves that problem by easing you into the game, while not hand holding you the entire time. (Minus the tutorial).


By all accounts, the difficulty level of MvM is pretty darn easy. "Hand holding" seems like a fair description. I wouldn't call it a perfect solution to make the game too easy rather than too hard. There really is no perfect solution.
 
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Brian Nguyen
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DaviddesJ wrote:
tekshi wrote:
Mechs vs Minions completely solves that problem by easing you into the game, while not hand holding you the entire time. (Minus the tutorial).


By all accounts, the difficulty level of MvM is pretty darn easy. "Hand holding" seems like a fair description. I wouldn't call it a perfect solution to make the game too easy rather than too hard. There really is no perfect solution.


There's apparently a

*spoiler* (Highlight to see)
A new game + that makes the missions harder. Arguably it should have been unlocked from the start for experienced players.

But I feel while not necessarily deep and difficult, it is the perfect gateway into simultaneous action, programming games for both new and old gamers.
 
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Nathan Tiras
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I'm actually very impressed with the skill level of players here given that perspective. Win rates for the campaign sat around 65% across 10+ different playtest groups and more than 100 total playtests over 2 months.
 
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David desJardins
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How do you define "win rate"? The expectation is that if you lose a scenario you just play it over, right? I think with any game where players are learning new rules and mechanisms they might get off on the wrong foot and have to reset. To me, low difficulty means that once you know how it works you win easily, but you might still stumble at first.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
How do you define "win rate"?


I know that one!
Win Rate is the percentage of wins to losses.
 
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DarkSeraphim85 wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
How do you define "win rate"?


I know that one!
Win Rate is the percentage of wins to losses.

More likely it's percentage of wins to total games.
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Nathan Tiras
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Correct! Although general feedback seems to be that difficulty tuning could use some improvement. Unfortunate that we missed the mark, but always good to have new and valuable info to improve!
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