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Subject: Amazing co-op experience rss

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twesterm
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Lewisville
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I'm really struggling to find a fault in this game. If this is Riots first attempt at breaking into the tabletop scene, I really can't wait to see what they come up with next. They knocked it out of the park with Mechs vs Minions-- everything down to the insert is expertly done which results in a near perfect player experience.

First, the bad (and there isn't much)
The only real fault I can find in the game is that it doesn't scale well when you have fewer than four players. I played with three players and some of the scenarios we played really required four. They have Easy Mode but we really didn't like taking that option...which resulted in us dying. The only scenario this was frustrating in was a scenario where three lines of minions tried to rush our school. We lost. Miserably.

This game shouldn't be 2-4 players, it's 4 players. Just don't play it with anything less.

And not onto the good!

The Insert
Let me tell you something-- I love a good well thought out insert. Nothing annoys me more than finishing a brand new game and them trying to put it back into the box only to see it doesn't fit and/or the compartments don't really keep pieces in their place. Mechs vs Minions has am amazing insert. You'll easily have 30-40 miniatures on the table after a session which usually results in a long setup/takedown, not with this game. Everything has its very clear spot so getting a new set of minions is never a chore and placing them back in the insert could not be simpler.

The only problem with takedown is scenarios will ask you to shuffle new cards into the various decks and after playing through 5-6 missions, finding these cards you shuffled in can be a pain. This isn't a large problem if you own your own copy, I unfortunately was not playing with my own copy so had to make sure it was properly setup for the next people that played the game.

The Tutorial/Manual
Nothing drags a game down more for me than an overly lengthy badly written manual. Mechs vs Minions very wisely split their manual into two books-- a tutorial mission and a glossery of terms. This means that there is no lengthy explanation of rules, you jump right into the game and it teaches you everything you need to know as you play. This instantly made my play group excited because I didn't have to talk at them for 20 minutes explaining the game. I just gave them a brief rundown of the basics and then we started playing. I wish more games did this.

The Mechs
Now onto the meat of the game. The mechs are controlled by programming certain inputs into your command row and these inputs are attacks, turns, and moves. Each one has specific elements and each one can be upgraded by stacking the same element. With a small amount of planning it's simple enough to get your mech to do what you want, except it will eventually start getting damaged and your inputs start getting moved, disabled, and swapped. This results in a really chaotic mix of you wanting to zig but your mech keeps zagging.

This could be really frustrating in other games, but with Mechs vs Minions, there are minions everywhere so you're always killing something so it's always fun.

The Minions
This game easily has 30 or so miniatures on the board which could result in a drag figuring out what these minions do, but each mission has a really clear and easy setup for how these minions attack and them attacking is as simple as seeing if they're adjacant to anything and drawing a card if they are. Mechs vs Minions went for a really simple system that keeps players interacting with the game and it was a huge success.

Really, I cannot stress enough how good this game flows. It gradually introduces mechanics and never gets bogged down in rules, it just plays and plays really well.

The Boss
Our last mission we played before we had to return the game was one with the boss. We decided to play on the harder mode which set his HP to 10 instead of 5 and while we lost (we got him to 1!!) we had a great time. The boss has shields you have to take down before you damage him and the shields return after you damage him. He also has increasingly powerful attack that outright destroy you, except you can't really get destroyed in this game, your mech just gets harder to control.

The result was a hilariously fun boss fight early in a board games mission structure that I will remember for years. We were having a great time as the giant boss mech scorpioned pulled one player across the map after his mech failed and went the wrong the wrong direction only to do a giant lava axe the next turn. This boss was brutally difficult, but we had a great time with it even though we lost. This is the sign of a great boss fight.

Great Co-op
Some games are co-op but never really forces the co-op nature. In Mechs vs Minions players have to work together to program their mechs and satisfy the difficult goals. If one player isn't working with the team, the mission will absolutely fail. Time is limited when your picking your programs, but the rest of the time the group is constantly communicating.

The Miniatures
The miniatures in this game are gorgeous. The boss and player mechs all come fully painted and this isn't some bad factory painting you might see on D&D miniatures, these all look professionally painted. I really don't know how they managed to produce this game at the quality it's at because those miniatures are gorgeous.

The game also comes with A LOT of minions and while they aren't painted, they come in many different poses and they are all ink washed which makes them still look very nice. Again, just superb job that I can't imagine how they actually made.

Final Thoughts
If you can't tell, I really liked this game. Riot swung for the fences and they hit it into the next county. The few faults I have with this game are small and the positives faaaaaaaaar outweigh any negative I have. If you see this game, pick it up immediately.
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David Williams
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Quote:
First, the bad (and there isn't much)
The only real fault I can find in the game is that it doesn't scale well when you have fewer than four players. I played with three players and some of the scenarios we played really required four. They have Easy Mode but we really didn't like taking that option...which resulted in us dying. The only scenario this was frustrating in was a scenario where three lines of minions tried to rush our school. We lost. Miserably.

This game shouldn't be 2-4 players, it's 4 players. Just don't play it with anything less.


This is odd - I got the impression many players found at least some scenarios easier with less players.

are you sure you played it correctly? I understand the draft means you always get 4 cards between the players, so less players means they will get stronger faster to compensate for having less coverage.
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Feet_of_Clay
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Great review thanks.

I think if you'd been able to play a few more missions you would have found that overall 4player is actually harder than 2 player.

I agree the rules make teaching and getting into the game really easy, but again as you get further into the missions there are some unfortunate ambiguities... not game breaking. But can be frustrating.

Other than that I entirely agree! It's such a fun game isn't it!

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Seth Pinter
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I've played all but mission 10 at either 2 or 3 player and never had a problem. I'm yet to play easy mode either. If you are having a problem with less players then you need to change your strategy.
 
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Mike Morales
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4 players is actually the hardest mode for a majority of the game. while there are missions that you may think are easier with 4 they are actually harder. the reason being it takes much longer to get a good working command line with 4 players. once you understand the fundamentals of all the cards it is much easier to build up a working command line with less than 4 players and you can knock out allot of the missions with good strategy. You can apply this same strategy for 4 players but expect it to take much much longer than normal.
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Jo Bartok
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I was doubtful but my first experience taught me that the timer pretty much removes the alpha player issues the mechanics would have without it... if you stick with it . I recommend that for a new game everyone should be able to read card by card, think about it, then run the timer to pick up stuff in turn order.

And then the programming and game was just a lot better and more fun than Robo Rally which I consider vastly hyped and overrated...

Between Robo Rally, Colt Express and Mechs and Minions... last is best by far.

p.s.: we played with 3 and it was a good and tough experience.
 
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Eorl Osborne
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Sydney
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Orion3T wrote:
Quote:
First, the bad (and there isn't much)
The only real fault I can find in the game is that it doesn't scale well when you have fewer than four players. I played with three players and some of the scenarios we played really required four. They have Easy Mode but we really didn't like taking that option...which resulted in us dying. The only scenario this was frustrating in was a scenario where three lines of minions tried to rush our school. We lost. Miserably.

This game shouldn't be 2-4 players, it's 4 players. Just don't play it with anything less.


This is odd - I got the impression many players found at least some scenarios easier with less players.

are you sure you played it correctly? I understand the draft means you always get 4 cards between the players, so less players means they will get stronger faster to compensate for having less coverage.


I have currently finished the first 7 missions 2 player with my son, and we have only failed once - Some levels (like the one with three directions of spawning minions) seemed difficult but since we got to draft 2 cards each turn we were soon super powerful minion crushing machines. In fact if anything we've found things almost slightly too easy. I have also been supervising a group of students and other staff at my school (mostly 4 player) and they have played many of the same levels in a completely different way to how we went about things 2 player -

I really love the fact that 2 players can be swiftly powerful and go for a rush win (as you can't be everywhere to kill everything - but also you won't have as many unlocked schematics and overdrive is a far fetched dream), where as with more players a more plod through slowly and destroy everything approach is needed (and with only one card drafted per turn you can't react/repair damage as easily or conveniently - but schematics and overdrive are a real bonus.)

Case in point is the next level after the first boss (mission 4): where in 2 player we sprinted and barely even got our second team gear and the board was covered in minions, yet in the 3 player game had all schematics unlocked and killed the last minion still on the board as the final player reached the target area!
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