Note: This review originally appeared on The Opinionated Gamers:
Designer: Carlo A. Rossi
Players: 2 – 4
Ages: 6 and Up
Time: About 15 Minutes
Times Played: > 5
I’m not in the market for children’s games, but if I come across one that looks intriguing or original enough, I’ll give it a try. Its nice to have a few kids games around the house for when my friends with kids stop by, plus my sister routinely “borrows” these games for her second-grade classroom. Mino & Tauri is one of the kids games that struck my interest this year. It is releasing at Essen, although you can already find it on some European sites.
In Mino & Tauri, two to four players travel around a vertical maze as quickly as possible finding different objects. On each side of the board there is a different corn maze, and the two alien pieces — called Mino & Tauri — are attached by magnets, so they move together. Players cannot move their piece across the cornstalk lines on their own side, but the player on the other side of the maze may move them across, opening otherwise unreachable areas of the board. The game can be played cooperatively or competitively, and in my experience, it is often laugh-out-loud fun.
Gameplay Walkthrough – The Cooperative Game
In the cooperative game, you and your teammates have three rounds to find as many objects as possible. Each round ends when (1) the sand timer runs out, (2) all twelve objects are found, or (3) the aliens have been “dropped” four times. Each side of the board has six objects. The sand timer lasts about three minutes.
Draw a “starting cards” (which are just numbered 1-4) and place the aliens in that corner of the board. There are four boards that come with the game.
Turn over the sand timer and the top object card and start the search!
When you reach the card you’re looking for (remember, you can’t cross the corn stalks on your side of the maze!), put it aside and quickly flip over the next card. Players can speak freely, and they’re probably going to need to do so!
If the aliens ever accidentally drop, draw the next starting card and put the aliens there. If you have to draw a new card but there isn’t one, the round is over.
At the end of three rounds, you get a rating based on your score. The highest level is 31-36 points.
More than two players can play; there will just be teams. Each object card has colors, which will denote the active players during that turn. Only the active players can talk to each other.
Gameplay Walkthrough – The Competitive Game
The competitive game can be played with 3-4 players. Players play with changing partners, but always as a pair on opposite sides of the board. The player who, with his varying partners, finds the most objects wins the game. In the competitive game, you play six rounds, on two board for the 3-player version, on 3 board for the 4-player version. Add up the number of objects each player has found with their various partners. The player who found the most wins the game!
My thoughts on the game…
Mino & Tauri is a cute little kid’s game. It is fast-paced, easy to learn, and even adults can get in on the fun.
We played it as a “filler” at my game night, and it went over well there. People walking past kept asking what it was: this is one of those “eye popping” games that naturally draws people’s attention.
I’m not normally one for fast-paced timed games, but even I enjoyed the experience. The cooperative game works better than the competitive game, as there’s a slight opportunity to sandbag your opponents in that version, plus there’s an obvious disadvantage from having a weaker teammate.
The boards get progressively more difficult. The “A” board is the easiest, and the “D” board is the hardest. For most players I’d recommend skipping the “A” board and going on to the B-D boards.
Getting the highest level in the cooperative game is doable, and we’ve been doing it most of the time, although a couple of times we’ve fallen in the second category.
My biggest complaint is that the game should have come with a few more boards. I could see this getting stale with adults, although I don’t expect that to be much of a problem with children.
In the end, if you have young children, or even if you’re looking for an intriguing addition to your game collection, this is worth checking out. Are gamers going to love Mino & Tauro? Probably not. But this is intended as a kid’s game, and in that category, it works well.
Thanks for the review. I picked this up in Essen and have yet to try it out. From your review, it sounds like the 'fun even for big kids' game I hoped it would be.