After what seemed to be a very long time since my copy of Mechs vs. Minions had arrived, finally my son's seventh birthday came and we opened the game today. As I expected, my son went to his super excited mode in one second after seeing the box. Upon opening it, he had his first important thing to decide in his new age: Corki or Zigg. Finally, Corki won.
We then played the tutorial. I already scoured the rule forum and read the manual and tutorial dossier back and forth, and back again, so I was already familiar with the rule and typos (looking at you, "missing damage card from mission #1"!). I played the radio play and my son' excitement shot through the roof. He was very excited, even more than when he had opened his first board game one year ago.
We went through the tutorial swiftly. I had been worried whether my son could handle the programming or not; he had played various game, such as Arcadia Quest or Galaxy Trucker but had never played a programming one. Happily, my fear was unfounded. He took the programming like a duck meeting a pond. I guess this was because there are only nine types of cards, and the power ups always enhance the basic ability, so the mechanic did not confuse him.
The first mission was also a success. We played as Corki (him) and Heimerdinger (me). He moved around and blasted minions to smithereens while I towed the bomb toward the repair spot. He was so happy completing the mission and asked to play the second mission straight away.
Second mission, still with Corki and Heimerdinger. Somehow, Heimerdinger got stuck in the green side board, rotating this and that way while firing flames and ripsaws to empty squares. He was totally useless. Corki, on the other hand, was very productive in cleaning blue tile and collected one crystal. Yet, without Heimerdinger, he was helpless in the minions onslaught afterward. A minion sneaked through, and another and, with Heimerdinger tried to race back to the school in vain, the third one sneaked in. With a furious "noooo" from my son, we lost the game.
He demanded a replay, with four mechs this time. I declined at first, fearing that we (a diplomatic form of "he") might have difficulties in controlling two mechs at once. Yet, he pointedly said that it was me who screwed up in the last mission (he understood the "diplomatic we" so well...). Finding his argument was fair, we played the four mechs at once. He controlled Zigg and Corki while I controlled Heimerdinger and Tristana.
To my delight, my son was able to control Zigg and Corki well! He sent both of them to clear the blue side while Heimerdinger went to the green side (again). Tristana stayed to protect the school. Zigg managed to snatch a crystal and brought it back to the school. Zigg and Corki then protected the school while Tristana raced to the yellow side and Heimerdinger (finally!) collected the crystal from the green tile. A few moment later, Tristana and Heimerdinger managed to bring the two crystals to the school and we saved the day!
My son then pleaded to play yet another mission. When I took the boss out, put his board and cards into the table, well, suffice to say that his earlier excitement was pale compared to now. It's amazing what Riot had done with this game, putting surprise after surprise, excitement after excitement. Even I, who had devoured any reviews/unboxing/playthroughs, was excited and impressed.
Third mission, we played as four mechs again. Somehow, Tristana and Corki got stuck in the left parts of the board while the boss was on the lower-right part of the board with Zigg. Heimerdinger ran here and there to disable the rune shields so Zigg could deal damage. Zigg/Heimerdinger duo managed to whittle the boss' health to one but the boss' command board was starting to get crowded. We had two greens, two blues and two yellows out. When it was the time to draft for the boss' card, we prayed for reds but got green and blue instead! We chose the green card and got one final round before the boss could activate its GG101!
It was very tense, Tristana finally managed to do something useful by pushing Corki to a red rune and disabled the red rune shield. Zigg could attack the boss with flame but he needed to move one tile! My son was desperate and then remembered Zigg's schematic allowed him to find a movement card. He dug the cards and found a yellow move card. Putting it on top of Chain Lightning, he went to the boss, blasted it and won the day! (Hopefully, this move is legitimate?).
Well, if it was up to my son, we would play another mission but I pointedly look at the clock. You know, we had played for five hours! My son showed me his charming smile and said, "Oh, I thought we just played for half an hour."
Nope. That would not work, Son, but nice try.
We tidied the game up and, following a promise that we will play again tomorrow, put it on the table (nope, it does not fit on my game shelf!).
My impression after our marathon:
- the game is fun, very much so!
- the rule is easy to remember but the interactions between cards and card/boss/environment might raise questions. Personally, I am fine with playing games "wrongly" but YMMV.
- we played on Easy level and the difficulty is adjustable using the Doom Tracker.
- playing missions with two mechs is harder than with four mechs; yet that is not an issue because one player controlling two mechs is both doable and fun.
- the radio play is very fun to listen to! Kudos to the scriptwriters and voice talents.
- I sleeved my cards using FFG clear sleeves and they fit on the slots plus the boss' box.
- Last edited Sun Nov 6, 2016 3:33 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 7:47 pm
Thanks for the report! Sounds like you had a great time like us! It's such a satisfyingly accessible game for all ages isn't it? I've played with 7-64yr olds, at different player counts, "gamers" and "non-gamers" and it has been universally enjoyed, but also people pick up the rules so quickly!
The only thing I would disagree with on your impressions is that 4 mechs is harder than 2, in my opinion. Admittedly mission 2 (and 7) are the closest, but mission 2 has the added problem of being a big step up in difficulty for mission 1 anyway, and it is common to fail this 1st time. As for mission 3: you said yourself 2 of the mechs in your report did very little anyway... Imagine if the 2 that were doing stuff had twice the command cards!
Final tip: definitely play mission 4 with 4 mechs... It's over in about 5 mins with 2!
- Last edited Sun Nov 6, 2016 11:20 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sun Nov 6, 2016 11:17 am
Thanks for the comment! Yes, the game is very fun to play. I think the underlying programming mechanic makes it so.
About the number of mechs, maybe we found it hard to play 2-mechs game because in Mission 2, one of the mech essentially did nothing useful. That's 50% of 2. While on mission 3, 50% of 4 were also doing nothing useful but at least we still had another 2.
But I agree that I need to play more missions to gain better insight on 2-mechs vs 4-mechs balance. We played mission 4 just this morning and as you said, with 2 mechs, it would be over in very short time!
Yay! What a great session report! I'm glad you both enjoyed it!
He dug the cards and found a yellow move card. Putting it on top of Chain Lightning, he went to the boss, blasted it and won the day! (Hopefully, this move is legitimate?).
Sounds perfectly legitimate to me. Special Modifications has saved my bacon many times.
Yay! What a great session report! I'm glad you both enjoyed it!
Thanks for making such a great game!
We spent another 4 hours on Sunday (completing Mission 4 and 5) and finished playing Mission 6 just now. We enjoyed every single second of it!