So I'm intrigued by Mechs vs Minions. I'm familiar with the competitive game, Robo Rally, which I gather has some similarities to Mechs vs Minions, though Robo Rally is not a co-op. In Robo Rally, the programming is done in secret and then executed in parallel so that there is the surprise, conflict & chaos that ensues when things go in unexpected directions. But in Mechs vs Minions, given that it's a co-op game, are there restrictions on how you collaborate in the programming? Is that thematic? And if you are allowed to collaborate in deciding the programming, I would think the unexpected nature of the results is less prevalent than in Robo Rally? How does the element of programming in advance and then "letting things run" in Robo Rally compare with how programming operates in Mechs vs Minions?
First, you deak five cards out of the general command deck. Players then choose one card each, until the group gains four cards. If there are two players, they will get two cards each. If there are three, the first player will get two while the other players will get one. If there are four, each will get one card.
There is a time limit on this step, less than one minute. It is advisable for the group to discuss what they want to do and what kind of card(s) they need before dealing cards.
Second, each player put his/her card(s) in their command board simultaneously. The slotted cards stay until the end of the game unless reprogrammed, unlike in Robo Rally. Players can also scrap their card(s) to repair a damage or to swap stacks of cards from two slots.
Third, players execute their command boards starting from the first player. After that, minions will move, spawn and attack nearby mechs, causing damages which might swap command cards from two slot (or even all six!), override one of your slot with a command (a "move backward one space" overriding command cards to turn your mech will make it moves in undesirable direction) etc.
So, despite its coop nature, programming in MvM is not an exact science. The availability of cards during drafting and the time limit and damage done by minions limit the coordination between players (and also limiting the alpha gamer phenomena). The damage from minions will mess up the programming and cause so much chaos in MvM. Yet, because of the coop nature and whimsical art direction, the chaos is perceived as "fun" instead of "frustating".
Ok, so they insure an uncertainty factor by imposing a time limit and having the programming occur more simultaneously, making it a little harder to collaborate to come up with a "perfect" strategy. Nice. Eliminates some of the analysis paralysis I'm sure.