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Mechs vs Minions

RRP: £90.00
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RRP £90.00
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Mechs vs Minions is a cooperative tabletop campaign for 2-4 players. Set in the world of Runeterra, players take on the roles of four intrepid Yordles: Corki, Tristana, Heimerdinger, and Ziggs, who must join forces and pilot their newly-crafted mechs against an army of marauding minions. With modular boards, programmatic command lines, and a story-driven campaign, each mission will …
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Awards

Golden Pear

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • A lot of game for the price
  • Incredible production quality
  • Lots of replayability

Might Not Like

  • A lot of luck in card draw
  • Lots of plastic
  • Big box to store
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Description

Mechs vs Minions is a cooperative tabletop campaign for 2-4 players. Set in the world of Runeterra, players take on the roles of four intrepid Yordles: Corki, Tristana, Heimerdinger, and Ziggs, who must join forces and pilot their newly-crafted mechs against an army of marauding minions. With modular boards, programmatic command lines, and a story-driven campaign, each mission will be unique, putting your teamwork, programming, and piloting skills to the test.

There are ten missions in total, and each individual mission will take about 60-90 minutes. The box includes five game boards, four command lines (one for each player), four painted mech miniatures, ability and damage decks, a sand timer, a bomb-like-power source miniature, 6 metal trackers, 4 acrylic shards, 4 dice, and 100 minion miniatures. There also appears to be some large object trying to get out of that sealed box...

  • Ages 14+
  • 2-4 players
  • 60-90 minutes playing time

In Comes A Legend

2009’s League of Legends, more commonly known as ‘League’, is an online multiplayer battle arena by Riot Games. Its highly acclaimed accessibility comes from its free to play system, using in-game purchases to gain revenue. This accessibility has led it to become one of the biggest online games and so has had a number of different spin-offs, including the widely acclaimed Netflix animated series, Arcane. So where next? Mechs vs Minions that is.

Console To Cardboard

The board game hobby has a history of computer game to tabletop adaptations but many of them often fail to hit the mark. Most attempts fall into the ‘box full of plastic’ category. With more minis than you know what to do with they are usually a painfully generic skirmish game at their heart. It’s not that they are all bad, just that many seem like lazy cash crabs rather than earnest attempts to create an interesting board game.

When Riot Games announced their 2016 foray into the tabletop genre, there were a lot of rolling eyes and low expectations. But boy did they Deliver. Mechs Vs Minions is a cooperative programming campaign game. You and your teammates ride in giant mechs as you try to hold off a horde of minions on ever changing terrain.

What makes this game so interesting is it doesn’t try and emulate the computer game but instead sets itself in the world of the original. This allows them to be far more creative in their design. Credited to a host of designers (which can sometimes be a red flag), Mechs Vs Minions feels like it is made by real lovers of the tabletop genre. Less ‘design by committee’ and more ‘passion project’.

Plug And Play

There are 10 games in the campaign. Each comes in a separate envelope, each getting harder and harder. Adding more rules as the game continues allows the first to work as a tutorial with only the basic core rules. This way of teaching is clearly direct from computer gaming. It holds your hand as you move along, adding in one rule at a time. This makes the game far more accessible than perhaps it might seem on immediate viewing.

Throughout each mission, the base game is always the same, achieve a goal across a modular board using your characters. To use your mech you have a command line board with six slots, into which you put cards which specify movements or attacks or perhaps both. Over the course of a turn, you’ll first draft command cards. The commands come in a variety of suits which offer different styles of combat or movement.

Next is the placement phase where you pick the slots to put them in. You may overlap up to three of the same colour in a slot to create a power-up scenario. Or you can completely replace a stack with a new colour card. Finally comes the execution phase where you work your way from left to right, executing each card’s instructions in order. Early in the game you might feel that your actions achieve very little. But as you build your engine you can

start to achieve more and more. This is both a help and a hindrance as more actions may not mean usefulness on a turn. In trying to move to that item, you might find yourself flying into a wall just because you have to use that command. So planning what you are going to do is just as important as what you can get away with afterwards. Then come the minions!

Banana…

It is impossible these days to not imagine adorable (if not annoying) little yellow beings. Throw that image out of your head. Here we have an army of small little beings that slowly start to fill the board. At the end of the character turns, minions will move and then new ones will spawn. If you then have a character orthogonally adjacent then you take damage.

Here is where the game really gets fun. With each damage you take you must place a damage card on a randomised slot in your command line. These damage cards will force the mech to perform certain actions, usually the ones you really don’t want. Of course there are ways to fix your machine but that means not taking a valuable command card in the draw phase. This push and pull of needing an action with needing to fix damage creates a nice tension as the game goes on. As soon as the goal is achieved, such as moving a bomb to a certain place on the board, the game ends immediately.

Life Is Like A Box Of Minis….

Let’s talk about the elephant sized box in the room. It is huge! But when that Mechs vs Minions lid is heaved open, inside is just wonderful. First and foremost, the four main characters are beautifully designed, and pre-painted to a standard I have never seen in a game. So much character and charm!

And then there are the minions, a hoard of dozens of little colour-washed plastic figures in a variety of poses. And on top of that is a secret, boxed character. Easily four times the size of the normal characters and hidden until they are released during the campaign. Without giving away spoilers, the mini (although the word doesn’t do it justice) is again gloriously. pre-painted.

The box is filled with perfectly fitted trays so all the contents fit snugly into the box. A little thing but the thought gone into the insert design is wonderful. Each minion slot is designed to fit each pose of minion so no pack up time is wasted finding the right spot for each one. If a kickstarter, this level of production value would sell for hundreds but this comes in at less than £100.

Riot Games have clearly subsidised production with its mammoth computer game income as a way of bringing more people into the world of the League. And with Wave 3 on the way it seems to be working. Not to mention bringing more computer gamers to the tabletop. Something I can truly get behind, then side step, then block, then attack before crashing into a wall to end my turn!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • A lot of game for the price
  • Incredible production quality
  • Lots of replayability

Might not like

  • A lot of luck in card draw
  • Lots of plastic
  • Big box to store