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When It Comes To The World Of Tabletop And Card Games
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When it comes to the world of tabletop and card games, prospects for new players can seem bleak. Warhammer and Magic: The Gathering are hobbies that can cost hundreds of dollars for a new player to start; nearly every card or board game on the market comes with a price tag of at least $50. These games can take hours to play – most of which is spent shuffling through pages of rules to see who is in the right. When the game is finally done, pieces and accessories must be painstakingly sorted into the right containers, packages and boxes. On top of all this, it often seems as though there is an impassable barricade between card games and board games, and never the twain shall meet.
Bitflip Games has come out with Minion Master, which seeks to challenge all of these problems inherent to the genres of board games and card games. Minion Master is, by far, the game that took me the longest to take from downloading to examining, because it is such a complex piece of work – it is impossible to sum up quickly. So, does Minion Master succeed at its goals? Are there any weaknesses to this new hybrid? And, most importantly, is it fun to play?
Minion Master seems intimidating at first, especially when you see the multiple tutorial videos on the website. However, the core mechanic is very simple. You and your opponent each have a deck of cards. You are distributed cards in your deck five at a time, and you sacrifice some cards in your deck in order to use others. The first thing a player generally wants to do is summon soldiers to the battlefield. Then they can heal or buff their units, or invoke special unit properties such as a knight calling reinforcements. This is a great gameplay hook that is easy to comprehend; I was able to get my friends into the online portion of the game with only a couple of sentences of explanation.
As with many other successful concepts, Bitflip Studios takes the core gameplay in Minion Master a step further. While there is a wide variety of pre-made cards, players are encouraged to make their own decks by mixing and matching the cards in the game. The developers are keenly aware of the possibility of broken combos, cheesy tactics, or weak decks due to underpowered cards. Bitflip Studios regards the game as a living, breathing organism to be nurtured, patched, and updated. This is a fortunate attitude for the indie studio to take: There are countless combinations of cards and combos that could potentially wreck the game if left untouched.
Bitflip maintains this care and confidence in its game across the board. The main concept of the game is set in stone, and it’s unlikely you’ll see any massive changes. The core mechanics and the way they play out in Minion Master are here to stay; don’t expect this beta to follow the path of, say, Minecraft, where huge updates change the way significant portions of the game play out. Despite this steady commitment to the core ultimate team coins of the game, the Minion Master developers intend to add new game modes, new decks, new cards, and potentially new expansions to keep the game fresh and exciting, even to long-time veterans.
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