Hidden move games, in which one player secretly weaves around the board and the other has to figure out where they are, can be a problem. There is an obvious problem of confusion or outright fraud. Hidden players have limited playtime active while the opponent’s plot. And it’s hard to get the right balance of hints to keep the game engaging. Even undisputed classics of the genre like Fury of Dracula and Specter Ops suffer from these problems to some extent.
However, none of this stops the designers from trying, because piecing the clues together as you chase the suspect is fun. The newest game to try is MGMT . Minda title inspired by a comic book of the same name (watch it on amazon) about a shady web of psychic espionage. A player is a recruiter, looking for talent to join the organization. Others are rogue agents, trying to track them down.
What’s in the box?
As a game based on a graphic novel, everything from the board to the box uses art from the comics. The watercolor art by the author, Matt Kindt, is distinctive and not to everyone’s taste, but it undeniably gives the game a unique look. While it leaves some components, such as the grid panel, to look a bit sparse, others stand out, like surreal feature cards.
For hidden players, there is a wiped copy of the board to track their movements and a screen to hide it behind. There is a whiteboard marker for both parties to use, as some tokens used by rogue agents may be written up for notes. Both sides have several hardcover standees of top art from the comics to scroll across the board.
That sounds like a poor mass of components that should be contained in the very large and awkward box the game puts in. The rest of the space is occupied by fourteen sealed boxes, seven on each side, which won’t be your first Phat. We will return to these mysterious items later.
Rules and how it plays
With one side is hiding and the other is hunting, the rules of the two factions are quite different. Indeed, the rulebook looks tough with cramped text and colored boxes for optional rules. In fact, the core framework is not so difficult: there are sets of opening and advanced rules explained together in one book, which makes it difficult to understand.
The game begins with the hidden recruiter declaring their starting space and then making five moves in secret. They are not allowed to revisit the space they have been in. Behind their screen, they will have three feature cards that correspond to the symbols on the board: there are two in most spaces. To get rookies and eventually win the game, they have to access these features and document their growing number of rookies in public.
Then the game begins in earnest as rogue agents can start looking for recruits. There are four agents and in their turn can each move two spaces and perform an action. The most common way is to ask recruiters about something in the agency space. If an employer has ever visited a space with that feature, they must have put their footprints on the board in any such space.
Another important action that agents have is disclosure, which they can use in space with a footstep token. Employers must then disclose when they are in that space, an important clue because it allows agents to know how far away the recruiter is. However, it takes two employee actions in the same space, first asking, then disclosing, to get this information, the employer can then be several gaps away.
These are the parameters of the puzzle, and a great puzzle is a great puzzle, slowly gathering for the hunters while the hunted tries their best to misalign and escape. the function is closing. Based on time, clues, and inferences about the features an employer is accessing, agents must try and sum up where the recruiter is headed, then go to the right space and execute capture action. Mind MGMT provides just the right drip feed to keep everyone hooked, discuss details, and release stress as time goes on.
Meanwhile, recruiters are conspiring to concede and win by gathering enough recruits or shortening the time. As well as getting bored with their answers to asking actions, they have other tricks up their sleeve. They can make a single move in two gaps during play, tell the agents that they have done so, and can also move diagonally through the voids without features. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s more than enough to give agents the runaway and satisfy the itch of stalkers that make hidden motion so appealing.
These parameters in themselves will make for an interesting game. But Mind MGMT goes even further and breaks down barriers built in hidden movement. It’s quick, for starters, finishing in an hour or so. And the pace is swift, with four agents taking turns per round alternating with two for recruiters to maintain interest. The hidden map and the way the clues are found makes it difficult to accidentally give out incorrect information but if it does happen, there’s even a rule to help rebalance the game. It’s a great package.
However, this is just an introductory game. The full set of rules adds some intriguing wrinkles. Barriers to movement are added, and agents gain special powers to mimic their comics inspiration along with an ally they can activate for additional rewards. In return, recruiters gain control of four “immortal” pawns that represent the agency’s self-healing enforcers who can stop agents from taking action and even collect people. recruited themselves.
The result is an extraordinary web of clues and counter-foes, intertwined around more traditional strategic concerns such as location and performance. The only thing it really lacks is the range of some of its brethren straying into things like traps and combat. But like the Mind MGMT agency itself, even this appearance is deceptive.
Remember the mysterious boxes that are locked on the sides? After your entire first game, the losing side is instructed to open their first box. Inside, they’ll find a small excerpt from one of the comic books and some cards and tokens that expand their preferences, giving them a boost for the next playthrough. As more boxes are opened, you can pick and choose what additional elements you want to include in each game. We won’t spoil the content, but it’s a great way to keep the game fresh and unexpected, and keeps you coming back for more.
Where to buy
https://www.ign.com/articles/mind-mgmt-board-game-review Mind MGMT Board Game Review