Publisher: subQuark Publishing
Game Designer: David Miller
Artwork: David Miller
Players: 2 players
Ages: 10 and up
Playing Time: 5-15 minutes
Game Mechanics: Worker Placement, Dice Rolling
Contents: 11 meeples, 5 dice, play mat, sewer token, mini poster, journal, rule sheet
Suggested Retail Price: $12.00
Parental Advisory: Safe for children over 12
It’s a pleasant afternoon in Meepleton, you and your friends are enjoying the day without a care in the world when suddenly a giant monster appears and mayhem ensues as havoc is wrought upon your fair city! You quickly grab up your friends and head for the safety of the school’s fallout shelter but you soon find you’re not the only ones trying to get in!
Only through quick dexterity with the dice, smart use of your fellow Meeples and a bit of ruthless cunning can you get your friends to safety while keeping the interlopers out. Will you be safe or will you be lunch for the monster?
Summary of Content
After last year’s first successful Kickstarter for Mint Tins Pirates and Aliens, subQuark is back with another Mint Tins game, Mint Tin Mini-Apocalypse. As is normally the case with prototypes, I will talk about but not grade the components but given the quality of their last project, I have no doubt that subQuark will knock it out of the park again.
The game comes with 11 meeples, 5 mini meeples for each player in blue and yellow and an eleventh standard size green one representing the monster that both players will try to avoid while wrestling for control of the shelter.
A pair of blue and yellow dice for each player and a green die for the monster along with a manhole cover token used in a variant scenario are also included in the base game. Other chromey bits to bling out the game are a mini poster and mini journal for keeping track of your games and a very sweet looking play mat that will be included with the deluxe edition.
Analysis and Evaluation
subQuark specializes in fast, simple to play micro games designed to be easily carried in a pocket, are very kid friendly and offer a pleasant diversion or quick filler game. Unlike Aliens and Pirates from last year that were set collection games with some dice rolling, Mint Tin Mini-Apocalypse is a pure dice roller, combining dexterity with snap decisions to create a five minute pressure cooker of frenzied fun.
The goal of the game is to get at least four of your meeples into the miniature mint tin (fallout shelter) along with one supply box before your opponent does. The catch is that both teams have five meeples but the shelter holds only seven, so someone’s gotta go. Games play in about 5-7 minutes, although can sometimes run a bit long if the dice gods are not cooperative.
Setting up takes less than a minute. Both players place their meeples on opposite sides of the map in front of the fallout shelter, leaving all but one of their meeples on their backs. The monster meeple goes ahead of the fallout shelter with its die placed with the six side facing up and the two supply box cubes between the monster and shelter.
You’re now ready to roll and roll you will, over and over until you’re safely inside the shelter or have become lunch for the monster!
All actions can only be done on rolls of seven and you can take any one of the following actions:
- Get one meeple to its feet
- Place one standing meeple into the fallout shelter
- Knock down one standing opponent meeple
- Toss one opponent out of the fallout shelter
- Send out a recon pair from the fallout shelter to retrieve a supply box
- Knock down one recon meeple
- Stand up one knocked down recon meeple
- Drag one supply box back to the fallout shelter with the standing recon pair
- Seal the fallout shelter with at least four of your meeples and one supply box inside for the win
Once the game begins, it is non-stop dice rolling until someone is able to finally seal the deal, literally, by getting enough of their meeples into the shelter and closing the door for the win. You only earn an action on die rolls of seven and they cannot be stockpiled, so fast rolling is key; but even more so is paying attention to your results. I’ve caught myself missing several good rolls because I was so intent on rolling more quickly than my opponent and by the time I did it was too late to do anything about it.
Once you earn an action you need to start making decisions, now this isn’t Kanban we’re talking here but little strategies are definitely there. Do I stand up another meeple or knock down an opponent. Should I move one to the shelter or send out my recon pair for the supply crate? All simple decisions but what makes them tough and the action in this little micro game a little weighty, is the immediacy of your snap decisions with the ever-increasing pressure of your battle with lady luck, dictating your chances at success through the dice.
There’s also a bit of dexterity, manipulating your meeples while knocking down or pushing your opponents meeples out of the fallout shelter. Those tiny little guys have a mind of their own and go cartwheeling across the table at just the wrong moment, costing you precious seconds that you could be rolling those dice!
Oh yea, that nasty monster I mentioned earlier? He gets activated once you move a supply box into the fallout shelter and every double rolled by either player that matches the current die value drops it down one. So once the monster is activated, double sixes will drop him to five and so on, until he reaches one.
Once the monster die reaches one, the first roll of double one’s causes the monster to attack and destroy the fallout shelter, enjoying the tasty meeple filling. This can be countered by throwing one of your meeples to the monster as a sacrifice but you can only afford to do this once before going below the required number of meeples to have in the fallout shelter. If this happens a second time, your opponent will have to be the noble one this time, otherwise it’s game over man!
This mode isn’t very challenging and is recommended for your first play. There are other variants and the one I recommend using is having the monster active immediately at the start of the game. The toughest mode is even nuttier, the monsters die can be counted down by either player as an action from one of their seven rolls along with the double rolls. This opens up a little bit more strategy and certainly ramps up the pressure tenfold. Games using this variant tend to end very quickly and usually, very badly for your poor meeples.
There are a lot of possibilities for other variants to be added in the future, which I’m sure we’ll see more of once this game gets out in the wild and creative gamers start adding their own flavor to it.
Mint Tin Mini-Apocalypse is a simple but hectic little game that induces a fun bit of stress in just a few minutes. The time crunch is dictated by luck of the die which makes you feel like you’re barely hanging on, as it should in an apocalypse setting. You make decisions as chance allows in a short period of time, doing the best with what fate offers you. This isn’t hard-core apocalypse gaming as some may expect with apocalypse in the title, but for a short little micro game it does its job nicely.
Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):
Rules Book: 7.5
Component Quality: NA
Club Fantasci Overall Score: 7.25
This game is Club Fantasci Certified!
I’m giving Mint Tin Mini-Apocalypse a 7.25 out of 10 score because it accomplishes what it sets out to do for its intended audience, offer a quick, easily transportable micro-game that is a fun little diversion when you are short on time or in the mood for a little snack before a bigger meal.
Casual gamers will really enjoy the ease of playing while seasoned gamers with an affinity for dice rollers may find it a charming little filler that challenges you with a short, tense game that tests your hand-eye coordination and rapid decision making skills.
It’s also a good fit for families since you can slow the game down by switching to single rolls at a time, making it more manageable for children and can even play in teams, with kids assisting the parent by rolling dice or placing meeples. This makes for a good exercise in counting, prioritizing and lite decision making, great skills to learn in a fun way.
If you love micro games, this is one to certainly back!
Company Website: subQuark Publishing
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/subquark
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