Hey fans of Steve and Alex! Minecraft stands on its own and has the ability to attract cross-over interest from the video game world.
Designer: Ulrich Blum
Game Type: Drafting
Game Type: Action Points
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 10+
Expected Playtime: 30-60 min
Number of Players: 2-4
Theme and What is it?
Hey fans of Steve and Alex! Gather up your stone axes and diamond swords, and dive into the world of Minecraft. Construct buildings, gather weapons, and fight the creatures of the land to become the greatest builder in the world.
The goal of Minecraft is to construct different items and defeat creatures to gain the most victory points.
Each player chooses a color and receives player pieces of the color. Each player receives a 3×3 building board. Shuffle the location tiles face down and evenly distribute in 4×4 piles. Shuffle the item tiles and place one face down at the end of each row. Arrange the biome cubes in a 4x4x4 cube randomly. Place the players’ pawns at the center of the location tiles.
Each player has 2 actions to perform during each turn, not performing the safe action twice unless otherwise noted. A player can perform the following:
- Collect 2 biome cubes
- Move up to 2 spaces and reveal location tiles
- Build a building by discarding the required biome cubes
- Fight a mob by shuffling your weapon tiles and turning over 3; if they have a heart total equal to or greater than the mob, you win the mob tile (these have special benefits) — beware the poisoned potato!
- Collect a weapon
Once each layer of cubes in the biome cube is removed, there is a scoring phase based upon different criteria of what the players build. The end game conditions are triggered after the third scoring phases and final points are tallied.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this game as a lot of times games based upon a specific IP (games, movies, comics, etc.) don’t meet the expectations of the fans. At first blush, the game turned out to be pretty simple but offers some deeper strategy to win big.
Game Build Quality
The components are primarily cardboard and wood. The stock is thick and sturdy. The finishes on the wood and cardboard are durable. These pieces are simple but that feeds the whole retro theme of the 8-bit world.
The art is from the game, maybe not from a screen but is 8-bit in color and style. If you’re a fan of the game, you should like it. There was nothing special about it though to make it pop or grab you — it is Minecraft.
Fight zombies and endermen. Build castles and animal pens. Find the golden hoe. The game brings a lot of the elements of the game to the table in a relatable way.
Age Range & Weight
Age range says 10+ and initially I thought it could be lower as the rules are fairly uncomplicated. But I do agree in the end due to nature needing to think strategically beyond just the current scoring phase and into the future.
As a game, I think it is pretty solid, though light in its complexity. The duration is about right, even if you’re just learning the game. Speaking of learning the game… this is the first game in a long time that I’ve encountered that lends itself to learn as you play without much curve to take you too long or get bored/frustrated with it.
As a tie-in from a video game, my son who has played Minecraft, really likes it. He thinks that does what it needs to do to capture the world while not being overly complicated. To me, this is good to hear because good tie-in games can really draw a crossover crowd between hobbies.
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