So how much fun can you have with a tin of mints? – The surprising answer is a lot of fun!
Step forward Mint Works, a small worker placement game for 1 to 4 players, designed by Justin Blaske and published by Five24 Labs (http://five24labs.com)
I backed the game on Kickstarter but you can now buy direct from Five24 Labs.
The first thing to note about Mint Works is it’s small footprint, everything you need to get playing comes in a package the same size as an Altoids tin. It might be small in size but it offers plenty to its players.
Cards are placed on the play area to represent locations that can be used by spending a mint from your supply. Some locations offer more than a single slot to utilise as the round progresses and some are one and done, so you have to pick the right location and the right time to make best use of its ability.
What was novel for me was the single player variant, the game ships with 4 AI characters for you to play against, each with their own personality traits and preferences. For my first game, I randomly selected Justin as my opponent, this proved tricky as on locations that offer multiple slots, if Justin uses on of the slots, the other are no longer available, so you have to be quick to get there before he does!
So how do you in when playing Mint Works, well there are a few win conditions.
- Be the first player to 7 points
- Have the most points when the pool of mints is empty
So how do you earn points? Points are associated with properties that you buy with your mint supply but buying the plan of a property is not enough to claim those points, you have to actively build the plans for the property to appear in your neighbourhood.
Once your property is built, it can also offer additional perks like bonus mints, given each round that make it quicker and easier to get other properties or use the abilities available at each location.
How the AI makes its moves is also very clever, the starting location cards need to be placed in a specific order. The AI player makes their actions by working from the top down and using whatever free slot is appropriate based on their hand of cards (for example, they shouldn’t use the builder location if they do not have any plans to build)
There is plenty of strategy for lovers of deeper thinking but the game is also very simple to learn and in turn teach, it represent a great gateway game for those not familiar with worker placement mechanisms and coupled with the fact it is so small means it can go anywhere with you when you travel.
To sum up, Mint Works is a great little game that fits in your pocket but offers a surprising amount of fun and strategy. Definitely pick it up if you can!