Sunday, 11 June 2017

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #3

Next up from "The Haul" we have a pair of small box card games by designer Lewis Shaw - Downsize and Mined Out. Unlike a number of my purchases on the day, I did play through a brief demo of each of these games; and despite sharing a box size and creator these games both play and feel very different.


Published by Braincrack Games, Downsize is a fast playing card game where the goal is to make as much money as possible whilst firing your entire staff. Something that you will be doing every turn, as you fire pairs of workers to generate effects; such as taking a returns card (which are the games equivalent of victory points), or forcing another player to hire a new employee.

On top of this there are specialist workers with one-shot abilities, that can be fired by themselves; and I believe a number of mutator cards that change the flow of the game (although the demo game that I played on the day did not use these).

Another card that was left out of the demo game on the day, that I feel is certainly worth a mention is the "Trump Card". Both satirical and powerful, the Trump Card allows you to fire all of your employees at once; which could effectively end the game there and then.. Because Donald plays by his own rules, and when he says the game is over; it's over!

Now all we need is "Director of the F.B.I" card, and the job's a good 'un!

 Mined Out

Also published by Braincrack Games and designed by Lewis Shaw; Mined out is a very different style of game. For a start, the cards in this game function more as tiles; that randomly form the play area as your miner meeple explores them. Unlike Downsize, there are also a number of other components in the box; that are used to track things such as your action points, the gems you have collected, and the upgrades you have accumulated.

So despite having the outward appearance of a card game; Mined Out would be better and more accurately described as a board game. Quite an involved one too for its size. It's another one of those games that manages to pack a lot of "oomph" into a small box; and whilst I would not go as far as to say that it has that "big box" feel, it certainly delivers at a level somewhere between the two.

If I had to pigeon hole it though, it's more what I would describe as a "backpack game". In that it's compact enough to take with you when you're on the go, has quite a small footprint (so you could break it out almost anywhere), and can be played within the time that you might typically get for a lunch break.

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