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A Minecraft Board Game

2023-02-27 — Michael Haupt

Knowing I love Minecraft, friends gave me the Minecraft: Builders and Biomes board game for a past birthday. The family and I gave it a try. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures. The review I linked to has some.

Basically, the game is about - you guessed it - mining resources, building, and knocking over hostile mobs.

I’ll start with the end. Your choices for what buildings to build (and where to place them) as well as what monsters to fight have considerable impact on how many experience points you score (the player with the highest score wins). The built contraptions are evaluated thrice: in the first round, larger biomes get you more points; in the second, larger groups of buildings crafted from the same material; and in the third, larger groups of buildings with similar purpose. As you can place buildings atop one another, some planning ahead is advisable. Similarly, some monsters enable you to make additional moves once slain, but others get you additional points in the end, so here too, it’s important to pick your enemies wisely.

Mining is done in a particularly nice way. Each resource item is a wooden cube. 64 of those are stacked into a 4x4x4 cube that players can take apart when they mine. Mining away the first, second, and third layer of the cube will trigger one of the scoring rounds, and the third will also end the game.

Cards with buildings to build and monsters to fight, and weapons to pick up for the preceding purpose, are all laid out in a 4x4 grid of 4-card piles. In addition, 4 weapon chests are placed on each side of the grid. All cards are initially placed face down, and are revealed as players walk around exploring the grid.

You fight monsters by drawing, at random, three cards from your weapons pile. Each player’s default deck has three poisoned potatoes serving as blanks that you can toss at monsters, but they’ll just bounce off and cause no damage. Collecting some diamond swords and TNT from the weapon chests is recommended.

The gameplay is fast, fun, and the rules are simple. Yet, the strategic aspects of the building and monster slaying make it more interesting than it may sound at first. The graphic design of the cards is great; especially the building cards are very detailed and beautiful.

Overall, this is a nice adaption of the computer game, and many of the original’s aspects have been brought into the board game setting in a way that makes sense. The game has a nice mix of strategy and luck, and the materials are nice and well crafted. Fun. Warm recommendation.

Tags: games