O.G Willikers - Three cards, play a card, discard a card: An old mechanic, but a tried and true one. Forcing players to play a card and then discard a card ensures each turn that players must choose very carefully what they play. After all, your only advantage from round to round is being able to count on at least knowing what one of your cards will be. You can try to save that one killer card all you want for the perfect moment, but most turns of Minos Strategos are about evolving with the cards you were dealt due to this mechanic.
Princess Kuchi Kopi - You can spawn your soldiers directly on to temples: I do not recall ever playing a game that allowed you to spawn your new recruits directly on to the objective I am trying to score points from. I am sure there are a few, but there can’t be many. By the end of my time with MS, I was not sure if this was a pro or a con, but it is definitely worth noting as it changes the game up a great deal.
OGW - No cheating please: Minos Strategos has a timer on each of your turns that will run down, keeping pressure up. Most games with a timer mechanic can be cheated simply by pausing the game and taking all the time you need to decide. Minos Strategos wisely brings up an entirely new screen for pause/menu selection to stop those of us with less honest predilections.
OGW - No ability to pause while A.I.’s playing out its turn: As a reviewer and someone that often listens to Spotify or checks Twitter while gaming, I found this a major annoyance. I would frequently hit escape to pause and write a note down, answer the door, change a song, whatever. I would then come back and find my game in ruins as the it never paused because it was the enemy’s turn.
Princess KK - You can see the cards in your discard and draw pile: O.G and I tend to let each other sift through discard piles to see what’s been played when we play physical board games. It is surprising how many card games just refuse to let players see even their own discard pile! That made it all the more surprising and pleasing to find that Minos Strategos allows the player to see what’s in their discard AND draw piles!
OGW - More minotaurs spawning as you kill them keeps games tight and tense: You do not have to win...you just have to survive! That is the name of the game in Minos Strategos as every last time you kill a minotaur, more will spawn on the outskirts of the board. Between this and the increasingly indomitable new foes each game/round, MS will keep you watching your point score, debating if you can hold out just long enough to squeak out a win versus the deadly Grecian monsters. And just like the Greek legends, there is even a hydra that when killed spawned new heads. Way to keep with the theme!
Princess KK - Cheaters guide on side of the screen is useful without being obstructive: One of the many wise design choices for this game was to give a small portion of the game’s screen real estate to show off what the battle cards various symbols mean. This decision, combined with hover over information for many things in game such as enemy minions or temple favors, make every last detail of Minos Strategos inner workings accessible without being intrusive.
OGW – Variety, Variety, Variety…of cards that is: Some cards deal small bits of damage but then spawn 2 minions in designated spots; others move a ton of soldiers and is easy to play. Another lets you attack move just as many guys but has a very difficult formation to format in the first place. My personal favorite card lets you spawn 1 soldier anywhere you like on the board and then score EVERY temple in play. With the variety of options from spawning soldiers to double scoring temples, there will be lots of player strategies that evolve with time playing MS. I will not "Apollo-gize" for like the card options available.
Princess KK - Draft the night away: Inside of the bonus options, there is a drafting mode. You start the game by picking 9 cards via a drafting system. Then, the game begins like normal. After you have scored your designated points, instead of going to the next rank immediately, you go back to the drafting screen to pick 9 new cards. This was quite enjoyable and allowed me to attempt to make a strategy on how to play. OGW, once he discovered this mode, stated that drafting mode will keep him coming back to MS over and over again.
OGW - Temple favors allow for some exhilarating combos: Temple Favors are simple icons that spawn representing a bonus power such as letting players move or attack several extra times after being picked up. These favors are massive game changers when comboed correctly. For example, one of my favorite turns: spawn two minions with a card, move one space to grab a temple favor that lets you draw and play a card, draw and play a card to spawn a minion then attack/move 5 times, finally using a favor you saved from a previous turn to score all of your temple—now that you have dominated the board. Favors allow for some amazing, amazing combos and if a player fails to take advantage of them, they will find themselves losing not long after.
Princess KK - The music is both thematic and stands out: Minos Strategos may not be dripping with thematics visually, but music is certainly one area where the developers nailed the Greek setting. Pleasant tunes set the mood of being in Greece, looking down over a table top where one person was playing Minotaurs, the other the warriors of Athens. All in all, we found the music pleasing and it was distinct and thematic enough that we could tell when each other were playing Minos Strategos while in an adjacent room.
OGW - For its price we would hope for more visual flare: This was one of the only areas of Minos Strategos where we found production value lacking. Your soldiers are just simple black and white symbols without any flare, the temples have no graphical representation other than a black square and enemy minions are pretty basic as well. MS excels at game play and audio, but visually it leaves much to be desired given its price.
OGW - Rank me up: Minos Strategos has a great ranking system that slowly introduces players to new enemies, new cards and slowly ramps up the difficulty. By rank 8, MS stops introducing new enemies or game play concepts to you and instead, each rank up in difficulty increases how many points you need to score to win. At any point through the bonus mode or the options screen, players can chose to drop rank to 1-5-10 to ease or increase difficult. We would say that any person who regularly plays 12 and up games should grasp Minos and that ranking should help keep games tight for most players.
O.G Willikers - In the end, Minos Strategos is a game of simple elegance that is looking to smash your face in. As you rank up the developers slowly introduce you to new enemies and cards in a way that makes it easy to learn and adapt to new play styles. But, each new enemy has an absolutely brutal new ability that makes Minos Strategos an increasingly tough game. New cards ramp up your options, allowing you to do crazy things such as spawn multiple new soldiers or attack with several of them. But the power creep in cards is not enough to keep up with the massively powerful threats you find yourself up against. Thankfully though, that’s what Temple Favors are for! These favors, working in unison with properly played cards, allow players to pull off miracles capable of taking down hordes of foes while double-scoring temples! Minos Strategos gets a recommendation from me for being an abstract game that let me slowly discover what my skills limits were slowly over time, while also letting me still pull of some sick combos. As it stands, I am at rank 12 and currently I find the game is starting to defeat me if I let my concentration slip at all or make critical mistakes. I feel I could have reached a rank or two higher, but my sweet Princess kept resetting the games ranking to skill level 5 since she was not aware of bonus mode!
Princess Kuchi Kopi- I am a sucker for abstract board games. So, I was a little biased going into playing Minos Strategos, as I knew I would probably like it from its board game-like play mechanics. Boy, I was right! OGW is absolutely telling the truth that this game grows with you in difficulty. I’ll be honest, despite that fact around rank 7, I keep losing. Minos Strategos is so simple to understand, yet so complex to master. But the score is always SOOO close. If I would get just one more turn, I would win! I am also one of those folks that got stressed out by the timer; I am a slow thinker and having to play against the clock forces me to make bad decisions on where to move my pieces or what enemies to kill. That’s not the games fault, that is just user error J And speaking of user error, at the end of these notes I finally listened to O.G Willikers and went into the Bonus section of the game. Guess what was there? Practice rounds…that have no timer :) Those were WAY more fun for me, though I never got higher than rank 7 in ANY mode. I even tried to create a strategy using drafting, and no luck getting past rank 7. You best bet that I will coming back for me though, just like the patrons that enjoyed watching the Gladiators fight. You knew someone was going to die, but it was the fight that kept you coming back.