Weekly PnP: Mint Control

  • Designer: Justin Blaske
  • Artist: Uncredited
  • Publisher: Five24 Labs
  • Kickstarter Late Pledge Available Here

Luke: When I first started playing board games more regularly, Mint Works was a game that blew me away. The worker placement formula, while a well-tread genre, was contained in such a svelte package that put a twinkle in my eye and made me excited for what more could be done with this format.

Phil: Hence your interest in the Button Shy wallet games.

Luke: But since that game, none of the others in the Mint series has drawn my attention as successfully. So with Mint Control just finishing out its Kickstarter campaign, let’s see if the PnP, currently free on PnPArcade, can give us that same magic Luke felt so long ago.

Phil: As the name suggests, this is an area control game where players are trying to place their influence in various buildings, scoring at the end of the game for each they alone control. Buildings vary in how many spaces are in each, the effects they provide, and the points they’re worth.

Luke: Much like San Juan or Villages of Valeria, the first player will take an action tile, getting the full effects of that tile. Then, all opponents will get a minor effect from that same action.

Actions include:

  • Earning mints.
  • Stealing mints.
  • Paying mints to place influence tokens.
  • Paying 1 mint to remove an enemy influence token.
  • Gaining special effects from locations you are present in or control.

Phil: After each round, if there are not enough action tiles left for every player, the tiles reset. This continues until the moment one player has all 5 of their influence tokens on the board. Whoever has the most points wins!

It’s a pretty light take on the genre, as one might expect, and the variety tends to come from the variety of locations that are available.

Luke: In a 2-player game (which is what we’re looking at primarily), you can find yourself with only 2 locations on the board due to the start set-up parameters, which can lead to a stale back-and-forth, but this is easily mulliganed if you wish, and the game’s so short it hardly matters.

Phil: Games are rather quick, clocking in at around 10 minutes apiece, meaning the game’s over before you even realize it.

Luke: That’s the beauty of such a small game; you find yourself at a convention with another friend, unsure of what to do, and bam, you pop out your mint tin, get in a quick match, and then go on your way.

Phil: But would you say this game is worth carrying in your pocket over other, similar games?

Luke: … Not really. Mint Works is still the superior tin game in my eyes. I just feel the gameplay and tension is a bit tighter.

And as nice as it is the games of Mint Control are quick, you can’t help but feel like they’re a little too quick at times. Players would often feel like matches were underwhelming, win or lose, and I don’t know that the 2-player format benefited it in any way.

Phil: There is a 1-player mode as well, but since the game’s so quick, playing Mint Control solo feels shallow and uninvolved.

Luke: I wish I liked this game so much more, as I have such respect for Five24 Labs, but that’s just how it shakes out sometimes.

Phil: Regardless of how we feel about this entry, we encourage folks to check out their store or page on PnPArcade and pick up Mint Works or another game from their series that catches your eye.

Verdict: Mint Control is a little too light and a little too quick for it to be a truly satisfying area-control game. It’s aesthetic and theming are as on-point as ever, but we just couldn’t shake the want for something a little more involved.

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