After the fun game Mint Works and the (for solo players) much less so Mint Delivery, now it's time for the third one in a tin: Mint Cooperative. Designed by Jonathan Gilmour and Brian Lewis of Dinosaur Island fame.
But I already have a coop in a tin, I hear you say. Yes, so do I. Let's see how it holds itself against the competition.
Mintopia City is at risk of falling to Halitosis. You try to stop one of three villains, using actions that become available through dice rolls. Unfortunately those dice rolls also cause trouble cards to be drawn which have to be resolved first. Some of these cards trigger mayhem. If you manage to survive three of these mayhem cards, you win the game.
For solo, you always play three handed. You pick three heroes out of six. Here's set up on easy difficulty:
Then your heroes will try to put fresh mints on the board while keeping the panic levels under control.
Playing against the easiest villain, Nick O'Teen, is only interesting for learning the rules. You can win very easily and it is not really exciting. Just like with Mint Works, the personalities and rules for advanced enemies are well done. The game suddenly gets way harder though and that can be a bit of a problem, because of the dice.
Normally I like dice. But to have the actions only available depending on the outcome of your roll, can get very frustrating real quick. You can have trouble cards hitting you hard turn after turn, without anything to prevent or remedy it because you just didn't roll the right numbers and the much needed actions are not available to you. Again and again, and then you've lost.
So you must enjoy gameplay enough to just shrug and set it up again. Knowing that over the course of a few games played, your rolls will even out and some games will feel more balanced.
Where Mint Works is both a nice filler game and a good one to introduce people to worker placement games, I think this new game scores somewhat less. For an entry-level coop I'd still use the also tinned Forbidden Island. I even prefer that one over Pandemic for solo, on a higher difficulty setting or with a variant island layout.
But Mint Cooperative will come in a smaller can. And it's purple!
The Kickstarter campaign for Mint Cooperative will start on 9 September. Print and play files of the prototype version can be downloaded from the games page on Board Game Geek.