Our preview post below was published on May 28.
Mechanical Beast is a 1-4 player tile laying puzzle game in which your team of engineers is navigating a giant robot with the aim to deactivate it. It can be played solo, co-op, or competitively, and it will launch on Kickstarter on May 31.
The first half of the game has you exploring the maze of tiles in order to find the deactivation switch. Once you do, you must rush to the exit before the tiles collapse and trap you inside the robot forever. Some of the tiles have gears that allow you to change their orientation, and you win by managing to get all your people out, including your trusty android.
To set up the game, you follow the instructions on how to add the Control Room, the Lockdown, and the Emergency Exit in the tile deck. You place the Entrance tile at the center of the table, and place one engineer meeple and the android meeple on top of it. Then, on each turn, you may move either the engineer or the android any number of rooms, and perform one of two actions: Explore or Activate a Gear. You can move one meeple and do an action with the other, but you can't move them both or take an action with both.
In the Movement phase, you can move through any number of rooms that have already been explored. There must always be an open door or a glass door connecting them, you can't go through walls or locked doors. To Explore, you place a meeple on an open doorway, and then draw a new tile from the deck and attach it to the previous one. You move the meeple onto it. Every room with a locked door -except the Control Room and the Lockdown- contains people. You place a people marker there to signify it. People don't leave the room, unless it collapses.
To Activate a Gear, you lay a meeple on its side on top of the gear, and turn the tile clockwise or counter-clockwise as many times as you need. This will also turn the orthogonally adjacent rooms in the opposite direction. When you find the Control Room, the engineer will turn off the switch (the android cannot do that), and the robot will start to collapse.
A room will collapse once a meeple leaves it behind. You then remove the tile from its position, and slide all other tiles in the same row to fill in the empty spot. Whenever a room with people in it collapses, you take the people marker in your hand (meaning you are rescuing them). When you reveal the Lockdown room, all unexplored rooms become locked, and the Explore action is no longer possible. Gears can still be turned, though, and rooms will continue collapsing. If your engineer is ever trapped inside the Lockdown, you lose the game.
If you manage to save your engineer and the people, but not the android, you may consider it a minor victory: you may have escaped, but you lost millions of dollars and a good friend.