Fantasy Flight Games have taken the age old family favourite of tiddlywinks to a whole new level with their family boardgame Micro Mutants Evolution. With a little bit of skill, a healthy dose of luck and and a pinch of strategy, you can lead your bug army to victory.
Micro Mutants Evolution plays out with you and your opponent(s) taking turns to flick your bug counters, tiddlywinks style towards your opponents bugs and their base, with the ultimate goal of the game being to destroy your opponent’s bases before he can destroy yours. Bugs often have special abilities detailed on accompanying cards that allow them extra moves or attacks. Included in the game are 4 complete bug armies, their associated tokens and cards and game pieces, and a large fabric play mat for conducting your battles on.
The four bug armies included in the game are stylistically different and have a range of special abilities giving good variety in play whichever you choose. They are the Usarthropods, bedecked in stars and stripes, the borg-like Flyborgs, the soviet styled Sovietopters and the Chitinians, rebellious slaves from the Flyborg Empire.
The rules run to an extremely generously illustrated fifteen pages, but don’t let that put you off. You can get started on the basic game after only three pages and reference to a few pictures. The game requires a small amount of skill. It is all too easy to flick the bugs too hard and send them flying from the play mat. Equally it is easy to do the opposite and barely move your bug. This could get frustrating for younger players unable to quickly adapt to the dexterity required to play the game successfully.
The game can be played with 2-4 people and takes 30-60 minutes. You would think that with four people the game would be more fun as there would be more targets to aim at and random flicking would be more likely to yield a hit. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case when we played the four player game. The likelihood of a successful attack didn’t seem to increase significantly, and the main impact of the four player game was much longer between successive turns. The sweet-spot for this game is definitely two players.
The game is recommended for ages 10 and above, though our 6 year old son had no trouble understanding the rules. There is a bit of reading involved to understand the special powers that are available to some of the bugs, but there is no benefit in these being kept secret and so I was able to help my son understand the special moves and powers available to him without biasing the game in my favour.
The nature of the game means that a slightly springy surface is needed to get the pieces to fly through the air. We originally started playing on the dining room table, but had no luck in getting the bugs airborne. We decanted to the living room carpet and had a lot more success.
If you are looking for a fairly unique game this holiday season, then you could do a lot worse than Micro Mutants.
Wired: Game play is quite involving and the element of skill makes it feel like you are influencing proceedings more than with a purely dice based game.
Tired: Playing with more than two players drags on a little. Crawling around on the carpet can be tough on the old knees after a while.