One of my very first collectible card games was “Star Trek: The Next Generation Customizable Card Game”. As a kid, I loved seeing all of the different cards and got a thrill out of opening those new booster packs to see what new cards I could add to my deck. As I get older, I have less and less patience for customizable card games because of all of the mechanics one has to remember. I own a bunch of “Magic: The Gathering” decks but never have the patience to learn all of the card mechanics. It’s because of this that I was excited to receive a customizable card game to where the computer does all of the work for me, without the hassle of figuring out who wins what battle because of X and Y abilities. Before we get started with “Minion Master”, I’d like to thank David Steinwedel from BitFlip Games for providing me with a free review copy along with the “Release Package” (includes all five decks).
As you may have guessed, “Minion Master” is a digital board game that features collectible card game mechanics. Getting started is free and involves signing up on their website (link at the end of this article), redeeming your key, and downloading the game. You’ll be able to choose from one of five starter decks in the process. The official site features an online store to purchase the remaining starter decks and boosters, should you want to expand your game. What’s more, the “Cards” page on the same site lists out all of the cards you’d find under each deck. This is useful if you don’t know what deck you’d like to start out with.
There are two main factions found in “Minion Master”: Fantasy and Horror. The Fantasy faction includes the “Blitzing Rush”, “The King’s Army”, and “Sorcery” starter decks whereas the Horror faction includes the “Zombie Summoner” and the “Werewolves, Slashers, and Spiders” decks. Each of these decks have pre-built variations, but you can purchase boosters to mix things up. The boosters themselves contain five cards, are randomized, and promise to contain at least one summoner card and a deck point value of twenty-five or higher. In the end, a deck of cards contains summoner cards (which bring units to the battlefield) and modifier cards (that effect the units currently in play). It’s important to note that you can mix and match cards between the fantasy and horror decks, assuming you can make them work well together.
The main menu of the game itself allows you to participate in single and multiplayer matches, learn via tutorials, dabble in the level editor, customize your deck in the deck builder, adjust game options, and view the card shop. The options menu covers your basics…screen resolution, window mode toggle, vsync, monitor assignment, sound levels, camera controls, and etc. Clicking on the card shop minimizes the game and takes your browser to the “Card Shop” page on the official website. Both the deck builder and level editor are my favorite parts, as I love being able to customize my game the way I want. I spent hours looking at all of the cards and trying to figure out which cards should be paired together to make the ultimate deck. While my attempts to do so usually end in failure, I still enjoy trying out all the different combinations.
The board is made up of tiles, and there are many configurations available to suit your needs. As I mentioned earlier, there is a map editor that allows you to custom design your own playing field. I personally saw this as a nice touch, especially since there are so many gamers out there with creative minds jumping at the chance to personalize games like this. Depending on the type of tile and the height they currently rest on, you’ll see various positive and negative effects at work as you move your units around the battlefield.
Like in most collectible card games (“Yu-Gi-Oh”, “Magic: The Gathering”, etc.), you’ll have an avatar with a set number of life points. Your goal is to make all of your opponents lose their health, mainly by destroying their minions. Everyone takes their turn at the same time, choosing what cards they’d like to use or discard, then committing. It’s important to mention that the five cards you have available do not carry over and are all discarded at the end of that turn, regardless if you use them or not.
Cards themselves have a cost associated with using them and the currency in this game is mana. You can discard cards from your hand to earn mana, which is then used to play the remaining cards. A typical turn might involve discarding three cards and using the mana earned from them to play the remaining two. Like the cards, mana does not carry over from turn to turn. I found that concept to be interesting simply because it forces you to make do with the cards you have every turn, based on the situation currently in front of you.
Once all modifier cards have been assigned as appropriate, the computer controls the units based on the behaviors you set for them. Players do not actually control how their summoned units move. I thought I would dislike this at first, but came to realize that it adds a strategic depth to it that I wasn’t expecting. Since units are moved via AI behavior, you can see what your opponent’s unit behaviors are and plan accordingly.
Overall, I found “Minion Master” to be a fantastic game. I found the pricing model to be fair, giving players the ability to pick an option that best suits their budget. Playing for free will give a player a starter deck, but they are free to purchase extra cards to expand their game (be it the boosters or various packages). Or, they could purchase the twenty dollar package from the get go and get access to all five decks (two hundred and sixty-six cards). I do think the boosters are a bit pricey, but when you consider the big picture, the twenty dollar package plus six boosters still would be about twenty dollars less than your average sixty dollar game. (Yeah, that’s a lot of math…I’m an accountant, don’t try this at home!) “Minion Master” is an incredibly simple, yet deep strategy game that will appeal to players of all ages. Its many game options ensure that whether you’re in the mood for single player, co-op, or multiplayer mayhem, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Anyone who plays customizable card games would do well to look into this particular one.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Minion Master” by visiting the following websites:
You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:
You can view play session videos here: