What's Eric Playing? #125: Mint Delivery [Preview]
Full disclosure: A preview copy of Mint Delivery was provided by Five24 Labs. Some aspects of the game are subject to change, so please keep that in mind, as this is a preview of a currently unpublished game.
Hey, I'm actually doing Kickstarter previews again! I took a short hiatus and am still kind of out of it, so, that happened. Either way that's just my life and not really part of the reason that you're reading, so let's just move onto the game.
Mint Delivery takes place after you've made all the mints. You load them up into the mint ... trucks, and you go! There are all kinds of places you need to deliver orders to (and from), and you better be efficient if you're going to make Employee of the Month, because your coworkers are competing with you for that prestigious honor. Will you just keep trucking along to success? Or will someone else get the closest parking spot to work next month?
So the game's pretty simple to set up. There are mints of three types: White Classic, Green Sugar-Free, and Red Cinnamon:
Set those aside. Next, give each player a truck of their color:
Also, give them a corresponding Truck Card:
Then set up the map, putting all the trucks in Mintopia City:
Now, give each player 4 Classic Mints for their truck and 3 Order cards:
You're only allowed to keep Order cards such that you have 6 or fewer stars between your Orders. Return ones you don't want to keep to the deck, which is then shuffled. Make four piles of 7, and put them near each of the cities on the corners of the map, and then flip two over.
Once you've done all that, pick a starting player and you're ready to begin!
Mint Delivery is played over a series of turns in which you attempt to pick up and deliver mint orders to and from cities and warehouses. On your turn, you can perform any two of the following actions (and you may repeat the same action twice):
- Move: You move one space on the board in any direction. Every circle counts as a space.
- Take Mints: If you are on a Warehouse (black) space or Mintopia City, you may take Classic Mints from the Supply (2 on Warehouses, 4 on Mintopia). You may only keep four mints in your truck at a time.
- Unload Mints: If you are on a Warehouse space or Mintopia City, you may return as many mints from your truck as you'd like to the Supply.
- Upgrade Mints: If you are on a Warehouse space or Mintopia City, you may trade two Classic Mints for one Sugar-Free Mint. If you are on Mintopia City, you may trade three Classic Mints for one Cinnamon Mint.
- Take Order: If you are on one of the City spaces in the corner and there are still face-up orders available, you may take one of the orders. If you do, put a Classic Mint on the other order and replenish the order from the order deck. If there are mints on the order you took, add them to your truck (if possible). You may only have three undelivered orders at a time.
- Deliver Order: If you are on the City space matching one of your orders and you have the required mints in your truck, you can deliver them to the Supply and score that order by flipping it face-down. In a two-player game, you can now discard any face-up order on the board. If there are mints on the order you discard, return them to the Supply.
Once you've done that, it's the next player's turn! Play continues until either:
- All cities have two or fewer orders remaining
- Two cities have no orders remaining
If either of those things happen, the game ends at the end of the round (before the Starting Player gets another turn). At that point, reveal all your completed orders. The player with the most points wins!
Player Count Differences
I mean, at two there's the whole kinda-aggressive order discarding thing, which is kinda cool. I haven't tried it at 5, but I imagine it slows down a bit. The nice thing is that generally, other than contention around getting orders, the game happens pretty independently of other players. I wouldn't say that it's particularly different at any player counts, other than a bit more aggressive at two. That said, I think it's useful, otherwise you're kind of relying on luck of the draw.
- Try to move as little as possible. I mean, moving is an action, so if you spend your actions getting Mints instead of moving all around the board, that seems objectively ... better?
- If you can get bonus mints, it's not a bad idea. Especially if you're getting three Classic Mints by taking an order -- that's strictly better than refilling at a Warehouse. Just saying.
- If you're going last, try to end the game, as long as you think you're winning. If you can surprise someone by ending the game so that they don't get another turn, you might be able to lure them into a trap (or trick them into wasting some actions).
- It's not a bad idea to stop by Mintopia if you're going from one corner to the other. It's a good idea, generally, since you can fill up for one action rather than two.
- I don't know if taking Cinnamon Mints is always the best idea, unless it's the first part of the game. It takes a while to get back to Mintopia. Your mileage may (literally) vary on this suggestion, though.
- Don't ever get into a position in which you need to dump mints. That's a whole wasted action, which sucks.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- I love the design. Bright colors, great puns, etc.
- The game's easy to learn. Doesn't take long to teach at all.
- Very portable. It's the size of a mint tin, which is delightful.
- Very good, simple example of a pick up and deliver game. It teaches the mechanic very well, which I find impressive.
- The modular map is a nice touch. I like that it's assembled before the game starts. Reminds me a bit of Ursa Miner and the whole process of building Mount Honeycomb.
- The pieces are very nice. Good component quality, and vaguely whimsical, which I appreciate.
- I worry about taking it places because there are so many tiny pieces. It's a great portable game but I would only play it at my destination.
- The Order cards are real tiny. Just tough to shuffle, sometimes.
- It's got a bit of a hiccup in the explanation phase. If you're playing your first game you might not know what orders do or why they're useful, so having to choose some and discard others might confuse new players or leave them with a useless order at the start of the game. It's kind of like learning a drafting game for the first time. I usually explain how the game works and then give them their first orders. This happens a lot in games with drafting or pre-game elements, though. I just find it mildly irksome.
- Can feel a bit rote. I think this is easily fixed by having multiple maps and this is the "starter" version, personally, though I'm not sure how difficult that'd be to implement. It's occasionally a bit frustrating for me that every town is two steps away from anything else and there's no variance between routes. I would absolutely love alternate maps or pathways (sort of like what Islebound from Red Raven Games does with variable setups). It sounds like Team Play and a solo version are coming, so that might also add a bit more to do.
Overall: 7.25 / 10
Overall, Mint Delivery is solid! It makes me want to pick up Mint Works and try it, since it's part of a design theme of "games in mint containers". I think it's really cool how they're solid examples of their mechanic but packaged in an easily-transported and easily-understood game. It really speaks to the skill of the designer, and the art / graphic design / etc. are all fun and whimsical, so that's also a good extra boon. I'd say it's definitely worth checking out, and it'll probably stay in my Quiver / other game storage solution for a while, yet.