Before I begin, I was sent a prototype copy of the game and will receive a copy of the game should it fund. This is not a paid review. If you would rather see a video review, then you can check it out below. Get your own copy here.
There are a few kinds of game that I enjoy, but am extremely crummy at. Chief among these are hidden movement games. I think it is my overall lack of intelligence that gets me most of the time, and lack of ability to keep a ton of information in my head all at once. However, there are many others in my life that are quite good at these games, and I was SUPER excited to try out Mind MGMT with them. I will spare you the suspense and tell you now that they obliterated me!
In Mind MGMT players one person is the recruiter, out to get, you guessed it, new recruits for Mind MGMT. The other players all represent the rogue agents out to catch the recruiter. The game ends in one of three ways, the recruiter recruits all the recruits(That’s right, I used recruit three times in a sentence), the Rogue Agents catch the recruiter while he/she is recklessly recruiting new recruits, or though the recruiter fails to recruit enough recruits they live to recruit recruits another day because the game timed out. (I may have gone off the rails a bit here)
Without going into great details (I go into some in the video that is already posted) the recruiter has a hidden mini map, on which they use a dry erase marker to record their moves. At the beginning of the game they will have selected three locations where they can recruit. These locations are spread all throughout the city, and every time they step on one they gain a new recruit. Additionally, they will be moving their lackies (immortals) around the city who will also help them recruit, and help hide the recruiter from the rogue agents.
At the same time the Rogue Agents are moving about through the city, asking if the recruiter has been to certain locations, making mental notes (in the form of dry erase tokens that can be put on the board), pushing immortals around, and Shaking them down for info about where the recruiter is heading. Eventually (if I am the recruiter) they will know where the recruiter is heading and capture him in the act!
Clearly the devil is in the details, but at the end of the day the game is actually that simple to play.
So what do I think?
I really like the art work, it has a water color vibe to it, which I find very pleasant to look at. I also really love the way the board looks. Though I only played with a prototype, I think the components promise to be fantastic!
Now to the real meat and potatoes. The mechanics of the game are very good, and it helps that the rulebook does a wonderful job of explaining them. I really enjoyed playing as the recruiter, on the surface it is simpler to play but the real gameplay is listening to the Rogues discussion and try to plan out how to outwit them. On the flip side, there is something super satisfying about playing as the Rogue Agents. Making your notes and placing them all over the map, only to know that you will have to pick them up later, and commit to where you think the recruiter is, is just super satisfying to do. I will also just add that the interaction between the immortals and the rogue agents is just a delight.
Next, the game comes with 10 mini expansions. These expansions are each small comics, that give a new power, or mechanic to one side or the other. Ostensibly, when one side loses they get to open one of the comics and add that to the game, to, perhaps, give them a leg up next game. It is super cool.
Finally, I will add that the game plays quite quickly in general, almost always less than an hour and fifteen minutes.
I think it is definitely worth noting, that while I enjoy playing as the recruiter, it does run the risk of having a lot of downtime. It is possible for the rogue agents turn to go on for a long time, as they discuss the best way to catch the recruiter.
It’s a hidden movement game. Just make sure you know what that is before you dive in! I have yet to play one of these with someone who thought the genre was “fine”. These types of games are very “thinky”. So if that is not your style, then well, this is not for you. I will note that this is not a critique so much of the game, but more a warning and reminder that that is what the game is all about.
Bringing it all together
Mind MGMT may well have leaped to my favorite hidden movement game. It is fast, looks great on the table, has dramatically different feels when you play as either side. The rules are stunningly clear, and simply to grasp. This leads to a fast game that is highly satisfying. It is possible for the Rogue Agents turns to go long with discussion, and hidden movement games are not for everyone! Though if the genre is for you, then this game is for you.
When we speak psychically we use bullet points
* Great looking Game
* Tight mechanics that are easy to learn, and fast to play
* There can be some downtime when playing as the recruiter
* Does a good job of capturing the theme of psychic espionage
* Comes with super cool mini-expansions
* Hidden movement games might not be for you, but if they are, this might just be the best of the bunch
* I keep losing, but I keep wanting to play again!