We were beyond excited when we first learned that Red Raven Games had a video game inspired board game coming to Target stores nationwide. I’m a big fan of Ryan Laukat’s games and the worlds he creates are so much fun. So does this new world of MegaLand deserve a space on your game shelf? Let’s find out.
MegaLand is a pretty generic video game world that’s beautifully illustrated in the same style as Laukat’s other games like Above and Below or Near and Far. The goal is to be the first to reach 20 coins over the course of the game. Players will press their luck as they adventure to find treasure in the world. This treasure can be traded for buildings or health upgrades for your character.
Players will choose one of 5 different characters that live in MegaLand. Each round starts with players putting their character standee on a cardboard tile. Players start with 4 hearts that represent their health. At the start of the round, everyone gets a random treasure tile from the deck. The top level card is flipped over and everyone suffers the effects of this card. 40% of the cards hurt characters while 60% of the cards have no effect or gives the players an additional treasure.
I really like that the top of each player board shows the type of enemy cards and how many are in the deck. For players that pay attention, they know exactly what the odds are as cards are flipped over.
Players get a treasure for each round they stay in the level. Before a new card is flipped over, players can decide if they want to head back home and bank the treasure they’ve already gained. If you ever run out of hearts, you lose all the treasure gained that turn.
Light Strategy, Big Fun
MegaLand has a simple gameplay loop that plays out in different ways depending on what players decide. When we started playing, I honestly thought that people would just do the same things each turn. By the third round, everyone was going for a different strategy to collect coins. MegaLand does a good job of making little decisions count.
After everyone comes back from the adventure, players enter the buying phase. Using your treasure, players can purchase buildings that give a onetime bonus or a bonus that triggers at specific times during the game. There are 6 building that have a star icon that will always be on the table for purchase. The game contains over a dozen other buildings that can be picked at random for each game. Each game can feel different based on what buildings are available. This is a real strength for the replayability of MegaLand.
Coins are gained from specific buildings in a number of ways. We’ve seen that having diversity in your buildings can be really helpful to getting the coins you need to win. The game comes to an end when someone reaches 20 coins. This can be a little deceptive because just reaching 20 doesn’t mean that you’ve won.
The end game for MegaLand has to be my favorite part. There is a level of complexity that is sitting there waiting to be solved. In our first game of MegaLand, I hit 20 coins before Erin did, which seems like a good thing, right? The game doesn’t end until the final phase (the night phase) of the round is over. I didn’t account for the fact that Erin was getting bonus coins during the night phase and this put her over 20 coins. It seemed like such a small detail but it mattered so much. So far, this has been the way many games of MegaLand has ended. Players have to be aware of what others are receiving in each phase of the game.
I’ve been very impressed with this new game from Red Raven Games. It’s not overly complex and doesn’t have the depth that other Laukat games have, but that doesn’t make it inferior. This game is light and very accessible to families with kids. This makes it a great entry point to the worlds that Red Raven Games created.
The game never feels overwhelming or complicated but you’re still given plenty of options. The press your luck element definitely gives the game some tension. In one round my daughter and I stayed in the round while everyone else went home. We knew the odds and when the Snake enemy showed up, we knew we were toast. My daughter and I lost all our treasure and hung our heads in shame while everyone else got to purchase new buildings.
One thing that I noticed as we played this game. Having a designated person to hand out treasure cards works so well. In games where someone didn’t pass out treasure during a round, I found that people would ask, “Did I pick up a card?” We’d count everything and figure it out but it slowed down the game overall.
Excellent Family Value
The production quality and presentation of MegaLand is exactly what you’d expect from Red Raven. They teamed up with Game Trayz to make one of the best inserts I’ve seen in a game this year. I love that the tray holds everything in place and the game is ready to play the minute you open the box. This is a big deal when you talk about playing a game with kids. It was so cool to hear my 10 year old run into the living room and say “I set up MegaLand, let’s play”. If MegaLand takes me 60 seconds to setup and start playing and another game takes 5 minutes to setup, chances are that MegaLand will see more time on our table.
MegaLand may not be the right game for you if you’re looking for a heavier game that you can immerse yourself in. I’m really impressed with the replayability of the game along with all the little touches that make this game so classy. If you’re a fan of press your luck games, this is a great one to add to your collection. If you have kids around the age of 7 to 12, MegaLand is such a great purchase. Just knowing that this game will be available at Target stores nationwide gets me so excited.
- Lots of buildings lead to great replayability
- Everyone stays involved each turn
- Excellent production and gameplay
- Simple enough for newer or young gamers
- Remembering phases of the game will take some practice
- Some building combinations can feel overpowered at times