GrooveStomp

Android: Mainframe

After lunch today I made a visit to a local boardgame store just to see what was new. The local gamestore near my place is much cheaper, but has a drastically different selection, so it’s always nice to see what else is available.

There were two notable games on today’s visit:

  • Agricola: Family Edition
  • Android: Mainframe

I’ve seen mention of Agricola: Family Edition before, so that was neat to see in person. I watched a Tom Vasel review of it, and I think I would still prefer to play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small.

Onto the other game; Android: Mainframe is completely new on my radar. A quick read on the back says:

  • Two Player
  • Strategy Boardgame
  • < 30 min. play time

This sounds absolutely fantastic!

I’ve read two text reviews on Boardgamegeek, and unfortunately this game looks like a dud. I think this is really interesting, because I’ve been seriously thinking about Android: Netrunner a lot lately. It’s a game that I think is really interestingly broken. I won’t go into all the details here; I’ll just say that I’ve written pages of notes on it and am trying to identify what I like in the original design.

I was excited to see this two player strategic boardgame in the Android universe because there seems to be a large crossover with my thinking on Android: Netrunner. Things I would have liked to have seen in this version:

  • Retain the theme.
  • Make the theme far more accessible. The theme should aid understanding and make the mechanics intuitive. Android: Netrunner horrendously fails at this.
  • Retain asymmetric roles.
  • Remove output randomness.
  • Remove out-of-band deck construction.
  • Much more!

A quick glance makes it obvious that none of this applies to Android: Mainframe. This game is simply a rethemed version of Bauhaus1 with some random elements added via your “powers” in your hand.

Bauhaus looks pretty fun, but I think the attempt to theme it and add random elements probably subverts the basic game. Oh well. I guess this is good motivation to keep doing my thinking and planning on an Android: Netrunner influenced game design of my own! :-)


Footnotes

1Bauhaus boardgame

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