Sometimes the best games are those you don’t find yourself. When we attended the last Origins Game Fair we took along a friend to her first gaming convention. She had a great time and found some wonderful games that she’s now introducing us to for the first time. And one of the first, and to me the best one, is Three Cheers for Master from Atlas Games.
Here’s the cover copy:
Master Has Been Blue, Lately…
It’s just not the same now that all lands known to evil have been conquered.
When Master’s blue, it’s the minions who suffer. As a lieutenant in Master’s army — a foreminion — it falls to you to cheer him up. Not the easiest task, even in the best of times.
But then it hit you: What better way to cheer Master up than a cheerleading competition?
Whichever foreminion builds and scales the most impressive tower of war-hungry minions will surely win Master’s heart.
…What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Indeed… what can go wrong?
A whole lot and it’s fun as heck to find out!!!
This card game has a lot going for it – hilarious cards, hysterical flavor text, interesting mechanics and a simple gameplay that means you can get a game going almost immediately with new people.
First the deck needs to be prepared – there are three types of cards; minions, movement cards and Big Hairy Fight cards along with two cards signalling that the Master is coming and that the Master has arrived… thus ending the game. Preparing the deck only takes a few minutes to fold in the needed cards for a game, depending on if you have two or more players. Then each player gets three cards and a ForeMinion token. This little fellow has to rise to the top of your cheer-leading pyramid to score the most points.
But… Minions don’t play together well. That’s why they’re minions. And fights can and will break out. And you just might want to handicap your opponent to make sure THEIR pyramid will not be as spectacular as yours is… after all, YOU deserve the Master’s approval, yes?
So out of your three cards you play two – there are three types of cards; Minion cards, movement cards and Big Fat Hairy Fight cards. Minion cards are exactly that – minions that can be placed on your creation OR on your opponent’s to cause havoc. Movement cards are the same – they can shift cards in your pyramid to create a better stack or to prevent a fight OR to mangle your opponent’s build.
Big Fat Hairy Fight cards are exactly that. Randomly inserted in the draw deck, you must stop as soon as each one of these cards appears and resolve ALL combat actions. This means some pyramids will collapse, some minions most certainly will die and your ForeMinion might end up flat on his back.
After you play two cards you draw back up and the next player goes. Play suspends when each Big Fat Hairy Fight card appears and combat happens – and when the Master finally appears you fight three times to show your worthiness and then count up your points to see who gains the Master’s approval.
Because it’s not just about how high your ForeMinion got – it’s also about the size… your point score will rise depending on the point value of each card and which level it’s at. A two-point minion on the second level will be multiplied by two, delivering four points. If the same card is on the third level it’ll be worth six and so on – up until where the ForeMinion sits.
Combat is fast, logical and hysterical – arrows on your minion cards show which way they will attack and in what priority. Three arrows go first, then two and then one. They will kill the minion next to it, leaving a gap in your pyramid.
But there are defenses. Barriers and shields can help your minions survive long enough to keep buildings… until, of course, the minion below them die and then gravity takes over.
Because We’ll Always Have Gravity.
Gravity will kill most minions and if it doesn’t it’ll definitely affect the stack build, forcing you to change your plans. And since combat doesn’t happen until a Big Fat Hairy Fight card appears you have time to fix any nasty cards your opponents play on your stack until… you can’t.
And then the Master arrives.
And then the Reckoning happens…
I loved this game if only because of the art and the flavor texts. It’s a great fast, fun game that’ll have you laughing as you tear each other down, waiting for the Master to show up. The game mechanic is sound and it’s not a case of how high you build your pyramid but the number of cards at each level as I discovered… there IS a strategy here and it’s a good one!