Giant fighting robots has always been something I have been a huge fan of and while I never got into any of the Gundam series, watching the Megazord beat down on some giant versions of Rita’s minions was of particular interest to me. This fascination is also why Pacific Rim is still one of my go-to movies whenever I’m feeling like an action flick. I’ve always wanted to pilot a giant mech and battle my foes. Now, thanks to Wreck-A-Mecha from Black Table Games, I can live out this dream (albeit, a little less dangerously).
Black Table Games, founded by husband-and-wife team of Jesse and Shay Gregory, believe “games should have meaningful mechanics that support their theme, have easy to learn instructions, and not take all night to play a round.” They have definitely fulfilled their vision and made a game I thoroughly enjoyed spending all night at the local Buffalo Wild Wings playing round after round.
In Wreck-A-Mecha players build a giant robot starting with a randomly assigned Head and Core part, along with arms and legs from their decks. Destroying your opponent’s parts earns you victory points, and the first to gain 10 points is the winner. Each turn gives the player three actions with which to install a part, attack the opponent, defend their own mech, or a number of other actions.Newly installed arms can not attack on the same turn that they are added, but can be used to defend the mech, which prevents your opponent from attacking any other part of your mech for one attack. This limited move pool every turn makes it very important for the player to think strategically and plan ahead if they have any hope of coming out victorious when the dust clears on the battle.
The rules of the game are simple enough: build your Mecha using the different parts with various abilities and fight your opponent. I played with a friend of mine who doesn’t play games very often, and they were able to pick up on how to play, and get better at the strategy with each game we played. In the end, my friend said they kept wanting to play and we only quit because it was getting late, and we had work the next day. If that had not been the case, both of us would have kept playing for hours. This ease of gameplay will allow you to take the game to any gathering and get to playing the game very quickly with everyone able to join.
The basic make up of each Mecha allows for a core piece, a head piece, one set of legs, and two arm slots. Each piece of tech that can be used to create your battlemech has a special ability that can be used. As mentioned previously, the Gorgon head piece allows the player to add a third arm to the mech. There’s a Rocket Punch arm that allows the arm to be used as a different damage type than what is listed on the card. Arms and legs can be swapped out as they get destroyed and some combinations have compatible abilities allowing the user to boost attacks, or use their legs to bypass defenses to attack your opponents core directly. The players only get one head and core to last the whole match, but these pieces have the most powerful abilities for utilization. With many different combinations of parts, each match plays differently for the players and forces creative planning during the battle.
The art on each card is absolutely phenomenal. Artist Tracy Nguyen has created some fantastic designs that look and feel like they would be found on battlemechs in the real world, or would not feel out of place in many fictional settings where these reign supreme. One matching set of arm and leg cards gives of a Voltron vibe, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the source of inspiration. As someone who didn’t grow up watching a lot of shows with battlemechs, it has been really fun trying to research different mechs and see if I can piece together what inspirations Black Table Games have used for the art. It’s like a game within the game. That’s two game for the price of one! What a deal!!
In addition to the basic rules, there are two other game types that players can add to bring additional aspects to the game. One of these is the inclusion of “faction cards”, cards that represent various manufacturers that a player can choose to have. These cards provide some additional abilities or actions if the player has two or more parts installed that belong to this faction, and encourage planning ahead to maximize this ability. The other game type is a 2v2 mode that can be played by adding a second copy of the game. While I didn’t get to try out the 4-player mode, I’m excited to pick up another copy to be able to do so.
In summary, Black Table Games has made a very fun and easy to play game in Wreck-A-Mecha that harkens back to Mecha battles in various anime and video games. Each game is quick enough to fit into a 30 minute time span with little time devoted to trying to understand complex rules and can be picked up very easily by people who do not devote significant portions of their life playing games.
BTG is planning a Kickstarter to fund Wreck-A-Mecha soon. I highly recommend supporting this project and getting your own copy. Find out more about the game and Black Table Games on their website, follow them on Twitter, or visit them on Facebook. You can also stay up to date on news about Wreck-A-Mecha, including receiving notifications when the Kickstarter goes live, at their Kickstarter site.
Eli can be found on Twitter @TheVikingBear__.