I love Mega Man. I grew up with Mega Man games, starting on the NES and playing them in all their sequels, spin-offs, and remakes throughout the years on various systems. As a kid I would put on my dad’s motorcycle helmet and run around pretending to be the Blue Bomber, stopping evil Robot Masters from helping Dr. Wily take over the world.
Needless to say, I was mega excited to see Mega Man: The Board Game hit Kickstarter. Though I didn’t end up backing the game, Jasco Games was kind enough to help me get my hands on the retail version of the base game along with the Time Man and Oil Man expansion. I was a bit bummed that I wouldn’t be getting the extra heroes and other plastic bits, but was still ecstatic when the game arrived in the mail. I refrained from reading reviews, watching gameplay videos, etc… so I could experience all the glory of Mega Man on my own terms. I took some pictures, then waited until I had a good amount of time to get it to the table.
In the words of George Takei, “Oh my.”
Let me start off by saying that Mega Man is a physically stunning game. All the pieces are well made, sturdy, and amazing looking. The only two exceptions here are the tiny challenge cards, and the colored dots used to differentiate the players’ Mega Man figures. The cards are smaller than the cards in the original Ticket to Ride. I have no idea what Jasco was thinking with these. The colored dot stickers were impossible for me to get off the sticker sheet, and I ended up tearing the thing in half trying to pull them off. I guess I’ll have to paint colored dots on the player figs, or just color their entire bases with some spray paint. All in all, the game is striking to look at, and play with.
If only the rest of the game were as amazing.
The rules are written well enough, though hard to grasp in some areas. I had to reread the game setup several times, and constantly refer back to them. The rules also reference items that were only Kickstarter extras, and aren’t for sale to the public yet. It would have been nice to leave this info out, and include it only with the add-ons. Even with all that, once my kids and I got into the swing of things we were able to move through the game with ease.
The game states on the box that play-time is 60-90 minutes. This is an outright lie. It took about an hour just for the four of use to each take two turns. Granted it took a bit longer for us to get through our first turns, but our second turns were still really long even though we knew what we were doing at that point. None of us had even beaten a boss until around 90 minutes in. A more realistic time estimate for the game would be 4 hours, likely more if you add more players and the expansion in. Probably a bit more if you add the Yellow Devil piece into the game, which adds an extra boss fight before Dr. Wily…who you have to beat two times.
Did I mention that the Yellow Devil doesn’t come with the game, even though he’s got a clearly marked spot on the board? He’s not even for sale yet, and I doubt he will be seeing as I don’t believe this game is going to do very well in the long run. Other player characters such as Roll, Proto Man, Dr. Light, and Rush were also only available via Kickstarter, and I doubt they’ll see the light of day for public sale either. I’m probably out of luck hoping to see Bass and Treble added to the game.
Mega Man is a push your luck game, and I feel like underneath it all there could have been a good game here. Everything just takes way too long. A player flips a challenge, can play a card, other players can then play cards, repeat until no one can/wants to play more cards, then dice are rolled to meet the challenge and anything else added to it. Beat the challenge and you can try another one. Fail, and your turn ends. You also have an exorbitant amount of health to lose, and 3 lives you can lose before you have to start a boss’ level over again. Once you reach a boss your have to whittle down their extremely high amount of hit points to beat them and earn their Robot Power. You then have to do this all over again with another Robot Master before you can take on the Wily challenges and then fight Wily…twice…to beat the game.
It’s a slog, and gets pretty boring pretty fast.
I feel like Jasco would have had better luck pushing this as a 4-player game with 4 different player characters in the base box. Even then, the rules would need a complete overhaul to keep this game in the 60-90 minute range the box advertises.
It’s really a shame, because like I said earlier, it looks amazing. The game is begging for house rules to clean it up a bit so it doesn’t just gather dust on the shelf. I feel kind of bad for people who shelled out insane amounts of money getting all the extras and plastic bits during the Kickstarter campaign. Hell. I feel bad for those who paid full retail price for the game.
A copy of Mega Man was discounted for review by Jasco Games