In December 2021, I backed a small card game on Kickstarter called Mindbug. It was from an upstart publisher, but I backed it because:

  • I really liked the concept of a fast-playing, 1-on-1 card battle game that evoked the feel of a lightweight “Magic the Gathering” but built around a single deck of cards.
  • The card art looked absolutely fantastic.
  • Richard Garfield was one of the game designers.

In October 2022, Mindbug arrived at my house. It has been sitting on my game shelf since then.

On Sunday, April 2nd, I finally played it. One word sums up my initial impression: Wow.

On the afternoon of April 2nd, my friend Wally Wenklar and I sat down, watched a YouTube video to learn how to play it, and then proceeded to play 5 games of Mindbug in a row. It took a couple of plays to really grok the system, but wow, Richard Garfield strikes again!

The level of complexity & strategy, short game length, and variety of cards achieve a perfect harmony here. It’s a rules-light game, but still very satisfying to play. And the artwork on the cards is fantastic and funny; they were highly creative with the hybrid creatures they devised.

For a game that takes 15-25 minutes to play and that’s based around a small box of cards, it’s amazing how much engaging gameplay is packed into this. We didn’t even play with the Expansion Deck that came with the crowdfunded version. I can’t wait to try that.

Overall, Mindbug is a truly elegant game design and a real surprise gem for me. I was not expecting to like it that much.


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