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Minecraft: Builders and Biomes Game Review by Jennifer LadewigRavensburger North America
915 East Pine Street,
Seattle, WA 98122
Minecraft Builders & Biomes ~ A Minecraft Board Game is one of the many board games from Ravensburger. The game is for 2-4 players and on average takes approximately 30-60 minutes to play. Players will explore the Overworld, mine blocks, and build structures. Just like the video game version of Minecraft, players will carefully build and defeat dangerous mobs to win. The game is built upon luck, strategy, communication, creativity, and action. Included in the game are the following contents: 64 wooden blocks, 64 building and monster cards, 36 weapon tokens, 4 player boards, 4 experience counters, 4-character skins, 4 game piece bases, 12 overview cards, 1 block base, and 1 support structure. The cost of the game is $39.99.
This game is intended for ages 10-99. So how do you play? First, you will take the 64 build and monster card stack and shuffle them. You will then divide them into 16 stacks of 4 cards each. Space needs to be left between the stacks. Next, the 36 weapon tokens need to be divided up into 16 even stacks that will be placed around the building and monster cards. Next, there is a block base and support structure that will be used to help build the 64-piece block cube. Depending on the number of players you will then choose your player board, character skin, and experience counter. Each one is a different color. Every player also gets 5 weapon tokens. The overview cards which explain the turn actions and 3 stages of the game need to be placed where all players can view them. That is the set-up in a nutshell.
Now to play the game. I will do my best to explain the game. I may leave out details but will try to give you a basic overview of how the game is played. When a player takes a turn, they will take two actions.
There are 5 different actions to choose from:
- You can take two cubes.
- 16 wood, 14 sand, 12 stone, 10 obsidian, and 12 emerald.
- You can move them two spaces between tile stacks. You then reveal the weapon tokens and building and monster cards surrounding your character.
- On the building cards in the lower right-hand corner, there are blocks that tell the player exactly the blocks that they need to have to build. If they have the corresponding matching blocks in their possession, they can play this action. They then put the blocks back. Emerald blocks can be used as any blocks. You can move the block to any spot on your board. There are 4 biomes: mountaintops, snowy tundra, desert, and forest. You can build upon tiles throughout the game. In the upper right-hand corner of the building cards, there may be experience points. If there are then you move your marker that many spaces.
- If you happen to turn over a monster card you then take your stack of weapon tokens and turn over 3 of them. They will either show weapons or poison potatoes. You then look at the total number of hearts on your cards. If the total number of hearts is lower than the number of hearts on the mob card you did not defeat the monster. It then stays there. If your total number of hearts is equal or great to the number of hearts to the monster card, then you have defeated the monster. You keep the card and whatever experience points are on the card you then move you token that many spaces. There are many kinds of mobs.
- You can also collect weapons to add to your pile if your character piece is by weapons.
- Bows, Golden Hoes, Stone Pickaxe, TNT. All have different advantages and special abilities.
There are three scoring rounds in the game (A, B, and C). The first-round ends when the first level of blocks (A) from the cube is gone. The second round is over when the second level of cubes (B) is gone. And the third, and final round of the game is complete when the third level cubes (C) are gone. When each round is complete scoring takes place. For the first-round players will look at their board and chose which biome is their highest-scoring one. They must be connected. Reference overview card A to help add up the points for the chosen biome. You then move your marker that many spaces on your game base. In the second round, you will choose a material using card B. You follow the same rules as round one. For round three you will use card C which represents dwellings. Again, you will follow the same steps as in the first two rounds. The final step is to collect points from defeated mob cards that you have. The player with the most experience points wins.
There is a wonderful instruction guide that breaks down the rules and scoring for the game. It has pictures of the different cards and examples to explain just how the different cards work. There is also a variant of the game for beginners.
I think that this game is a fantastic addition to the video game version of Minecraft. It gets kids away from their devices and around the table with friends and family playing a game they love. My family enjoyed playing the game. It has been a while since any of my kiddos have played Minecraft, but they all played it and loved it. Minecraft Builders & Biomes will be a game that will be in our normal game rotation. I will admit that for those that are not familiar with Minecraft, like me, it will take a while to get the hang of the game. There is A LOT to the game. Once you understand the game it is easy. I would recommend this game to families looking for a fun game that will challenge the whole family. There is a bit of something for everyone as the game requires strategy, creativity, communication, action, and of course good old luck.
-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2020