Stranger Things: Attack of the Mind Flayer is a party game that can be played by 4-10 players. Players will be able to play as their favorite character from Stranger Things and try to either survive without becoming possessed by the mind flayers, or by becoming possessed by the mind flayers and trying to get all other sane characters to become possessed. During the game players only know what team they are on, and not what team anyone else is on. Decisions need to be made and sometimes you can deceive the other players, while other times the Mind Flayers become just too strong for anyone to withstand. The game is designed by Joey Vigour and published by Repos Production and Asmodee, and was published earlier this year. They were kind enough to send us a copy to check out.
What’s In The Box?
- 10 Character Tiles
- 12 Meeting Cards
- 20 Mind Flayer Cards
- 16 Hard Hit Cards
- 5 Helping Hand Cards
- 5 Memories Cards
- 12 Waffle Cards
How’s it Play?
Everyone takes a character tile and places it in front on the “In Play” side up. Players can be on 2 different teams that go head to head against each other. The teams are divided into sane players versus possessed players. The sane characters are trying to resist the Mind Flayer’s attacks by the end of the game to win. All possessed players are trying to make all sane players into possessed ones or are knocked out by the end of the game.
Players are assigned to their team by taking a number of mind flayer and waffle cards, shuffling them together and dealing them out to all the players. The players who receive a mind flayer card are possessed until the end of the game, and players who receive a waffle card start the game as sane, but that might change during the game.
A deck is formed with adventure cards and 3 random meeting cards are placed so one is roughly at the 1/3 mark of the deck, one is at the 2/3 mark and one is on the bottom of the entire deck.
All players close their eyes and all of the players who are possessed open their eyes to see who else is possessed.
Then players take turns, and on a turn the player flips over the top card of the deck and put it on the table so all players can see it. If it’s a meeting card, they immediately resolve the effects and then all players participate in a meeting. Then no one can talk and all players still in play choose 2 cards from their hand. One card is given to the player on their left and 1 card is given to the player on their right. When everyone has done this all players shuffle the 2 cards they received so they don’t know which card was given by which player, and then adds them to their hands. This might give players more information as to what team their neighbor players are on.
If a player draws an adventure card, then they must give it to another player that is still in play, and they add that card to their hand. Players can freely discuss why and why not to give them a certain card, and try to persuade that player of your innocence. The active player can never keep the drawn card for themself.
Certain cards drive a player closer to becoming possessed and joining the mind flayer team, while other cards cancel out these other negative cards. So during the game if you are sane, whenever you receive 3 mind flayer cards, you become possessed. But for each memories card you have, it cancels out a mind flayer card. So if you have memories cards, you are allowed to have more mind flayer cards in your hand before you become possessed.
When gaining mind flayer and memories cards, you will continue playing in the game, they just cause you to switch teams. But hard hit cards cause you to become knocked out and not be in the game any longer. If a player gets 3 hard hit cards, they are knocked out and must place their cards down and no longer participate in the game, although they are still considered to be on the team they were on when knocked out. Helping hand cards cancel out a hard hit card. So they protect you from becoming knocked out, or they allow you to have to gain more hard hits before becoming knocked out.
Waffle cards don’t do anything in the game specifically, but if you want to play a series of games, you can keep points and waffles are worth 1 point.
The game ends when there are only 1 or 2 players who haven’t been knocked out, or after the 3rd meeting is fully resolved. All players then reveal which team they are on. Possessed players growl, while all sane players stand up and applaud. If there is at least 1 sane player still in play at this time, the sane players win. Otherwise, the possessed players win the game.
Stranger Things: Attack of the Mind Flayer is a simple party deduction game. The mechanics and idea of the game that has been used in other games actually matches the theme and fits with being a Stranger Things game. But the game really requires a big group of people for it to work like it should. You can play with as low as 4 players, but the charm in the game just doesn’t work like it does with more players.
The actual gameplay isn’t amazing. I wouldn’t say it was horrible either. It’s a game that just needs the right people and environment to play. Players need to really understand that they are trying to figure out who is on which team. The possessed players all know at the beginning who is on their team and they are just going after all the other players not on their team. But if they don’t hide their team identity, then the sane players will be able to help each other out and survive. The sane team needs to help each other out by giving good cards to their teammates who they don’t know who they are yet, and give the negative cards to the other team.
The possessed team needs to make sure they give their negative cards to the other team, but they need to act like they are on the other team, as the other team doesn’t know this. With all this confusion in the game, there are several times where cards are being given to the wrong people and helping one team over another. Players need to deduce who might be doing the bad cards and the meetings cards can help verify this. If al this craziness occurs, which not all the times it does, but when it does, the game is fun and exciting.
I think I would have liked to see more cards and more actions in the game. The game is very bare bones with just 4 different cards in the deck that do anything. The game’s box makes it look like there is a decent size game in the box, but you might be disappointed that the game includes a deck of cards and character tiles.
I can understand playing this game if you are a huge Stranger Things fan. But when I compare this game to other party games or other deduction games, I just can’t say that this game is better than any of those, I’d say you probably should instead play this or that game.
Images Courtesy of Repos Production via Brody Sheard
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