Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mine is an evil laugh

Mwahahaha! is, according to the box, "a card game of mad scientists and global domination." Players take on the roles of comedic mad scientist supervillains such as Herr Ubervoldt, Baron Morbidodictus, or Professor Kontiki, and the game play consists primarily of accumulating resources used to power doomsday weapons with an eye towards using them to threaten ever-increasing population centers.

The game really seems to understand the circular futility of being a mad scientist: successfully threatening a population gives you more resources, so you can use to build a bigger doomsday weapon that you can then use to threaten a larger population, in order to get even more resources to build an even bigger doomsday weapon...you get the idea.

Each player starts with a doomsday device to work on, such as an interstellar portal, a weather machine, or a giant robot, which requires a certain number of different types of raw materials to get working. Players gain a small number of raw materials each turn, and in order to get more they can either build up a criminal empire via location cards that represent front businesses, or they can hire minions to go steal what they need from the other players (or some combination of the two). The device's raw materials requirements are scaled depending on how large a population you plan on threatening with it, either a city, a state, a country, or the whole world.

Success or failure when issuing a threat is determined by the dice. If a city, state or country population refuses to be intimidated, you have the option of triggering your doomsday device, unleashing man-eating plants or blasts from a giant orbital laser, and failure to make good on your threat results in a Humiliation counter that reduces your effectiveness on future threat rolls.

However, if you fail to successfully threaten the World, you can't trigger your device, as it would destroy the world and you with it. But hopefully the population of the world won't call your bluff...

Mwahahaha! is a fun game with a light, cartoony tone that should appeal to fans of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog or '80s James Bond movies. The game's main downfall, however, is its poorly written rule book, which makes it seem a lot more complicated than it actually is.

Rating: 2 (out of 5) A pretty fun game that gets its humorous tone just right, but it definitely involves more random luck than strategy, and the badly organized rule book makes it difficult to pick up and play.

Date played: May 27, 2014

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