Designer: Jason Anarchy
Publisher: Jason Anarchy Games, Wiseman Innovation
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 1-4
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Main mechanic / Theme: Card Game, Victory Points as a Resource
A casual strategy game showing the adventurous entrepreneurial spirit of millennials... packaged inside a wearable "Fanatee Pack". - from Jason Anarchy Games
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
DISCLAIMER: I was provided a prototype copy of this game for the purposes of this review. It is not my intention to detail every rule in the game, but rather to go through a general overview, how it plays and my reaction to it. If you’re interested in the game, be sure to grab a copy from their site.
How To Play Millennial Manatees
Set up the game according to the rules within the fanny pack.
Each turn, players get to pick what action they’d like to take in that turn ranging from paying off debt to starting business ventures to getting boomer handouts (+$1 coin). Once everyone has placed their manatee, resolve the action in order and reset the entire board for the next roun.
The player who is able to first pay off all of their student debt ($20) wins the game.
Undoubtedly the best thing about Millennial Manatees is definitely its jab at the millennial lifestyle.
As a millennial myself, everything from the “Avocado Toast” (which indicates the first player each round) to the goal of paying off student debt (the first player there triggers the win condition) to the overwhelming use of fanny packs is spot on. No stone was left unturned as the theme rings true throughout the entire game from shirts with sayings like “passionate about beer ≠ alcoholism” to “BASIC” card decks. The bitingly sarcastic implementation drew out laughs throughout our time playing the game as we dove into each of the cards and their triggers.
The art is cute and simple, but don’t let that fool you - there’s much more to the game than meets the eye. Not only are there very straightforward worker placement mechanics at play, but there’s also the possibility of more “take that” mechanics once you get to know the ins and outs of the game some more and understand how you can screw over other millennials also playing the game with you. Despite this looking like the typical “party” game, there are still very strategic elements to the game since you have to constantly decide between paying off your student debt (to get to the end condition) or spending it elsewhere to grow your potential future earnings. Some might be trying to go slow and steady, paying off little by little as they go, while others play big and pay big infrequently, which provides a lot of flavor to the gameplay itself.
Not only is Millennial Manatees all packaged in one obnoxiously funny fanny pack, but it is also very easy to learn and quick to set up and take down.
One of the things we wish we saw upon setup was an explanation of the anatomy of the card to clear up the rules itself. For example, the setup called for BASIC, SALTY, and BIG MOOD cards being placed in different piles. However, since there was so much going on in the cards, we had a tough time identifying how to locate those particular cards for the individual piles. Once we did see the words thought, it was not something we’d miss ever again.
Since the game was so simple enough to use to teach someone about worker placement mechanics and the artwork so cute, we wanted to play the game with our niece. However, the theme itself, although it looks like a game for younger kids, would not fit in with a younger crowd due to the mature nature of the content.
The game is lightweight, enjoyable because of its biting humor, and draws conversation with each of the cards that are revealed. As a millennial who does occasionally enjoy party games with a rambunctious crowd, I can absolutely see other millennials also getting into this. Millennial Manatees is well-suited for the gamer who also enjoys games like Exploding Kittens or Unstable Unicorns. Grab a copy for yourself or a salty millennial here.
Nalin helps people bring ideas to market through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Since 2015, she’s worked with entrepreneurs and creators to raise millions of dollars. As Founder of Meeple Marketing (https://www.meeplemarketing.com) and Crush Crowdfunding (https://www.crushcrowdfunding.com), she offers no-BS strategies, marketing resources, and campaign tactics to get ideas launched and funded. With a double Masters from Stanford University and University of Virginia, Nalin applies her interdisciplinary skills to help craft the best products and market it to the right people. She is deeply passionate about empowering creators to launch their dreams. In her free time, you can find her on the soccer field, sampling beer, or playing board games.