MechanicaHeader Mechanica Review

Designer: Mary FlanaganEmma Hobday, &Max Seidman

Artist: Cisco Garrido, Mariana Sosa, Spring Yu, & Ann-Sophie De Steur

Publisher: Resonym

Year Published: 2020

No. of Players: 1-4

Ages: 12+

Playing Time: 45-75 Minutes

Main Mechanic / Theme: Network/Route Building & Tile Placement

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Mechanica invites players to expand their factory, build better bots, and sell them for serious coin!

A game of Mechanica!

 Photo Credit: @kalchio (BGG)

Gameplay and Mechanics:

In Mechanica, you work to construct 3 different types of machines of increasing value. You start the game with the ability to create and ship 1 basic machine very much resembling tiny, sentient vacuums! You can ship them for money or save them to complete 1-2 of the common objective cards, stashing your earnings in your vault for an end-game scoring reveal and discarding the necessary machines into the common supply. If one of these cards is completed, both visible cards will be replaced in prep for the next round. Once you've decided on selling your machines, you can use money to buy tiles for your factory. These tiles help you to upgrade, multiply, and all around manipulate your machines for maximum scoring! If you don't want to add an upgrade tile to your board, you can scrap it for 1 or 2 machines indicated on the tile. The game ends once all upgrade tiles used for your chosen player count are exhausted; at this time, you total the values of your visible coins, hidden vault coins, and the value of all upgrade tiles purchased.

A game of Mechanica! Photo Credit: @kalchio (BGG)

Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout

I love games that utilize bold color palletes and Mechanica shines in this regard. This game features a distinct, retro-style of artwork that pairs perfectly with exceptional graphic design.


What Worked:

The rules are fairly straightforward for this one and understanding how each phase of a round worked was easy enough. The theme is cute and perfectly conveyed through the game's aesthetics.

What Can Be Improved:

I had a bit of an issue with the simultaneous action portion of each round in which players move their machines from left to right along their various upgrade tiles' arrow paths and activating upgrade tiles. This part felt a bit chaotic just like individual turns in Gizmos. While some upgrade tiles offer some unique, rule-breaking abilities (e.g. flinging a machine as far down the track as you want, scoring a coin if you jump over at least 1 upgrade tile), most of them simply give more machines that end up gumming up the works, resulting in them being discarded during traffic jams. 

Final Thoughts:

Mechanica is a visually unique game with a cute theme and the simple implementation of elements including tile-placement, route building, and limited player interaction. If those things sound appealing to you, give this one a shot!