Ho! Ho! Ho!
The holidays are rapidly approaching and like many others, you’re getting ready to travel to see friends, family and the ones you love. You want to take gifts, and you are the Santa of board games, bringing joy to your nieces, nephews, cousins and everyone else during the holiday season. Sadly you have very limited space in your luggage for the big box games, either as presents or just to take along to play.
Do not fret! Do not frown! Gamelyn Games and designer Scott Almes have got you covered! Introducing Tiny Epic Games, a collection of awesome games to suit a wide variety of mechanics, themes and at a price point that can’t be beat. They’re Tiny, they’re Epic and Gamelyn Games puts a ton of game into each box that is about the size of a medium-sized novel! Not only do these games take minimal space on your gaming shelf (or in your check-on bag, or suitcase!), but they were designed having a smaller carbon footprint in mind! The games are designed…for the most part…to be set up and explained fairly quickly and get playing right out of the box.
Perhaps you are looking to blast off through the universe and colonize planets while exploring the galaxy in Tiny Epic Galaxies. Or maybe your interest lies in a more horrifying zombie apocalypse, fending off hordes of zombies and trying to meet objectives and survive in Tiny Epic Zombies. Or you’re looking to suit up and get into the arena to battle other Mech warriors, upgrade the most powerful weapons and battle it out in Tiny Epic Mechs!
Welcome to Tiny Epic Stocking Stuffers!
Each Tiny Epic Game comes with an amazing game with a nice mashup of mechanics. Gamelyn Games’ goal is to put a lot of game into a tiny box, and they do this consistently well.
Tiny Epic Galaxies seems to be a board gamer favorite and has been around since 2015. It’s got a brilliant design, dice manipulation and a clever ‘Follow” mechanic where other players can spend resources to perform or “follow” the same action that the active player is doing, minimizing player downtime. The object of the game is to have the most victory points at the end of the game.
To play the game: Roll dice, choose dice actions, other players can “follow” if they want to spend the resources, reroll or convert dice that you haven’t used.
The strategy comes in figuring the best use of each die that is rolled. Dice allow you to move a ship, acquire resources, colonize different types of planets that your ships are orbiting or use the planet’s ability.
Players get points for colonizing planets, upgrading your galactic empire and completing secret objective cards. Once a player reaches 21 points, the round is finished out, completed tactic cards are revealed, and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins!
Tiny Epic Zombies is perhaps my least favorite of the Tiny Epic Series that I’ve played. But don’t take my word on that. A lot of people love the game. I just need to get it to the table a couple more times to see what the hubbub is all about.
I’ve grabbed both a geeklist and a review found on BGG from gamers that favor being eaten by Tiny Epic Zombies:
BGG user Captain Shagrat’s Rating my TEG on BGG
Or Michael Lindh’s Tiny Epic Zombie Rapid Review (also on BGG): Expand Your Game Review
Tiny Epic Zombies has a variety of modes that players can play, which seems to be becoming a trend with Gamelyn Games. This game offers everything from Cooperative to Competitive to Solo, some modes allowing group vs a zombie player, or group vs each other vs a zombie player. There’s a lot of variety offered in the game and this won’t be the last Tiny Epic that you see with a variety of modes. (Unless you get eaten by the zombies, of course…Nom…nom…) There’s so much here, as I type, I realize I really, really need to get this game back to the table!
In the game, human players are running around a mall (of course!) attempting to complete 3 objectives, while being chased by scores of the flesh-hungry undead! These objectives are picked randomly from a stack of different objective cards, adding variability to the game. If they are able to complete these objectives without the zombie player or AI zombies eating all the survivors and one of the human players, the humans win. The zombie play wins if they are able to break down barricades, eat survivors (and then eat a human player) or make the human players run out of cards in the search deck.
Human players must do three moves on their turn and each move they can do up to three different things: 1. Kill a zombie. 2. Use a room’s ability or token, and 3. Collect items.
And the items are AWESOME! All sorts of weapons and paraphernalia that attach to your ITEMeeple. This is one place that Tiny Epic Games starts to shine. We’ll talk more about the items in Tiny Epic Mechs coming up next.
Word has it that Scott Almes got his game idea from watching Black Friday Shoppers in action.
Speaking of Itemeeples, Gamelyn Games brings you Tiny Epic Mechs which takes you to the world of GIANT MECH WARRIORS and makes them really, really tiny. In Tiny Epic Mechs, players run around an arena, get into their own mech suits or jump into the MIGHTY MECH suit for arena dominance. The mechs are M.E.C.H.s: Mechanized Entertainment Combat Heroes for the audiences in the year 3030. Thanks to Scott and his time machine that shrinks things from the future, we have access to all that tech here in 2021!
There’s more to just attempting to destroy other combatants in this player vs player Epic battle. Designer Scott Almes has added some area control strategy to a game of tiny mechs with big hearts and even bigger guns. This game is not just a bash’em up Free-For-All. Each programming decision is important in getting your mech to victory!
Players program their Mechs to run around the arena anPlayers program their Mechs to run around the arena and perform actions. 4 of 8 actions are chosen for programming the mechs for movement, gaining resources, planting turrets and mines. Then, one at a time, each of the mechs perform their first action in turn order, then their second and continue in order of how each Mech was programmed. Mines and Turrets are deployed along the way to knock out your adversaries while you try to get in the best place to score points.
Similarly to Tiny Epic Zombies, Mechs also offers a solo mode along with it’s PVP mode.
Points are scored during even rounds of a 6 round match, but even if your mech is knocked down, they are not out! Players earn points for places they have turrets, mines, their pilot and controlling the Mighty Mech.
Thoughts from other Opinionated Gamers:
Matt C: I am a fan of the Tiny Epic series since the beginning as I’m a sucker for a little box. Tiny Epic Galaxies is one of the better ones, favorably comparing itself to other, larger box titles. I’ve played with and without the expansion (Beyond the Black) and enjoy it either way but have heard of others that think the expansion is necessary to make it truly shine. (And don’t forget “Ultra Tiny Epic Galaxies” – which is the base game that fits into a box the size of a deck of cards…I haven’t played Zombies, but do own Tiny Epic Mechs. This has got to be the smallest game to sport eye-candy… the little meeple pieces have holes in the arms so they can “wield” little plastic armaments (a dozen or so unique ones) and you can fit them into two different sizes of Mechs during the game – very cute. The game looks like a standard smash-up of fighting but the way area control is used to produce resources means that fighting is only ½ the game. Taking over areas and removing opponents markers are just as important. It follows the Tiny Epic path of fairly light depth but fast play.
Check out the Opinionated Gamer review of Tiny Epic Tactics Deluxe (Review by RJ Garrison) here!
*Photos by Syzmanski family/ RJ Garrison