Mint Works Card Game Review

Previously, I already wrote a micro game, Circle the Wagons. In general, a micro game in tabletop game industry is the one with just small components, small package, probably a filler game that can still offer the experience of a bigger game.

For a while it is kind of a trend. Some people say that it is not going to stay for a while.

However, those designers or publishers who have succeeded in delivering one of this kind of game eventually created a fan base. They even created the sequel to the original game that shares the same characteristic but still offer something new.

In the case of this next game, Mint Works, they are known for games that can fit in a small tin. It is very portable, affordable and people can easily bring the game to anywhere and play.

So, what is this Mint Works game? How do we play it? Can it be played with just a single player?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Mint Works Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Mint Works going to be the best micro game?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top.

Overview

Game’s Title: Mint Works
Genre: Card Game, Industrial Setting, City Building Theme, Worker Placement, Card Drafting, Official Solo Variant, Competitive, Resource Management, Race Game.
Designer: Justin Blaske
Artist: Felix Janson, Thomas Tamblyn
Publisher: Five24 Labs / Poketto
Number of Players: 1 – 4
Playtime: 10 – 20 Minutes
Official Website: Mint Works (playpoketto.com)

Release Year: 2017
Initial Price: $10

Contents:
1 Rule sheet
30 White Mint Tokens
6 Red Mint Tokens
1 Starting Player Token
33 Cards (50 x 86 mm):
Plan Cards (21)
Location Cards (10)
AI Cards (2)

Expansions:
Promo 1 (2017)
Intern Promo Card (2019)
Tantrum House Promo (2021)

About Mint Works

Mint Works was designed as an entry to a competition back in 2015 by R4D6 on BGG. The requirement was to create a game that can fit in a mint tin, which has the size of 60 x 95 x 30 mm.

Mint Works won the second place of the top 3 designs. Justin Blaske, the designer, then kickstarted the game via the crowdfunding platform for mass production. The game was well received for being portable and affordable while still offering a good game experience.

They even continued launching several more games that can fit the initial criteria but each with different core gameplay mechanism. We may notice their titles always start with the word “MINT” followed by the word that describe the mechanism.

As we can probably tell, in Mint Works, the mechanism is a worker placement. In tabletop game industry, a worker placement game is where players will take turns to deploy the number of their workers to a number of available spots in order to do an action.

In a basic game of this type, once a spot has been taken by one player, the other have to wait until the spot is empty again. Usually there are several spots available, each will allow us to get different actions or benefit.

The challenge is that once we have chosen a spot, we are giving a chance for other players to take the other spots. That other spot may not be beneficial for us but very beneficial for the others.

Other well known game with this mechanism are mostly come as a board game with bigger size. With the mint tin restriction, Mint Works used cards for the spots and just wooden tokens shaped like a mint candy.

Usually in other worker placement game, each player will use their unique workers, mostly use different colors, that other player cannot use.  The unique thing about Mint Works is that all players share just one type of worker.

In Mint Works, the theme is City Building. We have to send workers to the right spot, to buy some building plans and construct them.

This is a race game. The player who gets the most points, more than 7 wins the game.

The next title of the series, Mint Delivery was also designed by the same designer, introducing the pick-up and deliver mechanism. Poketto, as the publisher (formerly known as Five24 Labs) also worked with different designers and now they already have 5 titles in this series.

With just $10 each, fans of the series can collect and try different mechanisms in tabletop games. From cooperative play (Mint Cooperative), area control (Mint Control) to the latest one at this moment, an auction game (Mint Bid).

Poketto also has started releasing more games still in mint tin but outside the original MINT series with their POKETTO COLLECTION.

Components

As mentioned earlier, the game was designed so it can fit in a mint tin. The size of the tin is about 60 x 95 x 30 mm. Somebody actually mentioned that the first edition got a smaller size and they changed it when they released the second game in the series so both games use the same size.

Like standard mint tin, we cannot remove the lid from the bottom part. We can feel the title’s logo extruding from the lid.

The tin itself has more than enough room than the components in it. It can probably hold a couple more cards in it.

However, the size of the cards that can fit in this tin is not commonly used in any games in the market. As far as I know, if we want to use sleeve for the cards, only Swan PanAsia has almost the right size.

With the rounded corner of the tin, if we use something bigger, it will eventually ruin the corner of the sleeve. Even if they fit, with the shape of inner part of the tin, the sleeve may get stuck and it will be more difficult to take out the cards later.

While the size is small enough to consider it as a portable game, I’m not sure about just putting it in any pocket as advertised. I think it will be better if they use an envelope or a wallet.

At least, for this Mint Works game, it can work. Other games in the series may  need more than that.

Also, while the tin can may protect the game from water splash, it doesn’t make it waterproof.

All of the cards have some kind of stained brown color which is applied to all cards at the same spot. I guess that was intended to create an industrial feel to the card instead of something clean and smooth.

Mint Tokens

The first thing we can find from the can is a plastic zip lock bag for the mint tokens. We get a total of 36 mint tokens with 30 of them have a white color and 6 of them are red.

These wooden tokens have round shape with about 1 cm in diameter and about 4 mm thickness. In this game, these tokens are the Workers that all of the players will share.

The white ones represent a single worker while the reds are considered as 5 of the whites. With full players, we may use more than the provided whites and have to regularly trade 5 of them into red.

These tokens are also considered as unlimited supply in the game. I don’t know how likely it will happen but we probably need to use any means as substitutes for these tokens.

If that is the case, we probably should look for other round pieces. Preferably, something we can stack. The spot where we place these workers are actually bigger but we probably want something smaller.

Any standard cube can work. The shape doesn’t really matter and the size is just for ease of placing. Like their prototype, we can make them from cardboard.

I think some of these whites got stained with the color of the reds. These tokens do like a candy. We might want to be careful if we have toddler.

As mentioned before, all players will be using these tokens as their workers. On other games, each player will use slightly different pieces between players. It can be just using different colors.

The reason for using different pieces is because in other games, the spot where we place the worker on might have some restriction. For example, like one player can only go the same spot once per round.

In that case, using different pieces will make it easier for all players to tell. Mint Works doesn’t need that, mostly. Some of the AI for solo play actually require this but very minor.

In Mint Works, these tokens also works as the resources. We are not just placing one worker just take a spot but if the spot requires more workers, we need to send more than one. That is why the pieces need to be able to stack which can go up to 5.

Also, the worker will not necessarily return to the player like in other games. However, some of the spots allow us to get more of these tokens which we can use on future turns or rounds.

If we run out of tokens or worker, we have to pass and probably until the next round while other players can keep taking actions. Which is why we have to do a bit of resource management.

We start with just 3 tokens and there are ways to increase the starting supply each round. The amount of tokens that we have is an open information. By knowing the opponent’s amount of Mint Tokens, we can actually predict how likely are they going to take certain spots.

Starting Player Token

The other token that we get in Mint Works that comes in the same plastic bag as the Mint Token is the Starting Player Token. It has almost similar shape and color as the mint tin itself.

The size is about 2 x 1.6 cm with the same 0.4 cm thickness. We can see the phrase STARTING PLAYER on both sides of the token.

The shape and size really doesn’t matter and we can always replace it with other game pieces, even card. However, it is serve an important role for most worker placement game.

As I said earlier that in worker placement game, players will deploy their workers to take spots and gain the benefit from that spot. Once a spot has taken, the other player usually can no longer do so.

Which is why the turn order becomes an important aspect. Whoever goes first gets more options to choose from.

In Mint Works and probably a lot of other worker placement game, the turn order can change. There is a spot that allows us to claim this STARTING PLAYER token. Whoever has this token in the next round will go first.

We claim the token by sending our worker to the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL spot. If we also play the TEMP AGENCY spot, other players can re-claim by paying 1 extra worker in the same round.

While securing the first turn may sound crucial, we are still denying ourselves from the benefit of other spots. We still take turns.

So, do we take this token to be the first in next round and let the opponents take the other spot? Or do we take the other benefit and let the opponent go first next.

Another consideration is that there might be no next round. In Mint Works, at the end of each round, players will check their progress first. If any player already get 7 stars or 7 victory points in their tableau, that will trigger the end of the game.

In that case, there will be no next round and instead we proceed to the scoring phase. Having the Starting Player token will not generate any points.

Which is why, we probably want to keep track the opponent’s progress and not just ours. We might not need that token and there will be a shift of tension towards the end of the game, if all players pay attention.

In Mint Works, though, I don’t think taking the first player token is very crucial. Claiming the token early is also not always a good idea. Most of the time, the reason for taking the token is because there is a building plan that we need to buy first.

The problem is that we really don’t know what is available until the Upkeep phase between each round where the market will be refilled. Unless, no player has taken the available building plans from the previous round.

Other than that it is just a matter of getting more Mint Tokens. In other games, there can be a very special spot that taking it first can really change the game or affect the other players. That is not the case here.

In the solo play, however, getting and securing this starting token can be a great benefit against certain AI.

Rule Sheet

The next thing we can find from the box of Mint Works is the rule sheet. For the digital file, we can find it on the publisher’s page here. That is just in English though.

On the BGG page for the game, here, we can find some translations to various different language like Spanish, Russian, Italian by the fan. All we need is just create a free account for the forum.

The rule sheet is just one big sheet folded so it can fit in the tin. The actual size is about 24.9 x 34.4 cm with information on both sides.

Some people might prefer keeping the digital file, especially if they choose to sleeve their cards. I find it a bit difficult to take the rule out of the tin. We have to slowly pull it out or the inner part of the tin can tear the paper.

Also, I’m not really a fan of a folded sheet as the folded part will eventually ruin the paper the more we fold and unfold it. I prefer a book but I understand the restriction of the tin.

The digital file has the latest version. Compared to my printed one, I think the only change was the publisher’s logo and link to their website.

The QR CODE only bring us to the publisher’s homepage, not necessarily to the video of how to play the game in either version.

The rule sheet contains several sections as follows. It is also folded nicely to divide the sheet into 4 columns.

Page 1: Contents, Overview, Setup, Keywords, Phases, Actions, Scoring Location Cards, Plans / Buildings, Solitaire AI.

Page 2: Location in Details, Plan in Detail, Solitaire Setup, Solitaire Rules, Credits, QR Code and Logo.

CONTENTS (2nd column) section has a list of components that came in the tin, just like this Components section of the article. The OVERVIEW (3rd) section is describing the general idea of the game in several paragraphs that we can find on their BGG page.

SETUP (1st & 2nd) section has an illustration of how the setup of the game look like, specifically the public area. There are several bullet points to further explain how the setup works.

I think the only thing missing is what the player’s tableau will look like. This section only state that each player will start just with 3 Mint Tokens and no information that we will have cards in the player’s area.

LOCATIONS, PLAN / BUILDINGS and SOLITAIRE AI (1st, 2nd, 3rd) section which are below the SETUP, are details of how to read those type of cards. Each of them has an illustrations telling us what the icons are.

From the illustrations of each type of cards, it is easy to tell the difference from the orientation of the text on card or their colors. Locations are horizontal cards and the SOLITAIRE AI cards have purple color and the rest are plans / building.

The next section is KEYWORDS (2nd). This will tell us what they mean when the rule or cards say NEIGHBORHOOD, PLAN, BUILDING, GAIN and LOSE.

The 4th column of the first page is all about the gameplay from PHASES, ACTIONS and SCORING.

PHASES usually means round in other game which consists of 2 parts DEVELOPMENT and UPKEEP. The former is where they player take turns doing an action and the latter is what to do in between each round or how to trigger the end of the game.

Here we can also find the note in different background color about the MINT SUPPLY. They are considered as unlimited supply.

ACTIONS section tells us the two possible action that a player can take during their turn. It is either PLACE the worker or token or PASS. Here we can find that passing means just temporary pass except if all players are doing it.

SCORING section just tells us to count the STAR VALUE which is essentially victory points. The next part of this section is the tie breaker.

The first two columns on the second page of the rule sheet is to explain most of the cards but not the obvious ones. For the LOCATION IN DETAIL, there is no entry about PRODUCER and BUILDER card.

From the PLAIN IN DETAIL section, there are only details for 13 from 21 available plans. The cards that are not available include FACTORY, GARDENS, MINE, PLANT, STATUE, STRIPMINE, WINDMILL, and WORKSHOP.

The next section is the SOLITAIRE SETUP. Like the multiplayer section, this has an illustration how the setup will look like except about what the player’s tableau will be like later.

Also, the illustration doesn’t show the neighborhood of the AI, at all. While in fact, there will be their MINT TOKENS, face down cards, face up cards just like regular player.

Then the SOLITAIRE RULES section are the exceptions from the regular rule. This also tells how the AI will do PLACE action and how to read the SUPPLIER PRIORITY on the AI’s card.

The notable different between solitaire and regular mode would be how we replenish the PLAN SUPPLY. During DEVELOPMENT, we always replenish immediately and during UPKEEP phase, we get new PLAN SUPPLY if nobody is buying from the previous round.

Also, we only use 2 plan cards for plan supply in solitaire while the regular always have 3.

In the CREDITS section, we can only find the designer, developer, publisher, artist and testers. There is no info about replacement but there is a link to the publisher’s page.

Overall, I think the rulebook explain the game very well but there are always a couple of minor things that need further explanation. Usually when conditions of two cards meet and it will open for specific complication.

For example, when the active DEED LOCATION meets with SWAP MEET or RECYCLER. In that, do we flip back the deed location back to its inactive side?

Another example would be how THE GALLERY Building trigger the end of the game. While the answer is there but it has lead to some people asking for clarification.

I think there are a couple more questions of how the AI interact with certain location. One of them is the RECYCLER which the designer has stated not to use it in solo mode except maybe against Rachel.

Somebody on the forum actually said that the rulebook for the PnP, which is no longer available is better than this retail version. This is typical as the printed version will have some restriction like can be contained in a single sheet.

Hopefully this article can help giving the summary of the missing things.

Location Cards

Cards can be divided into three different categories. The first one is LOCATION CARD which use a horizontal orientation. There are 10 cards in this category.

Some of them are double sided, mostly to support different player count. The rest is just one sided and we can find the game’s logo, also in horizontal orientation.

These cards are the spots where we will be sending our workers or placing the Mint Tokens to get the benefit from. Each of these cards has four attributes that we can find on.

The first is the title or name which is at the top right corner of the card. On the left side of the name, we can find an icon that represent the type of location cards.

Then the left side of the card will have a section for MINT PLACEMENT SPACE. We can find one up to 3 circles that indicates how many times can a player place their tokens to get benefit of this card.

Inside the circle, there is a number to indicate the number of required tokens that need to be placed in order to gain the benefit. Here is where we have to sometimes stack the Mint Tokens because the requirement can go up to 5.

The last part is the EFFECT which is the bottom right section of the card. This will tell us the benefit that we will get for sending our workers there.

At the bottom there is a sentence in Italic font, that serves as flavor text. None of them has any picture to illustrate the locations or the power of the locations.

For most of them, we probably need to ask what each location will do at first. However, in this type of game, we will constantly revisit each location every round and that can help us remember which card do which.

By then, we just need to read the name which use quite big font size. Some cards will have text for their EFFECT but players will just discuss it at the start of the game and there will be no issue.

There are three different types of Location Cards, CORE, DEED and ADVANCED.

Core Locations

CORE locations, which has a crown symbol are the main cards that we use in every Mint Works game right from the start. We will use them in both multiplayer and solitaire mode.

There are 4 cards for this type, PRODUCER, BUILDER, SUPPLIER, and LEADERSHIP COUNCIL. From those 4, only the last one that has just one side.

The other three have two sides which each side will be used with specific player count. BUILDER and SUPPLIER are the same that one side is just for 4 players and the other side for 1 to 3 players.

PRODUCER is a bit different. One side is for 2 or 3 players and the other is for 1 player or 4 players.

PRODUCER is how we get more Mint Tokens. We can place one Mint Token and get 2 in return immediately. It is not much but it is the most common way for that purpose.

SUPPLIER is how we buy a building’s plan card from the market supply. The required token on the spot says * instead of a number because the cost to purchase the plan is on the plan card itself.

So, each time, we can stack a different number of tokens depending on what is available from the two or three cards in the market. In the 2 player mode, at least one card in the market at the end of the round.

That is one information that can help players to plan their action later. With 3 or 4 players, at least one player will not be able to buy at all in a round.

It is probably a good chance for that player to then claim the STARTING PLAYER TOKEN. That is the only purpose of the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL.

We also get back the 1 Mint Token immediately by using this spot. However, we still sacrifice our turn for this. Even the current owner can use this so they can keep being the starting player next round.

The owner might need to be careful though if the TEMP AGENCY is in play as well.

After we have bought the plan, we will place the card in our NEIGHBORHOOD or tableau face down. Only after we build it, we flip that card and gain benefit from the building.

That is where the BUILDER location comes. By sending 2 Mint tokens on the spot of this location, we can then build the plan.

In general, the cost is always two, regardless of the cost to purchase the plan. However, some of the buildings allow us to reduce the cost.

Any players can have multiple face down plan cards in their neighborhood without ever build them. There is even a Building that allows us to get more points by keeping those plans as face down cards.

But most of the time, in order to win, we need to build them. Like the Supplier, the BUILDER also has limited spots. So, players have to compete against each other to be the first to build each round.

Some of the buildings only give us victory points at the end of the game while other can give benefit in the next round right after we built it like getting more Mint Tokens.

Or even each round, so the benefit can become more powerful the sooner we built them. However, as mentioned earlier, there might be no next round because the other player can trigger the end of the game.

That is the kind of considerations we have to make in Mint Works.

Deed Location

There are only two cards in this type, WHOLESALER and LOTTO. The DEED has an icon like a folded paper.

Like the Core location, each game of Mint Works will use these 2 cards. The difference is that these 2 cards are not functional at the start of the game. We cannot place any token yet.

Before we can use them, we first need to purchase the corresponding building plan from the market. Then, only after we build it, we will flip the corresponding location cards so it is available for any players in later turns or rounds

The interesting part is that no matter which player place their tokens on any of these Deed Locations, the owner will get the benefit. So, after we built it, then the next player’s turn and they place their tokens here. Both of us will get the benefit.

The downside is that the building plan cards for these Locations may not come out at all, especially in lower player counts. Or even near the end of the game, the benefit for building them may not be that lucrative.

WHOLESALER is like a Producer location. We place 1 Mint Token and get 2 in return. The owner will gain 1 in the next round. There is only one spot for this.

LOTTO is more interesting. When it is active, it allows us to take a plan card directly from the plan deck by paying 3 Mint Tokens. The owner will then get 2 Mint tokens for the next round.

What it does is that if somehow we can no longer use the Supplier because other players have taken the spots first or if there is no cards in the supply, we can still get a plan using Lotto.

We are drawing blindly and they may not be useful. However, we can keep that information a secret from the opponents. At least, until we build it.

There is also a way to close down these 2 cards. If there is either or both RECYCLER and SWAP MEET locations and the owner of the deed location activate them, the owner can choose to sacrifice the building card for the deed location.

Advanced Locations

The Advanced Location has a blitz or lightning icon.  There are 4 cards in this type of locations, CROWDFUNDER, RECYCLER, SWAP MEET and TEMP AGENCY. Unlike the other two types, we will use these cards optionally and randomly from game to game.

In multiplayer mode, we only use two of them while the solo mode use only one per session. So, for multiplayer mode, we get 6 combinations while the solo is just 4 for each of 4 different AIs.

CROWDFUNDER is like the Producer, except that we get 3 Mint Tokens and the other players will get 1. In general this is definitely a better deal than going to the Producer.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that this might give a benefit greatly for the next players. At first, they cannot purchase anything and suddenly, they can and they might take something that we need.

RECYCLER can be a bit difficult to understand. It allows us to either discard a card, either a building or just a plan and get more MINT TOKENS. If the card is still a plan, not built, we get Mint Tokens equal to the printed COST + STATIC VALUE.

Some buildings may not have a STAR VALUE or immediate star value but they always have a cost. That means from some buildings, we can still just get 1 Mint Token which is not a good deal.

If we choose to discard a building,  we get mint tokens equal to the COST + CURRENT VALUE. Some of the buildings may also get additional star value after they are built.

Those buildings are MUSEUM, GALLERY, LANDFILL and VAULT. In the case of LANDFILL, it is not the Landfill building itself but the CULTURE TYPE buildings that get affected.

This is a good way to generate a lot of Mint Tokens. Especially if we have the VAULT and sacrifice those Production plans. Or just sacrifice Landfill and get 6.

This one can really change the experience drastically. Assuming all players know how it works.

SWAP MEET is similar to RECYCLER. The difference is, instead of getting Mint Tokens, we get a new building plan, face down. We can either sacrifice a building or a plan from our neighborhood and we still only get a plan.

From what I understand, the new plan we get comes from the PLAN SUPPLY, not the PLAN DECK. That means we know exactly what we are going to get instead of draw blindly.

We exchange that card with a plan or building from our neighborhood and will be available to the other players immediately. This will be a good one to secure more expensive cards from the supply with just a cost of 2.

If this come in play, we probably want to have some plans that allows us to swap instead of sacrificing a building. I mean, we still need to build the new plan though.

In general, sacrificing a building will be too expensive. However, I can see that this can be a good strategy towards the end of the game.

We might have a tight resources or Mint Tokens where we can afford to buy from the Supplier but not build it. Here, we can cut the cost, preferably sacrificing a building that will not generate any points.

At the end of the game, even sacrificing most of the Production (red) building that will only generate Mint tokens during upkeep is a good way. That is if we can get other buildings with more point in return.

So, at least we have to make sure that we are the one with 7 points to trigger the end of the game during this round.

The last card of advanced location is TEMP AGENCY. This allowed us to use an occupied Location space. That means nobody can use this at the start of the round because the location’s spot has to be occupied first.

This will definitely make players to think again before immediately trying to occupy the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL when this one is still active. Other players can just retake that Starting Player token immediately with just a cost of 1 Mint Token.

If that happens the one that took it first just lose a turn. TEMP AGENCY is useless with PRODUCER and WHOLESALER because we don’t get anything. CROWDFUNDER is a better choice.

SUPPLIER is good if there is still a card in the plan supply and not the most expensive ones. The same goes with BUILDER, especially towards the end of the game.

LOTTO is still a good one assuming we get an expensive plan, worth 4 or more. There are only 5 of them if we exclude the LOTTO itself.

RECYCLER is probably a good options to generate more Mint Tokens. Assuming we do have bad cards that we can recycle. Swap Meet will be useless if there is no card in the supply.

Plan  / Building Cards

These are the 21 cards with vertical orientation and the game’s logo at the back side. All of the resource management we are doing in the game is nothing but to buy these cards and build them to get victory points.

All of these cards have 5 parts of information at the front side of the card. Start with the top is the Name of the card and the type of the building.

There are 4 types of building in this game, each with its own color and icon. The types are CULTURE (Green, leaf icon), PRODUCTION (red, gear icon), UTILITY (yellow, screwdriver icon) and DEED (turquoise, folded paper icon).

After that we can find the MINT TOKEN icons. This indicates the cost to buy the plans which can be as low as 1 Mint up to 5 Mint Tokens.

The bottom part of the card has two information. One is the EFFECT for building the card with an illustration and flavor text.

Two, at the bottom we can find the STAR VALUE which is essentially the VICTORY points or how each card will generate victory points. Some buildings will give immediate points while others need to work with other buildings to generate points or more points.

There is one that will reduce the points and there are some that will not generate any points but a lot of Mint Tokens.

In any game of Mint Works, all of these cards will be shuffled to create a PLAN DECK that is face down. The random order of the card will be different from game to game.

Each round in multiplayer mode we will reveal 3 cards while in solitaire mode, we always have 2 cards revealed. In some games, the game may take a while but in others a player can trigger the end of the game within just a couple of rounds.

We need only 7 stars to trigger the end game and that can be provided with just building three cards. There is even one card that can generate 1 Star each round after it was built and that one card is enough to trigger the end game.

DEED BUILDINGS

There are two buildings in this category and as the type suggests, they are related to the locations. They are WHOLESALER and LOTTO building. We can purchase them and if we build it, we will active any of those corresponding locations.

LOTTO is much more expensive than WHOLESALER as a plan but lucrative for the owner. But then, people will more likely to take the space from the latter while they need to gamble a bit with the former.

For points, LOTTO is just one star more than the WHOLESALER. The ratio between cost and Star value is 1:1 for Wholesaler while the Lotto is 1:2.

However, if we include the cost to build the ratio is the same for both, which is 1 star for each 3 Mint Tokens. Not that we will necessarily have to choose just between the two.

Lotto can be a better choice, assuming we do have the MINT tokens. Both of them will be more powerful if we can build them early in the game.

If we, as the owner of these Deed Buildings choose to Recycle or Swap those buildings, we have to close down the corresponding location. That could be a mean attack, especially if the opponents needs to use LOTTO.

Culture Buildings

The next type of buildings is CULTURE or should I say, cultural buildings, maybe? Most of them are very cheap to buy as plan.

WINDMILL, STATUE and GARDENS are very clear. They just generate Star Values of 1, 2 and 3 stars in that respective order. For these 3 the ratio is also 1:1 if we exclude the cost to build.

If we include the cost to build, then the GARDEN is the best choice from these with each Star is worth 0.6 tokens.

BRIDGE is the one that needs another buildings to be useful. It will not generate any points on its own. It will only be counted as 2 CULTURE BUILDINGS.

If we do have OBELISK building, BRIDGE is then worth 1 Star. The same applies if we have built MUSEUM. If we have both, then BRIDGE is worth 2 Stars. So, we need to build any of those 2 first at least before considering buying BRDIGE.

Another possible use is if we have CORPORATE HQ built before we build BRIDGE. This will give us more Mint Tokens each round.

Another use for BRIDGE is as a tie breaker during scoring. This will count as 2.

MUSEUM on its own will only generate 1 Star. However, we might want to build more CULTURE buildings and each will give another Star. That means, we can get up to 6 Stars just from the star value of the Museum.

However, the game has ended probably before we get all of the Culture Buildings. The problem is that we really don’t know if we can get all of the plans for Culture buildings or even to come out of the deck.

This is probably a building that we should not build right away. Maybe we want to buy all of the plans first while building with the highest value early.

GALLERY is probably the one that can give the most points. Each upkeep phase will generate 1 Mint Token that we place on this buildings which indicate 1 point each.

However, we do need to build it early. The cost to buy is already 4 Mint tokens and we need at least that much to reach 1:1 ratio.

If we build in the last round, it will not even generate any points. That is because generating the MINT for the Gallery happens after we check if any player already got 7 stars in their neighborhood.

On the other hand, if the upkeep phase generate the first 7th Stars of all players from the Gallery building, we will get one more round. So, the owner really need to calculate their points carefully.

That is because even if we trigger the end of the game, it doesn’t make us the winner.

If the owner of the Gallery choose to recycle or swap the buildings, those MINT TOKENS on the Gallery card will simply return to the supply. They are just to track the STAR VALUE.

With that in mind, those Mint Tokens from the Gallery doesn’t count as the tie breaker.

Utility Buildings

There are 6 buildings in this category. Most of them will not generate a lot of Star Value but will definitely makes us more efficient with the process of City Building.

TRUCK and CRANE will help us reduce the cost when using the SUPPLIER and BUILDER location, in that respective order. On their own, each of them will only generate 1 Star with the cost of 2 to purchase.

If we do have Truck if the cost to buy is already 1 Mint Token, we will not get any benefit at all. So, after we have this built, we will want to go for more expensive buildings.

Truck will also be useless if we get a plan from LOTTO.  Benefit from both will be more powerful if we can get them built early.

Crane will be less useful if we build ASSEMBLER. The only use if we also get plans from LOTTO. I guess the combination would be between TRUCK and ASSEMBLER or CRANE and LOTTO.

Also, sacrificing Crane to help us build ASSEMBLER is a good use of RECYCLER or SWAP MEET.

ASSEMBLER let us automatically build the plans we get from the SUPPLIER only, not the LOTTO. This is a powerful one if we can build early but at the same time probably one of the most expensive with just 1 Star value.

However, this will save not just our 2 Mint Tokens per plan but also a number of turns. We basically can ignore the BUILDER space completely while our opponents will have to struggle among themselves.

In the long run, we can easily purchase more expensive buildings better than our opponents.

LANDFILL is an odd one among all buildings. This is the only building that if we build it, we can actually lose some points from Culture Buildings in our neighborhood.

However, the points that we can get from this building itself is a great value, considering the relatively low cost to buy. We also need to be careful when we actually want to trigger the end game ourselves when having the Landfill.

If we calculate it wrong, we are giving a chance for other players to get more score. This is also applies when we want to RECYCLE one of the CULTURE buildings. We will get less MINT TOKENS because of this.

So, if we do build this early in the game, we might as well ignore all of the CULTURE buildings. Maybe the Gallery can eventually cover the lost.

OBELISK by itself doesn’t give us points. It will give 1 extra Star per buildings in our neighborhood, not the face down plans.

We don’t necessarily have to build this immediately. Actually we can hold building it to kind of prolong the game. Once we know we can win, we can build this, get extra points which can trigger the end of the game without the opponents realizing it.

To make it worth the cost to purchase, we need at least 3 buildings, preferably four or it will be too expensive. This can also boost the Mint Tokens that we can get when we are using RECYCLER.

OBELISK with Corporate HQ can make a good combination.

VAULT is actually the opposite of OBELISK. We will get extra points when we have plans not buildings. It is even worth more than what we can get from OBELISK.

This can actually change the strategy of the game. We can just buy cheap cards or cards that gives almost no points and just don’t build them.

Because we don’t need to build the other plans, we are saving Mint Tokens which brings down the ratio a lot. Also we are saving from purchasing expensive plans. There are 9 cards that can fit with this strategy with cost 2 or less and worth 2 Stars or less.

All we need is 3 plans and VAULT as building in our neighborhood and we already trigger the end game. However, we cannot just assume that we will find this one in the middle of the game.

While on its own it will give just 1 Star, but the cost is higher than OBELISK. From what I understand, this 1 star value was added because the card was considered as too weak.

Other players then have to prevent the owner of this for purchasing those cheap cards. This card give the possibility for alternate win condition where player can just shoot the moon.

It is a gamble because we have to not build anything while other players can keep getting the benefit.

Production Buildings

This category has the most cards, 7 out of 21 cards in the game. It is called PRODUCTION because all of these will give us more Mint Tokens at the start of each round.

Some can still give Star value. We definitely want to build them as early as we can.

At a glance, it seems like we should just get any of this card. However, I think some is worth more than the other.

MINE, WORKSHOP, STRIPMINE, FACTORY and PLANT are similar.  By having this, we can get MINT tokens with or without additional Star Value.

STRIPMINE can give us the most, 3 Tokens each round but no Star Value. We definitely want this early. MINE would be the next one that we want to build early for cheap price.

FACTORY is actually the opposite of STRIPMINE with very high cost and very high Star value.  This is almost like a CULTURE building.

PLANT is probably too expensive the get the benefit. WORKSHOP is a better choice.

CO-OP is probably the one that we should just avoid in certain situation. Aside from 1 Star value, it allows us to get 1 Mint Token during Upkeep and to one more player as well.

With 2 players, it’s like we are helping our sole opponent. Just let the opponent get the card and build it  while we still get the benefit.

However, with 3 or more, we can actually take advantage for having the control of choosing just one other players. The thing is that this Upkeep part happens after we have refilled the Plan Supply.

That means we can tell how likely the opponents are going to buy from SUPPLIER. Maybe we want to prevent them for getting those cards but we cannot do it, like, maybe because of the turn order.

By having the Co-Op, it opens a possibility to take advantage of the third player. The player that we don’t care much if they can get the card.

CORPORATE HQ is probably an interesting one. This will not give any Star Value. We still need to build this as early as we can so the benefit will be more powerful.

The more we build the more Mint Tokens it generates. This is the one where we can get the feeling of engine building.

Corporate HQ will not work with the VAULT strategy but works perfectly with the OBELISK.

Solitaire AI Cards

The last 2 components that we get from Mint Works is the solitaire AI cards. This looks similar to Building or Plan cards but with purple color and are double sided.

These cards will turn this multiplayer game into a solitaire play. In each solo play of Mint Works, we will be using just one side from one of these cards.

Each side represent an artificial intelligent (AI) that will tell us how they will play the game and we have to beat them. There are 4 parts of information on each side.

At the top we can find the name and some flavor text. From what I understand, these names are the designer’s and his family.

At the top right corner, we can see the starting MINT TOKENS for each AI. It can be 3, or 5 or unlimited supply.

Next, we can find their personality traits. This will tell us how they operate in the game like some additional win/lose condition, who gets the starting player token, may or may not buy certain things, etc..

At the bottom, we can find their SUPPLIER PRIORITY. This will tell us how they choose to buy plans from the available supply.

There are two steps for each. First, they will tell us the price. Only one of them will go for the cheaper option first.

Also, this means the plans that they can afford. So, even if there are more expensive options that they like if they cannot afford it, they will then choose the other.

If the two available options are tied in price, then the next priority is about the type of buildings. This part will be completely different between one AI to another.

So, technically, the solo mode use no additional components. These cards are just reminder. Anybody can actually come out with their own variant using the same structure of rules.

With just this limited info, we as the player have to figure out the best way to predict their next actions and probably prevent them for doing certain action.

The designer actually said that any of the AI can replace a player in multiplayer mode. So, it is possible to add them as third player in 2 player variant.

In solo mode, we will be using just one ADVANCED location. It is said that most of them will not work well with the AI. The game will be easier and some people suggest using none of them.

There are still something unclear between how the AI resolves these ADVANCED locations. For example like how they choose between plans or buildings to be discarded when using RECYCLER or SWAP MEETS.

Or, between multiple buildings and multiple plans. They should state something like the AI will always discard the plan first over buildings, then they will go for the oldest one first.

Actually, in this thread, the designer actually stated that AI will not use the ADVANCED location at all. Only players can use those space.

Justin – the Designer

Starting Mints: 3
Personality Traits: Start with the Starting Player Token. After Justin uses a Location, neither player may use it until the next Development Phase.
1st Supplier Priority: $ > $$$
2nd Supplier Priority: UTILITY > DEED > PRODUCTION > CULTURE

Justin is the only AI that starts with the Starting Player Token. That means in the first round, he will take the PRODUCER and we, as the player cannot generate any Mint from this.

So, our first option would be to buy some plans from the SUPPLIER or take the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL. However, I think a lot of people misunderstood the first trait as Justin always become the starting player. That is not the case.

We actually need to take that from him. Otherwise we will not be able to use the PRODUCER at all.

I think the key for defeating him is to come first on any place because of his second trait. He may block us from using the same space but at the same time he block himself too.

What that means is he would probably short on Mint Supply as well. Justin will not be able to build or buy multiple things in the same turn. That is always his bottleneck that we need to take advantage from.

I guess there is a gameplay issue with his second trait. We probably will not remember which Mint Tokens on any Location was Justin’s. That is mostly because this is a worker placement game where we share the same tokens as workers.

My suggestion would be, if Justin is using a Location, we put his tokens NOT in the Mint Placement Space just to make it difference. We can put them like in the middle or the right side of the card.

For the ADVANCED location, CROWDFUNDER is probably one that we should take first before him. RECYCLER is can backfire to the player depending on the card but it will mostly make him lose a card.

SWAP MEET will just make the game easier. But Justin will then just immediately BUILD in the next round.

TEMP AGENCY is a tricky one. Most of the time, Justin will use it to get the STARTING PLAYER TOKEN back. Because at that time he probably already occupied other Locations.

Rachael – The Keeper

Starting Mints: 5
Personality Traits: The Mint Supply is limited to 30 Mint Tokens. Mint used by Rachael a the SUPPLIER are removed from the game during the Upkeep phase.  If the Mint Supply is empty at any point Rachael wins.
1st Supplier Priority: $$$ > $
2nd Supplier Priority: PRODUCTION > CULTURE > UTILITY > DEED

Rachael also has the same issue as Justin in terms of gameplay. We need to know which of the Mint was her tokens, at least on the SUPPLIER card.

I suggest the same solution as for Justin. When placing the AI’s token, place a bit out of the placement space.

Another issue with this one is the number of Mint Tokens. Is the limit of 30 tokens include the starting tokens from both players?

The answer is YES. That is because originally the game only comes with 30 white Mint Tokens and the AI was already there. The red mint which is worth 5 white tokens were added later.

That means, if we play against Rachael, we should ignore the reds. And any time the supply is empty, with no white token, we immediately lose the game.

So, Rachael’s second trait serve like a timer but we can still prolong that. Her SUPPLIER PRIORITY can actually become her bottleneck.

She always prefer more expensive plans and production buildings over other types. Production buildings tend to be more expensive than others.

If we can make a situation where she cannot afford to use the SUPPLIER, we will have the chance to win. Maybe we should let her buy all of those cheaper buildings.

We can also block her by occupy both spaces from the SUPPLIER. Also, we probably want to let her build TRUCK which can lower the cost from SUPPLIER.

For the ADVANCED locations, SWAP MEET will not stop the timer. However, it can still help us making her lose some points. If she gets 7 points, she still trigger the end game.

I assume that if we use this location with Rachael, to choose from the two cards in the supply, we have to refer back to the SUPPLIER PRIORITY.

With TEMP AGENCY, Rachael will just go to PRODUCER. She will not get anything then. I guess it will be a trap to let her lose a turn.

RECYCLER can actually make the game more difficult against her. She can get a lot of buying power then. The same as CROWDFUNDER.

From the buildings, maybe having the GALLERY can actually end the game faster. I guess that is the one time we probably want to keep it as a plan only.

NOTE for Rachael’s third trait. We lose when the Mint Supply is empty. That means not only when we cannot get any from the supply.

It can be during the Upkeep when both player and the AI gain Mint Tokens from their buildings. This adds some extra resource management. We also need to make sure that there is enough supply from the communal supply.

Mort – The Mint Tycoon

Starting Mints: Unlimited
Personality Traits: Unlimited Mint Tokens. Use the Supply when placing for Mort. Mort won’t buy PRODUCTION plans from the SUPPLIER.
1st Supplier Priority: $$$ > $
2nd Supplier Priority: ULITILY > DEED > CULTURE

For playing against MORT, we don’t need to provide the MINT for the AI. We can always take it directly from the supply. Even if Mort took a location that generates Mint Tokens, we simply just ignore it.

While it sounds like we have to prevent him for getting more buying power but we can actually let him. In a worker placement game, we are sacrificing a choice for taking the other, in this case a spot.

Letting MORT get more Mint that he doesn’t need is letting him waste a turn. That is his bottleneck.

The next thing would be to let the PLAN SUPPLY display two cards of PRODUCTION BUILDINGS. If we can get that, we will get one or two extra rounds to beat him.

It is not going to stay like that forever. The rule says that if nobody is using the SUPPLIER, we have to remove those plans from the supply and add two new cards from the deck during upkeep. At least, that can slow Mort down a bit.

Some people say that Mort is probably the easiest one. Maybe if we want to make it more difficult, we can remove try create a separate deck for the PRODUCTION buildings and one of the supply will always have the other types.

Most of the ADVANCED location may give benefit to MORT at all. His only way to win is if he can build faster. All of these extra locations will only let him get more MINT TOKENS which MORT doesn’t need.

SWAP MEET is the only exception. This allows him to get those PRODUCTION BUILDINGS from the supply. Mort still can get and build them as long as the card doesn’t come from the SUPPLIER. The same goes with LOTTO.

I guess, if we want to make it more difficult for playing against MORT, we should use Swap Meet.

Specifically for MORT, since he has unlimited supply, he always win the second part of the tie breaker.

Sonic – The Cuteness

Starting Mints: 5
Personality Traits: Sonic takes 2 turns in a row. He only uses SUPPLIER if he has zero plans at the start of his turn.
1st Supplier Priority: $$$ > $
2nd Supplier Priority: CULTURE > PRODUCTION > UTILITY > DEED

Some people say that SONIC is the most difficult one from the 4 AI. Sonic will take 2 turns in a row. So, at the start of the turn, he will immediately take two spots from the PRODUCER and get a lot of MINTS.

That means, when he gets to the SUPPLIER, he already has 7 Mints. Most of the time, he will have enough to buy and build right away.

If he has enough Mints, he can even buy and build two in the same round. We definitely want to prevent him using one of this at least to slow him down.

I guess letting him get the Starting Player token is not a bad idea. We can always get just one space from the PRODUCER if not at all and Sonic takes at least 2 of them.

So, the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL is like letting him waste a turn of the 2. If we cannot stop Sonic for getting a lot of Mint, maybe we should let him buy and build cheaper buildings. Cheaper buildings tend to be less efficient in terms of cost and star value ratio.

The problem is that he will always go for the more expensive option. However, his next priority is the CULTURE buildings which tend to be the cheapest.

I guess the first thing we need to do would be to make sure we have enough supply to BUY PLANS but not necessarily build them. We probably want to prevent him for getting most of the UTILITY and PRODUCTION building, especially ASSEMBLER.

However, it really depends on the randomness of the card order from the deck.

If Sonic is too powerful, I guess using the ADVANCED locations can really help. RECYCLER or SWAP MEET can actually help us if Sonic use them.

TEMP AGENCY is probably going to trap Sonic and waste a turn. If we play the CROWDFUNDER, we have to be the one to take it.

That is it with all of the components that we get from inside Mint Works.

How to Play

Now that we’ve learned all of the components in the game, how do we play Mint Works? The game can be played in solitaire mode but with slightly different rule which will be discussed later in this article.

This section will only discuss the multi player mode using just the base game that can support up to 4 players. This is a competitive game with the estimated playtime around 10 – 20 minutes.

Some of the existing and probably future expansions may alter some parts of the gameplay. More about this in the EXPANSION section of this article.

Some people say that it is possible to play with more than 4 without changing anything but probably just up to 5. The designer also said that it is possible with lower player count to include the AI.

More about running the AI in the section for Solitaire mode below. This next video is a playthrough for 2 player mode of Mint Works by Boardgames with Niramas channel.

Setup

First. We place all of the 4 CORE LOCATION CARDS in the middle of the table with the side that correspond to the number of players face up. There is no need to put them in specific order but it is recommended to place them near one and another.

Second. We place the 2 DEED LOCATION CARDS right next to the Core Location. The side that says BUILD DEED TO OPEN, which is considered the closed side should be facing up for both cards.

Third. This is OPTIONAL. We can choose randomly 2 of the ADVANCED LOCATION CARDS. These will be placed next to the core locations as well and return the rest to the tin.

Fourth. We shuffle all of the BUILDING/ PLAN CARDS to create a single deck which will be referred as PLAN DECK. We also place the deck face down in the middle of the table right next to the core location cards.

Fifth. From the PLAN DECK, we reveal 3 cards and put them face up right next to the deck. These cards will be referred as the PLAN SUPPLY.

Sixth. We take all of the MINT TOKENS and place them in the middle of the table to form a MINT SUPPLY.

The number of Mint Token is considered as unlimited. We can use any means as replacement.

Seventh. From the Mint Supply, each player will take 3 Mint Tokens as their STARTING RESOURCES.

We can place these on the table in front of us which is referred as our NEIGHBORHOOD. Everytime we take an action we will use the tokens from our own NEIGHBORHOOD.

Also, each player will need a table space for the cards later. We probably need a space for at least 3 of those Building Cards and it will go up as the game goes on.

Eighth. We can choose the first player and give that player the STARTING PLAYER TOKEN. The game suggests the player with the one with the freshest breath as the starting one or we can choose randomly.

That is it with the setup.

Gameplay

The game of Mint Works will take places over multiple rounds. Each round consists of 2 phases, DEVELOPMENT PHASE and UPKEEP PHASE.

In the DEVELOPMENT PHASE, players will be taking turns doing one action until all of the players consecutively choose to pass.  It is possible that a player may pass but after another player has taken an action that first player will take action again.

That would end the phase and proceed with the UPKEEP PHASE.

If during the Upkeep phase, the end game is triggered, we proceed to the SCORING PHASE. Otherwise, we will start a new round with those two phases again.

Each round always starts with the player who has the Starting Player Token. It is possible that the starting player doesn’t change between rounds if the given player can keep that token.

Development Phase

In this phase, the active player has two options. We can either PLACE or PASS.

Place means we take the required Mint Tokens from our own supply and put them on just one available space of any LOCATION CARDS. The tokens will stay there until the end of UPKEEP PHASE.

Each location card will tell us how many times the effect can be activated. One player can activate the same location multiple times as long as they have the tokens and the place is still available.

Then, we resolve the effect or benefit of that location. If the effect allows us to get more MINT TOKENS, we take them from the MINT SUPPLY and put them to our neighborhood.

For the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL (and with TEMP AGENCY), the active player who placed their token here will take the STARTING PLAYER TOKEN. If that player can keep it until the end of the round, that player will be the starting player next round.

We can also get BUILDING CARDS by using the SUPPLIER. In that case, we can draw from the available face up cards of PLAN SUPPLY.

If we do take the card, the PLAN SUPPLY should stay empty. It will only be refilled during UPKEEP PHASE in multiplayer mode.

After we take the card, we place the card in our NEIGHBORHOOD face down. They are considered as PLANS and not buildings with no limit to the number of plans that we can have.

We can then BUILD these plans using the BUILDER location. If we do so, we flip the card so they will face up and will then be considered as a BUILDING.

The effect of the newly built buildings will take affect right after we build them. If the card says UPKEEP then the effect will be resolved during UPKEEP PHASE.

If the building is from the DEED TYPE, we activate the corresponding Deed Location by flipping them to the active side. Right after that, the next player may immediately place their token to that newly opened location.

Most of the time, players will pass once they run out of Mint Tokens. Players can choose to pass even if they still have some MINT TOKENS in their neighborhood. That means, they can use them in future rounds.

Upkeep Phase

Upkeep phase has several steps that we need to resolve in order.

ONE. We check the STAR VALUE that each player has in their NEIGHBORHOOD. If any player has 7 or more, the game ends and we proceed to the scoring phase.

We also count the modifier, not just the written STAR VALUE from the card. Some of the buildings can increase or decrease the total star value of the other buildings for the owner.

Also, there is a card that can give Star Value based on face down card or plans. This applies to VAULT.

That would be the first end game trigger. Otherwise, we go to step 2 of the Upkeep Phase.

TWO. We refill the PLAN SUPPLY by drawing from the PLAN DECK. If we are unable to have 3 cards in the PLAN SUPPLY, the game ends and we proceed to the scoring phase.

That is the second end game trigger. Otherwise, we proceed to the step 3 o the Upkeep phase.

THREE. We resolve the effect from Buildings that says UPKEEP.

Most of the time, we have to check the PRODUCTION (red) building in our neighborhood. This allows us to gain more MINT TOKENS.

With the exception of the GALLERY (green) building where we have to put a token from the supply on this card.

During this part of Upkeep, if the Gallery has enough Mints to generate Star value that can trigger the end game, the game doesn’t end here. It will be considered during the first step on the next Upkeep phase.

The last one we need to check is the DEED LOCATION. If they are occupied, the owner will get more Mint Token from the MINT SUPPLY.

FOUR. We return all of the Mint Tokens on all of Location Cards to the MINT SUPPLY.

FIVE. Each player will take 1 FREE MINT TOKEN. So, each round, any player will have at least 1 Mint token. (There is an exception when using one of the expansion).

SIX. We proceed to the next round and the starting player starts the DEVELOPMENT PHASE.

Scoring Phase

During the scoring phase, each player tally their STAR VALUE from all of the face up building cards in their neighborhood, including all of the modifiers.

The player with the most STAR VALUE has the finest Neighborhood and WINS!

If there is a tie, the player who has the largest Neighborhood wins. This means whoever has the most total number of buildings (face up cards) and plans (Face down).

If there is still a tie, the player with the most MINT TOKEN in their neighborhood wins. Those on the Location are no longer belong to the player.

Also, the Mint Tokens on the Gallery building doesn’t count as the player’s Mint supply.

If there is still a tie, the game suggests that the player whose age is closest to 42 wins.

That is it with how to play Mint Works.

My Experience & Thoughts

This part is specifically about the multiplayer mode of Mint Works.

I do feel that the game can end too early. The lowest possible number of rounds is just 3 because with just 3 cards, we can trigger the end of the game.

At most this will go up to 5 or 6 rounds, even with 4 players. What that tells us is that some of the buildings that will keep generating benefit every round and the earlier we get, the more powerful the benefit will not actually do very well.

Unless of course, those cards come really early in the game. ASSEMBLER is nice when we can automatically build any plan from Supplier. But most of the time we only get the benefit once or twice.

I think specifically just one card can actually change the game even if it come very late. The OBELISK can really generate a lot of points.

Some people say that 7 as the trigger threshold is probably too low and suggest we use 9 instead. I also think that some of the buildings are way stronger than others.

Like FACTORY for example. This generate stars but also each round we get an Upkeep bonus. Compare this to LANDFILL, which can offer the same star value but without the upkeep bonus and just 1 Mint token less. In fact, we can lose points with Landfill if we have CULTURE buildings.

I think all of the Red buildings should just give at most 1 Star. That higher one time cost doesn’t really make them balance.

From the ADVANCED location, I don’t really find that RECYCLER and SWAP MEET were used that much. I mean, if the idea of RECYCLER is to generate more Mint to buy expensive plans, there is a chance that other player may take them first.

For SWAP MEET, even if we do get enough Star Value, we are still spending our turn and possibly giving away another good card. It is not really a good idea in a game where players will take turns without the possibility to do action twice in a row.

I also feel like the STARTING PLAYER of the game really get the advantage even if in subsequent rounds, that player never become the starting one again. This really depends on the card we get but at the same time, it is not that hard to hold on to the token until a good card come out.

If that player gets a very good card right away, he probably can get more later. Maybe the solution should be that the next player should have more starting Mint Tokens.

The Vault building should be just like a player’s secret objective or at least it should come out early. That player has to make a decision to play the game differently if they choose to build that card.

But the problem is, there is no mechanism to get rid of that card from the supply. Either one player will take it and get stuck with it or it will ruin everybody.

I thought about curating the Plan deck so that some cards will come early or even the starting supply while others should come late. There are those that can come in any time during the game.

I don’t know if that will make it better or which card for which. Definitely cards with 3 star value should come later.

From the Deed locations, I think LOTTO should just become a Core Location. I feel like because the market will be refilled only during Upkeep phase, even if the winner hasn’t been decided at that point, it is not that difficult to see who is going to win.

I think maybe the refilling the Plan supply should work like in the solitaire mode. We refill them right after the plan was bought and that can really change the player’s strategy.

Especially for the 2 players and they should just use 2 cards. I don’t know why they need to use it to trigger the end game. Even with 4 players, at most, we will use like 14 from 21 cards.

So, there are definitely some great ideas with all of the unique buildings in the game. However, most of them doesn’t really work really depends on the situation.

With the rule as it is, I think the game will be more interesting with more players. Mostly because it adds more randomness to the game. But it is just slightly better with all of the limiting factor like static market, and limited number of location space to activate the effect.

Also, with higher player count, we really need those red mints, even with 4 players. I found it that I need to use the 1 red and 1 white mint on BUILDER or something like that in order to keep the supply. Or, we need more white mints.

Without that, I don’t know about playing with more than 4 players. The number of building cards is enough, though.

To be fair, Mint Works was not meant to be a big game that needs longer playtime to play. Maybe that is the idea where we can just play the game fast and probably with multiple sessions in a row.

I just thought that we only need a couple of small tweaks to solve some of the issue. As it is, I think Mint Works is good enough for a small portable game to give this experience.

Solitaire Mode

As mentioned earlier, Mint Works can be played with just a single player. We will be competing against one of the AI and we have to score more points to win.

Each of the 4 AI in the base game has a card that will tell us how the AI will operate in the game. The card will also tell us some special setup or additional losing condition just specific for that AI.

The gameplay for the player remains the same as in the regular multiplayer rule. However, there are a couple of changes to the setup and parts of the Upkeep phase.

The next video is a solitaire mode playthrough of Mint Works by Beyond Solitaire channel.

Setup

FIRST. We choose one of the 4 AIs as our opponent. We take the corresponding AI CARD and put it on the table. The AI will have their own neighborhood area with plans, buildings and tokens.

SECOND. We take all of the CORE and DEED LOCATION CARDS and put them on the table in this exact following order: PRODUCER > WHOLESALER, BUILDER, SUPPLIER, LEADERSHIP COUNCIL and LOTTO.

The rule suggests placing these cards from the top to bottom using that order. What matters is the order of placement, not necessarily the order of the card.

The AI will always place their Mint in that order of priority. That means, most of the time, the AI will start with the PRODUCER.

We place these cards on the table with the ONE PLAYER SIDE or CLOSED SIDE for the Deed facing up.

THIRD, This is optional. We can choose one of the ADVANCED LOCATION and place that card after the LOTTO. That means, the AI will tend to pick this as their last option.

FOURTH. We shuffle all of the BUILDING / PLAN CARDS to form a single PLAN DECK, just like the regular mode and place them face down on the table.

From this Plan Deck, we reveal 2 cards as the PLAN SUPPLY right next to the deck. So, we have less option compared to the multiplayer rule.

FIFTH. We place all of the Mint Tokens on the table to form a MINT SUPPLY. From here, we take 3 tokens as our starting resources into our neighborhood.

SIXTH. We check the AI card and look for their starting number of Mint Tokens at the top right corner of the card. Then we take the corresponding number of tokens from the supply and put them to the AI’s neighborhood.

Against MORT, we skip this step.

SEVENTH. We also check the PERSONALITY TRAITS of the AI card to find out whether the become the starting player or not.

If so, we give the AI the STARTING PLAYER TOKEN. Otherwise, we are the starting player. From the base game, only against JUSTIN we are not the starting player.

That is the setup for solitaire mode of Mint Works.

Gameplay

Like the regular mode, the game will take place over multiple rounds, each with Development and Upkeep phase. When the end game is triggered, we proceed to the Scoring phase.

There is a couple things that is different from the regular mode.

One. If a Plan is taken from the SUPPLIER, we immediately refill that empty slot. We don’t wait until the Upkeep phase to do this so each turn, we always have two options.

Two. If somehow no player use the SUPPLIER at all in any given round, during Upkeep Phase, we take away those 2 cards from the PLAN SUPPLY and put them at the bottom of the deck. We then refill the Plan Supply with two cards from the top of the Plan deck.

Development Phase

In this phase, player and the AI will take turns do an action, either PLACE or PASS. Here is how the AI determine on which location they will place their Mint on.

First, they will always start from the first available space in that order. In most case, they will always start with PRODUCER.

We take the required Mint Tokens from their neighborhood and place them on the first available space.

If somehow the AI cannot use any location the AI PASS. However, only if we also pass it will end the round and we proceed to the Upkeep Phase.

It is possible that our action enable the AI to take a PLACE action again. If so, the round continues.

Second. The AI will buy Plan that they can afford based on their SUPPLIER PRIORITY. They will choose based on the price first, whether the cheaper or more expensive one.

If the available cards are tie in cost, then we need to check the type of plan. However, if there is still a tie, the AI will buy the closest one to the PLAN DECK.

Third. The AI will always build their oldest plan in their neighborhood first.

Fourth. The designer said that the AI will not use any of the ADVANCED LOCATION.

Upkeep Phase

When both the player and AI choose to PASS consecutively, we proceed to the Upkeep Phase. Resolving the Upkeep phase is similar to the regular mode, with the exception of refilling the Plan Supply.

That means, if any player has 7 or more Stars, we proceed to the Scoring Phase. Otherwise, we continue resolving the next step of the Upkeep.

Both players will resolve their own Upkeep effects, take 1 Free token and we return all of the Mint tokens from the location.

NOTE: Specifically against Rachael, we can actually lose during Upkeep phase when both player and the AI gain Mint Tokens either from the buildings or that 1 free token that any player will get.

Then, we can continue with the next Development Phase.

Scoring Phase

This is the same as the regular. Whoever has the most points from their buildings, wins the game. The same goes with the tie breaker

Special note against MORT for the tie breaker. Mort always win for having more Mint Tokens.

I think the final tie breaker is just for multiplayer. Some people on the forum did actually ask this question about how old are these AI.

That is it with how to play the solitaire mode of Mint Works.

Comment and Suggestion

I do feel that the solitaire mode of Mint Works is more of a puzzle. The AI is predictable and we are just trying to solve the puzzle for each AI.

It is interesting at first but we probably need more and different AI or it will be just very repetitive. I kind of wish that the designer can offer an AI with more than just one side of card for their traits.

The only replay value for the solo mode then is just from the order of the plan or building cards. None of them when combined with the AI’s trait will actually change our strategy to deal with them.

Because the basic idea is still about the building from the Plan supply. That is how we can score and how we can win or lose the game. If we can prevent them for getting certain buildings, we have a better chance on winning.

However, that doesn’t feel really satisfying. The reason is that we will be thinking that we win or lose mostly because of random factor or luck.

It is still a good challenge. But after figuring out how to outmaneuver the AI, is about which plans will be good for me but without giving benefit to the AI.

Like the regular mode, the game can still end after several rounds depending on the cards that came out early. It can take longer if the cards with 3 star value came late or not at all.

Another issue is that the optional Advanced location is not really helpful to make the AI interesting. Maybe they should come up with more of this type.

To be fair, the game itself can be considered as a micro game. There is a limit to what it can offer.

What we get from the retail copy is enough for its size. Even the new AI from the expansion is interesting but solvable.

I think introducing an AI as opponent that we have to defeat is just one way to turn a multiplayer game into a solo one. Other games can offer an AI where they just become obstacles while the player has other objective to accomplish.

For example, they can say to win, we need a certain building types in our neighborhood. If that is the idea then the AI doesn’t need to buy or build buildings.

The Supplier Priority is more about what they will get rid from the Plan Supply. I’m not saying that they need to change the existing AI but more about how they can expand the game to a different direction.

With that idea, maybe the AI doesn’t need to follow the order of placing their tokens. It is possible to add a deck specifically just for the AI, even though it doesn’t go along with the spirit of the game to fit in a single tin.

Expansions

Up to this point, the designer has released several expansions for Mint Works. One is for promo in GENCON 2017 and the other two are a Kickstarter pledge for Tantrum House, a YouTube channel about board game.

There is a chance that they may offer more in future year using the same outlet or even other YouTube channel. So far, they also offered to purchase the promo as an add on in Kickstarter campaign of their next game, as happened during their Mint Cooperative campaign.

I guess we can try following the campaign creator to get the latest update here.

Somehow I have a feeling that they really cannot give more content for the game. The possible reason is probably because eventually they still need to fit the content in the same tin.

Maybe this is just me, but I really don’t mind if they need to come out with additional tin to hold more cards from the expansions.

Promo 1 (2017)

This promo pack consists of 5 cards and 6 red Mint Tokens. I think the red Mint tokens were essential for those who got the first edition of Mint Works. The final retail edition already got these red tokens.

The first new thing they introduce with this expansion is the cooperative mode. Players will be working together against an AI called MINT CORP.

Mint Corp will have a purple AI card to explain how the AI is going to take action. One of 5 cards here is the rule on both sides that explain how the cooperative mode works.

The AI will always take turns after any player. Depending on the number of players, the score from all players combined need to reach certain minimum in order to win.

There is also a special additional location just for playing against the MINT CORP. This is a BUILDER- SUPPLIER location card that only the AI can use while player use the regular one.

We will be playing with the setup like in solo mode. The AI will take action from the top most location.

Aside from the cooperative mode related content, from the Promo pack, we also get 2 new ADVANCED locations, TEAM BUILDER and REMOVER. The first one can be used in cooperative mode.

Using this location allows us to build a building in our neighborhood from another player’s plan.  If they reject the offer, we will then get Mint Tokens. So, it can still be used in competitive mode and more like a take that element.

The REMOVER allows us to discard a card from the supply and put it at the bottom of the deck. This also a mean attack to another player, denying them for buying the plan.

The last card that we get from this promo pack is another AI, HANK – THE LEECH, which is at the back of the MINT CORP. Some say that this is not as difficult as Sonic but this will definitely make us play differently.

Hank will always take the free 1 Mint token during upkeep and will only build if we use the BUILDER.

As far as I know the promo is about $5 if we buy as an add on. I think there is a variant of different cards for this promo pack.  A buyer said that he got a different set of ADVANCED LOCATIONS in this page.

Instead of TEAM BUILDER and REMOVER, they got BULK SUPPLIER and INVESTMENT BROKER. This first card allows us to purchase multiple plans with a combined cost in one turn.

For the second one it allows us to increase the STAR VALUE of buildings in our neighborhood by placing a MINT TOKEN on the card. The cost for the action is not cheap.

Intern Promo (2019)

This one is formerly known as Tantrum House Promo when Tantrum House run a Kickstarter campaign for their channel in 2020. In this promo we get a single card with 2 different use from each side of the card.

On one side is a new AI, DAN – THE INTERN. The unique thing about this AI is that we have to move the position of PRODUCER location to the bottom of the lineup.

Another trait is the more powerful the benefit we get during the Upkeep, Dan will also get the benefit. I guess that makes him very thematic as an Intern.

On the other side, we don’t get another AI or an Advanced location but a replacement for LEADERSHIP COUNCIL. This new core location, HOUSE OF TANTRUMS still allow us to take the STARTING PLAYER TOKEN but with two more effects.

The active player can choose two cards from the supply to increase the cost on one and decrease on the other. This gives more reason to claim this space immediately at the start of the round.

However, it can be backfired as the claimer needs to reduce the cost as well. That makes it easier for the next player to buy that plan. If we choose to claim later, in multiplayer mode, we can even increase and decrease an empty slot.

The next card supply in that slot will take the effect. This specific situation will not happen in solitaire mode though but the change of cost effect will.

Later this was rebranded under different name, DAVID – THE INTERN / WORK STUDY promo.

Promo 3 (2021)

This promo was offered as part of the Tantrum House’s Kickstarter campaign in 2021. Based on the picture on that campaign page, it seems that this promo is similar to their previous one.

We will get a single card with an new AI on one side and a Location card on another. The AI’s name is PHIL – THE REIGNING CHAMPION, which starts with 5 Mint tokens.

The Location card is called BASEBALL STADIUM where it allows us to get Mint for every building in our neighborhood.

At this point, the promo hasn’t been delivered yet. So, there is no further information and the picture on that page might not show the final product.

I don’t think the new AI is interesting enough. Phil will only take the first player token if the Leadership Council was unoccupied during Upkeep. I thought most of the time we will always try to use that spot.

Conclusion

Mint Works is one of the micro tabletop game out there that started the Mint Series. It was originally an entry to a game design competition where all of the components need to fit in a mint tin.

The fact that the game is portable, easy to teach and play, with small footprint but still offers a bit depth of experience to the gameplay has made the game very well received. The designer then used crowdfunding platform to produce the game for wider audience. with more games as the sequel.

For each game in this Mint series, they always take a single basic game mechanism so even new gamers can easily learn the game. As the title of the game suggests, for Mint Works, they use Worker Placement mechanism.

In other bigger game with the same mechanism, they usually use a big board, and different player’s pawns. Players can deploy their own workers to various worker spot to activate some effect.

The unique thing about Mint Works is that all players shares the same workers, the Mint Tokens. These tokens also work as resources of the game. When we place a worker, we have to place the same amount of tokens that is required by the space.

Players will not necessarily get their workers back at the end of the round. Instead, they have to do some resource management so that they can generate more Mint Tokens to do more actions in future turns or rounds.

The theme of the game is city building. Aside from gathering more workers, players have to send their workers to buy building plans and build those buildings.

There are 21 unique building cards in the game each with its own effect. These buildings will help us get more workers and victory points.

Mint Works is also a racing game. For one, with the nature of worker placement mechanism, players need to be the first to use any of the available space.

We know our opponent’s resources and how likely are they going to take certain space. The other is, whoever gets 7 Stars or victory points will trigger the end of the game but not necessarily win the game.

The game can finish very fast within just 5 rounds so each player need to pay attention to their opponent instead of just focusing on building their engine. The engine that can produce a lot of Mint may be very powerful but it will be useless if there is no next round.

Buying the right building plans while doing a good resource management is a way to win the game. Getting to be the starting player in the next round may or may not help us win the game.

The game also comes with 4 different AIs each with a side of card to support the solitaire mode. This card will tell us how each of them will take action, their special game setup and which of the building they will more likely to buy.

So, the solo mode is more of a puzzle for each of these 4 AIs. After we solve it, know how to outmaneuver them, the challenge and replay value comes from the order of the building cards.

The designer said that it is possible to use the AI for the multiplayer mode as well. Anybody can even create their own variant of AI by following the same set of rules as these AI.

Some of the expansions introduce more AI cards. There is also a cooperative mode where players can work together to defeat the AI in the expansion.

I do have some issues with the game that I think can be solved with just minor tweaks. For example, I think the starting player of the game really have huge advantage over other players. The scaling doesn’t work very well for different player counts.

While there are a lot of interesting ideas from the buildings or the location cards, they are very situational and don’t work very well.

However, I guess it is a bit unfair to expect too much from a game of its size. It was not meant to be a bigger game.

As it is, Mint Works has successfully delivered a portable filler game with easy to learn and some depth to the gameplay that even a new gamer can enjoy.

More Games

If we are looking for more games like Mint Works, there are still a lot of these great tabletop games whether card games or board games. We can find more alternatives from the forum like Board Game Geek or other websites about tabletop games.

Here are just games that I have played and written a review for that share some similarities with Mint Works. Check the links to my review to find out more.

If we are looking for more micro games that can be played fast and use small number and size of components, so far, I have only played Circle the Wagons. This one is just for 2 players, with a spatial element for a City Building game.

Instead of worker placement mechanism, it uses melding and splaying card mechanism with just 18 cards. There is no resource management but this use set collection.

For more city/tableau building game with resource management, there are several games that I have tried.

Oh My Goods! is probably the closest one with a worker placement mechanism. We start with just one card as our worker and during the game we will add more worker and more spots to place these workers.

Tybor the Builder has a City Building aspect with worker element as the resources. This use just cards but with card drafting mechanism so we get a lot more player interaction.

Villages of Valeria is another game with city building and resource management that also have the racing element. If we can reach a number of cards in our tableau, we will be the one to trigger the end of the game.

The sequel, Quests of Valeria also have this racing element and some resource management.

This experience where we need to be the first in order to get certain benefit can also be found in The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game or Walking in Burano. Both of them are also City Building with set collection element combined with Contract or objective mechanism.

Seastead is another one that shares the racing element of Mint Works. In this game, not only we have to build all of our buildings as fast as we can with careful resource management.

We also need to be the first to take the spot for our buildings to get the benefit. It is almost like a worker placement where we can only place once on each spot.

For more games with deeper resource management, we can try Fleet or Café. We can also try Imperial Settlers for a bigger game. All of these offer better engine building experience than Mint Works.

If we are looking for extra challenge from the game to our city building and resource management experience, we can also try Peloponnes Card Game. That is a game where we can lose some progress.

Of course, we can also try the other game of the Mint Series. That is if we want to learn different gameplay mechanisms within the same size that can fit in a mint tin.

I will keep updating my website with more games. Find out the latest update from this Complete List.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about Mint Works, another micro card game. This is not the first tabletop games with worker placement mechanism that I have played but I thought it will be easier to explain if I start with a simple game.

I probably have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.

I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget.  If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with more player interaction.

The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play.

So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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