Release Date: 2014Players: 2 (only)
Designer: David René Miller, Kate BeckettLength:  5-15 minutes
Artist: David René MillerAge: 10+
Publisher: subQuarkComplexity: 1.5 / 5

It might be time to call me the Mint Tin Man, à la The Wizard of Oz, given how many of subQuark‘s mint tin games I have now reviewed and made videos about. However, there is just so much fun in these small packages that I just have to write about them. Of course, games that last only 5 to 15 minutes won’t satisfy everyone’s needs – but then, few games do. Also, being only two player limits who these games are for. Yet, it is exactly the length, player count and box size that make these games perfect for taking with you and playing with anyone, including people who may not otherwise be much into modern games. Of course, Mint Tin Aliens is no exception.

The game is basically all about set collection. On their turn, each player can draw up to two cards, either from the row of face up cards or from the stack, or one of each. They then have to play a set of cards to gain points, depending on what they were able to play. Certain sets require more cards, giving you more points, but making it harder to complete the set. If a player is unable to play a set, they lose one of their nine bonus points. In either case, play continues to the next player.

As you can tell, it’s really pretty simple. Yes, there are a couple of more rules I didn’t mention, but the gameplay mostly consists of drawing cards and playing sets to collect points. The twist comes that each type of set can only be played so many times, so once they’re gone, they’re gone and the cards in your hand become less useful. So you do need to keep an eye on what possible combinations are still available and play your hand accordingly.

So you might think that you should always just go for the most value merit awards to gain the most points, but there is another twist in the game. The player who first completes at least one of each type of set gets two bonus points. So you will want to try and even out what sets you go for and try and get the additional points.

The game ends once all types of sets have been played and awarded to the players. Now all players add up the points from their sets and all of their bonus points, and the player with the most points wins. Yes, and that’s all there is to it.

It is clearly a very simple game, but it’s great to pass the time when you’re out and about, just like all the other Mint Tin games. The tin for Mint Tin Aliens is the larger of the rectangular sizes, but it’s still small enough to have with you in your coat pocket, handbag or rucksack. It’s very quick to set up and play and needs very little table space. So it’s ideal to play in a pub or restaurant, while you wait for your food, or on the train, a bus or a plane. There are even rules for what happens if your food arrives early, or you get to your destination quicker than expected, and you have to interrupt your game. Yet, given the short play time, I doubt you’ll ever have to end your game early.

It’s no surprise that Mint Tin Aliens was awarded the Pair of Dice Paradise Wings. It’s a small box that squeezes a lot of game into it. The components are really good quality, and, like with all of subQuark’s games, the materials are sourced as locally as possible. There is a lot of love that goes into these games and for that alone they are worth buying.

Let me finish by saying that I was sent a copy of Mint Tin Aliens free of charge by subQuark, but that doesn’t mean this is a sponsored review. What I have written is my personal opinion and not influenced by being sent this game for free, but I thought I’d let you know so you can make up your own mind.

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