Megaland [Micro]

Base price: $20.
2 – 5 players.
Play time: ~20 minutes.
BGG | Board Game Atlas
Buy on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
Logged plays: 4

I’m always a bit excited to write this part of the review. It’s just kind of stream of consciousness; I have basically no idea what’s going to come out of my head once I start typing, and I let it go sort of free-form from there. Hasn’t been a problem yet, and I’ve done this literally a thousand times, so I think it’s probably okay. Either way, that’s why you tend to get some vignettes from my life, where I’m going, what I’m doing, what I’m thinking about; all that good stuff. Sometimes just kind of doing this whatever thing gives me the opportunity to dust off a game I’d been thinking about but hadn’t gotten a chance to review, and I was just eyeballing Megaland on my shelf and wondering why I never got around to it so I decided to pop it off the shelf, review it, and here we are! Photos done, review written, the whole thing. Megaland was part of the early push by Target to get more Target-exclusive board games into their store, so I imagine buying it now is going to be kind of fraught, but maybe Red Raven will pick it back up again? I do not know; that sort of thing is beyond me. Either way, let’s find out more about it!

In Megaland, you’re an adventurer pursuing coins, treasures, and other such riches! Exciting stuff. Unfortunately, pesky monsters stand in the way of you and your riches, so you’ll have to go through multiple levels if you want to get what’s rightfully yours. In the meantime, you can construct buildings based on the multiple treasures you have at your disposal (or, allegedly, trade some carrot treasures to an extremely bitey rabbit in exchange for other treasures), and those buildings have their own abilities and effects that will help you on your adventure. Each round, every player decides if they want to keep going or stop. If you keep going, you flip the card and see what happens. Sometimes you take damage, sometimes you get treasures, sometimes nothing. If you run out of health, you lose all your treasures that you gathered on this run! Otherwise, everyone decides to go or stay again! As you do, you’ll trade in treasures to earn coins in the hopes that you’ll be the first to 20 coins. Once one player hits it, the player with the most coins wins! Will you be able to rise above the rabble and make Megaland work for you?

Overall: 8.25 / 10

Overall, I forgot how great Megaland is, frankly. I love a quick push-your-luck game, and this is precisely that. In Megaland, you decide if you want to risk fighting a monster to get some treasures, and sometimes you die horribly. That’s also probably life, to some degree, but the game moves quickly and even if you end up with very few points because you keep misjudging what random card is going to come off the top of the deck, oh well; just play again. I think Megaland does a great job of making the experience entertaining, especially since everyone’s deciding whether or not to keep going together. This means that the act of choosing to go or back out will often get you gently cajoled by other players, and you can share in the mutual success, the common defeat, or the thrill of barely avoiding the monster that causes the player next to you to fall. It’s a surprisingly social game, which I appreciate.

It almost goes without saying that one of Red Raven’s strongest offerings in their games is the art, and the artwork here is particularly fun and inviting. There’s a good variety to the buildings, the character work is engaging and entertaining, and it all looks great. That was, honestly, one of the reasons I picked it up five years ago, now, I guess. I also appreciate the modularity of it! You’ll always use the same six star buildings, but you choose six of the sixteen other buildings to include and purchase throughout the game, so you’ll have a variety of effects from being able to swap Treasures for other Treasures to gaining coins when your opponents fall to being able to skip certain kinds of monsters. They’re all useful in their own ways, and I enjoy coming up with a dynamic strategy based on what’s in play, kind of like Dominion or other market-based games.

A final note of praise for Megaland is in its approachability. This is not a particularly challenging game to learn, and even though setup can be a bit for a game of its complexity, the GameTrayz insert does a lot to simplify that process. This is a game I’d feel comfortable taking to my family or younger players and teaching them. Stands to reason, given that it was a Recommended title in Early Gamers for the inaugural year of the American Tabletop Awards. The core gameplay loop is just “go or stay”, and you eventually will stay, either because you got defeated by monsters or your trove of Treasures is too good to risk. It’s a nice way to teach the concept of pushing your luck, and it’s further accentuated by the always-fantastic art of Ryan Laukat. It’s honestly been nice to get to come back and revisit a game after playing it so many years ago; maybe I’ll do a few more of these in the future with games I’ve already talked a bit about. Food for thought. Either way, if you’re looking for a great title for the whole family, you want to push your luck and suffer the consequences, or you’re just a fan of Ryan Laukat’s art, I’d definitely recommend Megaland! I think it’s a rock-solid game.

If you enjoyed this review and would like to support What’s Eric Playing? in the future, please check out my Patreon. Thanks for reading!

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