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Mutants Preview

Quick Look:

Designer: Sen-Foong Lim, Jessey Wright
Artists: Mateusz Komada, Katarzyna Kosobucka
Publisher: Lucky Duck Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Mutants. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.


A twist on deck building where you draft or pick potential mutants that will eventually move through your deck and player board to score points once frozen, or to move you up on the power track to score points at the end of that round.

Getting the Game:
Like many of Lucky Duck's games, the rulebook teaches you how to play fairly easy. To highlight some areas, you will be choosing a gene pool of potential mutants that will come through your deck. Each player starts with the same basic cards, and different mutants from different players will allow players to use their abilities to change the course of their deck. You will have 12 mutant cards that includes 6 different types. These cards are shuffled and placed in 3 piles with 4 cards in each and will become available using different actions while playing. The board will show the score, the round tracker with points awarded at the end of each round to whichever player is highest on the power track, and of course the the board includes the power track.

Each player will have a player board which will show a flow of where yours cards are played. The cards have an ability when you place them, and a different ability when kicked off the board. Cards move from the deck, to your hand, to your active mutant area on the player board, to your discard area on the player board. Two other areas used on your player board include the incubator which holds new mutant cards and are placed on the top of your deck at the end of the round and the freeze zone where you "trash" cards to gain points for the end of the game. You only gain points for cards being in your freeze zone, and not for having any cards in your deck or hand.

Playing the Game:
You start with 12 basic cards in your deck consisting of 2 copies of 6 one gene mutant cards. Each player will either choose, draft, or create their own gene pool that will consist of 12 more advanced mutant cards. These cards will only be available for you in your own "store" with 3 random cards being available at a time.

A round consists of players taking turns doing an action until they use every card in their hand. There are 5 rounds in the game, so you will gain points from whoever is highest on the power track each round, and end game points consists of cards placed in the freeze zone. You will draw 6 cards from your deck each round.

Your turn will go in this order:

1. Crush the Competition--When you get to the highest spot on the power track, when you take actions to advance further you actually stay on the top spot and move all other players down one. At the start of your turn if all other players are located in the red zone, the round ends immediately and you will score that rounds point plus the bonus.

2. Move active Mutant--On your player board, if there is a mutant card located on the active spot, you will need to decide which direction to move it. Once a card is moved off the board, it will trigger its leave ability and be added to your discard area.

3. Take an action
        A. Deploy a mutant--take a card from your hand a place it in the active area on your player board, if it has a deploy ability, it is performed.
        B. Breed--You will discard 2 cards from your hand that match genes of the mutant card desired to "purchase." This card is immediately placed in the active slot and deploy ability triggered.
        C. Incubate--You will discard any one card from your hand and place any new mutant card from the "store" on the incubation slot on your player board. At the end of the round, these cards are placed on top of your deck to guarantee them to be in your hand the next round.

Once you're out of cards, you are done for the round. At the end of the round whoever is highest on the power track will score points that are assigned to that round. The round marker is moved, all players with cards in your incubator will place them on top of their deck. Then all player markers are reset with the player with the lowest number of points getting the best position.

The game is pretty basic when playing it and the hardest part, which isn't hard at all, is just figuring out how the deck building and flow of the game is. Since the mechanics are a little different from other deck builders there is a little bit of learning that needs to take place. You essentially have your own store that you can time to know which cards at which time you would like to "purchase." But you also have other players "purchasing" cards that do some cool things that you will never get or play.

When I first played, I felt like my opponent's gene pool was way better than mine, and I must have gotten bad genes. But the end score said otherwise. Some gene pools can and will focus on getting points one way over another (freeze zone points over power track, or vice versa). You also need to play to your strengths. Mine happened to be a card that gave me points for having purple cards in my freeze zone. My opponent had way more cards in his freeze zone due to an ability from one of his mutants, but mine gave me more points for having a certain type of mutant and made up the difference.

One thing that might be a surprise to some is when opening the box you might wonder where all the components and cards are. There really aren't too many cards in the game or components, and when placed in a big box it makes it look even more bare. I would expect that more cards of mutants will become available and extra expansions will change and tweak rules to make a simple game into a more strategic and heavier game.

After playing the game, I did look at all the different reconstructed gene pools and it seemed like there was a certain strategy that would be good for that certain deck. Some were to just try to dominate other players by solely moving up on the power track, others were to get tons of cards in the freeze zone, and others were a balance with emphasis on using some of their mutants abilities to give them an edge up on attacking, defending, or doing some special.

Artwork and Components:
The art in the game matches the theme, and even if the theme isn't found much in the game, the art is the one thing that ties the theme to the mechanics. The art reminds me of this being from a video game that was made 10 years ago or so.

The components besides the cards consists of the boards and a power token and round marker. Now as little as these components are, they really do look cool and match the board very well. I wish there was another way to have more of these tokens somehow in the game so I can touch them more and use them in another manner.

The Good:
Takes deck building to another variant without using tons and tons of cards to do it. The game is surprisingly balanced with all the different mutants, and you can tell the game has been playtested and is ready for action.

The Bad:
The game plays 2-4 players, which can limit when this game can get to the table when you have a different player count. Some of the card's action seem better when there is more than just 2 players, so I would say the game does better with 3-4 players than 2. The game seems bare when opening the box, so don't be surprised when there isn't much included in the box.

Final Thoughts:
This game will be a big hit for many due to the fact that it's fairly simple to play and doesn't take a long time to set up or play. I think with time the game will need to come out with some additional content for the game because once you play all the different gene pools and make your own, the game will seem very similar throughout plays and will need to change something a bit. I am still amazed how each time I've played the score are so close which just makes me love how balanced the game is. Also, Lucky Duck Games always has done a great job with their campaigns and wouldn't expect less with this one, so know that they will listen to you and do you right.

Check out Mutants on:


Mutants is on KICKSTARTER between now and November 20, 2018.

Brody Sheard - Outreach Manager

Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues with his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.

See Brody's reviews HERE.
Mutants Preview Mutants Preview Reviewed by Brody on November 13, 2018 Rating: 5

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