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Top 3 Gamelyn Games

How many Tiny Epic games have you played? Have you played any at all? Are you intrigued by the ‘tiny’ idea behind these games? Do you think it is genius idea or a marketing gimmick? Well, let’s settle down to look at some of the best titles in the collection to see which Tiny Epic game rules them all!

Set in the time after the game depicted in Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Tiny Epic Defenders is a cooperative game where players must work together to defend the land from constant attacks, and ultimately defeat the final end game boss, the ‘Epic Foe.’ This is done by moving around the seven different game areas, and protecting each area of land, securing each regions threat, and using their own and the lands unique abilities.

This has the feel of a computer game to me. There is a ‘grind style’ to the way you need to work your way around the various locations and cycle through the deck’s enemy cards enough times to reach the final round where you must face the ‘Epic Foe.’ You are playing the same game over and over, seeing if you can outlast the game. Trying to stay alive long enough to defeat the ‘Epic Foe’ and become victorious. It becomes a war of attrition.

So, is this fun? Well yes! If you like a grind, then this could well be your favourite game of the collection. I love the feeling of slowly working my way through the enemy cards knowing each round I am moving one step closer to winning the game. So long as I can stay alive! There is a real sense of achievement from this. Working cooperatively, I enjoy discussing what are the right tactics and trying to outlast the game. There is some luck in terms of being in the right place at the right time, but ultimately, the game rewards players who are willing to take on the hoards of enemies and brave out the storm.

Different parts of the land will certainly fall, and new enemies will come to test you. Utilising the many different artifacts and working as a team is crucial in this game. This is certainly my favourite cooperative game in the Tiny Epic series.

There is something simply joyous about tiny dinosaurs meeples! It’s a worn out cliché to say, especially with this range of games, but there is so much ‘game’ in this box! For what is a simple worker placement and set collection game, Tiny Epic Dinosaurs is incredibly enjoyable to play. It feels very involved and absorbing throughout.

You are playing as Dinosaur ranchers, trying to maximise the space and efficiency in your Dinosaur breading farm. You need to collect resources, assign roles to your ranchers, arrange your ranch in the most efficient way, ensure all your dinosaurs remain well fed and happy, and breed the right dino’s to satisfy the demands of the contracts on the market.

There are four main dinosaurs to breed, and then 15 other unique dinosaurs available via genic testing using the research cards, offering greater rewards. Getting one and fulfilling a private contract requiring a specific unique dinosaur is a highly satisfying experience. The game is played over six rounds and the rancher with the most points scored from successfully completing contracts, research cards and for any remaining dinosaurs in their ranch is the winner.

Each choice you make in the game feels tight and important. You will feel fully immersed throughout the game as everything do will feel essential to your potential success. As you assign your ranchers, there are limited spots and getting to the right place early before it is gone is a tense and exciting affair. The entire game is so brilliantly made and so tightly made. It feels like the most well-oiled game from the series and is my favourite game to play solo or competitively in a two-player.

There are multiple ways to experience this game. Either from the zombies or humans’ perspective and in both competitive and co-op mode. The game is set in a mall where Zombies are terrorising the locals, and it is your job to try and stop them. Unless of course, you are playing as the zombies, in which case, it is your job to claim ground against the previous inhabitants, who insist of impaling your friends heads with a variety of weapons!

This is the most impressive game when set up. It has a commanding table presence for such a small box game. There is a lot of variety with the double-sided mall cards and different modes of play. The multiple different objectives you can work on also expand the game a great deal. In one game you could be trying to fix the Helicopter, attempting to call the C.D.C. and trying to investigate the source of the outbreak. The next, your goals could be to trying to assemble an arsenal of weapons, help escort the army, and ultimately escape the mall. And in another game, the goals may be to discover a cure, quarantine the infected, and try and save the stranded.

Each mission feels very different, making each combination in a game feel like a unique experience. And of course, you could be on either side of these roles, playing one time as the humans, and the next as the zombies.

This can be done either competitively against the zombies using an AI as the Zombies, cooperatively against the zombie AI, playing as the zombies yourself either against a group of humans either working together or against each other, or in a solo mode. All offer their own unique gameplay, and make this game feel fresh each time it hits the table.

There are a wider variety of weapons and items to collect as the humans, and a great selection of characters to chose from. One of my favourite mechanisms in this game is when playing as the human, if you lose all your life, you are not out the game.

Rather, your character card is flipped over and handed to the zombie player for them to now use.

They now have an extra character to use

against you, and you must start again as a new human.

If this happens too often, the zombie player will win, you cannot start again endlessly. But this change over of character and dynamic created by this is a clever addition fits the theme and the sense of the game well.

Tiny Epic Zombies is my favourite Tiny Epic game because of this variety. I also love zombie games, and the theme so am very biased when it comes to this, so please do take that into account! But the game is solid and would stand up in any theme. This game, at its core, is a pick-up-and-deliver/area majority game at its core. And it does these mechanics as well as I have seen them for a small box game. Neither are my favourite mechanics, but they do them so well and with such variety, the game is brilliant fun to play. I often feel like pick-up-and-deliver games are just asking me to complete a series of chores. But the tension and variability in this game make each game highly rewarding.

So, that’s my top 3, but there are plenty of other great Tiny Epic games out there. Let’s take a quick look at some honourable mentions.

Tooling up a meeple with a variety of weapons is very cool. Placing that meeple into a mech suit and adding even more weapons is a real joy! Getting your meeple into the giant mech is just downright ‘nerdgasmic’! As such, this game looks on surface value like an amazing game! But there is way less direct interaction that you may expect. This is much more of an area control game that a fighting one, and that needs to be addressed before you can judge the game.

The core mechanic is the programming. In a battle arena, players are looking to control as many areas of the board as possible with their mines, turrets, and player piece. You will plan your actions in a sequence, and then enact your plan in turn. You may think moving left, collecting and then jumping forward to fight is a good idea based on what is in front of you at the time of planning. But the player you were about to target could have moved on to a new space by the time this happens. This random movement is why battles often don’t happen, and I find in a game, there will often only be one or two occasions when a fight actually takes place. This is fine, the game is still good without it. It is just the expectation does not quite meat the reality.

If you like area control, this is a great game. It looks great, has some amazing components and will be very appealing to younger players, even if they don’t actually want to play the game. My kids often play with the parts from this game for hours after an actual game is finished! I suppose this is one way to get the fight to happen!

The ultra tiny version of this game comes in a box the size of a playing cards, and never before has the phrase, ‘looks can be deceiving’ been more appropriate. Inside this small box, is more than just cards. There are cubes, mini tokens, dice and much more. Galaxies is one of the most popular games in the Tiny Epic series, hence why they chose it for this Ultra tiny variant. It would have easily made my top three were it not for one simple fact. This is perhaps too small for me. The ‘Tiny’ part of the ‘Tiny Epic’ is most certainly a gimmick. It suits production and shipping costs too, and of course is advantageous when it comes to storage. But there is no doubt in my mind that these games would be a little more user friendly for some in a larger size. I understand why it was done, and I love all the games, but I do hope one day they do an ‘Ultra Large’ variation!

Now, with this ‘Ultra Tiny’ spin off, I love the novelty of having so much game in something the size of a pack of cards. It fits in my pocket and I often take it with me on trains or to the pub. But the reality is, it is so fiddly, and the pieces are so small, that you need a stable, flat surface and some keen eyes to make it work.

The game is brilliant, and probably my favourite of the lot. But the size just doesn’t work for me. I am very glad I bought it, and have played it loads. So, this is full of contradictions I know. I am just campaigning for the larger variations one day. I think if Gamelyn Games kickstarted an Ultra Large Epic variation of their games it would be huge! Don’t you?

Tiny Epic Quest, Dungeons, Kingdoms, Pirates, Tactics and Western all look amazing too! For transparency, I have not played these ones yet. They could all have made this list had I played them. I hope to add my thoughts on them to this one day.

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