Riot Announces League Of Legends Board Game

Riot have announced Mechs vs Minions – a co-operative boardgame based on their mega-popular MOBA, League of Legends [official site]. The game will launch in October (October 13th, to be exact) which makes sense given October is the month of the League of Legends World Championships so millions of eyeballs are on the game at that point. But what does a board game that riffs on Summoner’s Rift look like?

The idea is four of the Yordle characters from the game – Corki, Tristana, Heimerdinger and Ziggs – can take charge of and program mechs which they then use to combat a sea of marauding minions. The board itself is consists of modular pieces which can be rearranged according to the mission, and the characters each have a command line board on which they can queue up moves and attacks and the like which they then execute to (hopefully) advance the mission and deal with the minions.

It’s a co-op experience for 2-4 players so it’s less about trouncing and backstabbing the people around the table with you and more about working out how to use your resources together. I tend to prefer co-op games as I’m not very good at needing to obliterate opponents – I feel too guilty!

The ten missions come together to form a story-driven campaign which is described by Riot as follows:

“Rumble has invited Heimerdinger, Tristana, Corki, and Ziggs to his soon-to-be-mega-prestigious school. Without giving away too much, things quickly go sideways, and the Yordles are forced to work together to fight off the minion menace.”

One of the most interesting things to me is the idea of recreating skills from the game in a satisfying physical way that won’t get bogged down in working out variables. You can see some of the finished cards in the tutorial video and you get moves like Scythe where your mech must turn by a certain amount but you also take out one (or more) minions within one space distance from you. The Cyclotron card also forces you to turn but you can take out minions that are diagonal to you. Ripsaw takes out targets in a line in front of you. Chain Lightning takes out a minion in front of you but can then jump diagonally to more targets. Upgrading the cards by stacking elements makes them stronger.

There’s definitely a component of trying to work out how the movement and attack components will work out as you chain them up and then hoping you’ve got it right and not, say, forgotten a quarter turn that will see you stomping backwards, leaving the minion wave completely unscathed.

The other thing I’m interested in is what the player base for the game will be. League now claims an estimated 100 million active monthly players so even if the board game’s appeal was limited to LoL players it’s not like they’d be floundering for an audience, but given how it riffs on MOBA concepts and abilities as well as incorporating bits and bobs from the lore when it comes to characters and so on I’m wondering how someone unfamiliar with the game might fare.

It’s also $75 plus shipping (£57.50 in UK money). That’s not actually much more than some other games I own. I just looked on Amazon and Star Wars: Rebellion is north of £60, while a bunch of others on my shelf hover in the £35-£40 bracket, but it’s still a significant chunk of change and more than most people would fork out on a whim so I’m curious to see what the pick-up will be like.

Anyhoodle! 13 October. Mechs Vs Minions. What do you reckon?

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  1. Daniel Klein says:

    Important to note that your boy Quinns, formerly of the rocks, the papers, but also the shotguns, did some consulting on this, so we can blame it on him if it sucks.

  2. int says:

    Now you can be toxic in person!

  3. Premium User Badge

    kshriner says:

    Heh, I’m definitely interested but RPS has taught me to never pre-order! I’ll wait for your review after release.. :)

  4. Deano2099 says:

    In terms of price, for the amount of content in the box (loads of minis, some pre-painted, custom-inserts, huge box) it’s super-cheap in board game terms. As weird as it sounds to anyone not buying these things regularly, they’ve clearly taken a hit on standard the profit margin to get it down to such a price. Obviously that’s because they’re aiming at people who don’t buy these things often.

    • xvre says:

      I don’t have any source except my ass, but I don’t think they are taking a loss. They are selling the game exclusively through their own merchandise store, thus eliminating an entire link in the distribution chain, which allows them to save a lot of money.

      • Slaadfax says:

        They’re cutting both distribution and retail out of the equation, which is good because MSRP for that game would probably be close to $200, and I feel like that’s a pretty conservative estimate.

        It’s those prepainted minis. If they look as good as they seem to, Riot’s margins might still be pretty thin. Crappy prepaints are pricey; good prepaints (especially anything representing organics) are very expensive.

        Then you’ve got multiple vac trays, another figure packaged inside another box…

        • TheBlart says:

          The production values of this game are one of the best I have seen and yes the direct distribution keeps the price very low. Unfortunately for consumers not in the US, it becomes costly due to shipping and exchange rates. In Canada, this $75 usd game is going to cost me $145 cad.

          The game does look really fun, Rodney does a no review style playthrough on Watch it Played. I recommend watching it if you are considering buying the game.

  5. cablechip says:

    MOBA – Multiplayer Offline Boardgame Arena?

  6. dontnormally says:

    You heard it here first: they’re going to do a Valve and use their weight to get people buying through their storefront and offer it up to indies to use to bypass Asmodee.

  7. RanDomino says:

    So it’s Roborally as a Tower Defense game?

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