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Victorian Masterminds

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 ratings

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  • Miniature Architecture - Highly detailed 3D buildings, including Monuments, Factories, Universities, and Furnaces can be earned by players to advance their nefarious schemes.
  • Sabotage Opponents - Players can embrace their villainous selves by messing up the carefully laid plans of their competition, but they will have to be careful of opposing Saboteurs.
  • See the World - Supervillains can send their Agents to world capitals, like Paris, Rome, and Moscow, and take advantage of rewards fortheir visit.
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All around the world, from Moscow to Washington, from Paris to Rome, Supervillains have run amok. Iconic monuments are being stolen right out of the cities, and high-profile scientists and politicians are going missing. Even the famed detective, Sherlock Holmes, is gone without a trace. The world’s treasures are vulnerable to the most nefarious villains out there.In Victorian Masterminds, players take on the role of Supervillains attempting to hatch an evil scheme. They send their Agents out to the great cities of the world to advance their plots, or mess with the plans of their opponents. Careful planning can result in the spoils of Supervillainy, like collected resources, captured Buildings, or recruited Scientists. These Villains are racing to complete their Infernal Machines, but the Secret Service will be hot on their trail as well.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
23 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2019
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4.0 out of 5 stars Villains, or misunderstood geniuses?
By N. Christensen on August 27, 2019
Victorian Masterminds is a worker-placement point-salad co-designed by the creator of 7 Wonders, Takenoko, Tokaido, Ghost Stories and lots of other games. What makes this one so interesting for me is the timing element. Each player has 5 worker tokens which are sent one-at-a-time facedown into one of 5 cities that provide different benefits. Subsequent arriving workers are stacked, and when the third one arrives, the stack is flipped and the workers' actions resolve top-down. Thus the first player to arrive at any location generally acts first there, and might foil the plans of players who arrived later. Players always have a choice of where to send their workers, and always gain the spoils of the location, even if a worker is unable to perform its action.

Players have identical sets of worker tokens. Only one - the Engineer - provides unique benefits, based on the abilities of the infernal machine you are trying to build. Some of these are more straightforward than others. "Take an extra bolt or copper plate," for example is pretty clear. By comparison, "Take a building from this location (if you are able)" is unclear as to whether a building simply has to be available in that location, or if you must also have requisite firepower. Most other sticking points can be deduced by jumping around the rulebook, but in some cases could be more explicit.

This is good example of a game that is overproduced, or at least has inconsistent components. Scientists are a form of currency, and could have been tokens just like the codex (or, why not make a mold for those too?). I like that the bolt/copper tokens are reversible, but they are TINY. For easier handling they could have been dime-sized on a slightly larger machine board. Only the landmark buildings are unique, but you get 5 identical copies of 3 other types that just sit next to your personal board when you acquire them. There isn't the same "wow" factor to any of these miniatures like there can be with area-control, or other games in which the central board is dynamic and not merely a space to sort and organize components.

Overall, Victorian Masterminds is a fun game that will hit a lot of sweet spots for fans of midweight worker-placement with multiple ways to score, and takes only about 20 minutes per player.
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