Mindbug is a two-player game from the greatest designer of all times, Richard Garfield or as we like to call him, King Richard, because he earned that title when he created the best TCG Magic the Gathering. He partnered with Skaff Elias, Marvin Hegen, and Christian Kudahl to bring us this wonderful two-player experience lacking in these modern times. Sure, the market is flooded with many card games; every player has their favorite. However, mindbug offers something fresh and unique—the ability to steal your opponent’s card right from the start.


The gameplay

Mindbug is a 15 to 25-minute card game, depending on both opponents’ cards. Most players will notice some similarities with Magic at first glance, but after the first game, their differences become apparent. 

  • First, as we mentioned above, this is a much shorter game,
  • Second, there is no complex card resolution system
  • Third, there are no difficult card combos
  • Finally, you only get 10 card deck instead of  60

To start a game of mindbug, each player should get ten cards, three lifepoints and two mindbugs. Then, both players draw five cards in their hand, decide who goes first and start playing. On your turn, you can do one of the two actions:

  1. Attack with a card.
  2. Play a card

When you play a card, the opponent can mindbug it and play it under their control as if they played it themselves. However, they must spend one of their two mindbugs to do so. Also, the opponent misses their turn since they have stolen your card and effectively your turn. When a player has no more mindbugs, their opponent can play any cards they like because they can’t be stolen anymore. After a card is played successfully, there can be some play effects which are resolved immediately, and that ends the turn.

When attacking a creature, the player selects which creature they are attacking with and declares the attack. At this point, the defender must block with a creature or take lifepoint damage. Naturally, the creature with the higher attack power survives the combat. However, no matter how strong the creature is, the damage done to lifepoints is always one. Nevertheless, many abilities can change these rules. For example, when a creature has hunter ability, that creature selects its target instead of the defending player.

Another example is frenzy. A creature with frenzy can attack twice per turn and, if not blocked, can deal two lifepoint damage. There are other incredible abilities like poisonous, which defeats the opposing creature regardless of attack power and tough, which gives a creature a second life, meaning it should be defeated twice before it is removed.

The game can end in one of two ways. Either one of the players loses their lifepoints, or they can’t perform any of the two actions on their turn. In both cases, that player is the loser, and their opponent wins the duel.

The Artwork

The art is done by Denis Martynets, a renowned artist for other beautiful-looking games like Imperial Settlers and Dragon Farkle. Mindbug is also no exception. The cards are beautifully done, each easily recognizable after playing several games. Each of the creatures is special not only in what they do but also in how they look, enhancing the immersion even more. They can be anything from insects up to a crazy hodgepodge like the “Sharky Crab-Dog-Mummypus”, which gives you an idea of how crazy this game can be. The box is also nicely done. The eye of the mindbug stares directly at you no matter where you put it on the shelf, sending telepathic vibes. Play me, play me!!!! And, of course, you do.


Final Summary

It should come as no surprise that this game is a big hit for us. Although most of our gaming group are eurogamers, this game has a special place in our hearts. We don’t even mind the fact that it is only two players. The duels are so short we can easily take turns, and it is fun to watch, too. What we love the most is that nothing is missing, even though this is a brief game. Almost all of the strategies from other TCG games are there: The milling, the Board control, quick DMG dealing, Board wipers, power enhancers, etc. You can’t experience them all in one game, but still, the excitement is unbelievable. If you are a magic player or any TCG player, and no one wants to play those games, this game is for you. New players can quickly learn to play this on their first try and like it because of how gateway game it is. If all this is not enough, then get ready for more because multiple expansions are coming, one of which expands the game to 4 players’ experience. We can’t wait to get our hands on it and meet Count Draculeech, which sounds a bit like a small town in Bosnia. I’m sure there will be a ton of jokes there. Is anyone from  Drakulic????!!??? Yes ??? No????