Our review of Scott Pilgrim Miniatures the World, designed by Erica Bouyouris and published by Renegade Game Studios. Available now.
WHAT IS IT?
The latest, and greatest, board game adaptation of the Torontoest comic book to ever Toronto.
IS IT GOOD?
I would hazard to use the L-word to describe my attitude towards this game.
WHO SHOULD PLAY IT?
Vegan Bassists, Demon Hipster Chicks, Movie Stars, the Bi-Furious, Japanese Pop Stars, and Evil Record Executives.
We’ve made no secret of our love for Scott Pilgrim here at the Toronto Guardian, and it would appear that, eleven years since the comic ended, we are not alone in our Sex Bob-omb-induced mania. There’s the film, of course, which recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary with a COVID-era table read. Then there are the Scott Pilgrim t-shirts, the video game, the inevitable Funko Pops, and a relatively thriving Scott Pilgrim subreddit. There are some cool Scott Pilgrim tattoos, and at least one Scott Pilgrim action figure perched on this reviewer’s bookshelf.
There’s also, thanks to Renegade Game Studios, two – count ’em, two – Scott Pilgrim board games. From 2017, there’s Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Card Game, a fun little deck-builder which awards Victory Points for doing stuff like finally getting your own apartment. While I enjoyed the card game, the brand-new Scott Pilgrim Miniatures the World is, in every way, the better experience. The painted miniatures are adorable. The 3D game board, with its elevated stage and cardboard cut-out props, is fantastic. Even the little stat-trackers – the teeny little wooden stars which track character XP, the black cubes marking your special abilities – are enjoyably tactile.
FRIEND OF A FRIEND
Despite its awkward name, Scott Pilgrim Miniatures the World is an easily understood, decently-balanced, battle royale board game. There are two competing sides – a single player controls the Evil Exes and their respective minions, while anywhere from 1-3 players team up as the Good Guys. Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Knives Chau, Kim Pine, and Stephen Stills are all playable characters. (Knives, with her dual-wielded sais, has the coolest mini by far.) The core game comes with a single Evil Ex, Matthew Patel, accompanied by three Demon Hipster Chicks. (Okay, I lied, maybe the Hipster Chick minis are cooler.)
Gameplay resembles other grid-based combat games, with players taking turns moving around the board, collecting items/objects, and unleashing attacks. Actions are governed by colourful action dice designed for this game. Rolling a “foot” icon, for example, allows you to move three spaces. Rolling a “fist” allows you to punch, or to pick up an object and throw it at someone. (It never ceases to amuse me that, in keeping with its comic book origins, a character can chuck a drum kit halfway across the room to bonk an opponent in the head.)
Key to success in Scott Pilgrim Miniatures is understanding the various combos you can activate by combining dice actions. To take a simple example: use one “fist” die to throw a punch, but use two fist dice to increase damage and level up your character. Then there are the character-specific combos, all of which are amusing references to the source material – like Knives’s “I’ve kissed the lips that kissed you!” or Kim’s “We are Sex Bob-omb! 1 2 3 4!” Fans will get a kick out of the game’s excellent use of the license, right down to the flavour text on the item cards. There’s an item called a “Canadian Winter Helmet” which reduces damage. It’s a picture of Scott wearing a toque.
I KNEW YOU WHEN
Our experience with the game suggests a decent attention to balance, though it remains to be seen whether that’s true for all Evil Exes. Indeed, one knock against Scott Pilgrim Miniatures is that it only comes with a single ex, Matthew Patel. Players who want to take on the entire League of Seven Evil Exes will need to shell out for the expansion, which costs as much as the core game. Compared to other miniature combat games – Star Wars: Imperial Assault comes to mind – that’s not a terrible expansion model, but it’s still weird for an IP built entirely around the concept of taking on seven foes in battle.
Scott Pilgrim Miniatures does a great job of clearly laying everything out for the player. While it could probably use a quick reference guide (it took us a while to understand all the dice symbols), every character card explains their abilities in full, as well as character-specific traits (Knives moves faster, for example) and how to level up your character. Levelling up is particularly neat: every time you do a special action – for example, throwing an object, or unleashing a character-specific ability – you move a little star up the “XP Meter” on your character board. Hit 5 XP, and you instantly unlock a new special ability for the rest of the game. It’s a great bit of design, encouraging you to experiment with abilities, which in turn unlock more abilities that further shake up the gameplay.
OUR COMMON GOAL WAS WAITING FOR THE WORLD TO END
The only way to play Scott Pilgrim Miniatures is with Metric’s “Black Sheep” blasting in the background. If you’re anything like this reviewer, you should probably also wear your Scott Pilgrim t-shirt and eat garlic bread out of your Scott Pilgrim lunchbox. (Okay, that last one I made up.) I’ve played more than a few licensed board games in my time, but the fidelity to the source material here really elevates the experience. Bryan Lee O’Malley’s characters have never looked better.
Just one question, though – bread makes you fat?
Final score: 8/10 teas; you have your choice of Blueberry, Raspberry, Ginseng, Sleepy Time, Green Tea, Green Tea With Lemon, Green Tea With Lemon and Honey, Liver Disaster, Ginger with Honey, Ginger without Honey, Vanilla Almond, White Truffle, Blueberry Chamomile, Vanilla Walnut, Constant Comment, and Earl Grey.
Visit the official website for Scott Pilgrim Miniatures the World here.