Review: Mixtape Massacre
Designer: Freddie Carlini
Publisher: Brightlight Media
Price: $49.99 (Expansion $24.99) mixtapemassacre.com
Mixtape Massacre is a tabletop board game where up to 6 players play as horror film archetypes and compete in a fictional 1986 killing spree to be remembered. This is the official description from the game’s website. And believe me, the game is just as fun as it sounds.
The game references horror films with artwork and thematics focused on killing. While the artwork is animated, it is graphic and shows various weapons, blood, and other scary elements. If slasher films are unsettling to you, this game and its artwork and theme might be one to stay away from.
Mixtape Massacre is a game for classic horror fans. With tons of references to 80’s horror films and slasher flicks the game is a delight for anyone who enjoys classics like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street.
The game began it’s life on kickstarter where it achieved all of its funding goals and stretch goals within just 30 days. Now, three years later, the game is on its 3rd printing and is set to launch an expansion later this year. The game is literally a killer time with tons of references to all of your favorite 1980’s music, films, and pop-culture icons.
The object of the game is to be the last killer/monster alive or to collect 10 souvenirs from one of 12 locations on the board. Gameplay consists of moving from one location to the other after rolling a standard six sided die and drawing a “Killer Scene Dude” card when landing on a location. This will begin an attack or defend phase depending on the card that is chosen.
These moments require the player to roll three black dice, each one containing three symbols, a knife, a fist, or a pentagram. Rolling the required number of knives specified on an attack card will allow the player to “kill” the victim and obtain a souvenir from that location. Rolling the required number of fists will allow for a successful defense and helps the player to avoid losing health, designated by the numbered heart on the card. Once a player successfully completes a kill that player gets to roll again and continue their turn until the killing spree ends.
All numerical die values are doubled during a killing spree. For example, if a player successfully completes a kill and rolls the red die and it lands on a 3, then that player would move six spaces instead of just three. A Killing Spree ends when the player is unable to continue landing on location spaces and making successful kills after drawing a “Killer Scene, Dude” card.
Sometimes the Killer Scene card will require players to roll a specified number of fists to avoid having their killer take damage. Rolling three knives instantly kills the victim and awards the players with double the amount of souvenirs specified on the card. If three fists are rolled the player fails to kill the victim and loses 1 health. The player must then return their character to either of the six starting spaces on the board. If three pentagrams are rolled then it is the same result as when three knives are rolled with the added caveat that all other players lose one point of health. There is also one special Killer Scenes card in the deck that is bad for everyone.
This card, The Survivor, requires the player that draws it to roll at least two defense fists on the black dice in order to save himself and everyone else in play from taking damage. If the player fails to roll two fists then the player who drew the card loses 2 health and one souvenir while the remaining players lose only a souvenir. However, if the remaining players do not have any souvenirs, then they lose 1 health instead. The scene marker (souvenir) that designates the location where The Survivor was drawn is removed and all players return to their starting point. Once all souvenirs have been removed from each of the twelve locations on the board they are replaced and play continues until someone collects ten souvenirs.
This is what the core gameplay primarily consists of, although the more people you have playing the longer it can take to complete the game. To speed up gameplay, there are some devious opportunities and strategies that players can take advantage of. For starters, when setting up the game each player gets six pegs to insert into their base, which is shaped like a bloody knife along with their info card for their chosen killer. Once a player loses all six of their life points that player loses the game and play continues with the remaining players. This adds an additional layer of strategy for those who may not be able to collect ten souvenirs fast enough as they can opt to simply kill off their opponents.
There are also colored sewer spaces which allow a player to teleport instantly and continue their movement as shown on the die from any same-colored sewer space on the board. “Bonus Tracks” spaces are represented by a green tape deck and these act the same way as Community Chest cards in Monopoly as they can either help or hinder the player in various ways. One “Bonus Track” card might allow you to steal a set number of souvenirs from another player while another may cause you to take two health points of damage.
Each of the ten available killer characters that players can choose from has a unique special ability that players can use once per game. For an example of what these abilities allow players to do, take Stitches, the stereotypical redneck/lumberjack psycho wielding a chainsaw. If Stitches is killed during gameplay the player who chose Stitches can use his special ability to resurrect himself with three life pegs once per game. Another layer of strategy is the Reanimation Station. There is a single space on the board that has the image of a syringe which allows any player who lands on that space to heal up to 1 health peg. There are also some Bonus Tracks cards that can be saved that can heal or ressurect you if you are killed during gameplay. These are Mixtape’s version of the “Get Out of Jail, Free” card.
Players can of course choose to directly attack another player by initiating a Brawl. Brawl’s occur when a player lands on a space that is already occupied by another player, this includes location spaces where the “Killer Scene, Dude” card is drawn. However, only two players can Brawl at one time. So if three or more players land on the same space each Brawl must occur with only two players.
During a Brawl, each player involved rolls all three of the attack/defense dice. The player who rolls the most knives wins the brawl and the losing player loses 1 health. However, if triplets of any icon are rolled then the losing player removes 2 health and gives one of their souvenirs to the winner. If a Brawl occurs in a location space or on a Bonus Tracks space then the Brawl must be completed before regular play continues.
Once a player successfully collects ten souvenirs the game is over and that player is the winner. Players can also win by killing off all the other characters currently in play.
I had a ton of fun playing Mixtape Massacre at game night with friends. Everyone seemed to really get into the theme of the game and it was interesting to see different play styles and strategies emerge with each game we played. If I had one complaint about Mixtape it would be that the game can kind of drag out if all players are not active and focused the whole time. Some players may be on their phones and slow to complete their turn which can cause games to last up to 45 mins to an hour. Though this is not the fault of the game itself, Mixtape has many nuances to it that differentiate it from a lot of other tabletop games. That is both a strength and a weakness for the game but overall I recommend it for horror fans and for table top gamers who just wanna throw a “killer” twist into their next game night.
For a more thorough idea of how to play the game and all of the concepts discussed in the review, the creators have kindly created a playthrough video which can be viewed at the official site.
The Bottom Line