Topic of the Biweek: Mindclash and Level99

I hope no one missed last week. I did.

First off, Mindclash:

  • 99 - Trickerion (2015)
  • 49 - Anachrony (2017)
  • 861 - Cerebria: The Inside World (2018)
  • 6594 - Cerebria: The Card Game (2018)
  • 1370 - Perseverance: Castaway Chronicles (2022)
  • 3446 - Astra (2022)
  • 249 - Voidfall (2023)
  • 1534 - Septima (2023)


  • 1642 - Pixel Tactics (2012)
  • 3491 - NOIR: Deductive Mystery Game (2012)
  • 612 - BattleCON (2012, 2013, 2015)
  • 5888 - Disc Duelers (2013)
  • 4982 - Sellswords (2014)
  • 9913 - Dragon Punch (2014)
  • 7662 - Resistor (2015)
  • 545 - Argent: The Consortium (2015)
  • 9629 - Witch Hunt (2016)
  • 464 - Millennium Blades (2016)
  • 2704 - Exceed Fighting System (2016)
  • 10594 - Temporal Odyssey (2018)
  • 1959 - Empyreal: Spells & Steam (2020)
  • 729 - Bullet♥ (2021)
  • 5789 - Sakura Arms (2022)
  • 4731 - Dead by Daylight (2023)
  • …plus other down catalog fare

Discuss whatever this spurs, but here’s some thoughts:

  1. I lumped these because they are both studios that offer games with a consistent style/feel, rich worldbuilding/backstory, lots of wild factions and variable player abilities, and excessive modular expansions / alternate game modes. They’ve always felt like similar houses.
  2. Both studios seems to have well loved, well rated and reviewed, but low ranked (low circulation) games - apart from Trickerion and Anachrony. And maybe Voidfall. Take Argent and Trickerion, for example. Often compared. Why is Argent so much lower than it’s heavier counterpart? Or Exceed - in comparative reviews, Exceed is generally recommended over BattleCon, Yomi, and Combo Fighter. It is also the highest rated on BGG (raw). Why does it (and Level99 in general) see such low adoption?
  3. What here have you played (or researched) and are you in or out on this school of design?

The thing that stands out about LVL99 to me is their absolute refusal to edit their games. If they have an idea, it gets thrown in. Very much feels like a “what if we had this cool thing!!!” approach to game designing, with no attempt to boil the game down to its essentials. Which is good and all, but can leave games feeling quite flabby and lacking direction. The amount of content in Millennium Blades or Argent is crazy.


Huh, I’ve missed most of these…

Mindclash, I’ve heard of all of them but never felt enthused enough to seek them out, or got into a random game. Septima tempts me but I really want to play it first; my hit rate on Euro-t games where the theme interests me more than the mechanics is fairly poor.

Level 99: I Kickstarted their Sakura Arms edition (largely because of SVWAG) but eventually sold it because (a) I already have Ashes and some new Netrunner stuff, and I really don’t need a third duelling game in this space, (b) the iconography is pretty hard work, and (c) while the art isn’t offensive it’s not something I feel comfortable waving around in front of strangers. (Whereas the superheroic women of Sentinels of the Multiverse are. I don’t claim to be consistent.)

I like the look of Millennium Blades but I suspect I’d really only get much out of it if I got into it really thoroughly. Also, because I’ve never been in the TCG / card game tournament scene, I’d probably miss a lot of the jokes.


Yes, I’ve heard most women who work for level 99 end up quitting. Maybe not outright hostile but rumors of a"men in a beer commercial" culture.


Played absolutely none of these, though I do have the Ryu vs. Ken Exceed Street Fighter decks, as they gave them away for just the price of shipping at one point. Never played it though. So, I have nothing to contribute.


Played Voidfall hated it, played Trikerion was neutral on it.

I don’t have much to add here as I tend to swerve these sorts of games. Seems super blinged out KS excess either in components (Mindclash) or rules (Level99). Neither of which generally excite me.

They do have a following though, so that’s good for them

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Played Trickerion, Battlecon, and Millennium Blades, none of them impressed me.


From Mindclash I played Trickerion and Cerebria. Trickerion once and was really unfussed on it. Has the worst elements of worker placement for me. Will most likely never play again.

Cerebria I owned as it looked nice. I sold it as it’s too specific. The main issue being that it’s got odd pacing so it needs everyone at the table to be really even with experience. Guards of Atlantis is similar in some ways but you can pair exoerienced and noob in a way I don’t think you can in Cerebria.
It may be good, it may be bad. I’ll never know. I did play after selling with Matt from SUSD and 2 of his friends. I definitely said to him some stuff about the game I heard in the review. I was proud.

Level 99 I think make games that are too deep. They basically do life style games. I own and play too many games to go back to them over and over as they’re not as good as Food Chain Magnate or other Splotter’s, 18xx, Cube Rails and so on. I bought Argent and sold and same with BattleCon. I think there’s something to BattleCon but again, it needs similar levels of understanding from both players and you probably both want good experience with your fighters to get the most out of it. I’m not going to dedicate that time to a 2 player only. Also too much stuff in the Devastation box. I got overwhelmed with the desire to the out all the fighters. This is a personal failing more than a criticism of the game.

Argent would have been great if I’d bought it in 2004 when I would play from a small selection a lot and wouldn’t have minded the arbitrary wonkiness as much. However I have played more games now and it’s no longer up to snuff for me. It wasn’t released until much later, it feels out of time in the wrong way.

Empyreal was great playing on Tabletop simulator in the pandemic. The box size means I would never consider owning a copy.

So both publishers I now avoid. Mindclash I’m just not interested in. Level 99 has some appeal in the weirdness of the games and I like that they don’t seem to edit well but they just don’t fit with my life and unfortunately Splotter wins out in the space even if they’re in many ways different.


Mindclash makes these really run-of-the-mill stuff that aren’t for me. I would rather play Lacerdas tbh.

Level 99 - Millennium Blades was fun with the card-buying stuff but too solitaire which is weird for a game that tries to give the TCG-vibe. Where’s the bit where I get to shout: “You just activated my trap card!”

I’ve only dabbled with Empyreal: Spells and Steam and it has a depth but it has too much going on for a Cube Rail that I would rather play a conventional Cube Rail. Sakura Arms is very interesting but I can’t delicate myself on 2 player only games. That’s where I want to dabble on Battlecon


According to my games tracked since October 2017, I have played…

Trickerion- 11 times
Anachrony- 3 times
Voidfall - 4 times

Love Trickerion. Sometimes it’s more than I’m in the mood for, but when I want a super crunchy puzzle of intertwined parts, it’s one of my go to games.

I wish I’ve played Anachrony more. I’ve got too many games and go too long between plays on this one to really remember it and have to basically relearn it every time. It’s interesting and I like it.

Voidfall is the newest and I’ve played it a pretty good amount for how long I’ve had it. Really like it. The rule book sucks.

Never played any Level 99 and no real interest in any from what I’ve seen of them.


I saw Trickerion at SPIEL way back and it was just “too busy” on the table. There were just a couple of tables to try and there was no way to get in on a game. It was not possible to understand this while just watching people. So despite being intrigued by the premise (I think there were several heist movies with magicians out at the time), I was put off but what I saw at the fair.

Next time I saw Mindclash at SPIEL it was Anachrony. Weird looking minis. Another busy board and the title of the game did not inspire any curiosity in me. And neither did the industrial theme. I never realized there was “time travel” involved or I might have looked closer… By that time there seemed to be a dedicated group of fans who were quite hyped about whatever Mindclash was doing.

When they had Cerebria out I once again ignored them at the fair–too weird?–but later there was a Cerebria card game which we actually tried and it just didn’t do anything for me. I don’t remember any details just getting up from the table and knowing 100% this was not for me.

Time passed. I got “into the hobby” and suddenly I hear more about Anachrony and how good it is supposed to be. And I get curious about Mindclash.

I fell for the promise that was Voidfall–there was another 4x-ish space game at the time on KS and I felt I had to choose between them (I think the other one has not yet been published I forget the name it was even more ambitious). Since Voidfall was at least by a known publisher and also promised a solo mode I went for that. Shortly after Septima came along with its purple witchy goodness and I backed that, too. They both arrived last fall(ish)

I have not played either game enough to even begin to be able to rate them. But doesn’t that also tell me something? With most games, I can tell from a game or evevn during the learning experience if a game is for me. Even On Mars I saw the inner workings as I learned it.

I think I mostly grok the Voidfall rules after ~2 games of it. I think I want to keep it. There is potential here. But it’s more another Euro than anything ressembling a 4x game. And I shouldn’t be surprised… the gameplay is pretty good. I just wish it was even more euro than it is… I think I need to play this in a multiplayer non cooperative setting. That is where it would shine–the solo and coop have too much upkeep with the void–not that much but the void is a lifeless opponent. Shame though because I don’t know that I will ever get to play this in the “versus” mode with other humans. In the solo/coop there are a even more moving parts that I wish were moving without me having to remember them… maybe once again this is a game crossing over from the realm of “should have been a computergame”

As for Septima… it looks really nice. I am not sure about the gameplay at all this very moment. Need to find time to play. These are not games that do well in a big collection like mine. There is always something quicker and more easily set up… and so they move to the back of the list again and again.

For Level 99, the only game I ever owned or played was Bullet and I sold that after seeing my partner struggle during a learning game. The idea wasn’t bad. But the solo didn’t do it for me and having nobody to play with… Their other games are even less for me. I can’t quite say why. It maybe comes down to the games not being as Euro-y as I like my games. And there alway seems to be a lot of those games. The ones I have seen at OLGS always came with many many boxes to be bought separately. And the crowdfunding campaigns I have seen were just “too much” and big “all in” pledges.

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I may have said tthis before—at the Full Board Gaming event a month or so back, there was a four-player game of Voidfall going on at a nearby table. They really enjoyed it for the first three hours, not so much for the last two. Just because it says it supports that many players doesn’t mean it should.


I think it might probably depend on the Scenario you play. And I guess 2 or 3 might be a good player count for the “versus” mode.

It being quite a complex ruleset+game, there is probably a lot of room to develop AP…

The ideas are good, it’s just that someone should have edited out a few of them to make the whole thing a little smaller. Not just the box… but the overall game. I am sure it would have been possible to have a really good game with a bit less content and a bit of streamlining.

But these games are a bit like my partner with the spices when he cooks “viel hilft viel” (a lot helps a lot aka more is better)


I think it was one of the tutorial setups, but I didn’t get the details.

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Well if they had to learn and play in one session that would explain a) the duration and b) the frustration. The tutorial games are on the short side themselves but it’s a huge ruleset to learn and if whoever taught it… wasn’t really good at it…


Oh no, you’ve raised the dead

Wasn’t the last Kickstarter meant to be the final printing of millennium blades or something?


On topic:

Just message me if you want to join the table and try it out but we aren’t BGA friends yet.

Regarding Mindclash, I kept hearing about Trickerion - I though it was one of those newfangled trick-takers but eventually learned it’s a gargantuan asymmetric worker placement euro. I researched and passed - it sounded interesting but it also sounded as big as TI4 (rules and time) and if I have that timeslot it’s going to TI4.

Anachrony was the higher ranked, lighter game from them. I’ve been eager to try it out. At it’s heart, it’s still a worker placement, recipe collection game to build superprojects (points) or buildings (instant effects or new worker placement actions). The twists it throws in sound interesting:

  • Roughly 7 classes of workers to manage. On one axis, you have tokens (free actions), workers (can only use spaces in your own enclave), and workers in power suits (require resources to “equip” but can use the most important spaces outside of your enclave). On the other axis you have engineers, scientists, and something else, each of which can or can’t do certain actions, or get a bonus (e.g., engineers build better, scientists can’t build at all, and maybe the third one can still build but doesn’t get the engineer bonus).
  • The time travel function is essentially a loan system. You can get free resources from yourself in the future. Later in the game you have to follow through to send those resources back to your past self. If you don’t, you risk losing your buildings to paradoxes. It’s a thematic loan system.
  • The endgame is triggered halfway through and then the worker placement spots start collapsing in (blocked off) as people use them. Everyone has their own endgame criteria they are trying to fulfill before all the worker spots are destroyed.

Anyway, sounds interesting. I’ve been wanting to try.

As I was perusing their catalog, Septima doesn’t strike me themewise and the reports I read are that the main loop of the game is repetitive and unsatisfying. Voidfall is too new to have a coherent reputation yet.

I need to circle back to Level99. I’ve much more experience with them.


Septima is a bit younger than Voidfall… like 2 months :partying_face:
but my enthusiasm for both is muted at the moment.



I own Anachrony: Infinity Box (in this case, Infinity is the amount of Kallaxes you need to justify owning such a box). I’ve played it 2-player once with the Fractures of Time expansion. A fairly ho-hum engine-building worker-placement game with a cool Sci Fi setting. I would never play without the Fractures of Time expansion because with that, it would be even ho-hummier – the expansion adds a lot of great texture into the decision space.

I’ve been eyeing Septima ever since it was being crowdfunded; I really like the look of it and the setting, but so far critical and community reactions to it are pretty flat – oh well, maybe I’ll be able to find a copy on the cheap somewhere.

I’ve been offered to play Cerebria before but it looked insufferable. I’ve also heard that Trickerion, despite it’s elegant visual appeal, is very mechanical and dull – but that’s just what I’ve heard.

Level 99

I wish I didn’t love so many of these games because production quality is average at best and the gameplay and physical design decisions made by the company are always lacking. D. Brad Talton, the guy who runs the company, seems to have a lot of great ideas and no forethought whatsoever.

BattleCON is pretty great. What isn’t great is trying to figure out what actual product to buy. I own 4 different products in the series and I still, to this day, cannot fully explain why they are different or how to tell what game is “which version” of the rules. I do know that my Devastation box is the latest 4th edition; but that box is a nightmare by itself; imagine opening a box with thousands of cards, dozens of unassembled tuckboxes, and no instructions or inventory of what to do with it all. I did eventually get everything assembled and put together, but it wasn’t easy.

Argent: The Consortium – I bought it but haven’t played yet. Looks great and the designer supports it very well on BGG.

Millennium Blades – one of my absolute favorite games. I’m awful at it, but it’s a blast. It helps that I’ve mostly played it with two friends, both of which used to have 5-figure Magic: The Gathering collections. I’ll probably pledge for the upcoming new content, even though it’s probably minor.

Empyreal: Spells & Steam – a soloable cube-ish rails game. The box is too big, but the game is pretty good. It has a fun rondel system. Why is the box so big!?

Bullet♥ – I actually don’t know if I’ll play this multiplayer; I bought it with that in mind, but the non-realtime solo mode is really fun, if not completely different than the realtime multiplayer mode. It’s supposed to evoke “shmup”-style games, but let’s be honest: it’s Dr. Mario.


This is actually pretty easy. Each box is a different set of fighters, except for Devastation, which is that but also has some weird extra modes and shit that as far as I can tell nobody plays or recommends. I’m reasonably sure none of the other boxes do anything other than just have some more fighters in them.

As far as what version, if you buy directly from L99 or got them on the Unleashed KS, they’re all current. If you buy secondhand…yeah, I don’t know.