Calvin’s Commentaries: Mini DiverCity

The concept of a co-operative game is interesting among board games in as much as it sets the players in a quest to collectively best the game.

You don’t win as an individual, but rather you join your fellow gamers and take on the game itself.

Pandemic is likely the best of the bunch in terms of the mechanic, or at least the most popular, with games such as This War of Mine and Ghost Stories coming to mind.

You can now add Mini DiverCity to that list, a game where you and your fellow gamers are trying to save the reef and its inhabitants.

“The ecosystem of the DiverCity Archipelago is a beautiful and dynamic place, with multitudes of species coexisting in a vibrant tapestry of life,” notes the ruleset fluff. “Not everyone can appreciate this place for its beauty alone, however, as multitudes of corporations attempt to exploit the natural resources of the archipelago and its coral reefs. Your team of divers must fight against time to show the DiverCity government that there is a wide enough diversity of species to justify turning the coral reef into a national park before the oil, fishing and tourism industries take over and destroy the island’s fragile ecosystem.

“If you succeed, the coral reefs will thrive and grow for decades to come; if you fail, the archipelago will become an over-exploited wasteland, void of life and beauty. Will you be able to identify and collect enough samples of the coral reef’s diversity before it’s too late?”

So as you might expect with a co-op game all players must work together against the corporations, so you will either win as a team, or lose as a team.

You win if you can save the number of species shown on the difficulty level you have chosen. That there are multiple levels does add to the replay of this game from designer Maxim Tardif.

You lose Mini DiverCity from Sphere Games if the corporations kill the number of species shown on your difficulty level; or if six hotels are built; or if the species cards deck runs out and you cannot take any further actions. As you can see there are fewer ways to win than there are to lose, which is again rather typical of the genre.

What sets this one apart from most is that it is basically a card game, so it comes in a small box that means set up is quick, and games play out rather quickly, both putting this one into a ‘filler’ game niche.

A neat factor is that you don’t look at your hand of cards, but other players can. Like divers, you can’t talk to each other, which is harder to do than you might think. Thankfully, there are game mechanics that allow some sharing of information.

A neat little add-on with Mini DiverCity is that the ruleset includes some actual background on the species you are trying to save.

As an example; “Manta Ray: The biggest species of the manta ray can grow up to seven metres (23 ft.) wide. They are filter feeders and feed on zooplankton, so they are not dangerous for humans. The species is considered vulnerable, mostly because of pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and the fact that they are harvested for use in Chinese medicine.”

Or the “Octopus: One of the most intriguing species on Earth, the octopus has held a fascination for mankind throughout the ages. As most people probably already know, they have eight tentacles and are amongst the most intelligent and diverse invertebrates. There are around 300 known species.”

A bit of education at the gaming table never hurts.

Mini DiverCity is not the deepest co-op game, but the simple game play keeps it fun.

Check it out at

Thanks to fellow gamers Jeff Chasse, Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.

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