League of Legends — the massively popular online strategy game, which now boasts more than 100 million monthly players — is getting a new spinoff soon, but it’s not a video game. Developer Riot Games is working on a new board game called Mechs vs. Minions, which looks to combine the strategy elements of League with story-driven missions and lots and lots of miniature figures.
Mechs vs. Minions will offer 10 different missions, each of which takes an estimated 60 to 90 minutes to play through. It’s a cooperative experience where players take the role of one of four different League champions — Corki, Tristana, Heimerdinger, and Ziggs — as they fight off waves of minion enemies while piloting mechs. It looks like there’s a good deal in the box, too: Mechs vs. Minions will feature five game boards, four painted mech figures, 100 miniature minions, and an assortment of other knickknacks including dice, cards, acrylic shards, a power source miniature, and more.
Development on the game began almost three years ago, and Riot created the entire experience internally, as opposed to working with an existing board game developer. “It started as a passion project,” says associate producer Chris Cantrell. For about half of that time Cantrell was the only dedicated person on the game, and at its largest the Mechs vs. Minions team was around seven people, most of whom were also working on other projects at the studio. “It was a really small team,” says Cantrell. As for the decision to create the game internally, he says that while “that probably would’ve been the smarter way to go, we just wanted to own the quality of every aspect of the game.”
Perhaps the most interesting part of Mechs vs. Minions is that there will also be other aspects of the experience that Riot is currently keeping secret. The developer says that the board game will feature elements that unlock as you play, and at least one of those will come in its own sealed compartment to preserve the surprise. And while the team knows those secrets will certainly be spoiled once the game is released, Cantrell believes they add something important to the experience. “It tells a story,” he says of the unlocking process.
Mechs vs. Minions will be available through the Riot store on October 13th for $75.