In Micro Mutants, your awful microscopic bugs will do battle with your opponent's awful microscopic bugs. Even better, your playing pieces aren't actually microscopic (we lost that prototype), so you can actually play the game on your kitchen table! Or wherever; we won't judge.
Up to four players take command of armies of mutated microscopic monsters. The basic game includes four armies: the Usarthopods, noble defenders of the Ameribug Way! The Flyborgs, extra-terrestrial aliens who use their unearthly technology to, you know, do… alien… stuff. Like assimilate your bugs! The Sovietopters, who will probably destroy us for failing to write their name in Cyrillics! The Chitinians, renegade slaves of the Flyborg who use their advanced biology to substitute for advanced technology!
Each army is composed of — brace yourself for this one — bugs. The four factions each have their own unique mix of bug types, each with their own abilities. The bugs are made up of plastic discs (or rectangles, for a few super-special bug types!) that are guaranteed to flip and bounce just right to destroy your enemies when launched with the special plastic shooter. Unless you aren't very good with the shooter, in which case the guarantee is off but hey, we did say this was a game of skill!
Each bug has its own special abilities, which are noted on the included breed cards. Many bugs are double-sided, with a normal side and a special side. Some bugs might have advanced camouflage, and are uncaptureable while their special side is showing. Others might launch missiles, webs, or other projectiles when they land with their special side up. Be careful, because there's no telling what wackiness your opponent's bugs could get up to! (Well, you could carefully read all his breed and evolution cards before the game, but then there wouldn't be any surprises when his Flyborg Warper lands next to your base and suddenly there's a Zealot warping in on top of you… )
Each army has three base modules that can be captured just like a bug only not at all like a bug because bases that are captured become damaged, and then are only destroyed if they are captured again. If you lose two of your three bases, you lose the game, so guard them as if losing them could mean you lose the game!
In the advanced game, bases can be upgraded by spending harvested resources, which allows you to play powerful evolution cards. These cards can give your bugs or your bases powerful special abilities, but you must choose which evolution to use each time you upgrade your base. Choose well, and you'll be victorious! Unless you really stink with that shooter, still, but we warned you about how it's a game of skill. Go practice a little. We won't tell. (Try spreading a tablecloth under the game mat — it helps!)
Flipping, Capturing, and Skill
When we say you "flip bugs like tiddlywinks," we actually mean that. You press the edge of the shooter down on the edge of the bug and then — pop! — the bug goes flying! You're trying to land your bug on top of the enemy bugs or bases, which will capture them. A captured bug is (usually) removed from the game mat, which is bad for whoever owns that bug and good for you! Bases can usually take more than one hit before they're destroyed, but they're captured in the same manner as bugs. If you're really good, you might capture two or more enemy bugs with a single flip!
You can't just flip any old bug you want, though. At the start of your turn, you'll roll your action dice to find out which breeds of bugs you can move that turn. For each breed symbol that you roll, you can flip ONE bug of that breed. If you capture an enemy bug, you get an extra flip. If you capture your own bug, well, nothing happens — your troops don't shoot each other. Often.
Good to see you've got that shooter problem straightened out. Now listen, there are two ways to win a basic game of Micro Mutants. The first one is to wipe your opponent out, and the second one is to wipe your opponent out. If you destroy two of your opponent's three bases, BAM! Victory is yours! Also, if you smash his bugs to paste until he has less than two left (which, for the mathematically inclined, is 1 or 0 — whole integers only, please!), you win!