MiniRPG1 Boardgame is a turn-based adventure board game that, despite its name, has no RPG element. It's more of a free-for-all in which you compete against three computer-controlled characters to capture the king's missing dragon. In practice, you start at the castle located on the top left corner of the world map and have to venture all the way to the bottom right to buy some items in the shop, then move to the center of the board, defeat a mini-boss and finally defeat the king's dragon, all the while battling against the competition.
The visual presentation is absolutely marvelous (JAWS V released a few other games with the same cutesy graphics and tight presentation - so if that's the kind of stuff you're into, check them out;) the game interface and the cute "anime" sprites look great with their bright colors. There's also no flickering thanks to the use of the NEXUS-13 library (it redirects the address of the display screen to an array, as a way to provide multiple pages of video memory in mode 13 - the obvious downside is the huge amount of memory wasted just to do double-buffering.)
The gameplay is luck-based as everything is done with a spinning wheel located at the bottom of the screen. The wheel features numbers (used on the world map) and colors (used in battle.) As soon as the world map appears, each character can either move or rest. When an action has been selected, you spin the wheel to know how many cells you can travel, or how many health points you will regain after resting (up to 10.) When two players land on the same cell, the game switches to battle mode. There, you can either attack or use magic (if you have a blue crystal.) The status bar in the lower part of the screen contains information about your weapons, the number of health points the enemy has (represented as color cells and numbers,) and the amount of damage they can do according to their health. For instance, a common enemy will deal 1 point of damage if he has between 1 and 5 health point, 2 damages between 6 and 10, 3 damages between 11 and 14, or 4 damages between 15 and 16. The strength of your attack depends of the color on the wheel. For instance, if you land on blue, the enemy's health will decrease to the next lowest blue marker (the enemy's current health is highlighted by a skull tag.) Landing on a grey spot will allow the enemy to attack. All of this is very confusing at first, but you'll get the hang of it. You get rewarded with coins, healing potions and weapons for defeating your opponent, or you will be sent back to the castle if you lose.
The main problem of the game is its pacing: it takes way too long for characters to end their turn. Although there IS an option to speed things up by pressing F1, it can only toggled on the world map and only during your own turn, which makes it pretty much pointless. The game is a lot of fun, but the overall sluggishness can be a deal breaker for most.
The game is sourced and is bundled with an executable. It should run smoothly with 15,000 cycles (more or less a Pentium 166Mhz) in DOSBox. There's no sound support.