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As in the original Minecraft digital game, in Minecraft: Builders & Biomes players will explore the Overworld, build structures, and mine resources, earning points for structures and the largest connected biomes of forest, desert, mountain, or snowy tundra spaces on their player boards.
Familiar foes like Endermen, Creepers, and other mobs also appear throughout the game, and they need to be defeated using weapons obtained from the board. Defeating mobs gets players points in addition to granting additional awards. Game scoring will occur as the resource cube's layers are depleted. As soon as the third layer runs out, the adventure comes to an end, and the builder with the most points wins the game.
In more detail, on a turn you may take two different actions from the following possibilities:
- Obtain two blocks: At the beginning of the game, you set up a 4x4x4 cube of building blocks with 16 wood, 14 sand, 12 stone, 10 obsidian, and 12 emerald being placed together at random. When you get a block, the top face and at least two other sides must be revealed.
- Move: Your character begins in the center of a 4x4 grid of tile stacks, with each stack holding four tiles. Weapon tiles are put at the end of each column and row. Move 0-2 spaces between stacks, then flip all adjacent tiles that are face down.
- Build: Discard blocks from your personal supply to match the building requirements on a tile adjacent to your character. Put this tile on your personal 3x3 building board.
- Fight a mob: Pick a mob adjacent to your character, then reveal three tiles from your weapon stack, which starts with a stone sword, a wooden sword, and three poisonous potatoes. Tally the number of hearts shown; if this sum is at least as large as the number of hearts on the mob, you beat it. Remove it from the board, and put it next to your personal building board. Mobs might give you an endgame scoring bonus, immediate points, or a one-shot bonus action.
- Collect a weapon: If your character is next to a weapon tile at the edge of the playing grid, you may shuffle it into your weapon stack.
Scoring occurs three times during the game, specifically after the final block is removed from the first, second, and third level of the building block cube. In the first round, you pick one of the four biomes (forest, desert, mountains, or snowy tundra) and score for the largest connected area of this biome on your personal building board. The board comes pre-printed with biome spaces, and as you put buildings on this board, you can alter the biome of a space. In the second round, you pick one of three materials (wood, sand, stone, or obsidian) and score for the largest connected group of structures on your personal building board that are made of this material. In the third round, you will score for the largest contiguous group of structures (decoration, dwelling, animal house, or bridge) of your choice on your board. After scoring in the third round, add bonus points from the mobs you've collected.