(I also received a reminder from Santa Claus to NOT open and play Tiny Towns until Christmas, since it's a family gift. He is "The Claus". I have to be good and listen. ) 😁
I was excited to experience Red Rising. Especially seeing as how I still have to self-isolate 😣 due to COVID exposure at pickup hockey. (Good news - Test #1 was negative as expected. Test #2 is in the morning 😀). I had to play on the floor in my "isolation room" since I don't have a table in here. But that's ok.
As usual, the production quality from Stonemaier games is never an issue. It's excellent. I'm very happy. The artwork in this game is just awesome. Lots of colour and fantastic illustrations!! I just love that. This picture here is the BACK of the board!! Wow. Very cool.
Here's an idea of the artwork on just some of the 112 character cards that are in the game...
For my first game, to get an idea of how the game works I played 2-handed. Here's what the board looks like as the game is underway. The "Helium tokens" (red tokens in the tray) are like my "Spyrium tokens" from Spyrium ... But red instead of green.
The game is very much hand management and card drafting. On your turn, you can choose 1 of 2 actions: Lead or Scout.
When you lead, you "deploy" a character from your hand to any of the 4-locations on the board (Jupiter, Mars, Luna and the Institute). Once you've done so, you take the deploy action on the card you just played. Following taking your "deploy action", you can do one of two things:
-Choose the 'top' character from any OTHER location on the board (other than the location you deployed to), receive the location bonus (+1 fleet track, +1 Helium, +1 influence, or gain the "sovereinty token") from where you took the card from and place that card in your hand.
-Draw the top card from the facedown character deck and roll the "Rising die" and receive that bonus.
If you choose to Scout as your action, you choose the top facedown character card from the deck and place it (not deploy it) to any location on the board, and receive that location bonus.
That's really the whole idea. Be the most influencial house and gain the most VPs. The rulebook is not big (in terms of amount of rules), but very well layed out and easy to understand. It also allows you to quickly dive in to playing. The strategy and variety becomes aparent as you get into your first game. It's one of those games where the cards really will dictate what you can/can't do and influence your plans in terms of strategy to gain the most points.
Some cards (like "Masseuse" here) have just a deploy action listed. Others not only have a deploy action but also end game scoring bonuses, in addition to their VPs in their top left corner. With 112 character cards, there's different bonuses and deploy actions to take and utilize.
As I mentioned in my previous post I have not red the books series by Pierce Brown that this game is based on. However, as others have mentioned in forums and reviews, it's not necessary. Having the background knowledge of the stories would give you some extra smiles and excitement maybe, but it doesn't influence the gameplay at all. I actually decided, before trying it out, to Google the overview of the stories to have an idea who some of these characters are and a bit of background, which I enjoyed. 😃 But again, not necessary.
I'm very excited to play solo next (actually when I'm done posting this). I've read the Automa manual (same thing as the main rulebook - nice and simple) and I'm really looking forward to it. The game comes with a 22-card Automa deck for "Tull Au Toma" who you play against. The system sounds excellent, which is always commonplace with Stonemaier games.
Off I go, back to the Dystopian future to see if I can "break the chains of the society or embrace the dominance of the Golds"...