On a Rampage – a Game Review

Feeling destructive today?  Little aggression from work?  Asmodee has a great game for you – Rampage.  Rampage lets you become an old movie monster and wander around town destroying buildings and eating people.  And who wouldn’t want to do that?

The full game.

The full game.

 What’s It Look Like?

Imagine a Porsche.  Looking good, right?  Now imagine a Porsche that doesn’t break down.  That’s the components in Rampage.  The game designer did a great job of matching a great looking game with pieces that don’t fall apart at a moment’s notice.  From the box (which is striking and stands out in game stores) to the colorful map, Rampage is a pleasure to look at.  The monsters themselves are great cartoon representations of the old movies we older folks grew up with (the true Godzilla, not the Matthew Broderick version).  As I was an early purchaser, the game store threw in stickers for the meeples.  Strictly speaking, these are not necessary.  In fact, I would not have put them on if my son didn’t volunteer to stick them all on in the back seat of the car on the way home from the game store.

The quality is great on the components, but a challenge to set up for some with large fingers

The quality is great on the components, but a challenge to set up for some with large fingers

Setting up the board was a little more complex than I wanted it to be the first time I played. To set the board up, you use the meeples to support the various floors of the buildings and that is manual work.  Not on the order of Axis and Allies, but more than risk. b I will write that off to no longer having the fingers to beat my kids at Halo.

One flaw is the board requires little clear clips to ensure that it stays flat.  This is necessary so that you can move your monsters across the full board.  The problem?  They’re clear and they’re small.  These two critical pieces were lost (and found) three times before we played the first time.  A small distraction from a good presentation

How Does It Play?

How you think it plays will be entirely dependent on how much fun you think games such as Jenga are.  There are no dice.  You move your monster by flicking a little disk around the board.  If you flick that disk OFF the board (very easy to do, just so you know), you lose a tooth  – which costs you victory points.  There are other actions – dropping your monster, blowing with your chin on top of the monster (as funny as it sounds), or flicking a vehicle off your pint-sized Mothra’s head – but all involve a modicum of dexterity.

Getting ready to eat some helpless meeples

The object of all this flicking, blowing, and dropping is to destroy the buildings and collect the meeples that hold it together.  You get points for complete sets of meeples from different colors, as well as for how many floors you knock down and teeth from other monsters for knocking the bad boys to the ground.

It is NOT easy.  The buildings are sturdier than they sound and you are nowhere NEAR as you think you are at flicking a little round object.  This is not Quarters.  The beginning and mid-game are full of action and eating, but the end game devolves into a bad case of jockeying around for the last few points and stretches out beyond when it needs to.

Adding to the fun, each player has special cards that either increase their scoring potential or give them unique monster abilities.  Some you can use once and some are permanent.  On the whole, these are great.  However – be aware, not all are as balanced as you’d like to see and end up seriously affecting game play.  I’ll let you experiment to figure out which those are.

The gameplay fits a nice niche between Risk or Catan, where your life is ruled by dice, and strategic games such as Eclipse.  Winning depends on you.  Flick well or you darling lil’ monster goes hungry.

Who Will I Play With?

Almost anybody.  Rampage fits in as a nice family game for kids above 8, but also as a nice icebreaker before moving on to more strategic games.

Will I Play It Again?

Replay is good on this game.  I would guess that longevity will be a little less than a game like Dominion or Catan, but there is a) enough fun and b) enough unpredictability to keep people coming back for more.

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