Rampage… Roar, Stomp, Munch and Throw that Ice Cream Van!
Have you ever had one of those days when all you wanted to do was stomp around the city, chase away innocent bystanders and hurl an ice-cream van at your place of work?
Well you’re in luck! Let me introduce you to Rampage Family Board Game one of the most enjoyable and refreshing games to come out of Essen 2013!
Rampage, is a two to four player dexterity game brought to you by the wonderful people over at Repos Productions. Each player takes on the role of one of four monsters that are rampaging across Meeple City. Your aim; to destroy as much of the city as possible and devour as many of the city’s residents as you can manage.
A blast from the past… The good, the bad and the scaly…
Reading about Rampage and its theme took me back to my youth. Back to when I first played console games like King of Monsters 2, an exciting Super Nintendo (SNES) game of giant monsters doing battle across a 16bit cityscape. It was essentially a fighting game, but it provided hours of fun! Pair these youthful and joyful memories with those of Godzilla, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and, more recently, Pacific Rim, and the idea behind Rampage got me very excited!
How does it play? Fast! Like a rat up a drainpipe, but bigger!
The first thing I‘ll say about this game is that it’s fast to play! You can fit it into a half hour session if you’re really playing hard, or it could take an hour if you’re being a bit more relaxed. To be honest the most time consuming part of the game is the application of stickers onto meeples and setting up the tower blocks that make up the 3D board. In my opinion, it’s worth every minute of setup though!
Once the board’s all set, each player takes a large wooden monster figure and stands it atop a wooden disk that represents the monsters feet. On a players turn they can take two actions from a selection of four.
Move – Lifting the monster off of the feet disk, the player then flicks the disk. Where ever it ends up is where the monster has moved to.
Demolish – Lifting the monster off of the feet disk, the player extends their arm out over the board and drops the monster on to any building that the feet disk currently touches.
Toss a vehicle – If a monster is in the same section of the board as a vehicle, the player can pick up the vehicle, place it on the monsters head and then flick the vehicle at buildings, meeples or even other monsters.
Breathe – The player remains seated, places their chin on the monsters head, takes a deep breath and then blows at their targets.
I have to say that option four is one of the more controversial actions in the game, it’s provoked a few discussions about spit soaked buildings and the need to laminate. However, in my experience, unless you’re playing with dribbling, or inconsiderate, wreck of a person, then most people tend to be a bit more restrained and respectful of your game.
The belly of the beast… Is it Lunch yet?
When you’ve finished taking your actions, any building layers that no longer have meeples resting on them are taken by the active player and placed behind their personal monster screen. This represents the monster chowing down on the tasty structures which are then stored in its stomach.
After their concrete-based starters the monsters are ready for a main course of Meeple Medley!
The end is nigh… But how do I win???
Throughout the game, if a monster gets knocked over by another then it will lose one of its six teeth (down to a minimum of two.) Keeping your teeth in good shape is very important because each tooth that a monster has, enables them to eat a single meeple.
There are a total of 90 meeples in the game, made up of six sets of fifteen, each of a different colour (grey, red, black, blue, green and yellow). A rookie mistake made by many new monsters is failure to follow a balanced diet. To promote healthy, monster, living, meeple eating points are only scored for complete sets of devoured meeples. That’s six meeples to make a complete set, in one of each colour. Trust me, it sounds more complicated than it actually is!
Once the game draws to a close, and the dust settles around the remnants of Meeple City, the players add up their scores based on what they have managed to put into their stomachs during their Rampage. The player with the most points, based on the point details below, wins the game.
10 points for each set of 6 Meeples of different colors; excess Meeples are worth no points!
1 point for each Floor of a building (regardless of the size)
2 points for each Tooth taken from another Monster
X points earned for meeting the condition on the Monster’s Character card (x is defined by each card)
Run for the hills… They’re coming right for us!
As your monster stomps around Meeple city, the poor residents will inevitably be knocked, or blown, off of the board. If this happens it means that they have fled to safety. The safe meeple is taken and placed on a tracker board at the side of the main game. As more meeples escape, the Monster who let them escape will face a variety of penalties. Eventually, if enough meeples escape, the tracker board will be filled and the game will come to an abrupt end.
Monster scales… Rampaging with younger gamers
There are three different types of card that are used during a game of Rampage. I didn’t mention them earlier in this overview because I think they deserve a separate mention here. If not for their awesome artwork, then for the part they play in making Rampage accessible for all ages. The three card types are:
Characters – One for each player. These give the monster a specific characteristic that all players can see. For example your monster might be Young, which means that if at the end of the game you’ve eaten more Old Folks (grey Meeples) than each other Monster, score 10 victory points.
Powers – Again, one of these cards is given to each player, and is visible to all players. For example your monster may have the Boxer power which means that during a Move action, if you knock down a Monster, you break two of its Teeth instead of one.
Super Powers – One for each player, but it’s only revealed to the other players when you use and discard it. For example your monster might have the Hobo super power which means that they can randomly draw a total of 3 meeples from the Stomach of one or more Monsters.
The great thing about the cards is that you don’t have to use any of them if you’re playing the game with younger gamers. When I first received Rampage I tried this with my cousin. He doesn’t really play games that often so I scaled back by removing all three card types from the game. We still had a great time playing and as he got more familiar with the basic actions we reintroduced the character cards. In the future we’ll add the powers back in and when he’s truly happy with those we’ll take the leap to the hidden super powers which he’ll need to understand all on his own.
One final thought… How does this compare?
When I first placed my order for Rampage board game I was left wondering how it compared to other great monster-based games out there. My primary thoughts turned to iello’s amazing Richard Garfield game, King of Tokyo. Once again, players play as different Monsters trying to enter a city and collect enough points to be crowned King of Tokyo. Sound familiar?
However, on receiving and actually playing Rampage my worries were soon set aside. Rampage and King of Tokyo are very different games, each fun in its own way. If you’re a fan of monster movies and enjoy some light fun entertainment then you probably wouldn’t be disappointed if you had both Rampage and King of Tokyo in your collection. I know I’m not!
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Driven Instructional Designer by day, board game fanatic by night! Tom has a long background in eLearning design and is a strong believer that story and narrative are crucial to creating excellent learning and gaming experiences. A passionate blogger, game reviewer and play tester, he enjoys spending his time playing games of all genres.