During December last year, we had a number of interested friends get involved in the day-to-day operations of Level 99 Games. We’re currently training these new additions as interns.
As part of the internship program, I’ve asked our interns to take home and review a game. The goal of this exercise is to get them familiar with a larger selection of games and to form critical analysis skills of what makes a game good or bad in terms of play, production, and presentation. The reviews will be published both here and on Board Game Geek. Enjoy!
Rampage review by Josh Van Laningham (Ithry)
The rules for Rampage were a delight to read through. Besides it being very short (only 8 pages!) it was also very bright and colorful, something that I don’t see every day in other rulebooks. Everything is laid out very nicely: contents, game objectives, set-up, and turn overview. All of these sections also have very nice examples of how mechanics work, as well as a lexicon of items for the board set-up phase. All of the icons are fairly self-explanatory, though there’s a great section near the back that lists all of the abilities of the characters and powers if needed. The back of the rules also has clarifications for some game mechanics and a variants section for those of you that can’t get enough destruction.
The front shows three monster terrorizing Meeple City. The sides sport the game’s name as well as a few more monsters. The back shows a game in play, with some of the cards as well as a list of components (something I haven’t really seen on a box back before.)
The gameplay is very involved compared to some other games, as it is a dexterity game. You can move around the table to position yourself better for attacks and movement. Attacks and movement themselves involve flicking discs, physically dropping your monster piece, or even blowing other meeples off buildings with a breath like weapon. This, along with how the board is physically set up (meeples are used as actual building support) adds a large element of randomness and luck to the game. Since you can only swallow meeples in the section of town you are in, you can attempt to have them land where you are with attacks and movement, but usually they will end up everywhere else, hopefully not off the board though. Powers and superpowers are also random, so this is a luck element also. Also, while some of these powers are very good, many are not so great, and can rely on something you may not be that great at (like blowing for breath weapons). Depending on the game mode, specific colored meeples may be more advantageous point-wise, so at least you can attempt to go for those. Since this seems to be intended as a party game though, I will not fault it much for these things. It still delivers well enough on what I assume it intends, which is causing wanton destruction to a city full of people. 3/5
The colorful art and cartoonish looking monsters can make this game appeal to a younger crowd (the box says 8+), though its involved style of game play and luck based mechanics make it great for a party type of game for any age, really. Fans of monster movies or just monsters in general may also like this more fun take on destroying a small city.
Quite a bit. With a large number of powers and secret superpowers, all of which are random, this ensures many new games can be had. Add to this the variants listed and the fair amount of luck and randomness involved and you have a game that could be new every time you play it.
If you like party games, interesting powers, and terrorizing a city with a large monster this game may be for you.
At a glance, this game seemed really fun, but when I actually played it, it was less so than I had thought. The large amount of randomness and luck involved took away a lot of the fun for me. The powers I had either were never relevant or just not very useful. One player that happened to get their teeth knocked out quickly realized they had nothing to lose, and since they were already winning, just went on a destruction-spree, damaging monsters and meeples alike, to the point where the other players didn’t have a chance. Having teeth to eat more meeples is nice, but in any given situation there was only about 3 meeples in a given block, so having extra teeth never mattered much.
The only real fun I had (and the main thing that I think the game prides itself on) is destroying the city and seeing meeples fly everywhere. I don’t need to play a game for this though, I can just set up a meeple tower and knock it over. The game and its elements didn’t seem to facilitate much more fun than this, so I wouldn’t see the point in playing it much. Powers are cool, sure, but only when you can use them effectively (or at all). Eating meeples is fine, until you realize that only one person actually has a color set for scoring and the rest of the players have eaten almost all of one color, making it basically impossible for anyone else to score. While this may not happen all the time, it certainly can be an issue. I can definitely see other people having some fun with this game, unfortunately I am probably not one of those people. 2/5