Cardboard Children – RAMPAGE!

By Robert Florence on January 7th, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

Hello youse.

I was all set to give you a Game of the Year video, where I would detail my Game of the Year. The year being last year and the game being the game I liked the best that year, that year being last year – 2013. But then I played a couple of new games, and then all bets were off and I had to have a rethink. What a world, what a world. So the video is coming, but I just need to be sure of my choice first. In the meantime, can I give you a blow-by-blow account of a new game?

RAMPAGE

Haha! Blow-by-blow! Hahaha! That was actually really funny, but only if you know the game already or are enjoying a second read of my column. I always like to layer my columns with jokes that can only be appreciated on multiple readings. So when you return to this column in a few years, you’ll be doubled over by this point, for sure. Blow-by-blow. Incredible.

Rampage is a game for 2-4 players, and it involves becoming a giant monster and attacking a city and its population. Do you do this by carefully planning approaches and laying out strategies many turns in advance? No. Do you do this by managing a sophisticated “Monster Economy”, generating resources and finding synergy between various game powers? No. You do it by dropping and flicking and blowing bits of wood all over the fucker.

The city is full of little wooden people. These little people are stacked inside “buildings”. These buildings are pieces of card, stacked up high, with little wooden people between the floors. Your monster is a big hunk of wood. There is also a separate disc of wood representing your monster’s feet. You flick your monster’s feet to move around the city. When you get close enough to a building you can lift your monster’s body, hold it high above the game board, and then drop it onto the building. If you make floors fall clear of the building, you can eat them. If, at the end of your turn, there are little wooden people out in the open with no cover – GET THEM CHOMPED.

Also available in wood – vehicles. Available to throw, I mean. If your monster is in a city area with a vehicle, you can rest that little wooden vehicle on your monster’s head and FLICK it across the board. You can knock down buildings this way, and also knock down other monsters. Yeah, you can attack each other. Of course you can!

You can also BLOW. (When you re-read my column, this information will make the initial “blow-by-blow” comment extremely comical, guaranteed.) Blowing represents your monster breathing fire or something. I dunno. Anyway, you can rest your chin on your monster’s head and blow as hard as you can, blowing people and buildings and other monsters all over the place. What other game lets you put your chin where the action is? (Apart from the game we call SEX, I mean, where your chin is often near your opponent’s anus. Sorry, not opponent – co-op partner.)

So, amazing, right? Sounds fun. Dropping monsters, flicking monsters, throwing vehicles, breathing fire, eating buildings and people. Sounds great, right? And it is! But is there more to it than that?

IS THERE MORE TO IT THAN THAT?

“Hi, James Purefoy here. When I first read the script for Solomon Kane, available on Bluray now, I said to myself “But is there more to it than that?” This is the question every actor must ask himself. This is the question that brings an actor closer to the truth of his character, which in this case was Solomon Kane, the main character of the film Solomon Kane. Sorry, have to go now, my bath is running and there are two women in it.”

THERE IS MORE TO IT THAN THAT

There is more to it than that. Your monster has teeth. Whenever he eats people, he can eat as many people as he has teeth. But teeth can be broken, as anyone who has ever been hit in the face with a baseball bat by the Pope will testify. When another monster knocks you over, a tooth breaks. When you flick yourself off the board like some kind of idiot, a tooth breaks. Oh, and then there are those escaping people…

When people escape from the city (by being blown off, knocked off, etc) they are placed on a little track that dishes out penalties. These can break your teeth too. This track comes in two varieties – one is a single track for all the people, and the other is a little bit more thematic. Little green people who escape are the army. When their track fills, there is one kind of penalty. When the Blondes escape, there is another. WAIT, WHAT?

THE BLONDES?

Yeah, that was the only part of the game I disliked. A whole CHARACTER CLASS OF ESCAPING LITTLE FAKE PEOPLE called BLONDES.

BLONDES.

What year is this? 2013?

Anyway, moving on…

IS THERE EVEN MORE TO IT THAN THAT?

“Sorry, I’m still in the bath.”

YES, THERE IS EVEN MORE TO IT THAN THAT.

There are cards too. Character cards. Power cards. Secret Power cards. If your monster is a PACIFIST, he gets a bonus for eating the army. Hahahahahaha! Makes no sense. Great, though. The characters give each player different scoring targets, which is good, right? Powers like CLIMB let monsters make move flicks from the top of buildings and stuff. There’s a lot of variety in the cards, and it gives the game a lot more legs. Maybe twenty or so legs, which is quite enough legs for any body.

At the end of the game the stuff you’ve eaten scores you points. The people you eat are scored by sets of different colours, and then there are your card bonuses and stuff. In truth, the scoring is a little bit tricky for younger players, but if you’re about forty or something, and you probably are, you’ll work it out eventually.

IN CLOSING

This is a really good game. It’s something different, and joins Cube Quest as an essential light dexterity game in my gaming “Red Room”. It’s not the BEST dexterity game ever – that game is Ascending Empires. But it does what it sets out to do really well. It lets you smash shit up and have a little think about how well you’re going to score. And it looks beautiful!

RECOMMENDED. See you next time! And now watch money raining on Hugh Jackman’s son.

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18 Comments »

  1. Dingbatwhirr says:

    My cat enjoys playing a variant of this game. It’s called, ‘jump onto the board of any game which is currently in progress and see how much disruption can be caused. Bonus marks awarded for forcing premature cessation due to missing pieces etc.”

    But seriously, this looks good.

    • Phinor says:

      But here’s the question: Is that a viable tactic? Does your cat win often?

      • Dingbatwhirr says:

        It’s a single-player game. My cat competes against himself to score as many points as possible. Like pinball, say, or solitaire. Just with more wanton destruction.

        • Spoon Of Doom says:

          My cat plays the same game – I wonder if they have an online leaderboard or something. He must score pretty well, because afterwards he lies across the board looking smugly satisfied with himself.

  2. The First Door says:

    I played this just before Christmas and I can attest that it is a really fun game to play between heavier games, or if you don’t want to think too much! It’s so much fun to be a big monster and destroy a city, especially with the special abilities. I particularly like the fact your player guard acts as your monster’s mouth and behind it is its belly.

    Our game did descend slightly into ‘vehicle tennis’ between us, ignoring the meeples for a while, but that’s half the fun!

    • Doganpc says:

      have you tried king of tokyo? I think its more of a dice slinger but i’m curious as these games could be used to fill my casual desire to play Godzilla without trying to explain (or acquire) mosterpocalypse.

      • gwathdring says:

        Rampage lets you *actually smash buildings.* Come on, which do you think is a better Godzilla fantasy game? Better game is another issue entirely, of course.

        • Archonsod says:

          Not really; King of Tokyo is just Yahtzee with a damage mechanic. Rampage actually has more of a game to it. Although so does watching paint dry to be fair.

  3. geldonyetich says:

    I seem to recall some game of remarkably similar name involving being a big monster smashing buildings, but I forget who made it. Won’t someone meet me Midway here?

  4. Deano2099 says:

    Played on Monday, an utterly ridiculous game. As much fun as Cube Quest looked, it’s the sort of game I’d rather play with a bigger group, and Rampage does just that.

    My monster was a scrap merchant, so after I’d eaten a bunch of people earlier on, while the other players went around trying to gobble up the leftovers, I was picking up vehicles and trying to neatly flick them on top of ruins for end of game bonus points. My once-per-game super power allowed me to pick up another monster and ‘throw’ him (put him on top of my monster and flick him) at a building. Glorious, ridiculous fun.