Note: Rampage is now called Terror in Meeple City, but this review was written before this change
|A few turns in, after my kaiju attacked a local apartment complex.|
Players in Rampage take the role of kaiju - gigantic monsters hell bent on the destruction of our little Rampage City. Through flicking, blowing and dropping their wooden kaiju on the board, players hope to both smash up buildings (and, for points, eat the meeples contained within each one) and beat the living daylights out of each other.
Set-up is quite a long process, where we have to construct buildings by stacking cardboard floors with multi-coloured meeples between them. We then place our kaiju token (which we use to indicate our position and flick around the board) and our kaiju character (who we drop on the buildings or use to help with some other abilities) in the corners of the board. Then we're good to go!
Players take it in turns carrying out two of four, dexterity-based tasks. These are:
- Flicking your kaiju token around the board. The token is too light to damage anything, but allows you to set your kaiju up for a killer move.
- Dropping your kaiju figure onto a building. You can only do this if your kaiju token is touching a building (which is actually pretty tough to pull off), but this move causes absolute devastation!
- Picking up a little wooden truck from the street, placing it on your kaiju's head and flicking it into buildings or, more effectively, rival kaijus.
- The kaiju-blow! You place your chin atop your kaiju character and with one blow, try to cause as much carnage as possible! This, I discovered, can take out whole buildings and your rival players - it's awe-inspiring to see.
After each players turn they look around the district their kaiju is currently in and devour meeples who are unfortunate enough to be outside of a structure. As you can see, the turn structure is, in essence, very simple stuff.
The Deeper StuffUnder the hood, there are some more complexities, but nothing too taxing. The aim of the game is to score the most points, which are accumulated through eating sets of the six different coloured meeple types, collecting building parts, knocking out (and thus collecting) your opponents teeth, and by fulfilling the requirements of your specific character.
Of course, each kaiju has its own specific tricks up its sleeve. At the start of the game, players receive a unique character ability card and an objective card (both of which are public knowledge) and a secret, one-time character power. During my first game, I had the ballerina skill, which meant I had extra opportunities to flick my token each turn and move around the board - it was awesome, because I was able to run around, snatching up extra meeples. Another player was the bruiser, who got extra points for attacking other kaiju. It wasn't as cool, as it meant we kept avoiding him. It was also deemed from my player card that I'd get bonus points for collecting the yellow (female) meeples. Another player had to guess which player at the end had the most meeples (meeples acquired by each player are kept secret from other players until the end of the game). My one-off power involved evicting meeples from buildings - a pretty great card when there's a bunch of meeples holed up in some ruins. Overall, these abilities - which I could see as being totally optional - add a lot to what would otherwise be a fairly straightforward dexterity game.
|The aftermath, as we arrive at the end-game. All but two buildings are utterly destroyed and all of our kaijus have taken a beating from one another.|
I found that every player at the table was having a great time with Rampage, but that's not to say its without its flaws. For starters, the rulebook and card instructions are frustratingly vague and unclear. This may be because I was playing an early edition, or maybe because the game is trying to remain accessible to a large variety of gamers, but the rules-baron in my play group was having a hard time coping with the ambiguities. In the end, for several oddly phrased abilities and awkward placements of meeples, we just had to have a group consensus and go with the flow, hoping we got it right.