I played Red Rising long before I ever read Red Rising. Here are the details before I start raving about it!
Theme: Based on the Red Rising book Series by Pierce Brown, you are building a hand of characters in an attempt to have the most powerful hand.
Specs: 1-6 Players. 45-60 minutes play time. This is a relatively fair play time, though allow for extra time when you have anyone who has never played before as it can take a round or two to get acclimated to game play.
Recommended for ages 14+. mid-level difficulty especially when first learning, but a 12 year old can definitely play.
Mechanics: Hand management, open drafting, end game bonuses, potential die rolling, and a little "take that" potential.
Designed by Jamey Stegmaier and Alexander Schmidt
Published by Stonemaier Games
To play, first set up the player board. There are three game end trackers that also get set out; cubes for each player at a location called the Institute, Ships that go on a fleet track, and red “gems” that are helium.
Each player randomly (or not, it’s your call) selects a faction they represent and is then dealt five cards. Each faction has a special power and the cards all have characters on them with abilities as well as point values. These values are added up (or subtracted) at the end of the game. Certain cards are worth more or less depending on what else is in your hand, on the board, or in the graveyard.
Players go around in turn order discarding a card onto one of four face up locations and drawing from one of the other locations, or from the top of the deck. Each card played and drawn has a corresponding action. Play continues until two of three perimeters are met by one player or all three are met by different players. Then scores are tallied from various sources and you have a winner!
I love how throughly this game was thought out. When we got Red Rising the board game we didn't know it was based on a book series (see Monday’s blog). The instructions, and even the cover of the box, give credit to the fact that the game is based on one and of course I had to go and read it after playing. And man, play it first, then read the books, and it is so crazy how different game play feels!! The cards and entire game design tie beautifully with the series, without giving anything away and reading the books made an already great game even better. This one hits our table often.
Do you have a favorite game based on a book series?