Back in my youth, I spent more hours than I care to admit playing the video game Rampage. You controlled a giant monster whose main goal was to smash buildings around the world. Yeah, there were points or something too, but really, who cared about that stuff. It was childish destruction at its finest and IT WAS GLORIOUS! So when I heard that Asmodee Games was coming out with a new title called Rampage, I had high hope and expectations. Will this game live up to my idealized childhood memories? Who knows?!
In Rampage, up to 4 players each take control of a monster trying to destroy Meeple City in a quest to satisfy their hunger with some tasty meeples. Is Rampage just another gimmicky game or is this one worthy of its namesake. Read on to find out!
Rampage is a dexterity board game for 2-4 players that plays in about 30 minutes. Rampage plays best with 4 players.
In Rampage, you are a hungry monster that has just arrived in Meeple City. To satiate that hunger, you have to chow down on everything in sight. Each turn, you will be literally knocking down buildings and trying to put the different colored meeples in your belly. Unfortunately for your growing hunger, you are not alone in Meeple City. Your fellow players/monsters have the same goals and will be competing with you for buildings to smash and meeples to eat. Each floor of a building you consume, gives you a victory point as well as each set of meeples you consume. After the entire city has been laid to waste, the player with the most victory points is the winner.
At Gen Con 2013, I got to try out an over-sized version of Rampage and was instantly hooked. I was afraid that once I got the retail game, the scaled down components wouldn’t be as much fun. Well I’m happy to report that my worries were for naught as the components in Rampage are top notch. The game comes with 90 wooden meeples in 6 different colors for the monsters’ dining pleasure. Speaking of, each player gets a two-part wooden monster (a body and feet) that they will use to move around the board and smash buildings.
In addition to the wooden pieces, there are also 3 different decks of cards to provide unique monster powers and victory conditions for each player. Finally, there are a number of different floor tiles to construct your buildings with and a two-part game board.
As a dexterity game, I was concerned that the components of Rampage wouldn’t hold up to repeated abuse but so far, after many plays, the game is holding up surprisingly well. There are signs of wear to be sure, but that’s not surprising given the nature of the game. But one can’t go into a game like Rampage and expect it to stay mint condition for very long.
How to Play:
The game play in Rampage is devilishly simple, yet also incredibly addictive. The board is setup by placing a meeple on each corner of every square of rubble. Then, you place a cardboard floor tile on top of each grouping of meeples. This process is repeated 3 more times to create half a dozen, 3 floor buildings.
Each player is then given a monster, a screen and 3 different cards. The cards give each player a unique power, a one-time use super power, and a special objective to gain additional victory points.
Once ready to play, each player takes a turn in clockwise order.
On a players turn, they can take 2 actions (either the same or different) before they chow down.
The available options are:
Move: To move, you simply flick your circular feet token. Wherever it lands is where you stop moving. If it goes off the board, you lose a tooth and come back on a start space.
Demolish: To demolish a building, a monster must have his feet touching the sidewalk surrounding that building. Then, the player picks up the top half of their monster, hold it over the building at shoulder height (while sitting) and drop it on the building. This will usually result in flying meeples and crashing buildings. If a floor contains no meeples after this action, the player claims it into his score pile.
Toss a Vehicle: If a player is in a neighborhood with one of the 4 wooden vehicles, they can toss it. To do so, they take the vehicle, place it on their monsters head and flick it anywhere on the board.
Breathe: To breathe, a player places their chin on their monsters head, sucks in, and blows.
After a player finishes their actions they can chow down. A player checks how many teeth they still have remaining and can eat that many meeples that are on the ground in their neighborhood (separated by colored ground). Each monster starts the game with 6 teeth (2 of which are permanent), but can lose teeth by either going off the board or being knocked over by another player’s monster. That’s right, there’s some PvP in this game. If you flick your disk into another monster and they fall over, you can take one of their teeth as a trophy (and 2 VPs).
Finally, I should talk about the runaways. When you are too enthusiastic with your demolishing, you risk those tasty meeples running away. If a meeple gets knocked off the game board, they get moved to the runaway chart. If you place the last meeple in a row on that chart, then bad things happen to you. So be careful!
After the last building has been demolished, players count up their victory points. Each full set of meeples (1 of each of the 6 different colors) is worth 10 VPs. No points are awarded for partial sets. Each floor is worth 1 VP and each tooth you’ve collected from another monster is worth 2 VPs. Finally, each player checks their character card that defines how they can earn bonus VPs. The player with the highest total of victory points is the winner.
Rampage is a stupid amount of stupendous fun. I have no other way to put it. Honestly, this is the game I wanted King of Tokyo to be when I heard about it. It’s so incredibly entertaining to create a city of meeples and then smash it to pieces. For anyone that has built a car out of Legos and then proceeded to crash it into bits knows what I’m talking about. Rampage does a great job of helping you to embrace your inner child. If you’ve ever built a sand castle and then pretended you were Godzilla and walked through it, you should be able to relate.
Sure there is strategy in Rampage. You want to make sure you are careful with how you smash the buildings so you don’t get runaways. You want to make sure you are in areas with the color of meeples you need for extra points. Eating 7 green meeples but only 1 blue one isn’t going to help your final score much. But despite all that, it’s hard not to get lost in the fun you will have with this game. I’ve spent turns attacking other monsters, even when they were out of teeth and I gained no benefit from this action, just because it was fun to knock them over. Rampage is a game that begs you not to take it too seriously.
But that’s not to say we aren’t in it, to win it. Even among our group of hard- core gamers, we are doing all we can to make sure we are gaining the most VPs possible. We will strategically flick our feet tokens to be in the prime neighborhoods. Will we also do all we can to mess up our opponents plans. But while we are doing that we are also laughing, joking, and having a great time.
With Rampage’s simple rules, just about anyone can jump right in and have fun. The player count on Rampage is probably too small for a party game, but it’s definitely very accessible to your nongamer friends and family. The game play is natural, intuitive, and highly addictive. At least 2 people I know have gone out and bought Rampage after playing it.
I think the game also has some nice balance as well. The runaway meeple rule stops players from just smashing the board up willy-nilly. You have to be careful about your demolish actions, but not too careful or it won’t cause enough damage. You must be sure not to waste your actions. It’s pretty funny watching someone scrunch up their face in concentration as they try to strategically drop a monster onto a cardboard building. You can’t help but laugh.
If I had a complaint with Rampage is that it sometimes feels like it’s over too quickly. The buildings take a decent amount of time to construct but before I know it the city has been laid to waste and the game is over. The rulebook does say you can buy a second copy of the game and turn it into an 8 player game, but I’m also tempted to do that and make buildings that are just twice as high!
Finally, I really like how the game has 16 different cards for each power, super-power, and character. This gives the game a lot of replay value. I’m always wanting to try a different power to see how it affects the way I play the game. I’m already figuring out which ones are my favorites and which ones don’t quite fit with my play style. All are useful though.
From the moment I demolished my first building, Rampage had me hooked. This game sucked me right in with its silly premise and deeply addictive game play. As someone who loves strategy games and planning 3 turns ahead, it was nice to shift gears to something that’s more about having fun than optimization.
Rampage has already made it to my gaming table more times than I can count and is always an instant hit with new players. Just about everyone has had some enjoyment with this box of wood and cardboard. Be they hard-core gamers, children, or even older family members, there is a lot of fun to be had with this game. Rampage has quickly taken over the #1 spot on my favorite dexterity games list and is absolutely worth a try. Check this gem out today, I promise you won’t be sorry.
If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, it’s about $40
Final Score: 5 Stars – Incredibly addictive game play that is just a ton of fun. This is what a dexterity game should be.
• Setup can take a bit of time
• Sometimes the game feels it’s over too quickly