Blast Radius Review

We were given Blast Radius for review by Luke Conte. Blast Radius is a fast paced, 3-6 player card game that is set in a post-apocalyptic world set in the possible near future, where players must scavenge for items to survive. Players will collect items to meet their individual objectives during their turns. The game plays very similarly to Fluxx but with individual goals instead of a collective goal. Players can try to play more privately but the real fun comes when you try to steal and poison other players. All cards are open knowledge to all players, so if someone has an item (or two) that you need, rest assured there will come a time and a place to steal that item. Is a player close to winning? It would be quite unfortunate if they were to somehow be poisoned and unable to take their next turn.

The game comes with 4 different types of cards: Medical, Items, Objective and Character cards. Character cards are merely for fun but they include some interesting characters, complete with their own back stories and strange and mutated artwork. The game’s cover art is Eugene, a curly-haired child in a gas mask and what appears to be a boy scout uniform. Eugene appears to have made a quick transition to this post-apocalyptic world and has even decorated his face with tear drop tattoos that demonstrate his ability to “best” his enemies. Yikes! This is just one of the six characters in the world of Blast Radius. The character you choose does not affect gameplay in any way, other than having a cool character card and having the ability to pick your favorite.

Setup for 3 players

Objective cards are exactly what they sound like. They have goals and each player will have their separate goals that they must meet in order to win. There are a total of 24 objective cards, each complete with individualized flavor text and unique item requirements. All cards are equally as difficult to fulfil but some may be harder to complete depending on player count and luck of the draw.

Some objectives require certain item sets

Item cards are the bread and butter of the game. They consist of a deck of a whopping 84 items that range from being able to take an item from another player to being able to pick something out of the discard pile. Some cards are marked with a small asterisk which means that the card is an immediate use item (more on this later). The artwork on these cards is simple and charmingly crude. It definitely helps pull you into the false sense of security as you pull the canteen from the deck and have to take a drink of potentially contaminated water.

This objective requires radioactive water, which can be sewage water or other types of radioactive water marked by the red radioactive symbol

Medical cards are the final type of card in the game. There are two types of medical cards, Sick and Incapacitated. Sick cards decrease the likelihood of you being able to continue with your turn. If you are sick you must first roll a die (included in the game) and if you are unlucky enough to have rolled a 6, you are incapacitated (1-5 let you continue your turn as normal). Once incapacitated, you switch out your Sick card for an Incapacitated card. This card essentially serves as you being “dead.” You skip your turn, but you have the possibility of being able to revive yourself should you roll a 3. You may also revive yourself with specific items in the game. A strange caveat to these rules is that sometimes, pending your items, you hope you become incapacitated so that you can try to revive yourself.

Eugene is sick! He rolled a 4 so he doesn’t become incapacitated and stays sick this turn

To set up the game, every player simply picks a character, draws 2 objective cards and 2 item cards (ensuring that the cards are not immediate use items) and come to a decision on how many objectives must be completed by a player in order to win. Extremely simple setups are always appreciated. On your turn, you simply draw a card (unless sick or incapacitated), then you have your choice of drawing a second card, playing an action, trading, or completing an objective. On your first draw, should you draw an immediate use item, you do as the flavor text says and follow any rules on the card. A common immediate use card is to drink contaminated water, when drawn, you just roll the die and hope you don’t get sick. Playing an action means to use an item that has flavor text that allows you to steal, poison, draw additional cards, etc. You may also trade an item with another player, with the only rule being that you both parties must consent to the trade. If you have all of the items necessary to complete your objective, you may complete the objective as your turn, in which case you simply turn the card over to note that you have completed an objective. Your item limit is 5, and you may never have more than 5 items in your collection. If you need to get one more item, you must discard an item before drawing another. That’s it. That’s the whole game.

The 5 card limit is generous!

The game sounds simple, and it is, but that makes the game all the more difficult to master. The game is difficult to predict and can change quickly. One turn may have one player one item away from winning and the next, this player is incapacitated trying to roll to even get a turn. The game is very flexible in terms of time. If you want to kill a few minutes of time then you can choose to have 1 or 2 objectives as the end game and if you want a longer game you can have 3 or maybe 4 objectives be the end game condition. The game can be very fun for you at times when you have a lot of items and it can be very frustrating as you struggle to roll a 3 to get back to playing (there is a little bit of a mercy rule so you will not be incapacitated for more than 3 turns, after which you will “heal” and return to full health).

The game was designed by college student Luke Conte and will be coming to Kickstarter May 6th. Check out their Instagram here for more information on their upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

Language Barrier Playability: Moderately low. The game is great in that it has a lot of emphasis on symbols and numbers, however, a lot of the action cards have language dependent text that needs to be translated. All cards are public knowledge, but translating a card as someone is taking a turn defeats the purpose of strategy in this game.

Replayability: Great. This game can easily be played a few times and can vary in length depending on luck of the draw and strategy.

Artwork: Eerie. The game has a creepy vibe to it that leaves you feeling a little greasy and uneasy as you steal beans from your friends using a crowbar.

Quality: Excellent. The game is compact and is still in development so some elements may change. The cards are sturdy, well printed and the box is sturdy and glossy.

Strategy: Surprisingly strategy heavy. This game is by no means chess, but it is difficult to win if you are not planning at least a few steps ahead.

Instruction Manual: Still in development but it is short and to the point. The one thing we did not see in the rules and had to find out via gameplay was which items can be used to revive yourself and heal yourself.

Organization: Excellent. All of the cards and single die fit easly into the glossy box. There are no dividers needed and the cards/die do not have a lot of room to move around. Economic packaging that is great for storage and the environment is always a bonus.

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