Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Red Rising

My #9 Favorite Board Game of All Time is: Red Rising!

Red Rising is a card drafting hand management game. There is a central board that facilitates the drafting mechanic and tracks some game resources. Those resources are influence in the government, military strength, and raw materials mined from mars. Each of these contributes to your score at the end of the game.

Gaining resources is done with cards, and the cards are also worth victory points. Each card has some kind of power, this will usually have to do with gaining resources or manipulating the cards on the board to give you access to the cards that you want. 

The board is made up of four locations and cards are placed on each. You only have access to the top card of each location. So, if there is a card lower down the stack that you want, you need to figure out how to get to it.

During play, you place a card from your hand down on a location and activate that card’s ability. Then you pick up one of the top cards from a location to put back into your hand, this activates the location’s special ability. Three of the locations give you one of the three in game resources, the fourth gives you a special game piece and activates your special player power.

Oh, yeah. All players have a unique ability that is activated when you gain this special game piece that I forget what it’s called. The piece is worth some victory points at the end of the game, and some cards will score higher if you have it at the end of the game. So, it’s a thing.

I have kind of buried the lead here, because the crux of the game play in Red Rising is in the interactions between the cards at scoring time. All the cards have scoring conditions. Some cards like being matched with certain colors (factions) others don’t want anything to do with certain factions. (So, that card scores less, or even loses you points if you have the faction that it doesn’t like in your hand at the end of the game. There are many other scoring conditions as well; this is just one example.

The greatest part of the end game scoring is from the cards that you are holding in your hand, that means that you are constantly looking for which cards to pick up and which ones to throw away to optimize your score. There are a lot of cards and a lot of things to consider. That makes Red Rising puzzley and challenging.

Red Rising is based on a novel series. I haven't read any of the books, but I love the game! So, knowledge of the series isn’t needed, but I have heard from some online reviews that a familiarity with the stories only enhances the experience of the game. So, if you like the novels then you might want to give my #9 favorite game of all time a try!!

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