Thursday, June 06, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 37 (24-23)

#24 Radlands

Radlands is a cool 1v1 card game. Each player has 3 base camps. These camps can each take two hits. The first time that a camp is hit, it is turned sideways. The second time a camp is hit, it is flipped face down to its destroyed side. If all three of a player's base camps are destroyed their opponent wins the game.


Your three camps have special abilities on them that you can use on your turn as long as that camp is not destroyed. These abilities vary in power and utility. To offset this, there is a little symbol with a number on each camp card. Camps with really good abilities might have a 0 in that little symbol. Camps with weaker powers might have a 1, 2 or 3 in that little symbol.

That little symbol represents how many cards that you have in your hand at the start of the game. You add the values of these symbols on all three camps to determine your starting hand size. At the start of the game, each player is dealt five camp cards and must choose three of them.

Choosing the right camps can greatly affect your game. Do you choose camps with really powerful abilities but begin play with only a few cards in hand, or do you choose weaker camps but start with a larger number of cards in hand? It's probably best to land somewhere in the middle, but you get the idea.

Once players have chosen their camps they are dealt cards. These cards come in two varieties: people and events. People are played in front of a camp. That camp is now protected. This means that your opponent must target the person in front before they can target your camp. That's okay, people are expendable. Your camp isn't.

You can play, at most, two people in front of a camp. If you play a person to a camp where you already have another person, you can choose to place this person in front of the one that was already there, or slide the existing person card forward to play the new person behind them. In this way your people cards can also protect each other. Your opponent must always target the card in front (closest to them.) That is, unless a card ability states otherwise.

Oh, yeah. Cards have all kinds of cool abilities and it's making the most of these that makes games like Radlands really fun. Just like with the camps, people card abilities vary in power and utility. This time that disparity is offset by the card's cost. Every card has a cost to play. This cost is paid in water. Radlands has a post-apocalyptic theme, and just like in Mad Max, water is power!

In addition to people cards, there are event cards. Event cards go into a sort of timing queue. This queue has three spaces starting back beside your bases and moving forward beside the first and second rows of people cards. Each turn an event card is moved one space forward. Once an event emerges past the top row of cards, it activates. 

Events are usually really powerful things that your opponent can't stop. All they can do is get ready to deal with the carnage as they watch the event march forward turn by turn. 

Event cards have a number on them that show where in the event queue they start. An event with a 3 starts by your bases. An event with a 2 starts by your first row of people (the one closest to your bases,) and an event with a 1 starts by your second row of people (the one closest to your opponent.)

Powerful events take longer to trigger, giving your opponent more time to prepare. There are even events that have a counter of 0. These trigger immediately, providing instant effects. (Exciting!)

Radlands is such an engaging battle card game. It's truly best of class. The post-apocalyptic theme is well realized through the stunning card art and the abilities on the cards. Turns are fast and game play is aggressive. It's just awesome!


#23 The Castles of Burgundy

In Castles of Burgundy players each have a personal hex map player board. This board has hexes grouped together into areas of different colors, and all hexes have a picture of a die face showing from 1 to 6 pips inside it. There is a large central board with different action spots. These also have die symbols on them.


Players roll 2 dice and use them to take actions. You can draft tiles from the central board from the section with the die that matches a die that you rolled. You can place a previously drafted hex tile onto your player board in a location with a color that matches the type of tile you are placing as long as the hex you are placing into matches a die that you rolled.

Placing different tiles also activates special actions when they are placed. All of this stuff gives you points, and the player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. Julie and I have the super deluxified version of the Castles of Burgundy. It has beautiful ceramic tiles and multi-layered player boards and 3D building models.

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