Remnants-Fireside Games-Review

"Relish the good ol’ times of watching movies about the struggle for survival after humanity has gone and blown itself up with a nuclear war? In Remnants, this has come to your tabletop."

Theme and What is it?

Relish the good ol’ times of watching movies about the struggle for survival after humanity has gone and blown itself up with a nuclear war? In Remnants, this theme has come to your tabletop. Send out your best scavengers and looters to accumulate supplies to best defend your people and create a compound tough enough to survive against the roving bands of raiders who seek to slash, destroy, and take what you have.

Gameplay Mechanics

Goal

The goal of this game is to survive well enough to gain the most Victory Points over your opponents.  And yes these VP look like ketchup packets… who can’t survive without ketchup?

Setup

Each player selects a compound board, randomly or chosen by the player.  Each compound has a different set of starting Survivors and/or Specialists allocated to them. Loot tracking markers are placed on the boards and each player is also given 4 dice.

The center board is the communal wasteland where resources are acquired.  Seed the board with the proper amount of each of the resources (rope, plastic, wood, metal, and cloth) based upon the number of players.  Place the number of Bonus tokens on the board based upon the number of players.

Prepare the various piles and decks.

Determine who the first player is and given him the First Player token.

Turns

The game consists of 5 rounds.  Each round consists of 5 phases (Scavenge, Build, Fight, Heal, and Cleanup), where Fight phase is missed every other round based upon the location of the Dread tracker marker.

Scavenge Phase is where players allocate their Survivors and Specialist to either Scavenge the Badlands for resources or Loot things from the city ruins.

Build Phase is where a player trains Survivors and/or Specialists to increase their Scavenging or Looting capacity, or purchase Development Cards to improve their compound.

Fight Phase is when Raider minions or bosses attack the compounds.  This occurs every other turn based upon the Dread Track. Use weapons and defenses to weaken and overcome the threat.

Heal Phase allows players to restore Survivors or treat their wounds.

Cleanup Phase is the last phase where spent cards are refreshed and unused Resources are placed on the compound board.  The First Player marker is passed to the left at this time.

After the last Cleanup Phase, the players scoring their VPs from VP tokens, Survivors, and cards showing VPs.

Additional Info

Specialists are advanced Survivors who provide advantages when Scavenging or Looting. Some compounds allow a player to start with a Specialist but they can also be trained (purchased) during the Build Phase.

The last Fight Phase is the Boss fight.  There are additional special rules for this fight in addition to the rules for the fights with minions.

At the end of the rules, there are a handful of alternate rules to add complexity or help the startup be smoother.

Initial Impressions

After a slow start, this game really got going. My son and I got into the rhythm of the game but we did take longer than suggested due to agonizing over our available choices each turn. Even with 2 players there was plenty of tension regarding resources and ability to develop defenses against the raiders.

Game Build Quality

The game, though small, consists of a variety of types of components: cards, dice, marker cubes, tokens, and boards. All of nice quality and sufficient heft to survive multiple sessions. They’ll need to.

Artistic Direction

The art is really well done on all of the components. Quite evocative of the setting, think Mad Max. In my opinion, the Development cards are where the setting comes to life with the different weapons and enhancements.

Fun Factor

This is a thematic game so if you’re not looking to bash in some Raider skulls or play cutthroat against other players for resources, then this is likely not the game for you. You play this game because you want to build the safest compound for your Tribe and keep those Badlands nasties at bay.

Age Range & Weight

Age range shows as 13+ and that is good. There isn’t a lot of complexity but given some of the “real-time” elements, and having to plan ahead then replan on the fly requires experienced thinking. Even we had fallen into decision lock at times because we were over-thinking things. I’d rate the weight of the game at medium from simple turns, concurrent player execution, and a short, fixed duration. Once you get a hang of the rules, phases and turns will go quickly.

Conclusions

This game was a real hoot to play. Getting through the first couple of turns the first time is really what teaches the game but that meant a good portion of the game was done before we were really ready to put our strategies to good use. Playing through again really brought home the concepts of the game and it was that much more fun.

The setting in the game really comes through the mechanics, not just the art. Scrounging for resources and loot, improving your compound on limited resources, and fending off radioactive mutants is what surviving the end of the world is all about.