Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 3-5
Amount of time to play: 30-60 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 5 min
Adrenaline is a first-person shooter in board game form. It is action-packed but requires good area control and resource management to win.
You start Adrenaline by spawning on to the board in one of three spawn points. You can grab a weapon and some ammo and then start eliminating your opponents. After 8 player deaths the game ends and the player with the most Victory Points (VPs) wins.
On your turn you get to take two actions and you may take the same action more than once on your turn. The actions are run around, grab stuff or shoot people. You use the run around action to move up to three spaces orthogonally. The grab stuff action lets you move up to one space then pick up ammo or weapons.
When you take the shoot people action, you play a weapon card from your hand and specify your target. Some weapons have secondary fire modes which cost additional ammo cubes. Once all targets and firing modes have been identified you mark the targets with damage in your color.
Damage is tracked on our opponents’ player board and after eleven hits they are dead. The opponent with the most damage markers scores eight VPs, second most scores six VPs and so on. In addition the player that hit the deceased first gets one extra VP.
The player that delivered the kill shot places that damage marker on the skull track. And the skull goes on the dead player’s board. For the rest of the game that player is worth less VPs when killed.
Getting hit a few times increases your adrenaline and you are able to move up to two spaces before the grab stuff action. And after getting hit a bit more you can move up to one space before you take the shoot people action. If you are killed you reappear at spawn point ready to reign down death and destruction.
After firing a weapon you need to reload it by paying ammo cubes. Different weapons take a specific color and number of ammo cubes to reload. At the end of your turn, after you spend the required ammo cubes you take reloaded weapons back into your hand.
Once the eight skulls on the skull track are removed a frenzy round begins. This gives everyone one turn with one or two actions (depending on who triggered the frenzy round) that let you move reload and then shoot. Kills are worth less VPs and if you don’t have weapons loaded or ammo cubes you might be out of luck.
The game ends once the frenzy round is over. You score any damaged players’ boards. The player with the most damage marker on the killshot track gets eight VPs, second most gets six VPs and so on. You then total your VPs and the player with the most wins the game.
If you’d rather watch a video explaining the rules, click here.
Adrenaline does a good job of mixing theme with tactics. On the surface it might look like a random shoot-em-up, but it has a solid Eurogame foundation.
The components for this game are great. Everything looks like it came from a digital first-person-shooter. The art, miniatures and weapons all look great. The rulebook is funny, easy to read and follow and full of examples too. The iconography for the weapon effects is good, but you might spend the first few games looking icons up.
I mentioned area control when describing Adrenaline. But it is not board control as many gamers are used to. You are fighting to control the damage areas of your opponents. This is both unique and fun.
The theme and feel of this game is like an FPS. You run around grabbing weapons and killing your foes. They might kill you but respawn looking to exact your revenge. It is quick-paced, a bit frantic and fun. There are even a few variants included so you can switch up the gameplay if you like.
You will enjoy finding fun weapon combos. And the weapon mechanics really make sense given the weapons they are based on from FPS games. It really helps the theme come through.
Since a player is worth less the more they are killed Adrenaline avoids ganging up on one player. And it does it with a very elegant method that is easy to track.
There are a couple things to know going in. First the game is best when played with 4 or more people. Secondly the weapons may not be balanced. I need to play it a few more times but the sledgehammer is cheap to use and getting up close and personal to someone in the games we have played was not a problem.
If you enjoy first person shooters and board games, buy Adrenaline. If you enjoy FPS games or board games, you will probably enjoy this game. It is fun, has theme and good mechanics.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 3 out of 6
Player Interaction 6 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6