Golden City. Everyone thought it was just a legend created for us outside. After the dust settled, war began to divide us into rich and poor. Those, who took the war to their advantage and those, who were left homeless. Those lucky entrenched themselves behind the gates of the golden city and will not easily let anyone enter. And yet I feel, that that is the only place, where my family can be safe. I have to fight for the ticket!
We will intervene into these battles ourselves, because this option was prepared for us by Charalampos Tsakiris in his board game Raid & Trade. Entire big and tall box filled by warriors of the wasteland on the cover appeared in the production of Mage Company. Even before its release, it has passed the test of creation on Kickstarter, where it gathered support of 700 fans and collected nearly fifty thousand dollars. In 2015, it came into the world with illustrations by Michael Andresakis and Anthony Cournoyer.
Inside the box, we find tiles creating city map, lots of different cards, miniatures and matching hero boards. At the beginning of the game, players get these figures and their corresponding boards with three rotary dials, together with one die and pieces of equipment for his character. Then, city map is created by revealing tiles in the middle of the table, randomly placing them around the most important black market, which has to lie in the center. Rest of the board gets house tokens deployed. Decks of cards are shuffled and prepared separately, while pieces of raw material are poured into a canvas bag.
Throughout the game, players are passing along individual round, where they always have fixed action points. Their number is tracked by one rotating indicator. Points marked with a flash sign can be used primarily for those classic activities, thus allowing players to move to adjacent segments. Prize may be increased by need to overcome barricades or differences in height.
But such a visit in another place generally brings some consequences. Player then must draw top incident card for his new position and act accordingly. In the options to play can be found also second classical action: an attack on another player or his hero. For such an attempt, player must pay weapon token plus five action points. Both players roll the dice and depending on the outcome, attacker can expect some reward. Sometimes without even having to win the confrontation. If true victory comes (only specific results on both attack and defend dice), there is a financial reward or opportunity to steal resources from the loser.
Individual players can improve their heroes with items. But they must first be produced. Each warrior has their own set of equipment and therefore needs different set of resources and one action point to build it. He also receives skill points, that are noted on inline scale.
After player deals with danger and surprise waiting for him on new tile, he can make his mood better with looting action. This can be used only on houses, that filled the board at start. Each house can be visited only once, token is then removed from the board. This action costs quite large number of points (six to ten depending on the size of the house). Consequences of this actions are determined by card revealed from looting deck, which may require some roll of the dice. Hero can get some raw or favors from representatives of the city, but also conversely get blacklisted for his crime.
Last action is the second in game title – trading. Do do it, players even do not have to be in the same position and can trade (price is action point on both sides) any set of items or materials. Favor to their side may also be attracted in a special building – outpost, which uses another action.
Players run around the board, fighting against each other, but also against tasks they receive. They must meet three to be able to celebrate victory. This is however only one of the three conditions, that has to be met. Instead, it is also possible to collect twenty skill points or ten favors from urban bosses. In addition to this, they always have to spend twenty action points, which is not easy. One ordinary turn offers only fifteen, so player has to strategize and use other ways to get extra points to win.
Raid & Trade does not look somehow different from similar games, in which you explore a place on the map, fight together and look for raw materials. Thus far everything is classical and without any big surprises. However, despite some innovations, impression without much interest persists even further and overcomes mechanics themselves.
Greatest asset of the game should probably be in raid action (looting) and possibility of doing transactions among players. That’s why these two are in the name of the game. Looting itself is an interesting solution and brings a little sparkle into gameplay. Trading and other actions are common but without any really entertaining experience.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi and games, in which heroes punch into each other uncompromisingly, then you could favor it. That’s because the game offers a variety of interesting scenarios and extensions, that are available on the website of the publisher. These new tasks bring a little fresh air, otherwise matches are very similar and players would soon get tired of them. Certainly it is also necessary to appreciate, that the game does not use any zombie or fantasy elements. The game is pure fighter game from a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a science-fiction.
Box contains dice and they have resulted in a total randomness throughout the game. This is reflected in most fights, because each player compares result of his dice. Contested one will have little chance to defend except that he can hope to roll the correct icons. Attacker gets some reward from his reserves virtually every time, so attacking is profitable, but also pretty discouraging at the same time.
And because it is quite big, game takes nowhere near short amount of time. Such ninety minutes is a reasonable minimum, because final targets are set fairly sharply. Overall, individual rounds are really slow despite the fact, that players alternate. It is also one of the main reasons, why the game lacks sufficient charge and real fun. Slowness is most visible in higher numbers of players, you thus can mark four opponents as ideal.
Raid & Trade is sometimes an interesting achievement, but mostly disappointing game. It does not have sufficient drive and tends to slide towards slow passages. Additionally, it all takes a really long time to complete, which then will not be saved by any new element. And neither one of them is interesting enough. We appreciate interesting distribution of action points, but ultimately nothing will save Raid & Trade from split feelings.
Raid & Trade is a game, which does not lack new ideas, but is also not fully sharpened to the best. Perhaps only opportunities to raise action points are interesting. Otherwise, it's a classic move-attack-gather-complete game. Nothing we have not played before. The topic is fine, as well as the possibility of raiding houses to look for treasures, but neither gaining favor of city councilors is fully functioning. Raid & Trade is ultimately only a half compelted game. Pretty fun, but without the big moments to live for and play again.