Full Power to the Engines! A Preview of Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire
Blending strategy with dice, Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire is a new game on Kickstarter that is travel-friendly, player-friendly, and just plain fun.
Each player is given a game sheet and a pencil. On these sheets are three colored planets and tracks leading up to them. Each track is made up of three columns. Also on the sheets are slots for four types of technology.
At the start of the game a player is selected as Captain. Every round has two phases. The first phase is the mine roll. The Captain rolls the two black dice. One die has letters on it and one has numbers. This roll will inform the players where mines appear on their planet tracks. For instance, if A6 is rolled, players find the spaces on each of their three planet tracks that correspond to A6 and use their pencils to fill in the space. Players’ ships cannot move through mines and if a mine appears on a space occupied by a ship, the ship is knocked back and takes a point of damage. Once a ship has been damaged three times, it is destroyed.
During the second phase, the Captain rolls all eight of the white dice, and players take turns selecting a die until there are no dice left. The white dice can allow you to move a ship of a particular color a certain number of spaces, attack another player’s ship, or even set down a mine on another player’s planet tracks. They can also give you technology. If you gain a piece of technology, you mark it on your sheet and can use it at any later point. Technology can allow you to ignore the result of a mine roll, change a movement die from one color to another, move a ship through a mine, or move a ship diagonally.
At this point, the next player becomes Captain and a new round begins. As the rounds progress, the number of mines that appear during the mine phase also increases.
Any player who gets all three ships to their planets wins the game immediately. If this doesn't occur, the game ends after twelve rounds or when a player cannot make any eligible moves. In either of these cases, players add up their score, counting any planets they reached and how much technology they acquired and losing points for destroyed ships. The player with the most points wins.
Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire is a two-player game, but there is a one-player mode included in the rules as well.
Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire ticks multiple boxes. It blends luck of the roll with a nice amount of strategy. It’s a two-player game and it also uses pencils and has you physically marking things off the game sheet, which has a nice retro feel to it. In fact, since so much is done on the game sheets, the game is extremely portable and travel-friendly, and given how easy the game would be to take on the go, it’s a shame it only plays up to two people.
Also a nice feature is that the game offers quite a few variants. Not only is there the solo player mode (with variants of its own) but the two-player game has several different versions that can increase or decrease the difficulty or aggressiveness of the game. This means you can really customize your experience — even the game sheets have two different versions so that you can have more or fewer mines appearing on your planet tracks.
The game comes with 120 double-sided game sheets. That’s 60 versions of each of the two sheet layouts, enough for 30 two-player games of the two sheet variants. Arguably, this number could be higher for added replay value — we hope the publisher will make printable replacement sheets available.
Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire nicely blends luck and strategy and you discover a surprising amount of depth as you play. It’s hard, it’s challenging, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely worth checking out on Kickstarter, and certainly offers something both unique and enjoyable.
Pros: Large number of variants, portable, it’s a lot of fun to physically mark off the game sheets
Cons: Only supports 1-2 players, replay value is limited by the quantity of game sheets available
Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.