Updated: May 15
Game Time: 20-40 minutes
Welcome to the wasteland on the apocalyptic world of Radlands, created by former Magic the Gathering External Developer, Daniel Piechnick. In Radlands you are on opposing clans desperately trying to survive the wasteland and gather water (the most valued resource). The main aim of the game is to survive, destroy your opponent's home camps, and be crowned the apocalyptic wasteland king!
The game is simple enough; the main mechanism revolves around camp defense and the columns of characters defending your three main camps as you bring them out. Be careful to not leave a camp undefended (an early mistake both myself and my opponent made), or your unforgiving opponent will attack it for sure. However, you may have shenanigans in your hand to counteract them should they choose to...
Gameplay is fast, and I can imagine Radlands being highly competitive in a tournament environment. You have lots of choices in this game with Event cards, People, and Punks, and of course where to position them all.
Determine the start player by flipping a water token as you would a coin. Each player takes turns playing cards until the other player's camps are destroyed.
There are three phases on your turn:
1. Events - Advance and resolve your events. Events have a bomb symbol on the cards which will trigger if they reach space one.
2. Replenish - Draw a card and collect your three water discs for use this turn.
3. Actions - Put cards into play, discard cards from your hand for an instant junk effect, and/or use abilities on ”ready” cards. You may perform any of the following actions, in any order, any number of times:
Take Water Silo
Something useful to note, there is NO hand limit in Radlands. When you are done performing actions, complete the actions clean-up by returning all water and extra water discs to their respective supplies. Some cards and abilities have a cost of zero water. Whenever you use a zero-cost ability or play a zero-cost card, mark it as not ready with an extra water disc showing the pink dash. If the deck runs out during the game, shuffle the discard pile to form a new deck. If the deck runs out a second time, the game ends in a draw.
There are various different types of cards in the game: Camps, Person, Punks, Event and Water Silo. Each player starts with a Water Silo and a Raiders event card. In the wasteland, water is sacred and it is your currency during the game, represented with some lovely weighted tokens (see images below). You exchange water as you play People (from hand) or Punks.
The cards are illustrated beautifully. The Person (People) cards, which can be identified by a white border, are played in columns in front of your camp cards. People have a water cost as well as a junk effect and may have one or more abilities.
Punks are Person cards with no abilities, represented by a facedown card drawn
from the top of the deck. When damaged, Punks are immediately destroyed and returned to the top of the deck facedown (do not look at the card).
Now onto the Raiders event cards, one of your core damage dealers in the game. Event cards have a yellow and black striped border and have a water cost, a junk effect, and an event effect, as well as a numbered bomb icon that determines where it is placed in your event queue when played (beside your main play area).
When resolving any raid icon(s), play or advance this card. If your Raiders event is not already in the event queue, place it on the side of the table to represent the event queue. If your Raiders event is already in the event queue, advance it one space forward (column space) towards your opponent. If it is already on the space (1), resolve the event. The Raiders event cannot be advanced with a raid icon if another event already occupies the space in front of it. When the Raiders event resolves, your opponent chooses one of their camps to be damaged, then put your Raiders card back in your play area.
Now the Water Silo card I mentioned earlier, if you choose to activate it spend one water to take your water silo into your hand. The water silo may be junked to gain one extra water. When you junk the water silo, you return it to your play area instead of discarding it. You may keep it in your hand across multiple turns. Any unspent water is lost, so if you have one remaining water that is not useful, consider the Take Water Silo action. It is the combination of the cards played during the action phase that really sets the pace of this game. Cards are cheap and quick to come and balancing the costs and timing is what may determine your outcome. Like with most card games, card abilities also play a huge aspect of the game.
These include abilities like:
DESTROY: Destroyed people are discarded,
camps are flipped, punks are placed back on deck.
DAMAGE: Rotate an unprotected person
or camp sideways. If it is already rotated, destroy it.
INJURE: Same as damage, but only hits people.
RESTORE: Rotate one of your damaged cards
upright. If it is a person, it is not ready this turn.
DRAW: Draw a card.
WATER: Gain an extra water.
GAIN PUNK: Put the top card of the deck into
play facedown as a person with no abilities.
Punks are immediately destroyed when damaged.
RAID: Play or advance your Raiders event.
(card symbols are below).
The production quality is something else with Radlands, Roxley Games keep producing some of the nicest standards when it comes to their game components and games in general. I will be buying the playmat as I think it will add to the game and give it some real dramatic emphasis. The cards are close to indestructible. I am a person who always has the compulsive need to sleeve up card games but for me this may be a first... I DO NOT NEED TO...
I am in awe of the simplicity and complexity of Radlands at the same time. The use of event triggering and card abilities are what really sets this duelling card game's tone. The theme and artwork very much set the apocalyptic environment and it draws you into the game. Radlands mechanics could almost be skinned to anything (my fear). In the first instance I like where the designers took it, it's quick, repayable, tactical and looks great, all of which tick the boxes for me.
You can still order this game and the play mat directly from Roxley Games here . If you like this style of card game, then you do not want to miss it!
Check out our 3 min video review below...
Your friendly DoaLG Founder
This copy of Radlands was not given to #DoaLG by #Roxley to review, but in fact by one of its backers Nemesis Games and I am thankful for their donation as I otherwise wouldn't have the honour of owning or even reviewing this game, and in this instance, it was well worth it.