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Introduction: If you happened to read my 20X reviews of Biblios and Herbaceous (Biblios here and Herbaceous here), you know I’m a big fan of Steve Finn’s game designs. Anyone who subscribes to my 20X Reviews series (link here) has also probably recognized my affinity for roll-and-write games like Dice Stars and many others. So when Steve Finn designed a roll-and-write game centered on space ships, I knew I’d probably find the game to be…astronomical. Stay tuned to find out whether Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire lived up to my expectations or crashed and burned.
How to Play: Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire is a roll-and-write game for 1-2 players. Ultimately, the goal of the game is to upgrade ship technologies while safely navigating all three of your ships to their final destinations. I’m going to discuss the two-player version here; if you’re interested in the solo version, just ask in a comment.
Players first roll the mine dice one, two, or three times, depending on which round they’re on. These dice cause players to place mines along their ships’ paths, which they must avoid. However, players can use defensive missiles (one of the technologies discussed below) to prevent mines from being placed. Check out the right side of this image. All the filled-in circles represent mines:
Now, one player rolls the white player dice, and the players take turns drafting and immediately using these dice. Most of the dice are used to either advance one ship or gain technologies that are worth points while also provide temporary upgrades. However, other dice allow players to attack one another. Additionally, there are two useful mechanisms that allow players to re-roll dice or convert unwanted dice into technologies.
The game can last until one player's ships all reach their planets, all three of a player's ships are unable to move, or twelve rounds have elapsed.
What this game does well:
1. The gameplay is very simple, yet the decisions are weighty. Throughout the game, you almost always feel like your decisions are meaningful. You’re racing up four technology tracks while also trying to move three of your ships to their respective planets. At the same time, you’re constantly worrying about your opponent. There’s a lot to balance, but the game provides two key ways you can change roll results or mitigate poor rolls.
2. It feels a bit like Battleship and Captain Sonar. Sometimes I get into the spirit of the game to the extent that it feels like I’m piloting my ships through these mine-laden territories. You’re constantly filling in the spots on your navigational map in which mines have complicated the possible paths. You’re using the ships’ technology to defend against attack and navigate your passengers to their new homes. It’s surprisingly thematic for a game with ten dice and some score pads.
3. The solo mode is enjoyable. One of the most prominent YouTube reviewers said the solo mode on this game was subpar. I disagree. It essentially pits you up against an artificial opponent, but your opponent selects dice using a simple (and very original) mechanic in which he drafts the die that is physically furthest from the player. The solo version of this game reminds me of Baseball Highlights: 2045, in which the AI plays unintelligently, but his actions often seem to affect your plans in important ways. This is not the best solo game I’ve played, but it’s the best solo roll-and-write game I’ve played.
4. It comes with a fat stack of score cards. I’ve literally never seen this many score cards in a game box. I haven’t counted them, but I am sure you could play dozens of games.
Potential issues with this game:
1. The game can be a bit fiddly. With two players, the game isn’t too fiddly. The solo mode, though, requires tons of re-rolling each round.
2. The solo mode is really tough. You have to meet multiple win conditions, and sometimes the rolls just don’t go your way. I’ve played two solo games in which the AI opponent managed to get a few high-value movement dice from the same ship in a row, and I was toast from the beginning. My other solo games were very tense and exciting, though.
The Bottom Line: Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire has most of the crucial elements you want in a dice game: excitement and fun, meaningful decisions, and multiple ways to mitigate poor dice rolls. This game is criminally underrated with a 5.6 Geek Rating; the average user rating (7.1) is much closer to its actual worth. I highly recommend the game for two players and recommend it for solo players. It will be in my collection for a long time and has become my new favorite roll-and-write game.
- Last edited Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:47 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:08 am