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Subject: Pressure Matrix: A brief review rss

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Paul Shabatowski
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I picked up Pressure Matrix based on a number of reasons. I have typically enjoyed AEG's offerings (despite my disappointment with Mad Zeppelin), I found the theme to be interesting (who can resist a future game show Running Man meets Tron?), and I love tile games.I cannot seem to get enough from this genre.

The concept of the game is very simple. Players move through a game grid with the goal of winning the most credits. The size of the grid is determined according to the number of players. The dice movement is based on a "pressure level" which starts at green but can move up to yellow or red or back down based on the actions of the tile. Three dice are rolled, picking lowest for green, mid for yellow and highest for red. Upon ending your movement on a grid you may choose from one of the four actions that are listed. Upon completing the action you may usually place a blackout marker to render that space dead. Once all four spaces are dead the tile becomes blocked. Movement is orthagonal, no diagonal moves are permitted. Players cannot cross over each other and you may not travel through the same tile twice. If you cannot move, you dispose of one of your five "pressure markers" which are each worth one credit each for the remainder at game end.

The tiles have win, pay, steal, teleport, flip and rearrange functions. There is a symbol on each corner of the tiles that aids players in determining where they wish to land and which of the four actions they wish to execute.

Unfortunately, that is just about all that there is to the game. If you found those actions interesting then this is the game for you.

I have quite a few concerns about this game. I did not feel the "pressure" for most of the game because it is rather boring to move another player's credits down, yours up only to find that the next player is doing something very similar to you. Therefore, I find that the interaction found in many games lacking in this one. The lead player changes so often that you don't run into the usual situation where the focus of most players is on one individual.

There is no degree of complexity to the game. The movement is mundane and rapidly becomes uninteresting.

There is one thing, though, that I can say about this game. The rules are extremely easy to grasp and it can play up to five players. Although this is completely out my own experience and background I think I would recommend this game to family game nights and gateway gamers. I feel that children would probably like it so it has merit based on that. I only wonder if the kids would maintain interest long enough to finish the game.

For the first time in my life I now own a game that I would have serious doubts about playing in the future. As always, feedback is welcome.
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MWade Hobby
United States
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I would disagree with the judgement this game doesn't lend itself to repeat play ability and is boring. There are so many different nodes and tiles the game isn't the same twice. Finding the movement of the score up or down boring is like saying you find attacking territories in RISK boring because you just did it last turn and the next guy is going to do the same thing. The lead in our first game changed many times which is exciting and the focus on one player isn't what makes a game fun but in fact creates a lot of hostility between some players. The fact that the harassment was passed around provided a bit of levity. The person who was consistently in the back of the pack eventually won as they caught on to a strategy and took advantage of the best nodes available.
My only suggestion would be to give each pawn a unique ability to adjust dice or activate nodes in a special way and writing up a back story for each of them to make it seem like a real person and inspire more tension.
I am also interested in buying a second box set and seeing if this game scales up with ten players.
I recommend this game also because of its high quality construction.
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