Adrenaline is not the first game to try to emulate a first-person shooter game in boardgame form. It is however the first to do it without dice and with euro-style elements. It sounds like a very weird cocktail right? But sometimes mixing lots of different things together can be a good thing. Find out if it’s any good or if it’s a just a horrible brown substance nobody wants to drink.
What is Adrenaline like?
As a first-person shooter, Adrenaline is of course all about one thing: killing as many of other players as possible. More kills will get you more points, but it’s a little deeper than that. When you damage a player you place damage markers of your colour on that player’s health track. When he/she/it dies the points are awarded based on how much damage the different players did. So if you did the most damage you might get 8 points, second most gets 6 and so on.
Dying sounds bad right? But it actually isn’t. You don’t lose anything and re-spawn right away somewhere else, ready to jump into the fray again, with new guns blazing. It’s actually a good thing since you are now worth fewer points to the other players. (this also encourages players to not gang up on the same players).
A player turn is very simple. You take 2 actions from the following 3: You either move 3 spaces, move one space and pick up ammunition for your weapon (or a new weapon), or you attack with your weapon. There are 3 different ammo types and each weapon uses different quantities of these. Some of these actions will be boosted when you are hurt a certain amount, because you have extra adrenaline pumping through your veins.
Adrenaline comes with 21 unique weapons. 9 of these are available to pick up at the start of the game, and more will be added later. These weapons dictate your playstyle. Some are close combat weapons like the “Sledgehammer” where you want to be up and personal with the player you want to give a good bashing. Some weapons are long-range and target multiple players, like the “Rocket launcher”. Others are even stranger like the “Railgun” that lets you shot at people through walls. You can carry a total of 3 weapons at anytime and you don’t loose them or the ammo when you die.
The game ends when a certain number of total kills have been reached and then one final round is played. After that the winner is the ones with the most points.
In addition to these basic rules the game also comes with other interesting variants.
Let me start by saying this weird cocktail tastes good, no not good, great! Adrenaline is blast to play. I havn’t played a game yet where people didn’t laugh and make all kind of (more or less accurate) shooting noises. While it is a game that might scare some people away with its sci-fi and first-person shooter theme, the ones it won’t scare away are in for a real treat.
The many different weapons in the game adds a lot of flavour, and at the same time it gives players different goals and strategies to go for. The fact that you have have up to 3 of them at any time means picking the right gun for the right situation can be crucial. It’s all about making those small tactical choices every turn. The game is not heavy in any way, that might annoy some people, but I think for a game like this it’s great.
All the components in the game are high quality and the rulebook is actually fun to read (like so many of the other Czech Games Edition games). The flow of the game feels great, even with many players you are always engaged in what’s going on and turns are so fast.
For me this is the best first-person shooter boardgame out there, and it is just so much fun!
- So much fun!
- Easy to teach
- All unique weapons makes each game feel different
- Modular main board
- Extra modes of play add a lot of replayability
- Rulebook is almost a joy to read
- Best with more players (4 or 5)
- Theme works best if played by people familiar with first-person shooters
- Might lack depth for some
- Can sometimes feel a little long for the simple game that it is
With its easy (and fun to read) rulebook and simple set of rules Adrenaline is quick to get into. The weapons being unique and full of different iconography does require looking them up the first few times in the separate “Weapons Manual”, but you very quickly understand what the icons mean.
- Players: 3 – 5
- Playing time: 60 – 90 minutes
- Suggested age: 12+
Do you want to know more?
Paul Grogan from Gaming Rules! has made a fantastic rules overview of the game: