Red Rising Board Game

The new board game from Stonemaier Games, Red Rising, is based on the book series of the same name by author Pierce Brown. This game was designed by Alexander Schmidt and Jamey Stegmaier, and the artwork was by Jacqui Davis, Miles Bensky, and Justin Wong.

Players: 1-6

Game Time: 45-60min

Complexity: Medium

Age: 14+

Release Year: 2021

In the Red Rising Game, you will dive into a divided dystopian society. The game is all about strategy and power, where players represent one of the six houses that are looking to rise in power.

Through the game, players will utilize characters for abilities while attempting to gather an assortment of the best followers possible (your hand of cards) along with other resources like Influence and more that can help them to reach their goal.

Red Rising is a hand-management, combo-building game. In this game, each player will start with a hand of five cards. In each turn, players will play one of those cards to different areas on the board in order to activate that card’s deploy benefit.

Then you can add to your hand the top card from another location on the board or the deck while also gaining that location’s benefit. adding those cards to your hand will help you enhance your end-game point total

Location benefits allow players to Gain Helium tokens, advance their ships on the Fleet Track, place an influence token on the Institute, or Gain the Sovereign token, which can trigger your House ability.

The cards in the game feature unique characters from the novels. Those cards have their own core value and scoring conditions at the end of the game.

The end game scoring conditions require gamers to have specific card types or named characters in their hand to activate these points. This means that a 10-point value card could be worth far more than its initial value at the end of the gameplay if the player has other cards to activate its additional scoring potential.

The goal in this game is to build the strongest card combination that can lead to the highest-scoring when the game ends.

Game Components

112 character cards

6 asymmetric House tiles

1 board

1 wolf-head tray and lid

60 helium and influence tokens

1 Sovereign token

1 custom Rising die

1 crescent moon first player token

6 fleet tokens, card holders, and reference cards

1 scorepad, rulebook, insert

30 Automa cards

The player board has a great look that is functional and has gorgeous artwork at the same time. The game package comes with 112 cards. Each one of them is unique; it has a special game effect and its own art. Those cards are a little bigger compared with standard cards and don’t feel flimsy, which is a nice thing.

It also comes with 6 house cards which are thick and durable cardboard. Each of the houses also has a handful of plastic tokens, a nifty ship token, and cubes for Influence. The cubes are generic, but all the other things are in tune with the theme of the game.

Also, there are nice little red gems which are the Helium tokens. A foxy-shaped container is placed in the center of the board to keep those tokens in it.

The game box comes with some plastic baggies to put everything in them so you can easily store this game.

Game Setup

1- Put the game board on the tabletop. Then Shuffle the deck of character cards and put it on the board face down. And next to the deck, place the Rising die.

2- place 2 character cards from the deck face up on each location (Jupiter, Mars, Luna, and The Institute). These cards overlap, so the players can only see the core value, name, and color of the covered cards. Gamers may take a look at cards on locations when they want.

3 From the character deck, draw five cards in order to form your starting hand. You will keep those cards private throughout the game. After that, you will get a random house tile, the reference card, Fleet token, and Influence tokens of the matching color.

4-Put the house’s Fleet token on the 0 space on the Fleet Track.

5- All the Helium tokens are placed below the deck in the designated area to create the supply.

6- Then, the Sovereign token that represents the leader of the Society is placed nearby.

7-Start with your house’s 10 Influence tokens in your personal supply. During the game, you’ll try to place them on the Institute.

8- You can give the first-player token to the player who has House Apollo (yellow); otherwise, select a player randomly and give him the first-player token. They can proceed to take their first turn. The first player token will remain in that player’s possession throughout the game.

 If you want to play a two-player game, Put three Influence tokens of an unused house into The Institute. This will represent a neutral house, which will make the end-game scoring more competitive.

Red Rising Gameplay

The player’s goal in this game is to score the highest number of points over the game’s variable number of rounds. From a massive deck of 112 character cards, every player will start the game with a hand of five cards. Those character cards are from the Red Rising universe. The gameplay is straightforward; On a player’s turn, he has a choice of just two actions, either Lead or Scout.

Lead

Lead is the main action of the game. In this one, you will pick a card of any character from your hand and place it on the board in one of the four locations. Those cards have a Deploy action which is activated when the gamer deploys it to one of the four card sections of the board.

The Red Rising 112 cards are unique; they have a unique deploy action. Generally, they allow you to put influence tokens (cubes) in an area called The Institute, get cards that match the played suit from somewhere on the board, add or banish cards from the board, get scoring resources from the supply called Helium, or maybe mess with other gamers.

Sometimes a gamer will not be able to take advantage of the Deploy ability. However, in most games, players can usually do at least part of an ability every turn. Those four locations where cards can be deployed are Luna Jupiter, Mars, and The Institute.

After resolving that ability, you have to draw a face-up card from any of the other three locations where you did not deploy any card on your turn. With this move, you will get to add a new character to your hand and gain the ability of the location you draw from as well.

Those locations from which you draw your cards get you a bonus. Mars allows players to get Helium from the supply. The Institute will allow the player to put an Influence token from his supply into the scoring section above that area of the board.

Luna lets any gamer get the Sovereign token, which will trigger an extra asymmetrical bonus based on the starting faction of the player, and Jupiter allows the player to advance a single space on the Fleet Track which will help to score more amounts of end-game points.

If you do not like any of the character cards on the board, there is no need to worry; you can get your new card from the top of the face-down deck. But in this case, you will depend on a little luck and see what character you will get.

If you get your card this way, you still can get a bonus, roll the custom six-sided dice, and you will get a random bonus that aligns with those four bonuses granted by the main locations, in addition to two new ones.

A banish card action that lets the player remove the top card from one of the four stacks or put one more face-down card in one of the four locations.

Scout

If the player does not take the Lead action, he must choose to Scout. In this action, the player will take the top card of the deck and put it on the top of one of the four locations on the board and gain the bonuses of that location.

Notice that it is not Deploy, which means you will not get the Deploy benefits when you take the Scout action. Players typically only choose to Scout if they are completely satisfied with their hand.

House Tiles and the Sovereign Token

Every house card has a unique ability that is triggered when the player gets the Sovereign token (even if he already owns it).

Typically this will occur when he gains a card from Luna, but it also applies to any card ability that will give you the chance to gain the Sovereign token, as well as rolling Luna on the Rising die.

Firstly, get the Sovereign token; after that triggers the ability. The abilities of those houses have to be resolved if possible.

Apollo

The player will take the first turn as well as the last one. Also, when he gets the Sovereign token (even if he already has it), he will reveal and put the top card of the deck on one of the four locations (not deploy).

Ceres

Start the gameplay with a +1 card. When the player gets the Sovereign token (even if he already has it), he can banish any one card from a location of his choice. When the game ends (before scoring), he can banish one card from his hand.

Diana

When the player gets the Sovereign token (even if he already has it), he can put one Influence on the Institute.

Jupiter

When the player gets the Sovereign token (even if he already has it), he can advance once on the Fleet Track.

Mars

When the gamer gets the Sovereign token (even if he already has it), he will gain one Helium.

Minerva

When the player gets the Sovereign token (even if he already has it), he will roll the Rising die and earn the corresponding bonus. If this bonus is the Sovereign token, the player can choose any other bonus on the die.

End Of The Game

The game will end when a player has reached space 7 of the Fleet Track, a player has 7 cubes at the Institute, and another player has collected 7 helium tokens.

If those three goals have been achieved by any combination of gamers or one player achieves 2 of those three, the game will end at the end of the round.

When this happens, players tally final scores. They will earn points from the total value of the cards in their hand, having the sovereign token, position on the Fleet track, number of helium tokens, and amount of Influence at the Institute. The player who has the highest score will be the winner.

Player Counts

The Red Rising board game can be played solo and with two, four, and up to six players. The game plays great at them all.

There are always advantages when playing with more players. When playing with a higher player count, the board state fluctuates far more; you will see a lot of cards from the character deck in one game than you otherwise would. Also, the end-game triggers are in a volatile state of flux. It is a great experience that provides lots of fun.

However, the game has a drastic change in how the players interact when playing with two players. At higher player counts, cards that directly affect other gamers are less useful as it is hard to tell who is winning. The same thing, cards that can protect you from hostile effects are less useful as you are one of many targets and hostile cards are rare.

In the two-player game, you can keep track of the moves of the other player and try to find out what type of combo they want to build. That means it is easier to impede their progress. However, at a high number of players, it feels much more like multiplayer solitaire, which is hard to track

Red Rising Board Game Solo Play

The Red Rising solo mode is incredibly solid as well. You can play this game pretty much the same way that you play with others. It can simulate a second player nicely. It is also pretty quick to play through. When playing solo, you can run a straightforward Automa called Tull Au Toma through a deck of AI cards that dictate which actions Tull au Toma will take that turn.

This game is quite straightforward and takes only a couple of turns. You will really enjoy playing Red Rising solo, as it is quick gameplay that still gives the feeling of a legit game with another person. Of course, there are slight tweaks in the Au Toma rules; however, solo gamers will be quite pleased with the way it plays out.

The way of scoring in the solo mode is not the same as in the normal game. However, it changes the board state constantly, which will hamper you in the process, making the game more challenging.

The Automa doesn’t activate deploy actions, so the defense cards in solo will never be used. Tull Au Toma comes with several difficulties, and the higher ones have a lot of challenges to beat, making it a great experience.

Our Opinion About The Red Rising Board Game

The Red Rising is a board game from the Stonemaier Games brand, which is also known for other board games such as tapestry, scythe, viticulture, and wingspan.

The Red Rising board game is centrally-focused on the color-coded caste system as the game shows colors in a brilliant way. When the cards are played, a lot of different colors are placed on the board. This will create a really pleasing appearance effect when filling all the locations.

It is a competitive game that comes with a relatively small table presence. So all the players can easily access and read the cards on the center of the board.

More than that, you can play it with a high number of players on a relatively small table. It is a great game to take with you when you travel with family and friends.

This card game will draw in both lovers of board games and the novel series as it has a perfect balance of subtle theme, accessibility, and engaging mechanics.

Red Rising is a fun and exciting board game that you will keep bringing to your table. The game depends a lot on the luck of the draw and rolling the custom dice making it hard to figure out what will happen next.

It also comes with 112 different character cards and six houses which will give a different experience every time you play as it will test your ability to adapt by building a winning combo between cards and resources. This game has high replayability.

Also, the game time is 45-60 minutes and can accommodate 1-6 players making it a good choice for a family game night or when having some fun time with friends. And if you want some me-time, this game comes with a solo mode with special cards.

Red Rising, which is inspired by Fantasy Realms, is a well-designed game that has a strong theme and excellent components and also works great at different player counts. It is a great board game to add to your collection.