Remnants is a horrible experience. But the game is great.
In a post-apocalyptic setting, you’ll need to fight for resources, fend off threats, and deal with the random awfulness of your barren world.
It’s a horrible experience.
But the game is great.
Remnants’ color pallet is that of burnt paper and dried blood. Its aesthetics and mechanics all invoke a world of skyscraper ruins and dirt. You and your survivors need to find resources and build shelter, fend off the raiders and harsh environment, and do it better than everyone else.
You’ll do all this by speed rolling dice, rolling more dice, spending resources and rolling dice again. The custom dice are utilized in many ways, both for their resource symbol and their pips. You can mitigate their luck, but if you’re averse to dice in games you might want to turn back now.
Remnants plays from two to four players, all counts felt fine. The target audience will be thematic gamers, those that don’t mind fighting against lucky dice. It’ll take about an hour to play plus ten minutes of rules.
Remnants is highly thematic. Perched from above, everything connects and makes sense thematically. But playing the game can feel harsh and cruel, with random happenstance causing you ruin. It might not always be fun, but why should the apocalypse be fun?
Drawing a card from the Badlands deck will usually hurt. Sandstorms, raiders, these things can kill your survivors. You can’t prevent disaster, only plan for it. Your first game is going to be harsh, a player might even be eliminated. But such is the life of a survivor. Your band will need to recruit more members to replace those consumed by your bleak reality.
The speed rolling action comes when gaining resources. Players vigorously roll and re-roll four dice to match three symbols and gain that resource from the board. These resources can run out. You’re in the ruins of civilization digging for what scrap you can get. Luckily, you can train your survivors to be better at their jobs. The scroungers, for instance, need only two matching dice to find a resource.
The raiders come every even round. It’s more dice rolling, but the tools you found while scavenging can help add to your roll. You’ll fend them off with whatever cobbled together structures and weapons you’ve made of the junk you’ve found, but it’s not usually enough. It’s never enough.
And you build. You breathe. You heal. And you get ready to do it all again. Survival isn’t easy, but it’s all you have left.
Remnants is a case study for when theme might have gone too far. The game is relentless and openly hostile. From the stress of the speed rolling to the anguish of the event deck, you are to feel as miserable as the rat you are.
It’s a horrible experience, but I thoroughly enjoy it.
At the end of the game, I feel like I succeeded. Even if I lost the game, I survived. Every victory point is hard earned and even harder kept. Points come from buildings and survivors, all of which can be ripped from you. To survive until the end is its own bloody accomplishment. Everything ties back to the theme.
Yes, the speed dice can be frustrating, but you’ll still get useful stuff. Yes, the event deck is annoying, but it’s unbiased in its hatred. Yes, the raiders are difficult, but the challenge gives you focus. You are a survivor damn it, survive or die, that’s your only choice. Fight harder, plan better, acquire faster, be stronger.
Remnants wants you to feel like a survivor of the apocalypse, and it succeeds. But survival is hard and not everyone will enjoy the punishment and random elements. If your group plays the slow strategy games, I’d suggest a hard pass. You’ll probably hate this game as much as it hates you.
But you thematic gamers? Come sit next to the fire, grab a bowl of bear turtle soup, and let’s plan our next excursion.
Ze względu na okoliczności, na które nie mamy wpływu, polskie tłumaczenie tej recenzji jest niestety opóźnione. Przepraszamy za kłopot.
Review copy provided by publisher. Thank you Fireside Games.
Egzemplarz gry zapewnione przez wydawcę. Dziękuję Fireside Games.