Theme&andn’What is it?
Chaos in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has experienced a nationwide blackout. The Government is in shambles while Hong Kong descends in Chaos. In Blackout Hong Kong, you have been given the task to fortify districts of Hong Kong after a citywide blackout. This is done through a unique deck building, resource management, and area majority system.
Deckbuilding Done Right.
Alexander Pfister is known for taking a rather simple mechanic and making it grandiose. In Blackout He implements it perfectly. He flips it on it’s head while keeping it still simple.
A simple yet complex game.
At the beginning of every round, 3 colored dice are rolled and placed on their corresponding spots. There are 6 different resource options (tools, gas, water, books, medi-packs and food) though 2 of 3 dice will weigh heavier on one resource. You’ll then choose 3 different cards from your hand and place them accordingly to the resources you need or actions you wish to perform.
After you’ve Deployed your Volunteers and Specialists through card placement you will now gain resources and carry out and card actions. Resources gained will be based on card color matched with die color. You will then move to Objective completion phase. In this phase you are able to complete objectives cards located on your player board (3). To do this you will use resources gained such as 2 rice and 2 books, a set of certain color cards played in any one row, or 10 gold to complete. You will then gain immediate benefits listed on the bottom of the card and place the card into your discard pile to now gain top card benefits throughout play.
Next is the Scout phase, where you send specialists and volunteers to scout a location; this can be any location at least one of your color cubes touches. If you choose to purchase a scout tile you will randomly choose a card from your hand and send it to the hospital. As a house rule we like to allow another payer the task of choosing our random card. Then, you have the option to take New Objectives; the more objectives present, the more they cost. Any new objectives purchased will go into your objective slot on your player board to be completed on a new round. After this is done you will Secure your Districts. The cubes you’ve placed from completing your objective cards previously are important as you will want to place them around scout tile stacks on location points. This will eventually help you to secure districts by placing a secure district marker (building) from your player board. You will gain VP based on district size as well as unlock additional check-mark actions. Lastly, you will Refresh Hand refilling in -hand cards if you have 4 or less by taking any full slot of cards on the bottom of your player board, otherwise play continues as usual. This is also when you will carry out any check-mark actions. These are located on your player board and on any white completed objective cards.
Not to much WOW factor.
Blackout Hong Kong has a solid production when it comes to the components. It’s not going to wow you by any means, but it’s also not terrible. It simply gets the job done. That’s the job I want to get done when it comes to Euro Games.
Blackout. At the crux of this game it is about Hong Kong experiencing a blackout. There is nothing to vibrant about the art. Once again it’s simple. Which is what i want in this game.
Fun is quite subjective. Is this game involving? Yes. Does it require planning? Yes. For me? Those are all things I look forward to in a “fun” game. The fun factor in this game comes down to optimization. Which can be quite a drag for some while being fun for others.
This is aimed at the more seasoned gamer. We play plenty of heavier euro games and found this one on the easier scale. But I could still see anyone that has trouble with a mid-weight struggling with this.
Recently I had to come up with my favorite deckbuilder games. Which I knew would be tough as that is one of our favorite genres. Blackout brings deckbuilding a new level for me. You see it’s not just about what you can add to your deck. It becomes deeper then that. It’s about what route am I taking, what objectives do I need to complete, what slot should I take back into my hand. It’s got that meatiness that I desire in my games.