This is a wild & crazy world that we live in. From the beginning of time to modern day society we have seen life created & ended. People are cast aside everyday because of who they are & how much money they do or do not have.
Greed & politics have played a role is our daily lives for generations. But with each generation a new die can be cast. A die that can rock the very foundation that our lives have been rooted in. For every new die that is cast a new action is warranted.
We the people of this world have seen revolutions take hold where royals have been beheaded. Revolutions where whole societies have been freed. And revolutions that have toppled the greediest of men. These revolutions, these protests, these uprisings are just the beginning of a new generation of freedom.
This brings me to a new game now on Kickstarter called Bloc By Bloc. Bloc By Bloc is a creation by Out of Order Games. It is for two to four players, ages fourteen to adult, & can be played in two to three hours.
(In this review of Bloc By Bloc the pictures shown are of the prototype pieces that were sent to me.)
Bloc By Bloc is a game of insurrection. This game with allow the player to take part in peaceful protests to rioting against the establishment. Each action taken during a players turn will have some kind of consequence being it good or bad.
The setup is fairly simple. The twenty-five city district cards that are included in the game are lettered A, B, & C. These cards should be separated by letter & reoriented. Then they are to be placed in a 5X5 grid. Starting with the letter A stack the person setting up with game with place the top card of each stack adjacent to the one just placed. So the grid will be set up as A, B, C, A, B, C, & so on & so forth. A manifestation card will be placed face-down underneath each district card.
Players are then randomly dealt the type of occupations they will be: Student, Neighbors, Works, or Prisoners. Each player will be given one loot card. Loot cards can be used to bolster certain actions or as items they may need to fulfill the end game agenda. Each player will then decide which district tile to place their occupation along with two bloc members.
Police will be set up on the white State tiles. The countdown marker will be placed on night eight of the countdown board. The left over riot police & police vans will be placed on the Police Morale board.
Players choose who will go first in the “Sunset” phase.
On a player’s turn they will place one bloc member cube on their starting district. Then they will roll three to five dice depending on how many cubes they have in the city. Player’s will then be able to choose actions to take after they roll their dice.
Actions that can be taken for each die are also dependent on the “difficulty” value of the district they are on. District difficulties range from three to six. As long as a player isn’t in conflict with the police they can remove a die to move any number on blocs from a tile to an adjacent tile, put a barricade around a district, place a barricade around their occupation, or to dismantle a barricade These actions are actions that do not conflict with the difficulty level of the district & are considered basic actions.
Then there are the advanced actions. Dice used for these actions must be of equal or greater value to the difficulty of the district. Players can loot a shopping location, occupy a different district, swap organizations of other occupied districts, or destroy an occupation. These advanced actions can only be taken when there is no conflict between bloc members & riot police.
These actions do have consequences. A reaction roll must be made after each of these actions. On a roll of one a police officer will be placed onto the district the action took place. On a roll of two a Police Ops card is drawn & the action resolved. A roll of three to five will show no reaction. And on a roll of a six, if a player has their Peoples Kitchen marker in a district, they will be able to take an additional action.
The final actions that could be taken are the attack actions. These actions must be taken during conflicts between bloc members & the police. Dice used in these actions must also be of equal or lesser value to the difficulty of the block. Each bloc member can attack once per sunset phase. The actions that can be taken are to defeat one riot cop, to move two riot cops to an adjacent district or attack a police van. Any vans destroyed in this way will be placed into the game box. Again these actions will have consequences. Player’s will roll the reaction die to see what the consequences are.
After all player actions are taken the game will move on to the Police Ops action. The occupational faction whose turn is ending will check the Police Morale chart & draw an amount of cards equal to the placement of the marker. The actions will be resolved one at a time.
The next occupational faction will then take their turn taking the same steps. This continues until all factions have finished their turns. After all factions have finished, then the “Sunrise” phase will start.
In the sunrise phase the game will play against the cooperating factions. First there will be Police Repression. All riot vans will be repaired. Riot vans will attack all blocs in the district, dismantle all barricades, & evict all occupations sharing the same district. Riot cops will be able to commit to attack that turn.
Any districts containing an equal or greater amount of blocs compared to the difficulty level of that block will be liberated. Once a district is liberated the tile is flipped over to its liberated side & the “Manifestation” card is revealed. Actions are then resolved for each manifestation card revealed.
The next night will start with the countdown marker moving to the next night. The starting faction marker will be given to the faction to the left of the previous nights starting faction. This will start then next sunset phase.
A successful insurrection will end the game. A successful insurrection will take place if in a four player game all State districts are occupied until the end of a full night or in a three player game all State districts are occupied until the end of a full night
Or players will lose if time runs out on the countdown track or any factions lose all of the blocs & occupations in the city.
I had a few days to learn & play Bloc By Bloc. I will tell you that in the short time I have had it I have fallen in love with the game. It has amazing game play that feels like an abstract worker placement game with a touch of area control tossed into the mix.
Players do have agendas that they are given at the beginning of the game. Although this is cooperative board game, the agendas that each player gets is a goal that they are working towards completing. So one or more people could actually come out winning. This may put some players in a predicament to destroy or swap another player’s occupation in a district.
When playing Bloc By Bloc I had to remember that this game is like real life. Each action taken has an equal or opposite reaction to what I was trying to accomplish. There were several times when I cleared a riot cop & one just popped back up.
Don’t be fooled though, Bloc By Bloc may look daunting by is actually pretty easy to play. The Kickstarter will go from April 12th to May 18th. The Kickstarter can be found here: Bloc By Bloc.
In times of difficulties we must remember those who stand up for the rights of the people. Be prepared to fight for the injustices of greed & inequality & game on!