Publisher: Hobby World International
Game Designer: Evgeniy Nikitin
Artwork: Sergey Dulin
Playing Time: 45 min
Game Mechanics: Hand Management, Set Collection, Trading
Contents: 133 Cards, 50 Tokens and 1 Rulebook
Suggested Retail Price: N/A
Parental Advisory: Adult Thematics
Metro 2033: Breakthrough by Hobby World International is a card game based on the popular Russian Cult science fiction novel Metro 2033. The Surface of the world is contaminated with radiation and almost unfit for habitation after the Judgement Day resulting in nuclear war. Cities lay in ruins and survivors hide in shelters trying to stay away from mutants that reign supreme. Players compete by completing trade quests, war quests, and repelling mutant attacks. Players trade the markets to join the metro stations under their banners. The players whose faction games the most influence when’s the game.
Faction tokens represent your population. Each Faction Leader has 5 Faction Tokens. The Leader’s goal is to double his population by collecting 10 Faction Tokens, thus being able to recruit or enlist the support of most of the residents of this post-apocalyptic underground. Players use their Faction Tokens to pay the card cost to obtain their resources. Players can then discard their cards to rest their men so they will become available to use again.
Each player may perform strictly one of three main actions.
- Play a card from your hand, pay its cost with tokens, then take a face-up card from the market or draw a card from the top of the deck.
- May discard a card from a player’s hand face up, get it cost with tokens, then take a card face up from the market or draw a card from the top of the deck.
- May discard 3 cards from a player’s hand face-up, then take 3 cards from the market allowing the player to get rid of any unwanted tasks to get new ones.
Complete a quest – By delivering resources to a station, a player enlists the support of that station’s residents and increases their influence. Player’s can also complete a quest on their station or Faction Card if they have the required resources placed in front of them. Each quest has different colors associated with it. Blue quest colors correspond to peaceful resources. Red quest colors corresponds to military resources. And green color corresponds to trade quests. To complete green quests, player’s may use either/or both peaceful and military resources.
By completing a quest, player’s get a discount for purchasing other resources based on the color or symbol of the quest they completed. Players also get to pull one more resource token not from their pool and add it to their pool each time you complete one of your quests, thus allowing for more purchases and coming closer to achieving your goal of winning the game.
Each player also has a Faction Card which may be completed as a quest as well.
Within the market, there are Resource Cards, Station Cards, Caravan Cards, Hero Cards, and Threat Cards. Resource cards are used to help players complete their quests. Station Cards are the quest cards players are trying to complete that also give them a discount based on the faction of the card. Caravan Cards allow players to renew the Market as well as bring all their people back to health for reuse. Hero Cards provide protection against threats of certain types. And Threat Cards are the mutants that are the main danger to the underground inhabitants. Each will have 1-3 threat types and can be played as protection like a Hero Card or as a monster attacking each player, including the one who played it.
Metro 2033: Breakthrough is a solid strategy card game that forces players to use hand management, resource management and to be focused on the available factions to receive purchasing power with their tokens. Among the times that we played Metro 2033, we discovered that players tend to forget the factions on their completed quests that allow for easier completion of future quests. Attention to detail in this game is paramount as to being efficient and laying out a winning strategy consistently. Remembering which benefits the completed quests afford you is crucial to running an effiecient underground faction.
Players must also decide how and when to use the threat cards to their advantage. Being that the Threat Cards can be used as either an attack, or as protection really give the game some extra weight in the decision-making possibilities. If a player uses the Threat Card as an attack, each player must defend against it by discarding a Hero Card or a Threat Card used as protection that are already played out in front of them. If a player cannot defend against the current Threat Card, they will suffer whatever penalty that Threat Card represents. Usually this forces a player to either discard a completed or uncompleted quest, or discard all of a certain type of resource, sometimes more than one. Once again, the player playing this Threat Card needs to ensure they will not suffer the same penalty unless it’s part of their strategy.
Issues I had with the game are pretty much just the rulebook for the most part. It took a few plays and rule book references to figure out the “spirit of the game” and make sure we were playing it right. I am sure part of this is lost in translation from Russian to English. The only bit of luck really comes from the randomness of the Market. Players have no control of what is available, thus making it hard to have a long term strategy. It is possible for other players to just get better cards. This doesn’t provide for a runaway game though as that kind of luck doesn’t last long. I played several games where one person seemed to be going to win with ease, but then other players where able to draw good cards and even up the game. This also doesn’t play as well as a two player in my opinion due to the lack of people attacking and causing chaos to your plans. This game thrives on the chaos that the Threat Cards bring.
The components in Metro 2033: Breakthrough are high quality and have decent cardstock and thickness as to last a long time without wear and tear issues. None of my cards have displayed any sort of flaking or wearing issues at this time. The artwork in Metro 2033: Breakthrough is quite superb and most certainly evokes the starkness of what one would think a post-apocalyptic Russia might feel like.
Metro 2033: Breakthrough delivers quite the unique playing experience in my opinion. The use of the different colored resources and tokens as developed in this game don’t feel like many other games that come to my mind. The head to head action, with a screw your opponent mechanic isn’t new, but the way it happens in Metro 2033: Breakthrough felt fresh to me, especially as the player may suffer his own consequences when attacking other players.
Once you get this game under your fingers, it really does provide a good amount of depth and strategy that I wasn’t quite expecting. So many of today’s games are very gateway centric and Metro 2033: Breakthrough does not fall into that category. This is a gamers game and once you get the hang of it, it should hit the table several times. Strong resource management, hand management and knowing when to blast your opponents will get you far in this game. If you like card games, strategy games and little setup and tear down time, this is a game you should most definitely look at.
Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):
Rules Book: 7
Game play/Re-playability: 7.5
Component Quality: 8
Club Fantasci Overall Score: 7.75
This game is Club Fantasci Certified!
I’m giving Metro 2033: Breakthrough 7.75 out of 10 stars because it is a unique enough card game that you can play and feel like you haven’t played it a million times before through other games. The thematics are good, depth of strategy is high for a short game and ease of play is also a bonus.
Company Website: http://international.hobbyworld.ru/
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Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.
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