Rogue Trooper is a 1980s game from Games Workshop, one of the many board games this company released in the 1980s. The game invites you to avenge the Quartz Zone Massacre by taking on the role of one of the few survivors. The game is set in a grim world of the future where decades of war have turned the air of the planet poisonous. Troops from both sides must fight in full body suits for protection and one tear can prove fatal.
You are a genetic infantryman (GI), developed and clones to be able to survive the otherwise poisonous atmosphere, and with better weapons and more intense training than the average soldier. To protect their investment, the military embed a bio-chip in the head of each GI. Should the GI be mortally wounded, a comrade can extract the bio-chip to be added into a new clone body later. Before this, each chip can add a tactical advantage to you by controlling your supplies, gun, or tactical equipment. Because when you’re reduced to a silicon chip, it’s nice to make yourself useful.
The objective of the game is to be the first to identify and kill the traitor general who sent your regiment to its destruction. Do do this you must complete a series of missions, which you get from mission cards. Successful missions give you the clues you need to unmask the traitor and confirm his location.
The game takes place on a colourful board representing the landscape of Nu Earth, where the game takes place. Having gone rogue, you are being hunted by both sides, so military encounters are best avoided where possible. Each hex of the board has a coloured boarder to tell you who is controlling that hex. Blue for Norts (the enemy), Orange for Southers (sometimes the enemy) and Grey for the front lines, which are the most dangerous of all. Red hexes offer something different, sometimes good, sometimes bad. It’s mostly bad.
Over the course of the game you will cross-cross the board moving through various hostile environments in your search for the traitor. other players are trying to do the same, and will help or hinder you as they wish. If another player dies and you are close enough, you can extract their bio-chip and add it to your equipment. If you have space, and if you really want to. Should you visit the military command satellite, they can be cloned a new body, and start playing again.
Ultimately, this is a game for fans of the original comic book series. Published in 2000AD in the 80s, Rogue Trooper was second only to Judge Dredd in popularity. There are plenty of fans of the series around, as the recent successful Kickstarter for a Rogue Trooper miniatures game shows.
If you aren’t familiar with the series the learning curve is that much steeper as there is plenty of assumed knowledge here, such as who you are and why you are so obsessed with finding the traitor, and why your own side have disowned you, even though you are always helping them out.
The board game provides a nice afternoon’s diversion, though it does not play as well as a modern-designed boardgame, meaning fans of the series will get the most out of this, which isn’t surprising. Players of Dungeon Run will be familiar with the ‘cooperative right up to the final sequence’ style of game that Rogue Trooper offers.
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