Monday, 22 April 2019

Gaming Review: Terminator – Genisys: Rise of the Resistance

Terminator – Genisys: Rise of the Resistance
Designed by Josh Derksen, Thomas M. Gofton and Aron Murc
Published by River Horse
Available Now

Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance is described as “a cooperative tactical board game for 1-4 players where you play as the leaders of the Resistance, liberating humankind from the clutches of the machines”. So far, so good. I love co-op games, I love shooting stuff, and I love roughly 40% of the Terminator series; although to be fair, I really love that 40%. The good news is that Rise of the Resistance is a really fun, run-and-gun, co-op game.

The components, on initial unboxing, didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. The rulebook and scenario book are great; well-laid-out, easy to digest in a single sitting, and easy to reference. On top of everything else, they look great, too, really tying the Terminator theme into all of the artwork. The board sections and tokens, too, are all of high quality cardboard, and will last for ages. The artwork on the board sections is really great, and they’re pretty flexible in terms of how you can connect them up, so there’s already scope for fan-made scenarios and campaigns.

The miniatures and the playing cards, however, leave a lot to be desired. I’m a big fan of the Terminator: Genisys Miniatures Game, which River Horse also produce, and those figures are great. I wasn’t expecting the figures here to be as high quality as you would expect from a convention miniatures game, but these were disappointing. The flash isn’t bad, for the most part, but the level of detail simply isn’t there. They’ll work just fine for a board game, but comparing them against their miniature game counterparts is like night and day. If you’re planning on purchasing this game purely for the miniatures, I’d advise you to think again. The playing cards look great, but the card quality is awful, feeling thin and rough. Even through a good quality card-sleeve, they’re going to feel cheap and nasty. All things considered, if they’d have to have cut costs somewhere, I’d rather it would have been the rulebook design, especially as the game is so simple you won’t be referencing it much after your first game.

How is the game itself, though?

Well, it’s really, really good. It’s a super-fast and action packed dungeon-crawler-like, with the added bonus of Terminators. Pick one of four characters (John Connor, Kyle Reese, the reprogrammed T-800 from Terminator 2, and…Matt Smith?) with the intention of leading them through a multi-part campaign to get Reese and the reprogrammed T-800 to Skynet’s Time-Displacement machine, so that they can go and fulfil their destinies in the first and best two Terminator films.

With a good group of friends, it feels like an old arcade machine, like Gauntlet. There’s always something going on, and the narrative events that pop up through the game really help with the pacing and the immersion. Basically, when one of the players gets within so-many spaces of a marked space, the game pauses momentarily and a quick paragraph of story is read out, like a cut-scene in a video game.

Firstly, the writing quality of these narrative segments is way above and beyond what you would normally get in a dungeon crawl. They work in context, they push the story along and they are just really, really well written. Often times they’ll kick the game into a higher gear, as more bad guys turn up, but sometimes they’re purely for theme and story immersion, which is just so great.

The campaign is, overall, very enjoyable, with some really strong storytelling and some moments that really impact how the story unfolds. The addition of some ‘boss villains’ is a really good idea, and helps to convey the sense of something bit and unstoppable following you, and there’s few things more Terminator than that.

All in all, Terminator – Genisys: Rise of the Resistance is a great skirmish game meets dungeon crawl, with enough substance and chrome that you can forgive its minor shortcomings. Recommended for Terminator fans, obviously, but also fans of Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Zombicide and any frustrated role-players who really wish they could get their wargaming buddies into something with a story-mode.




Brad Harmer-Barnes is a writer and comedian who has been into tabletop gaming since he was eight years old. He is the host of Fire When Ready on Emotionally14.com, co-host of Talk Star Wars, and a frequent guest on The E14 GameCast. His latest novel Fog of War is available now in paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RealBradHB using the buttons below!


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