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ADRENALINE is a boardgame that is based on the many and various First-Person shooters found on the PC and Consoles. It is a rip-roaring hoot of a game where players control one of the five top combatants in a randomly designed combat arena, fighting to the death, then to the death and to the death etc. If you hadn't guessed by that first statement player's heroes die then respawn and carry on fighting, just like in the computer/electronic games. There is only one object of play, to score the most points but unlike the electronic games when you get hurt in ADRENALINE you actually get better at fighting, at least until you die.

The combatants are D-Structor (the Yellow smiley-face), Banshee (the Turquoise karaoke singer), Dozer (the Grey covert operator who isn't sure what covert means), Violet (the Purple shooting instructor) and Sprog (the Texan Greenhorn). The plastic miniatures are not the most detailed you will ever see but they are much better than having stand-up cards or flat counters plus they are, each in their own way, quite amusing pieces - especially D-Structor.


As well as the five models there are two double-sided boards which unfold and butt together to form the Arena; it doesn't matter which sides are used as you always get a well connected but compact labyrinth.The rules show the four possibilities of Arena and suggest which set ups are best for 3-4, 4-5 or any number of players. To be perfectly honest we ignored this because there is very little difference in the number of chambers for each setup, and besides there are pieces of equipment that can assist you getting around the board at speed, plus there are weapons that can shoot through walls and around corners - I said this was a fun game!


Each player has their own personal board on which the Hit Tokens of other players are placed when damage occurs. As you take damage the markers slowly fill your board but unlike reality, and because this is a game where fun is the main objective, you actually get to move and shoot faster once you have been hit a few times, thus resurrection isn't so painful that you come back and are easily defeated again. Speaking of resurrection, you draw a card and its icon shows where you will return to the board (ie which respawning point).

When your character dies the player with most Tokens on your board scores a set number of points, as does the player with the second most etc. Once your opponents have gleefully taken their VPs all of their tokens on your board are returned to them and you take one of the evil red death-head skull pieces and place it over the highest VP value on your board. This means that the next time you die you will be giving away less VPs to your opponent.VPs (Victory Points) are handed out in the form of pentagon shaped tiles and change can be given as necessary.


At various points around the board there are Weapons Lockers, each containing three useful pieces of equipment. All you need to do is be adjacent to one of these and spend an Action point to take whichever you like. You can hold more than one card, but not too many and they must all be different, but you can only take one per Action. Many of these have continuous use but others are one shot and discarded, just like those you find dotted around the place in electronic action adventure games. Occasionally you can pick up items (weapons, equipment etc) that other characters have dropped - if you have too many you have to drop down to the required number and lucky for you any newly found weapons are miraculously reloaded and ready to go again.


The equipment/weapons cards have good illustrations, are colour coded as well as titled, and have pictograms which depict their range, damage possibilities and how you can spend collected cubes to alter the combat possibilities - for example a single shot that does a damage and two wounds could be changed to a single shot that wounds three separate targets. The differences between Hits and Wounds is that Hits go straight on the damage track of the attacked character while Wounds are placed just above the track. The next time that character is Hit the previous Wounds made by the attacking player fall into the Hits column; this is a very neat and efficient way of doing damage but not killing characters too quickly.


So overall ADRENALINE is a fine example of how to bring an electronic game to life as a tabletop board game. It is a run around shooting/combat/melee game with very little finesse and although you may be able to employ some occasional tactic or strategy it is more of a damage them before they damage you fast and fun game. The board is colourful, the corridors and doors are well defined, as are the Spawn points and the Rules booklet is spot on with its explanations and examples. ADRENALINE wont be everyone's cup of tea because it is more chaotic than planned but any action game players who dismiss it out of hand will be missing out on a thoroughly enjoyable entertainment.




© Chris Baylis 2011-2015