MELTDOWN 2020 uses a large number of wooden pieces (meeples and radiation discs) and cardboard counters (buses, cars and helicopters) plus a dozen large landscape tiles that fit together to form the playing area - the only criteria when placing these tiles is that the ones depicting airfields (blue hexes on the pic below) must not be placed adjacent to each other. Each player has 20 meeples plus a bus, car and helicopter in one colour. The meeples are placed on the board on the hexes so marked, as are the vehicles. There now follows a series of die rolling and vehicle moving. Die roll, move Bus, die roll, move car die roll, move helicopter - in that specific order. The Bus can move 2 spaces and carry 4 people (so not really a bus then but a mini car perhaps ?), The car moves 3 spaces and carries 3 people (so it’s a 3-wheeler ?) and finally the helicopter moves 4 spaces and carries 2 people (must have a co-pilot).
The die rolling is what drives the game and provides the fun and the tension. If an 8 is rolled then nothing happens but a 1-7 indicates a radiation leak at the reactor synonymous with the number rolled. During play reactors can leak, can cause radiation sickness to people (meeples) or they can be repaired. People who are very close to the radiation leak will die, the further away they are they suffer Sv (Sieverts) radiation but do not die, at least not immediately. The idea is to save your people by transporting them safely to an airfield. Once there they gather together ready for an out of game transporter to fly them to absolute safety. This is a reasonable, dark but fun game that can be played by 1-5 players aged 8+. A game lasts 20-40 minutes. It’s not particularly taxing on the brain but it has its moments.