Rick and Morty:
Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind
Specs: 2-5 Players, 40-100 Minutes, Ages 13+
Mechanics: Card Draw, Deck-Building, Delayed Purchase, Drafting, Exhaustion, Hand Management, Hidden Information, & Hidden Victory Points
If you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, you will appreciate the show’s dynamics in full effect when playing this game. Cards display a plethora of Ricks and Mortys throughout the multiverse. Jerry, Beth, and Summer are mostly useless tag-along characters except in very specific scenarios - just like the show!
Players begin the game with a deck of Starter cards that include seven Genius Waves, depicting Rick, as well as a Jerry, Beth, and Summer card. The game finds exciting ways to make the useless character cards you start with useful, even though they have the words “No effect” written on them. Players can purchase cards to add to their deck that can improve their usefulness. There are also many ways to eliminate them from your deck entirely.
Each player begins the game with an oversized Rick card that provides a unique ability. These abilities are known as variable player powers, and each player receives one at the game’s start. Each card’s power is useful throughout the game, though some feel more powerful than others.
There are many different card types in this deck-builder: Starter, Rick, Morty, Equipment, Location, and Special cards. Many cards provide Power, which is your currency in this game, while others allow you to Draw cards, Attack another player, Defend, or another unique ability. It’s essential to focus on hand management, playing cards in the proper sequence to utilize their full potential.
One of the more unique aspects of the game is that victory points, and a player’s currency (Power in this case) can be one and the same. Just about every card you can purchase provides not only some ability but also victory points that later determine the winner. It’s challenging to track how many points you accumulate as you play and nearly impossible for opponents to be aware of, especially when the cards are not visible in your deck. This hidden information among the deck of cards is an interesting way of utilizing hidden victory points.
The Location cards are also unique because they can only be accessed by first purchasing and drawing a Portal Gun card. A Portal Gun is a specialized Equipment card, always available for purchase in a separate pile. Once a Location is in play, in front of you, you may utilize it until the end of your turn. If you decide to buy it, then you must add it to your discard pile, like any other purchased card, and wait for it to turn up again in a draw after exhausting your deck. This delayed purchase process is excellent for most deck-builder cards. But, when you have to jump through this many hoops, it makes the Locations feel lackluster, especially since their abilities are often situational and minimally useful. It’s too bad because the Location deck felt like it could’ve been a fun thematic addition to the deck-builder, but it wasn’t. Honestly, it was one of the reasons we purchased the game, but not a reason why we enjoy playing it.
The way in which players purchase cards is one of the most enjoyable aspects of gameplay. There are only five cards on display that are drawn from a massive deck of cards. From these five, players can purchase cards and add them to their deck. It feels like a draft since there are few options that everyone can see and choose from, but by the time it’s your turn, something you had your eye on could be gone. Purchased cards are replaced with new cards to fill out the five at the beginning of each turn.
The game ends when players have purchased (defeated) every member of the Council of Ricks and Evil Rick. These specialized Rick cards also have a dedicated pile that can be purchased from at any point in the game, just like the Portal Gun Equipment cards. The Council of Ricks cards come at a high cost, but it helps to balance the gameplay. Once Evil Rick is purchased, always last in the stack, players count up the victory points on all of the cards in their deck. It is possible to receive dreaded Morty Waves worth -1 victory point, but as long as you have enough Genius Waves to balance them out, you’re all good - just like the show! I would recommend this game for any Rick and Morty fan - it’s a creative spin on deck-builders, utilizing interesting mechanics with extreme replayability. It’s an enjoyable game, whether with two players or more.