Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid Review – It’s Morphin’ Time
Power Rangers are beloved by millions of people across the globe. A staple of Saturday morning television for many growing up, it became something that children from London to LA looked forward to every week. The adventures of the Angel Grove teenagers, fighting putties and Rita Repulsa, would keep kids (and, let’s be honest, their parents) on edge, and it was the perfect way to start the weekend.
Recently a game got released, with the Kickstarter now in fulfilment, based around the hit TV show – and you know what? It’s actually pretty good. Today we are going to take a closer look.
Here is the Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid review.
What is Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid?
Kickstarted recently, Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is a cooperative action/hand management game, designed by Jonathan Ying and released by Renegade Studios.
In the game, players will work together using asymmetrical Power Rangers, with their own decks, in order to defeat Putties and minions, and fight monsters and bosses. It oozes nostalgia, with players using almost unique decks to fight off the the baddies and save Angel Grove.
The game is split into four rounds and is meant to take around 45 minutes, although our first game took around 2 hours. It is for 2-5 players.
This review will look at the base game without the Kickstarter additional stuff taken into account.
How do you play Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid
Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is a cooperative game played over the course of four rounds. Each player takes control of one of the famous Power Rangers as they defend Angel Grove, taking the Power Ranger’s deck. In a two player game, the players take two Power Rangers each, shuffling the two decks together.
The map is split into four areas, with four decks of villains made to represent the four rounds. Each round one of the decks will be emptied by turning the cards over one by one. On the top of each card is a location, and on the bottom a type/number of minions. Those minions get placed at the location showing on the card below. In decks 2 and 3 monsters are also placed (and the monster minions are freaking sweet), with the boss being placed in deck 4.
The round then progresses, with minions on the board and Power Ranger cards in the hand.
The game board is split into four locations. Each location has a villain limit, and if there are too many villains there, or if there are monsters (or bosses) in that zone, the zone becomes panicked. If all four locations are panicked then the game is lost.
As the game progresses, the Power Rangers go around the zones of Angel Grove battling monsters and protecting the city. To do so, they fight up to four minions and a monster in the zone, in waves. Rangers have two actions each, to do with what they will, including battling, moving, and recovering. Monsters create a line up using their cards, and each type of minion has an individual deck, so no two line ups are the same.
The battles are fought through playing cards and rolling dice associated with those cards. We’ll come on to what those cards are in a bit, but they are pretty cool. Putties (or other minions) are defeated one by one. The Rangers can go in any order, and in between each of their goes the minions have a turn, one by one. Once all Rangers have gone, the remaining minions go, and then all Rangers get one more turn.
Bosses and monsters are slightly more complex, having their own decks. For Monsters, they get four cards and four special abilities in the line up. For Bosses, they get six cards. Monsters and Bosses are only defeated once there are four or six cards in their discard piles respectively.
Decks can get depleted and restored throughout the game. If all run out at the same time – the Rangers lose.
Likewise, all Rangers lose if all areas are panicked at the end of any given round.
The Rangers win when the boss is defeated.
What is it like playing Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid?
There are games on the market that are insanely complex and difficult to learn. They pack choice after choice into their structure and quite often they do it incredibly well.
Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is not one of those games. Instead it is a remarkably simple to learn game that is forgiving, yet difficult to optimise at the same time. It is open to heavy strategy or it can be lightly touched upon. It gives the players options.
Before every review, I always research the game online to find out the core details. Whilst doing that, I came across an interesting review on Board Game Geek that gave the game 10 stars out of 10. That review said something that needs to be quoted –
“[Heroes of the Grid] is like no other game.”
Where I am not sure about the 10 stars out of 10, I have to admit that I agree with the latter point. Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is a very unique game.
So, with that in mind, let’s just break it down into its core components. What is each aspect of Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid like?
The Ranger Decks
The Ranger Decks are a really nice addition to the game. There is a good spread of different abilities, with super power cards with each of the super Ranger weapons. The cards are all themed and, bar one, they are all unique to each Ranger.
The Ranger abilities also complement their decks, with Billy being more strategy focused and Trini having an ability relating to card duplication, to give two examples.
Cards run on a power system, and require power to play (or the majority do at least). Each Ranger can store 1x power, but power is also collected in a collaborative pool.
All in all, the cards are really cool.
The Minion, Monster, and Boss Decks
As well as the Power Ranger decks there are also decks for minions, monsters, and bosses. Now, these are flavourful decks, and they encapsulate the creatures they are representing. Although the Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid game, can’t hugely be compared to many other games, the monster decks and the card based mechanic actually remind me of The Dresden Files: Cooperative Card Game. It uses a similar concept, only in that case it is books that are being laid out rather than simple villains.
What is kind of cool is that, through the positioning of the Monster and Boss cards when they come out, it is possible for them to create a network of effects. What I mean by this is that they can create a puzzle based around how best to defeat them, making it different each time.
Minions have set amounts of health and abilities, the same with Monster cards and Boss cards. When they are defeated the Power Rangers have won the battle. That being said, and this is where it gets interesting, they don’t need to be defeated if the Rangers aren’t able to fight them off. Rangers can go away and come back again if needs be. They can heal in the middle of a battle, and they can return to fight another day. It takes actions, but it is possible.
This unlocks a new level of strategy that is well thought through as well as highly enjoyable.
The Core Mechanics of the Game
Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is a odd game due to how it is laid out. The core of the game, the actual crux, relies on the battles. The cards are really cool, and they have plenty of flavour to them (this is a theme of this review in case you hadn’t already noticed). Bad guys are complex, with their own abilities, forcing the Rangers to really work together in battles to get ahead.
The rest of the game; however, is a bit odd. You can recover, and you can move. You can also return to the Command Centre to power up, returning energy to you. This also gets your discarded or used cards back.
So, what this means is that the game is a battle, with supporting actions – and that is cool; however, going in you do need to understand that this essentially makes the game four puzzles connected by fluff or preparation for those battles. There’s is nothing necessarily wrong with that but it is something to be aware of.
Zords and Theme
Now, I have to admit. I never really watched Power Rangers growing up; however, my girlfriend watched it zealously and that is why we have the game. I actually called the location Hill Valley rather than Angel Grove when first writing this review – until I remembered Hill Valley was from Back to the Future.
There are a few aspects we need to talk about though. Firstly, Zords. Zords are super-mega-uber-vehicles-of-dinosaur-themed-war that all morph together to form some kind of Megazord at the end. Zords are unlockable in the game, and provide bonuses per round, based on the number of minions you manage to kill. The artwork for these are stunning, and their benefits are definitely worth optimising for.
I mean, how good does that artwork look? Ace, right?
That ability can be used once per the four rounds of the game, and can be game changing by just adding a little perk that goes a long way.
And this leads us on to talking about the theme. Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid may not mean a huge amount to non-Power Rangers fans – but man, is this a fan service for those who watched it growing up. Beth, my partner, absolutely adores the theme and how well it has been portrayed. There are so many nods and sideways glances to characters and minions and areas from the show that it can keep a hardcore fan amused for hours. There is even more with the Kickstarter additions which, I imagine, will be made available as expansions once the game moves into production.
Whether you are a Rangers fan or not though, this is a beautiful game, and one that can be enjoyed no matter your age and no matter whether you grew up with the source material or not.
I mean…they’re great…what more can I say?
Okay, so if you want to paint the minis then the definition on them isn’t great; however, for the purpose of the game they work really well.
TL;DR: The Good, The Bad, and the Go Go Power Rangers
Like with all games we can look at the good, bad, and neutral points about Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid.
- The theme in Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is incredibly strong. This is a game where the theme has been built into the core mechanics so it is incredibly fluid.
- The decks with the Power Rangers game have variety and can become as strategic as you want them to be.
- The minis and artwork are fun and enjoyable. The artwork especially is amazing.
- Combat works in a fairly unique way, with a way of progressing through the turns that is amazing, interesting, and enjoyable.
- This game works as a fantastic homage to the show for Power Ranger fans.
- Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is a unique cooperative game that is hard to compare to other games. It is a series of puzzles held together by this awesome theme, and that is really cool.
- The asymmetric player abilities are a fantastic way of ensuring all players work together.
- The middle part of the game can seem a bit dry. Where the battles and round set up are hugely thematic, the other actions are where it can feel a little bit beige.
- Other players’ Rita Repula impressions.
- The game does not take 45 minutes to an hour. It is likely to take 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid Review Conclusion
You know what, this Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid review is really easy to sum up. If you are a fan of the Power Rangers then this game is an absolute must. You will almost certainly love it.
If you like co-op games, and in particular if you like The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game then this game is also a really good one for you. The unique decks co-operative model is a fantastic one, and I would personally love to see more games with that mechanic on the market. This game offers something different for those who enjoy co-operative games.
If you don’t like the Power Rangers and don’t like co-operative games then you can probably live without this one.
So, what are your thoughts? Are you a Power Rangers fan? Are you a co-operative gaming fan? Either way, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.