Monday, January 16, 2023

Sabotage the Raj doesn’t fill its space

Sabotage the Raj is so one of those Roll and Writes that’s also a board game that I wouldn’t be surprised if it started out as a straight board game.

For me, discovering Roll and Writes could make use of graphic space as space, have a board as an active part of the game, was a revelation. (Welcome to Dino World was a big part of the discovery) No, a piece of paper and pencil cannot take the place of cards, pawns and tokens… but they can closer than I had thought.
Sabotage the Rai is about India rebelling against British colonial rule. The actual board is actually ten interconnected boxes. Each box is connected to two or three other boxes and has a price inside of rebellion, money and/or weapons.
Each turn, you roll four dice and allocate them between influence, rebellion , money and weapons. Next, you roll a fifth die for the British response and subtract that amount between the four resources.

Then you spend them. Influence is actually movement. The paths between boxes cost two to four points of influence to move on. As I mentioned, each box has a price of made up of two to three of the other resources. Spend them and you free that area from British rule.

The game lasts eight rounds and you need to free six areas to win the game.

So here’s the thing. The margin you need to win the game is so tight that just getting low average die rolls are an enough to sink you. And that’s before the British response roll. I’m not saying the dice tell you what to do. I’m saying the dice can strongly tell you what you can’t do.

You can choose not to reroll a die and each area you conquer gets you a bonus unit of any resource you choose. So there are some ways to manage luck  But they aren’t enough to overcome more than maybe one bad turn.

And here’s the actual question: does this make Sabotage the Raj a bad game?

On the one hand, random chance can completely determine whether or not you win or lose. Yes, you do have to make good choices to win at all hit the dice can override your good choices.

On the other hand, I got the game for free from Print and Play Arcade. It takes maybe ten minutes to play and I literally just grabbed dice that were lying on the shelf.

If I paid real money for Sabotage the Raj or if it took even a half hour, these issues would be absolute deal breakers. For a free game that takes ten minutes, it’s more forgivable. Sabotage the Raj is a board game-flavored distraction.

The version I got is marked version 1.0 I honestly wonder if the game is still being further developed and refined. Because I feel like there is the start of a promising game here but we aren’t there yet. 

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