Blood Rage - any good? Or talk fighting/ DOAM games

I have a hankering for a multi player fighting game. Something where crazy stuff happens, ideally asymmetric.

I’ve got Root (played once before) on pre order but no idea when it’s going to show up.

Cthulu Wars sounds great (although the mythology does nothing for me), but isn’t available in the UK.

Glorantha is available, but is very expensive for something I’ve not played and isn’t supposed to be as good as CW.

I enjoy Inis, but hard to get hold of and someone in our group owns it. We didn’t have a great time with Kemet, but we taught it to ourselves at a con and got a rule wrong.

Different style, but while fun I don’t think I’d enjoy Cosmic Encounter in real life.

Which brings me to Blood Rage, which seems to be about £50 currently. Is it good? What’s it like. Is it going to give a big, daft, fighting experience?

Is there anything else I could consider?

I’ve only played Blood Rage with the TTS mod–once. I wiped the floor with my two opponents so they kind of didn’t want to play again. I think the price–as with many miniature games–is inflated but felt like it was a solid game I would play again (1). But seeing as you said you had it available for 50,- that sounds like a reasonable price. We also saw Blood Rage at SPIEL way back when and the minis–if you are into that–are pretty awesome. The big ones are really quite big.

Besides both games featuring a hand of cards and area control Root and Blood Rage give me a very different feel. Blood Rage is much more of a card game than Root. In Root the asymmetry is much more game defining. But then I’ve only played Root against myself or the Mechanical Marquise or recently the new app (thanks to some situation interrupting my normal in person gaming)

Personally, I’d say Blood Rage is both easier to teach and easier to play. Root is the better design I’d say and the more interesting game (and IMO prettier) but Blood Rage is easier to bring to the table.

On my shortlist of “maybe buy soon” is the copy of Battle for Rokugan that my FLGS has hidden on some backshelf.

(1) the wiping happened only at the very end when my low-key strategy of going for some type of points payed off in a big way. I don’t remember the details and I am sure I wouldn’t be able to pull that off again. I regretted winning that way later because… I didn’t get to play again.

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I’m looking at Battle for Rokugan as well!

But I thought that seems more of an intrigue/ influence type thing than fighting.


Years ago I bought Blood Rage and sold it after 4 games. It’s an overblown card game in my opinion and ultimately not that fighty. Plus I find playing most of the round a drawn out way to resolve the effects of the draft. Broadly I agree with this review

Cthulhu Wars is exceptional. The fighting starts quickly and is fun and over the top. The asymmetry is interesting and sustainable.

For me Food Chain, Indonesia and 18xx have all the aggression and positioning of a good DOAM.

A little known one I liked was Eschaton although it seems it hasn’t taken off enough to be much available.

Liberte is also pretty great. Not a war game but has a similar feel. Also a fairly light and accessible rule set with only a bit if effort required to get your head around the resolving ties.

These suggestions are a touch left field


Chaos in the Old World is another better option that is close to Blood Wars in style.


Depends on how you see it. For me, Rokugan is outright aggressive fighting. There are no armies on the board because your armies are the tokens that you place each turn. This means that the game gives you great flexibility. On Round 1, you could spend all your token/armies on the south, resolve battles, and then play your next batch of tokens in the north.

EDIT: also I cannot in good conscience tell you to buy Cthulhu Wars over others, even if it’s one of my fave area controls. But if you like the sound of it, then go ahead.


I dispute the idea that Glorantha: The Gods’ War is worse than Cthulhu Wars. I’d call it solidly better - I had fun with CW but it wasn’t a game I felt any need to own, especially with the stratospheric price tag of a complete set (which, obviously, isn’t required to play, but I’m the sort of completist who’d minimum want all the factions). I do own Gods’ War. And it’s only slightly more expensive than CW at what I would consider the optimum buy-in - the base game and Empires. That gets you all the glorious asymmetric factions, plus support for up to 8 players if you somehow have space and friends for that.

Basically, I think Gods’ War has more and better integrated theme, drawing on a really rich mythology and lore that’s been established over many decades for roleplaying games. Obviously the Mythos that Cthulhu Wars taps is even longer established…but crucially, the stories aren’t and have never been about the various elder gods and great old ones battling, nor are those entities usually particularly elaborated on - man was not meant to know, after all. Gods’ War is recreating a mythological conflict that’s core to the setting lore for Glorantha, and has lots of cool details based on that. It makes the map more interesting by having spaces with unique properties like the Heavens and Hell, a moving island, and a Spire that will shatter partway through the game. The victory point Runes all do special things. There’s structural mechanics that come in when people breach particular victory thresholds. Energy totals are more restrained. Etc.

It’s definitely not quite as lightweight as CW, if that’s something that would disrecommend it, but IMO if you’re going to drop a couple hundred bucks on an area control game (which I can’t really super recommend even though I did and I really enjoy Gods’ War), personally I like more substance, not less.


Agree. I don’t think TGW is worse. I haven’t played it, but from what I’ve seen, it does things differently. It adds negotiation, while Cthulhu Wars is straight up area control. However, I am not compelled to sell my set and rebuy a new set without knowing how TGW plays like.

These words are enough to put me off a game. I’ll stick to playing friend’s copies of CW then. Especially after the disappointment that was Planet Apocalypse

It’s so difficult to find a balanced view on CW/GW for this reason. So many opinions online seem to be anchored in the desire for the individual to justify they made the right choice. Inevitable when so much money is spent.

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I think it’s gonna depend a lot on your table. We have done very little negotiation. There’s basically two elements that arguably introduce it:

  1. certain factions have gifts or other mechanics that require them to give things to other players. This generally means you’ll want to use them to get some benefit from them in return. I think it’s mostly only a couple, though, and you’re not allies or routinely making treaties or anything.
  2. 2/3rds of the way through the game, there’s a phase called the Great Compromise, where players can choose to give up some of their energy in order to decide how to allocate the Compromise, and then that player allocates a descending amount of VP to each player as they see fit, into negatives in a large enough game. You could negotiate, I guess? Usually we’ve just had that player give themself the most, the furthest behind player the next most, etc.

If it’s any help, I played Cthulhu Wars before I’d ever heard of Gods’ War, and it was partly why I decided to buy into Gods’ War, as it was both more reasonably priced (for certain values of reasonable) and more appealing.

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Have you considered Rising Sun? It’s a while since I played it, but I remember enjoying it more than Blood Rage. It does take quite a while longer though.

I think Battle for Rokugan is a good choice. There’s quite a bit of tactical bluffing, but other than that it’s all battles, all the time :grin:

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If it helps, here is a collaboration from Lindybeige and Matt Lees about Glorantha: Gods’ Wars and its expansions

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Aka Lindybeige passionately rambling about how off the wall crazy the game is, while Matt nods along, gently prodding him into some kind of structure.

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I can’t speak to most of the other games listed here, but I rather like Blood Rage - It’s a 9/10 for me. I bought second hand from a friend who backed it on kickstarter and haven’t been disappointed! (apart from the depiction of the yellow all-female faction - which is very disappointing :frowning: )

It’s quite silly and oozes the ‘heavy-metal vikings’ theme. It’s true that a significant portion of the game is card drafting and that the tactical and strategic ‘combat’ decisions are mostly an outcome of how the draft goes. But I wouldn’t say it plays itself - there’s still tension of where to fight, who to fight and what to do with your limited resources. The drafting is really key to doing well though - so I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t tend to like drafting games.

The Inis comparison is an interesting one - because they are both direct conflict games built around a draft. I didn’t like Inis as much as Blood Rage in the end (in fact I said goodbye to my copy of Inis after 6 months or so). Now if I were to try and unpack the why:

Inis is a very tight game and the draft almost completely determines how the round will go (minus the unknown of the Epic Tale cards). On the other hand Blood Rage feels looser - the draft matters, but it feels like you are making more decisions about when and how to use your cards during the round - bit more tactical thinking involved. I also prefer the fights in Blood Rage which are very ‘all-or-nothing’ most of the time - they feel weightier than the fights in Inis and thus tenser and more exciting, but also easier to recover from than a bad fight in Inis. I’m also a much bigger fan of the escalating ages and regular old VP scoring over the wacky endgame of Inis. Though I may be more in the minority on that one!

£50 (which is like $91 AUD) seems an okay price (without knowing how games are normally priced in the UK…) I paid $140 AUD for my copy but that had the Kickstarter extras (nice, but mostly not a big deal) as well as some expansions - the Mystics (which are great and I always use), the Wildboar clan (which is really just another clan, easy to ignore unless you love painting minis - it doesn’t even let you play with 5!) and the Gods expansion (which I’d really only recommend if you expect to play the game very frequently)


I can’t speak to Blood Rage directly, since I’ve only had 2nd-hand experience with it.

I have played Rising Sun, and it’s pretty good. Eric Lang (same designer as Blood Rage and Chaos in the Old World) really builds solid area-control wargames. Rising Sun was a little too abstracted for my personal tastes, but it is good if you want a tight auction game that also has some combat. I do wish the combat was re-jigged a little… but the game is less objectifying than Blood Rage, and it is an interesting puzzle.

Another vote in favour of Battle for Rokugan as a really good area-control wargame (hereafter ACWG). It’s like a faster, more blood-thirsty Game of Thrones 2nd Ed, which is a good thing (as much as I love the big ridiculous Game of Thrones game, it has balance and length issues that Rokugan does not). I do wish it were a little more asymmetric, but it is very tight and well designed.

If you can find a copy of Forbidden Stars, that’s my favourite ACWG for many reasons. I usually describe it as a knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth, and it is so good at that. I have once had a player eliminated, but it’s rare since the game in no way rewards you for pursuing that tract (and in this case all 3 of the other players were actively telling the one eliminated player not to do certain actions which he ignored and got him eliminated… sooo…). Sadly out of print, but in my opinion probably the best ACWG.

Cry Havoc has the advantage of still being available (sometimes), and is a pretty close analog to Forbidden Stars. The combat is fantastic, low randomness affair that is really evocative and always feels controllable (which isn’t the same as winnable, obviously). Plus no player elimination, asymmetric factions, and no rewards for turtling. A really solid game, if unfortunately named and with generic theming.

If you are looking for something a bit more bloodthirsty than Inis (which I love, by the by), I might recommend Cyclades. The addition of dice into the combat make it a bit more swingy, but the conflicts tend to be faster and more aggressive than Inis due to a lack of diplomacy. Usually I would argue that’s a weakness, but for a good ACWG to just get you out of the gate swinging… it’s pretty satisfying.

Other than that, I have to mention Dune (get the new one if you can, or the equally-good-but-slightly-different Rex). Factions are balance-through-perfect-imbalance, which means you need 4-6 players to have a reasonably well balanced game, but it is a fascinating political-war simulator. A don’t like Cosmic Encounter, the next game the Dune team designed, but if you want a tighter, more controllable game that’s kinda like Cosmic, then this one is a solid recommendation. Plus, the Bene Gesserit are a riot to play.

Last one is Heroes of Air, Land, and Sea. Basically Warcraft 2 The Board Game (“Join the army they said. See the world they said! I’d rather be sailing.”), it is a neat little 4X game with a pretty heavy emphasis on fights (you get more points for fighting-and-losing than you do for not getting into fights at all, which is nice). It’s not great, and it’s got way, way more pieces and a higher pricepoint than it really deserves, but there is a lot there. I am sad you can theoretically have a player eliminated (they make it implausible, but not impossible, and I usually like ACWGs in which it is actually impossible to be completely eliminated meaningfully from a chance to win).

There are others I could recommend (Space Empires 4X, Empires of the Void II, Shogun, etc…), but they tend to be more specialized than just general-purpose ACWGs.




I’m keen on Battle for Rokugan. Cry Havoc seems to be in good stock at a good price in the UK. Buying both leaves considerable change when compared to Glorantha or Cthulu Wars. Or not too much more expensive than Blood Rage.

Forbidden Stars is nowhere to be seen.


So say we all…

It was part of the (relatively) short-lived collaboration between FFG and Games Workshop, and one of the better games that came from that particular pairing. It is a grail game for many (myself included until the generousity of a SUSD forumite helped get that game into my hands… where it will remain until it is literally buried with me hundreds of years from now).

You can still find them occasionally, and if you can get a copy for about $100CAD it’s definitely worth it. I might go as high as $150CAD, maybe $200CAD if you’ve played it and love it as much as I do. But yeah, it’s getting harder and harder to find.

Good news, though! GW has teamed up with Wizkids now, and they’ve reprinted a few of the old GW-FFG games that were out of print for a long time (Fury of Dracula being one, I believe?), so maybe there’s hope yet!


The Bene Gesserit win condition is one of my favourite things in all of boardgaming :slight_smile: