Published by Spacemole, Gadget Grid is a light tongue-in-cheek combat game where players are trying to be the last one standing. It's essentially a board game version of Battle Royale or Fortnite, with some zany artwork from Patrick Liddell. The game has a solo mode and variant rules for two players but it takes up to eight players and we found it was most enjoyably chaotic as the number of players increased. The jokey rules cover play with 9, 10 and 11 players, but only to spell out that that's not possible because there are only eight character standees :-)
The titular grid for Gadget Grid is a 10 x 10 square board. On every turn, players roll two ten-sided dice to determine where two 'gadget cards' are placed out on the board. Roll 3 and 7, for example, and you place one tile at position 37 and one at 73. Players all start off with three 'Life Gizmos' (health) clipped onto the top of their standee. You move orthogonally or diagonally and can pick up equipment tiles. Take a hit from another player or a 'Zombot' and you lose a Life Gizmo. tho' you keep the marker as that can be used with equipment cards towards the purchase of powerful 'downloadable content' (DLC) cards that give you a special ability.
Gadget Grid plays quickly and a player can easily lose all three of their 'life gizmos'. Happily, tho', the game avoids player elimination. Aside from the built-in catch-up mechanic of being able to spend lost Life Gizmos on DLC cards, a player whose health is reduced to zero continues playing as a 'Zomboid': they have fewer actions available to them and they move more slowly but they automatically steal a Life Gizmo whenever they enter a space with another character. This brings them back to 'life', enabling them to continue as normal.
Designer Matt Hewes has come up with a fun game that's easy to learn and which families can play together, even tho' it's fundamentally a 'take that' game. There's too much here that's whacky for even the most sensitive child to take umbrage at being 'attacked'. Gadget Grid can be quite tactical as a two-player game, with players jockeying for optimal position and making creative use of the Zombots, but it plays very quickly: our two-player games tended to run to no more than 15 minutes. Playing time expands as you increase the player count, and with a full complement of eight you can expect Gadget Grid to run to around 50 minutes. Turns are fast tho' and there's plenty of chaotic interaction as players attack and steal from each other, so this isn't a game that ever drags.
Gadget Grid is on Kickstarter right now. Click here to check it out.