If you haven’t played Renegade yet, this is a worthwhile addition to the Victory Point line up (publisher) and hopefully my review gives a fair summary of the game. If you have and are interested in checking out my thoughts on the game then see below for my strategies when playing.
During the Game:
Shopping: I don’t really mention this in the review section, but I think that if you are going to win this game, then you are going to need to manage the “Hack Shack” during the game. Each round you can buy cards, and they go straight into your hand. The cards are bought with other cards though and your deck never goes above 15 cards. So in essence its a slightly circular situation where you upgrade cards to get better options, but each gain is only small/incremental. These incremental gains though allow you to accelerate your abilities and do more each turn. Chaining the cards by using the shack though can be necessary to achieve your goal that round. The other important opportunity to look for are the cards with purple on them. These are wildcards and will allow you to have far more flexibility – one time these will be key move powers will other times they will be used to attack, building the purples in your hand is an important way of making the end game more manageable.
2 out of 3; Ain’t Bad. If you can get two out of the three objectives in the game you are probably on to a modest win, but if you want to be a pro you will need all three. So if a big win is your goal, then take the risk to take a path that rewards you with the objective completion. There’s no sense in managing the board state to safety only to find you don’t score enough points at the end game!
Rhythm; This is more a tip to avoid missing rules – it can be easy to miss a dice role in the early part of the turn, or to not refill the hack shack. Just give yourself a pattern and the time to see it through. This way you can ensure you don’t miss out on a part of the game structure.
Clear Early; Sparks will build up and the more they concentrate in an area the bigger the risk, and the harder they are to remove. As they pop up you will need to dispatch players to manage them. Do this from the earliest appearance – anything else is a road to ruin.
Conversion; Clearing sparks isn’t all about viruses and fighting. Sometimes the best way to remove a spark is to use the yellow cards and replicants to convert it. The more times you do this the more you get a meaningful swing in the game to your favour. Also, this is a risk free removal of a spark!
Running Out; Running out of sparks and guardians will cost you the game, but running out of the contiminants can be equally costly if this means that the last player in the turn order cannot complete their intended action. That might just make it more difficult to manager the board state or it might mean that you cannot achieve the objective this round – either can have a significant impact.
Spread Out; This is a game about managing risk, and part of that risk is where you are on the board. If you are all concentrated in a corner of the map and the sparks appear miles away, by the time you get there it will be too late. The more players you have, the more the need to stay spread out on the map.
Spare Actions; You have lots of actions to take really, and you need to use them all. Use what you need for the objective but don’t be afraid to manage the board state between achieving the objective. As long as you have a route to completing it, every other action is about managing those sparks and building your infrastructure for future turns.
Three Rounds; It’s also about using all the rounds you have. No sense in finishing the objective a round early and having no further actions to complete. Pace your game and don’t over focus your player deck on one solution as it will come back to hurt you next round.
2 Become 3; It doesn’t take much for 2 sparks in a location to merge with a 3rd. This matters because as soon as the third one touches then they merge into a guardian. Much more deadly and much more difficult to remove, these will spell the end of the game – especially if they are near each other. Any two sparks together must be stopped or broken up.
Special Powers; Don’t forget, alongside basic actions each player has a bonus power. This might be to move the board, or improve your virus fights, but make sure you use this. It’s by far the most effective tool in your kit.