A spin-off from Cosmic Run, Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire is a two-player game of racing to reach three planets – the first player to do so claims an instant win, but it’s possible for other events to bring the game to an end, in which case players compare their progress and the person with most points wins.
Each player starts with a pencil and pad on which you will record your progress. At the start of each round, two black mine dice are rolled that give co-ordinates on the pad. These are filled in, to represent mines that you ship has to avoid. Then the white action dice are rolled, and players take turns claiming a die at a time, until they are all gone.
The action dice allow you to do various things, a key one being movement. If the die shows pips of a certain colour, you can ‘move’ that colour ship by drawing in a line on that many spaces on your pad – taking your ship from the bottom, up towards the planet at the top. Some single-movement options also allow you to launch an attack on your opponents ships – if they (or you) take three such hits during the game, your ship is considered disabled, and cannot move any further!
The other sides of the action dice show a mine option (attempt an attack on your opponent) and four technologies, which you can record on your pad. The technologies are helpful, if not crucial, to your progress, as they can negate attacks, allow diagonal movement of your ships, change the colour of a movement die and even pass through a mine, assuming you have enough movement to do so. Technologies are recorded on your pad with a cross, then scribbled out if and when they get used.
The game ends either when a player reaches all three planets (instant win), if a player cannot move any ship, or if the twelfth round is completed (rounds are also tracked on your pad, and in later rounds extra mine dice are rolled!) In the latter events, points are tallied depending on how far your ships got and how many technologies you developed during the game.
It’s a roll-and-write (roll dice, fill in spaces) game! Often these are simple space-filling exercises that wring the fun out of the fact your options are ever-decreasing as best-laid plans go awry, but Rapid Fire somehow does feel deeper than that; there is strategy here as well as tactical play. If I was going for one roll-and-write game I think I probably prefer the simplicity of something like Avenue, but in terms of theme and interaction, Rapid Fire has the edge.
A fair bit from those attacks, and a little from fate as well. But the game does come with a Friendly Rules alternative where the attacks are absent and instead you can make ship improvements, so if you prefer a less feisty affair that's an option too.
Pretty much nil.
It's all about combining those dice and seeing how you can use your technologies to negate what the game (and your opponent) throws at you. You need to watch how much damage the dice can potentially inflict as well as keep pushing your ships forward.
Dice ensure variety and you can also take different approaches: defensive, aggressive, racing to your destination or hanging back in order to develop technologies...