Recap: Adrenaline and King’s Golem First Impressions


Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. It was with great anticipation that I cracked open Adrenaline and King’s Golem. I was excited for Adrenaline because it promised a shoot-you-in-the-face experience but avoided dice and provided euro-style mechanisms. And Alchemists was Game of the Year and remains a strong favorite at my table. So the expansion was hotly anticipated.

Adrenaline. With only three people entering the arena (and I use the term “people” loosely), we grabbed the smallest board configuration. In the initial spawning, we each ended up at one of the three spawn points. That gave us a round or two to try picking up weapons and getting ready before assaulting one another.

I grabbed a sledgehammer and a rail gun. Sledgehammer for close attacks, and the rail gun that would even shoot through walls. This duo served me relatively well, except for the reload costs. Both of them required yellow cubes. Plus, one of the other players also had a couple of weapons needing yellow, so those were grabbed quickly and often. I had a hard time keeping my weapons loaded.

The other opponent had a remote missile. It would hit anyone on the board as long as you couldn’t see the target. That thing was worth its weight in gold. Not only did it do three damage, but it was pretty easy to fire off and hit whichever target would be worth more points. The nice thing was it took three cubes to reload, so every few rounds we were spared from another attack.

Still, the game is mostly area control. Area control in terms of doing the most damage, sure. But area control nonetheless. With that in mind, I hit when I could, grabbed killshots when they were steal-able, and ended up winning the game by one point. Adrenaline wonderfully marries ameritrash theme with euro mechanics. After a single play, I’m sold.

Image via BGG User JanaZemankova

Image via BGG User JanaZemankova

The King’s Golem. My group was so excited to play this. So. Excited. Alchemists is still a favorite and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. We were most interested in the Royal Library and King’s Golem portions of the expansion. And we were not disappointed.

In the Startup Funding, I got two cards that were awesome. I could start with an unchosen artifact (and Periscope was available), and I could start with four ingredients. That’s huge! Of course, I had to lose 7 reputation at the start of the game, but I decided to just go for it.

I decided to focus strongly on the Golem. I tested it twice that first turn. I also used the seals I got in the ensuing turns to go to the library and get more knowledge. And it worked. While I was a little behind in publications in the first few rounds, by the end I came on strong. Of course, there was a critical error.

At about the half-way point of the game, I realized that I had crossed off an entire alchemical. As in, my grid said that no ingredient corresponded to it. Clearly that’s wrong. But I couldn’t figure out the error. Partly that was due to periscope since I couldn’t recreate what I had learned from that artifact. And partly it’s just my dumb fault. After spending a few minutes trying to figure it out, I made my best guess and then just decided to play with what I had.

It was heartbreaking. I tried to animate the golem and failed. That was my first clue. I should not have failed. Then I kept going. At game end, it turned out that I had correctly deduced about half of the ingredients. So most of my seals ended up scoring for positive points. But my reports were only half right and I got severe negatives there. Adding it up at the end, I lost 18 points from my miscalculation. If I had those 18 points, I would have won. Instead, a mere second place.

Still, the game was a blast. I can see the Golem coming out again next week.

Also Played. Hey That’s My Fish (x2).

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