Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Helge Meissner, Eilif Svensson
Anna Wermlund
Kristian Amundsen Østby

Aporta Games

No. of Players:

G@mebox Star



G@mebox author Dorian Feuerbaum writes about the game:

One of the hype games at SPIEL 2022 was Revive. After the, in my opinion, highly underappreciated “The Magnificent”, I expected a clever mix of mechanics and great art design, but I still didn't have the game at the top of my list for the fair. However, the latest title from APORTA GAMES emerged as one of the stars of the year over the subsequent coverage.

1 to 4 players can explore and colonize the new world in a post-apocalyptic setting via multi-use cards with some deck-building and tech trees. We were able to undercut the stated game duration of 90 to 120 minutes with 70 minutes in a two-player game, but analysis paralysis-prone teammates can drive this time up again.

In addition, the game has been given a small campaign, which is supposed to bring its world closer and unlock new rules and components. A legacy light, so to speak.

The designers Helge Meissner, Eilif Svensson, Anna Wermlund and Kristian Amundsen Østby have done a great job here and provide a super rounded gameplay, which in summary is most like an engine builder.


Click on image to enlarge!

But before the conclusion is completely anticipated, let's first roughly go into the structure and mechanics in more detail.

Each player receives a small set of population cards, a large double-layer board with three tech-trees and slots for the cards, an action overview card and starting resources. There are three normal resources and one special resource, the crystals. In the middle is a large main board with a randomly laid out landscape and a number of artifacts, depending on the number of players, which trigger the end of the game.

Starting with the starting player, we each perform up to two actions clockwise or go into hibernation. The actions themselves are simple to perform but require looking at all elements of the game.

We can use one of our displayed cards below or above our player board to trigger the card's respective upper or lower effect. Most of the time, this gives us resources and various other effects, such as so-called Slot Modules to get additional resources on certain suits of cards when we play them, or our individual ability.

Furthermore, each player board has a switch, which gives us one of the three basic resources in the base game. This action only becomes really exciting with a new rule of the campaign. For spoiler reasons, however, we won't go into more detail about the new elements.

The three main actions relate to the landscape of the game board itself. We each spend certain resources to flip landscape tiles, place meeples, or build houses of two sizes. This allows us to obtain new cards and immediate victory points, unlock abilities, or advance on the tech-trees. We will take building spots in demand away from our teammates in the process, but the board usually offers more than enough options.


Click on image to enlarge!

In addition, there are free actions to use chests drawn during the game for one-time bonuses, to convert crystals into one of the three resources, or to use lightning as electricity for the machines on the tech-trees. These can be done as often as desired. The machines can only be used once at a time until hibernation and provide effects such as reduced construction costs or receiving immediate victory points when certain resources are given.

Once a player is unable or unwilling to perform any more actions, they perform the following instead:

  • Draw cards from the draw pile
  • Place used cards on the draw pile
  • Make the switch usable again
  • Take back all lightning on the machines
  • Go one step on the hibernation track and perform the indicated action or a previous one

Of course, there are more subtleties behind all the actions, but the crucial point is how these actions intertwine. Every action leads to progress. Nothing feels wasted or irrelevant. We gather resources to primarily perform the three game board actions. These unlock more and more possibilities, allowing us to chain everything together. We know of few games that feel as satisfying turn by turn. We experienced that a game can end all of a sudden, so you should always keep an eye on the remaining number of artifacts. The final scoring is very exciting because of the combination of immediate and end-game victory points. Every point feels earned and deserved.

Story-wise, we can say that it is sadly not very interesting and way too thin. It feels like an afterthought. For that, the game is also not thematic enough to create an interesting symbiosis. The complete opposite can be said about the additional campaign material. These feel, in sum, as if a first expansion was included right out of the box. There's more of everything, especially asymmetric abilities and variety.


Click on image to enlarge!

Revive is also visually striking on the table. The interesting combination of nature and mechanical or abstract elements stands out in a good way. Gjermund Bohne, Martin Mottet and Dan Roff may not have created a visual masterpiece, but the overall picture is still coherent and in places really beautiful. In addition, the material itself is of a very good quality and extensive. The high price of 80€ MSRP is just about appropriate for the current times, even though this game would have cost more like 60€ three years ago.

Why is it "only" enough for a 9? From a purely gameplay point of view, we're definitely talking about a 10/10 game, very close to perfection. However, to take it up with my personal 10/10 games, it lacks one thing that has already been mentioned. The merging of mechanics and theme. In proportion, the gameplay part is more important to me, but to get one of the very rare places in my board game olymp, the atmosphere of the game must also captivate me. I don't feel like I'm rebuilding civilization in Revive nor reviving the frozen Earth. But that's complaining at an extremely high level.

We recommend Revive equally for 2, 3 and 4 players. From the second game on, the stated 120 minutes should be realistic even for four players. The solo variant has not been tested.

So, who is Revive for? For all...

  • medium to heavy players who are looking for a complex, but not complicated game.
  • looking for deep interlocking mechanics (maybe call it a Vital Lacerda light?)
  • want some interaction in the game without take-that elements

You should look for something different if you…

  • expected a deep, extensive story
  • are put off by rather dry euro-games
  • want more direct confrontation on the board

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