Monday, January 27, 2014

Why wouldn't there be a Judge Dredd card game?

The late 1990s and early 2000s really were an interesting time for gaming. Magic: the Gathering had taken the games industry by storm, and as a result, the market was flooded with dozens of collectible card games. You would have been hard pressed to find an active science fiction or fantasy intellectual property that hadn't been made into a CCG, so with its distinctive setting and cast of characters developed over 20 years (and in spite of the terrible 1995 film), Judge Dredd must have seemed like a natural to get the CCG treatment.

Detailed in the pages of Britain's 2000 AD Weekly, the world of Judge Dredd is one where humanity lives in giant mega-cities and the law is in the hands of the Judges, who dispense swift justice by acting as on-the-spot judge, jury and executioner. In Dredd: the Card Game, each player controls a team of five Judges; crime cards are "reported" to the center of the table from each player's hand, and then assigned to each player's team. Players then take turns adding locations and criminals from the Dredd universe to each crime. When a crime has both a location and a "perp," it can be investigated by the assigned player.

In true Judge Dredd fashion, players first attempt to intimidate the perp into coming along quietly, and if that doesn't work they enter into combat. Occasionally a game effect will remove the location from the crime, thus leading to a "chase" while the player waits for a new location to be played on the crime.

The criminal characters have signature crimes which make them more difficult to defeat when they are attached to certain types of crimes, so much of the game's strategy lies in sticking your opponent with the right combination of crime, location and perp so as to make it difficult for him to solve and score points, while at the same time clearing your own case load as quickly as possible.

The game is true to its source material in that it is definitely a game about catching and punishing criminals, and the artwork and lore on the cards definitely bring the Dredd comics to mind. Players can choose to focus their decks on street judges or psychics, but other than that there is little variety in deck-building or game strategy, so it tends to feel like the same game over and over again.

Rating: 3 (out of 5) Not a bad game, especially if you're a fan of Judge Dredd, but not one with a great deal of variety to it.

Date played: January 11, 2014

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