Designer: Jordan Goddard
Artist: Alice Bessoni
Release Date: 2015
Guns and Ammo. That’s the strategy I decided to pursue in my second game of Collapse. Other people around the table chose to go after double and triple packs of rations, or the fortress strategy. As the game ground on, very few ammo cards came out of the deck; my plan proved to be a poor one. Most times, it would be a solid play, but this time, unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards.
Collapse is a deck-builder game along the lines of Dominion. Players take on the role of a doomsday prepper, preparing for the collapse of civilization. It may be from a financial collapse, nuclear meltdown, biohazard, or a few other potential outcomes, but the world is certainly ending. Players start off with a very limited deck, and each round, they buy one of the six cards available in the store, adding it to their discard pile. Once the card is removed from the store, another is added in its place. If a crisis card is drawn, those effects take place, then the game continues. Over the course of the game, players build up their stash, trying to last as many months as possible before the game ends. Each month is equivalent to a victory point, and there are many ways to extend the time a prepper will live.
This is a game for those who absolutely love deck builders and aren’t turned off by a slow beginning, with a strong plus for people who love fantasizing about the end of the world. Games only take around 40 minutes to play, and are best played with a maximum of four players. While it can be played with two or three players, an expanded store and additional amounts of money boost the enjoyment. There is a decent amount of variety in the cards, so no two games are the same. Several cards allow interactions between players, which may range from simply forcing opponents to drop a card from their hand, to stealing from other player’s storehouses. There is a solid balance between attacking, defending, and building in the game, allowing for several different strategies.
The artwork in collapse is extremely well done, and helps to put players into the right state of mind when playing. The ability to start with specialized characters also ensures that added variety can be included in the game, as opposed to everyone simply starting off the same way. It also is very open to expansions, and seems like there will be cards added in the future around different themes or different events. While there is a ton of variety, unfortunately, games do not typically last long enough for players to experience everything. There are two end game conditions for Collapse; finishing the entire store deck, or emptying three fixed resource piles. In all of the games I played, the store deck was barely halfway through being emptied before the fixed piles were gone. The players in the game weren’t really able to see the full inventory of what the game had to offer.
Overall, I very much enjoyed Collapse, and will continue to play it. It is a great change of pace from a deck builder like Dominion, where the cards never change, and really draws in the players. With many small elements that ensure no game is ever the same, Collapse offers players a great bang for their buck. Despite slow starts, and players not typically running through a full deck, the game is a ton of fun. It offers several potential strategies for players, and offers the potential for many expansions in the future.