Metal Adventures is a three- to six-player board game for ages 14 and up designed by Lionel Borg with illustrations by Camille Durand-Kriegel, Jonathan Hartert, Remton, Dimitri Bielak, and Ervin. It’s set in a universe created by Arnaud Cuidet.
Published by Matagot Action Games and Asmodee Editions, Metal Adventures has a suggested price of $49.99 but can be found online for about $15 less.
Players take on the role of space pirates battling for glory.
How it works:
Players start with ship that gives them an extra ability. They get a few credits — the currency of the world — and two trophy cards that will give them extra points if they can accomplish its task.
On a turn, players first pay one credit to the Brotherhood of Pirates unless they have the lowest power, which the amount of strength they have in battle.
If their ship is damaged from a previous fight, they can rest, which gives them extra credits, the ability to trade in a trophy card, a reset of a die that will hurt them in a future battle, and the ability to buy gear or support.
If their ship isn’t damaged, they must battle — either a planet, another player, or a ship in space. The player can recruit help from another player, who can add power to the player’s fight. But an ally can also betray the fighter, shifting their support to the opponent.
Winners gain spoils in the form of wrecked ships, which they can trade for glory, credits, gear cards, and sometimes glory itself.
Before or after a battle, a player can choose to go on the Tour of Pirates, which allows a player to take up to 10 actions in a specific order. The tour lets pirates buy trophy cards, repair ships, trade wrecks for points, buy gear and support, and more.
The game ends when a player reaches nine glory points. The player with the most glory wins.
Why you might buy Metal Adventures:
Metal Adventures is a unique battling game. You can be as mean or as nice as you want. You can betray your opponents or help them out — usually because there’s something in it for you.
You can negotiate and lie, but too much bad behavior will come back to bite you. You’ll get judgment from the pirates, which takes away your glory. And your opponents probably won’t trust you anymore.
The battle system is straightforward. A simple dice roll plus is a power score is added. But a player’s red die adds an interesting choice. The player can roll it, hoping to add more power to his score in battle. But that number must be subtracted from his next battle.
Everything about the game has a nice push and pull to it. Risks can pay off with big rewards, or they can be punishing.
The ship art is fun. Despite the space theme, the ships look like they could be boats.
You also get a cool astrolabe with two dials to keep track of your glory, judgment, power and damage.
The player reference cards — there are three — seem intimidating, but they’re a great help during the game. Because some actions are used infrequently, players won’t have to be consulting them every turn, but the information is well organized when they have a question.
The rulebook is also easy to follow.
The game is fun. It doesn’t get bogged down with tons of calculations or card combinations, but it has enough choice to keep you thinking. Because you’re limited to a few cards that help you out at a time, they matter a lot.
It’s nice to see a game with people of multiple cultures represented.
Why you might not buy Metal Adventures:
One of the first things you’ll likely notice is the revealing clothes the women on the box are wearing. That doesn’t change inside the game. Most of the women are wearing things no sensible person, female or otherwise, would wear in a fight. Interestingly enough, once you’re playing the game, you won’t notice it as much because those cards aren’t always on the board. But you may wonder why all the cleavage is necessary.
If you hate games with negotiation, Metal Adventures probably won’t be for you. You will need other players to help you win some battles, and you’ll need to help them, too.
This is my style battle game. Turns are interesting, and since you’re involved on other players’ turns, everyone stays engaged in the game.
I’m not generally a fan of negotiation, but it’s fun in this game. The social dynamics will determine how fun the game is for your group. I like how the game makes people think.
I also like the amount of consequence is built into the game for certain kinds of behavior.
I wish the portrayals of females were different because it takes away from an otherwise great game.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of Metal Adventures from Asmodee Editions. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.