Blast is the new trick taking game designed by Scott Almes, creator of Claim, and published by White Goblin Games. The galactic empire has disappeared. Black hole? Big boom? Leap through time? At least the galaxy is up for grabs! In this two-player game, you and the other player try to become rulers of space by deploying different factions and winning battles. Will Blast actually rise to intergalactic heights or will it not even get off the ground?
Blast is a trick taking game with a twist. Normally, in a trick taking game you play a card of a value and a colour. The other player must follow the chosen colour and the card with the highest value wins the battle. This is not the case here. Depending on the battle, the rules for playing cards are different and a player must always play cards of a higher value than the previous cards. In Blast, players compete for five planets and a number of stars. To win a planet, the leader (the active player) must choose a planet during a trick. Each planet has its own rules that apply to the trick. For example, you may always have to play 2 or 3 cards at the same time in the same value or you may have to play a number of cards in consecutive values and the same colour. Remember that you must always play a set of cards in a higher combined value. Also note that all factions have special properties which may have an impact on the outcome of a trick or round…
If a player does not want to or cannot add any more cards to the battle, this player must pass. The winning player may move the planet closer to him. After this, the round continues. The player who removes his cards first during a round wins a star and then the round is over. If at the end of a round a player has 7 points (planets in front of him/her and/or stars), then this player has won!
Blast is an ambitious twist on a trick taking game. The way of winning tricks reminds me a little bit of the ‘tug-of-war’ style gameplay aimed at two players that you might recognise from Schotten Totten. Players try to win planets and this requires tactical insight. Players also have to make smart choices about when to pass or not to pass. Another fun twist on a normal trick taking game is that the player who is ahead in points must trade the difference in points of cards with other players. The player with the upper hand has to give away stronger cards and most likely receives worse ones in return. This is also an element that makes the game feel unbalanced. There are many more cards than players use during a round. As a result, you may be unlucky enough to have mostly bad cards in your hand and be forced to trade the average cards you have. During the tricks, the leader of a trick has the upper hand for the most part, making it easier to play cards and earn stars.
As I mentioned, Blast is an ambitious twist on the trick taking game that doesn’t (yet) quite hit the mark. It’s possible that with an expansion this will be redressed. But don’t worry, despite a collision with an asteroid, Blast is a game for trick taking game lovers who would like to try a two-player trick taking game with a twist!