Block Mania a board game based on the characters from Judge Dredd and 2000AD Comics, was originally published in 1987 by Games Workshop. Rebellion Unplugged has re-released Block Mania and its multiplayer upgrade expansion Mega Mania in an updated limited edition printing.
You can buy board games from our Tabletop Sponsor, Firestorm Games.
In Block Mania, players take on the roles of communities who dwell in the vast blocks of Mega City 1 and take the fight to rival blocks for perceived slights, actual slights, or just for fun. The game takes place on boards that represent the blocks, and players deploy tokens for their forces onto them.
Each turn, players roll for the number of command points they get. These command points are used to recruit and move units. 2, 6-sided dice are rolled to decide how many command points you get, and spending them varies depending on the action. Recruiting a randomly drawn unit costs 4 command points, which are then randomly deployed onto the board. Each unit has a command value, the cost to activate it, which then allows it to move up to its movement value. Moving costs 1 movement point per square unless the units are using the special movement options like elevators, Sky-Rails, and Pedway which connection the blocks and different levels within the blocks.
Shooting is carried out by rolling a D6, adding the damage value of the weapon being used, and subtracting the strength of the target unit. If the remaining score is 6 or more, the target is eliminated. Close combat is a roll-off between the battling units, adding the unit's strength and damage value of weapons they're armed with, with the lowest-scoring unit being removed.
There are several different types of units, from City-Def and Mobs to Superheroes and Vigilantes. Most stats are printed on the unit's counters, but some also have special rules unique to that unit. This also goes for the weapons and equipment tokens, and various location squares on the game boards. So there's usually a lot to track and lookup.
Each turn players draw a card from the Mania deck and play alternates between players until the last Mania card is drawn. This triggers the start of the endgame where players can no longer deploy units, and the law arrives to break things up. The reverse of the Mania card features a Justice side, which triggers a specific action based on the type of card dawn. Riot Foam for example removes a targetted unit on a roll of 1 to 4, and Dredd himself can arrive in his usual all-in manner and removes a unit and all adjacent units from the board.
Once the last unit has been removed from the board, then players total up their score of damage caused to the opposing block. If you can collapse your opponent's block, then it's very difficult for your opponent to challenge your score, unless they also manage to collapse yours.
There's a huge amount of randomness in Block Mania, which begins with the roll for command points. If one player consistently rolls high for command points, and the other rolls low, it can be difficult to come back from the pressure of overwhelming deployment. Combat can also be very swinging and there's usually not much in it beyond the dice roll itself, all that combined with random Mania Card draws, and randomly drawn tokens for the units and equipment make for a game that's less about hugely strategic depth, and much more about making good choices with what you have and honestly, it's really just about having fun.
Mega Mania is a multiplayer expansion for Block Mania and includes all the boards and tokens to make Block Mania a 3 or 4 player game (or more if you want to keep adding sets of Mega Mania). The multiplayer variant still plays the same, but the players who's boards are on the end, attached to only 1 opponent, can move into the other end block, in a circular fashion. It makes for a very interesting, but no less random game, and adds the dimension to the game where you might not be able to reach the player who's winning, or in Block Mania's case, not losing as badly and you may have to ease off the player who can reach them. This almost always results in that player attacking you instead, rather than the other not losing as badly opponent. My advice is to never show restraint or weakness.
Mega Mania also includes the Happy Hour expansion, which was only previously available through a very old issue of White Dwarf. It adds a new unit and equipment (and includes enough for up to 4 players). The new units and equipment can be fun, but don't add a huge amount to the game. It's great if you're picking up Mega Mania to include more players, but if you're only looking to play Block Mania with 2 players, Happy Hour isn't worth the purchase of Mega Mania alone. If you do want to play 3 or 4 player games, Mega Mania is well worth it.
The Bottom Line
Block Mania is extremely random, but a load of fun. If you're a fan of Judge Dredd or 2000AD, then you'll have a blast with Block Mania. The rules are simple, but the variety of units, weapons, and board spaces all clustered together in a small space, make it complicated. If you want something balanced and with strategic depth, you won't find it in Block Mania. If you like a challenge, having fun, and making do with what you have, then this is for you. Mega Mania provides an awesome multiplayer variant, but not enough to justify the cost for only 2 players.
Get This Game If:
- You love anything Dredd or 2000AD.
- You want a lot of random fun.
- You enjoy a challenge and making do.
Avoid This Game If:
- You want balanced strategic depth.
The copies of Block Mania and Mega Mania used to produce this review were provided by Asmodee UK.