OverDrive is a futuristic sports game set in Mantic Games' Warpath setting. The sport originally started as half-time entertainment during Dreadball games, but due to its huge popularity, it became its own full-time sport with its own leagues. Coaches take their teams of three giants against each other, trying to knock out opposing players, and position themselves into scoring zones that change each round. In this review, we'll take a look at what's in the OverDrive core box, how it plays, and how the six giants it contains handle.
The OverDrive core box contains:
- OverDrive Gaming Board
- Digest OverDrive Rulebook
- Six Giants (OverDrive characters) and their stat cards
- Twelve six-sided dice (six dice each colored for both home and away teams)
- Tokens and markers (also includes tokens for a variety of alternative game modes)
Some of the miniatures require assembly before use, which is simply arms and legs attaching in clear pegged joins. They also require attaching to bases, which is best done with some kind of tac prior to painting if you want to maintain the clear bases.
The OverDrive core set contains six giants, with more being released in expansion sets. The six in the core set are:
- Karadon - A space shark, and as a space shark, they're very good at smashing into other players. Karadon is fast and has a solid strength stat, which combined with the ability to reroll a dice during a slam, makes them very accurate. Their OverDrive ability gives them a bonus to attack if their opponent has damage, and stops them from slamming back.
- Skarathron - A Krastavor space spider. Skara has the best movement value in the core set, and a ranged attack that can push back opponents. Their OverDrive ability lets them add poison to their ranged attack which also damages their target on a subsequent turn.
- Synechdoche - A mind-controlling space jellyfish. Their stats aren't great, but that's not their purpose as a supporting player. Synech has a range five push ability that can be used to move opponents out of scoring zones, into opposing attacks, or to push your own players into scoring zones or out of harm's way. But Synech's best asset is the Mind Control OverDrive ability, which can be used to take control of another player and activate them like they're your own.
- The Spawn - A tentacled alien from the faction known as the Nameless. Their tentacles can be used to attack from two hexes away or to drag opponents towards them, which can then be followed up with an attack from their OverDrive ability.
- Brank Reborn - An A.I. programmed suit of armor of a former Dreadball star player. A high hit points, combined with an ability that reduces all incoming damage by one means that Brank is very difficult to take down, and can wade into the biggest brawls. With a strength of 3+, it is even harder to win slams against them.
- Dozer - A teleporting space turtle. They have the highest hit points in the core set, along with one of the highest strengths. They can easily answer all incoming attacks with their own, and they have a protective shell that keeps enemies from attacking from behind. Their teleport ability means they can move through other players, without the need to evade, to get them into the thick of the action.
Games of OverDrive begin with a draft, with players taking it in turns, choosing from the characters out of the box, or from their own collections. Each team consists of three characters, and as players take it in turns, you can tailor your roster to protect your own game plan, or to combat your opponents.
OverDrive takes place across eight turns or rushes as they're known. During each rush, players get four alternative activations to use across their three characters. Each character can be activated up to twice each turn, so using activations effectively as each turn progresses is key.
The stats and tests for OverDrive are extremely straightforward, as is measuring range and movement on the hex map. Players have stats for different abilities, like strength and agility. To succeed in a test, a player needs to roll over the number on their player's card for the stat being tested. Some tests might require multiple successes, and opposed tests are won by the player with the most successes on their roll. All tests start with players rolling three dice, and all modifiers affect the number of dice rolled, never the stat.
OverDrive features a tug of war-style scoring system, and points are scored by players being inside a scoring zone, which randomly changes each turn. Players also score by taking opposing players out, which puts them into the KO Bench area of the board, until the next rush when they can return to the pitch.
The OverDrive rulebook features the full rules for league play, as well as alternative game modes which are pass the bomb, capture the flag, killing streak, invade and dodgebrawl. These provide a huge amount of replayability, just out of the box.
The Bottom Line
OverDrive features an incredibly simple rules and mechanics package, with a lot of scope for tactical play. The straightforward stats and tests allow you to focus on the best use of your activations each turn, and the positioning of your players. The six players out of the box are a solid mix, and offer some great team options, with enough variety for a lot of play using only the core set. The league play and game variations give it a huge amount of replayability out of the box, without any further purchases, but if OverDrive appeals to you, you will almost certainly want to start picking up an expanding roster of characters.
Get This Game If:
- You want a quick and easy brawl sports game.
- You want to see a space shark slam a tentacle alien.
- You want a simple ruleset with lots of tactical depth.
Avoid This Game If:
- You want a fantasy game.
- You don't want a sports game.
The copy of the OverDrive used to produce this review was provided by Mantic Games.