Defending Angel Grove has never been easy. Evil witches on the moon sending endless waves of mindless putty patrollers and monsters every other day is challenging. Sure, you have your own giant mechanical dinosaur, the ability to tap into the Morphin' Grid to become a color-coded superhero, and the boundless wisdom and guidance of an alien wizard trapped in a time warp, but evil doesn't just stay still. A self-described Emperor of Evil enters center stage with his own army of troops and generals. An enemy force from beyond the farthest stars sends their own dark and corrupted version of Power Rangers to take the Earth. But scariest of all is a world-conquering tyrant with the face of a dear friend traveling the multiverse seeking ultimate power. But the best thing about being a Power Ranger is you're never alone; you always have friends to help out. Today, we are looking into the three large box expansions for the co-op board game Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, Specifically the Kickstarter Box, Shattered Grid, and The Rise of the Psycho Rangers.
Released across three years up to May of 2020, these expansions add brand new modes and rules as well as locations, monsters, villains, and Power Rangers to play as. So let's dig into those expansions and see exactly what you get out of them and whether or not they're worth it.
The Kickstarter Box
Obviously, with a series that has been going strong for almost thirty years, Heroes of the Grid had plenty of material from Power Rangers to shove into its game. And for those who backed the game's original Kickstarter, you effectively got the uncut version of the game. Alternatively, there is this Kickstarter Box which is available on Renegade's own webstore, assuming you are there on the rare occasions it is in stock.
And if you thought the base game was a little thin on diverse monsters, villains, and footsoldiers, then this box is for you. The Kickstarter Box is a giant love letter to the original three seasons of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and includes fan favorite monsters like the shape-shifting Primator, the cheesy Pumpkin Rapper, the mystical monster maker Finster, and the bipedal Beholder known as Eye Guy. But the biggest draws are the four villains, Goldar, Scorpina, the Wizard of Deception and Lord Zedd. As if that didn't trigger the 90s nostalgia enough, the box also includes Zedd's own footsoldiers, his Tenga Warriors and Z-Putties.
Hands down, the enemy units are the Kickstarter Box's biggest draw. The Tengas and the Z-Putties add some much needed variety to enemy deployment and will keep you on your toes. One of the nastier abilities is the Z-Putty's passive Self-Destruct which do damage to Rangers when they take out a unit. Alternatively Tenga Warriors have an attack card that let them hop around the board, which can mean the difference between a location Panicking or not. The monsters and villains are equally enjoyable challenges. Goldar's unique feature is a vengeance buff which gives him bonus damage the more he is hurt, Scorpina's boomerang weapon messes around with combat initiative in novel ways, and Lord Zedd is all about sweeping damage and applying pressure with his Aura of Evil passive. But the deadliest challenge is the Wizard of Deception, which is all about depleting players' hands and sapping their decks indirectly. In a game where most abilities are built around dealing or responding to combat damage, it makes the Wizard of Deception one of the toughest villains to beat.
On the other hand, the box does include new playable Power Rangers and a new mode, but they're a mixed bag. The best of the bunch is the Rebel Ranger Slayer, an alternate version of the classic Pink Ranger but from a darker timeline. Her combat deck reflects this, focusing a lot more on aggressive play with attack cards. For example her major attack, Bow of Darkness, just deals straight damage with no dice needing to be rolled. The trade off is that she doesn't have as much support or energy generation as her classic counterpart which can make her feel like a glass cannon.
Then there is the inclusion of Tommy Oliver and the Gen 2 Mighty Morphin' Team. Arguably, this is where designer Jonathan Ying stumbled when it came to making new content for stretch goals. Basically, the second generation of Rangers: Rocky, Aisha, Adam, and Kat, are represented by different character cards but still run on the combat decks of the Gen 1 team. These cards aren't terrible alternate abilities, but they don't exactly fit the personalities and styles of the Gen 2 team, which leads to some lost synergies and combos. On the other hand, you get Tommy's two Ranger incarnations, the Green and White Ranger complete with their own combat decks, but their character cards are a little underwhelming. Green's Loner ability gives them a bonus when fighting alone, which works for character texture more than strategy in a co-op game for example.
If you're craving the Gen 2 team or more Tommy Oliver in your game, I say hold off for the Forever Rangers small box expansion releasing this June and invest in the aptly named Tommy Oliver Pack. The team's representation here isn't terrible, but it feels like a rough first draft
Finally, there is Alpha-5 mode. Yes, the neurotic robot assistant to the Power Rangers is playable through this Kickstarter Box. The twist is that Alpha never moves from the Command Center or directly fights. All cards in his deck revolve around defense and support, things like helping Rangers defend from an attack, or teleporting characters to a new area without them wasting precious movement actions. There are two versions of this mode, one where one player controls Alpha, and one where the combat deck is used collectively by all players at the table.
It's a unique idea, but given that the cards still pull from the same energy pool used in fights, it can be seen as unnecessary in more challenging encounters. Play with this at your own discretion.
On the other hand if you want something legitimately original for Heroes of the Grid, then Shattered Grid has you covered. Based off of the storyline from the Boom! Studios comics, this expansion introduces the forces of Lord Drakkon, an evil alternate version of Tommy Oliver waging war across the multiverse with his world-conquering army.
On the enemy side of things you get a new set of footsoldiers called Mastodon Troopers, two monsters in the form of the Ranger Slayer and the Black Dragon, and Lord Drakkon as the villain. On top of that you get two new map locations, the Zord Graveyard and the Resistance Hideout.
If there is a unifying theme behind Drakkon's forces it is energy management. Mastodon Troopers specialize in draining energy from the shared pool during fights as well damaging multiple Rangers in single attacks. The Ranger Slayer plays like a full-blown assassin with high damage Fast cards, some of which skip Ranger turns. The Black Dragon is a complete bruiser that not just drains energy but shrinks players' hands. But the biggest challenge is Drakkon who favors multi-hit attacks as well as his passive Stolen Power ability. Any time energy is drained or spent to play a card, Drakkon gets a major damage bonus. If you don't keep an eye on energy and let this build up, Drakkon can wipe out an entire party of five rangers in an instant.
Shattered Grid also introduces seven brand new Rangers. Since the storyline involves interdimensional travel, these new playable Rangers reflect this. You get Time Force's Pink Ranger Jen Scott, whose more of an aggressive supporter with cover fire cards, and the Red Samurai Ranger, Lauren Shiba, which focuses a bit more on crowd control.
But the most curious addition is of Power Rangers Hyperforce. This team is from a web show hosted by Hyper RPG (think Critical Role) and officially debuted as canon in the Shattered Grid storyline. It's a fun idea bringing an original Ranger team to the game with their own unique weapons, powers, and zords to the table. Also it helps mix up the game from just being about the original Mighty Morphin team. Unfortunately, the very appeal of the Hyperforce team is what makes them difficult to handle. Their entire gimmick is the stuff RPG groups are made of: convoluted schemes. Shutting down enemy footsoldiers, causing a monster card to take more damage, even cancelling out the effects of an enemy Fast keyword are all part and parcel for this Ranger team. Alternatively, most of the Ranger and Zord abilities focus around things like hand and deck management so players can have just the right cards needed for the next step in their big plan.
The downside is that their roles feel unfocused and scattershot. Marvin Shih for example has some of the best damage-dealing cards, but the deck is centered around Reactions and Maneuvers. Together they make the most eccentric team in Heroes of the Grid that reward outside-the-box thinking, but they're not exactly the most polished.
The Rise of the Psycho Rangers
This finally brings us to the most recent expansion for Heroes of the Grid and you get exactly what it says on the box.
This box focuses entirely on characters and locations from Power Rangers in Space. This includes new footsoldiers, the Quantrons, the Surf Spot and KO-35 space colony locations, and the Space Ranger Team as well as the six titular Psycho Rangers.
That's right, six villains are in this expansion. This is because the Psycho Rangers are surprisingly flexible as villains. Each of the individual Psychos can be deployed as monsters or the entire group can be deployed collectively as a villain. But this is because these villains have their game type: Psycho Assault Mode. This is a gauntlet where at least one Psycho Ranger enters the map on every deployment phase until the whole group returns in the finale. This mode is not to be taken lightly. Not only are you facing multiple monsters back-to-back, each Psycho Ranger has a unique ability and special rule where they will actively seek out any Ranger that they share a color with. Couple this with some devastating Passive abilities in their final deployment and the Psycho Rangers are a force to be reckoned with.
Thankfully the Space Ranger Team are more than up to the task. In a way, they are perfect foils for the Psycho Rangers' aggressive tactics. Andros can bypass defenses with his drill weapon cards. TJ's entire deck rewards planning ahead with cards dealing damage based on shields, if you have to roll dice at all with him something has gone wrong. Carlos is high risk/reward with his Hot Blooded ability. Ashley is pure crowd control with a stunning four card combo. Finally, Cassie picks up the slack with some light deck management and support abilities. Overall, this Ranger team is a bit more defense and tactics oriented, but it pays off magnificently when everything comes together.
Finally, Rise of the Psycho Rangers includes Mastermind Mode. This is Heroes of the Grid's PvP mode. Several player pick their Rangers, while one player is chosen as the Mastermind. From here, games are played out mostly the same except the Mastermind chooses what monsters and villain will be deployed, and even determines combat order for each battle. Also, the Mastermind gets their own dedicated deck full of schemes which can force players to reroll dice, boost enemy cards, or mess around with the board. It's not a bad mode if you want to let your jerk flag fly and it can be a blast with a large group of players, but feels a bit petty in groups of three or four.
The Bottom Line
All three of these massive expansions add so much to Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid. If you're a diehard fan of the original series or want a lot more monster and villain variety, chances are you already own the Kickstarter Box. If you want a taste of how much the franchise has grown outside of repurposed tokusatsu footage, Shattered Grid is a stellar addition. If you want to push your gaming group's co-op skills to the limit or want your friends to hate you, give Rise of the Psycho Rangers' Psycho Assault and Mastermind Modes a shot. My only real complaint is, aside from the large Kickstarter Box, there is no convenient storage provided. But considering just how much variety and complexity each of the expansions add, it is easily overlooked.
Get These Expansions If...
- You Want More Enemies to Fight and Rangers To Use
- You Want More Challenging Modes and Play Variety
Don't Get These Expansions If...
- You Want The Second Mighty Morphin Team
- You're Tight on Storage
The Kickstarter Deluxe Box was purchased by the author. The Rise of the Psycho Rangers and Shattered Grid expansions for this review were provided by Renegade Game Studios