OK guy's, who's up for a 20-minute adventure?
Rick and Morty: Total Rickall is a 2-5 player deduction game designed by Matt Hyra and published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. Parasites have taken refuge in the Smith household, and it is your duty to eradicate the infestation, but be careful! Shooting parasites is the objective, but shoot too many of your real friends and family and it's game over!
Total Rickall - Set-Up & Gameplay
Players begin by shuffling the both the Identity cards and Character cards. Deal out Identity cards face-down, equal to twice the number of players, into the centre of the board, then place a face-up Character card on top of each. Shuffle the Action cards and deal three to each player. Finally, the player who most recently killed a parasite gets the first player token.
A game of Total Rickall begins with each player selecting one of their three Action cards and placing it face-down in front of them, then immediately drawing a replacement card from the Action deck. Once players have selected their Action, each player flips their cards simultaneously, resolving them in clockwise order starting with the first player. Most actions are colour-coded in red, blue and green, and can only be used on characters of the corresponding colour, either to shoot a card of that colour or peek at its hidden identity, giving you the opportunity to figure out where the parasites are.
Grey action cards are more versatile, either allowing you to shoot indiscriminately at characters, forcing others to shoot for you, or peeking at the next Identity card in the deck. Players may share information about any cards they have seen, but may not reveal the cards. For example, if you have played a 'Summer' card and peeked at two identity cards, you could inform the other players whether one, both or neither were parasites.
If a card asks you to shoot a character, select one character in the centre of the board and flip its Identity card. If it is a parasite, you are one step closer to victory. However, if you shoot a real character, the player who shot them must discard a card from their hand, limiting their options. Characters may also have abilities that affect how they can be interacted with. For example, Frankenstein's Monster takes two shots to kill, while Sleepy Gary can't be shot at all if anyone played a Jerry Action card.
Discard any shot characters and parasite cards, but place real Identity cards to the side of the board. At the end of a round, or whenever a real character is shot, place one new Identity and Character card into the centre of the table.
Play continues until either three real characters are shot, or at any time players may call a vote to decide whether all parasites have been eradicated. If a majority is reached, players flip every remaining Identity card. If there are no parasites, the players win! However, if even one parasite remains, the players immediately lose.
In addition to standard mode, the game also has an advanced mode in which every player also gets a pair of Identity and Character cards. The game proceeds the same way, except now players act as additional targets for the other player's Actions.
A player may never reveal themselves as a parasite: they always believe they are human until proven otherwise, either by being revealed by a card or by being shot. In addition, certain cards have 'advanced mode' abilities that augment the way certain cards are played, making for a trickier experience.
Final Thoughts on Total Rickall
Total Rickall's obvious appeal is to fans of Rick and Morty, and you can easily have as much fun recreating the game's namesake episode as you can watching an episode of the series, with allegations of parasitic entities abound. This is where some of the magic of the game's design can be lost when compared to other social deduction games such as Coup and The Resistance, as people who don't understand the source material are going to be lost when confronted with characters such as the Hamurai or Amish Cyborg.
Standard mode is fairly basic, with the main objective of player co-operation mostly unhindered by the game. You often have plenty of time to figure out who the parasites are, and coordinate where to target your shoot cards for maximum value. For this reason, I would suggest only playing as many games as is necessary to get the rules down, and then jumping headlong into advanced mode.
Advanced mode is a much more rewarding experience with very little rules augmentation, but all aimed in the right places. The inclusion of having your fellow players potentially working against you turns an almost asinine experience into something exponentially more enjoyable. The practiced ease of parasite eradication in standard mode suddenly turns on its head as you try to conclude whether your allies are actually parasites in disguise, and having your allies as characters also shortens the clock of the game considerably.
Suddenly the majority vote holds a lot more weight to it: things you can conclude with certainty in standard mode suddenly become nigh-impossible to figure out, and you're left wondering whether Photography Raptor really was the best man at your wedding or if he was secretly implanting memories into your brain.
The game's components are about on par for the price. There is plenty here without expecting the world for a £13.99 game. Cards shuffle well and hold up to repeated use, and the larger Character cards stand out well on the tabletop. The box is perfectly sized for the product, easily slipped into a handbag or pocket. My main gripe is that the rulebook's font is a bit small, but it's mostly necessary to keep the game pocket-sized. The 1st player marker is fine but not mind-blowingly detailed.
Total Rickall doesn't evolve the genre in any meaningful way, but at its price point it ranges from an OK experience with standard mode to a more tangible experience when using the advanced mode rules. I don't think this will displace any of the established social deduction games, but in terms of the ever-expanding catalogue of Rick and Morty games by Cryptozoic it is the least expensive, which might have some bearing on its position on BGG compared to other games in the series such as Anatomy Park and Close Rick Counters of the Rick Kind.
If you're looking for a way to get your feet wet with Cryptozoic's Rick and Morty offerings, this is the best place to start. Do note that the game has some graphic imagery and some swearing as expected from the source material, so be mindful of its 15+ age rating.
You Might Like
- This is a Rick and Morty Game!
- The social deduction aspect.
- Small box - easy storage.
You Might Not Like
- The social deduction aspect.
- This game if you prefer experiences with a little more depth and substance.
- Not for younger gamers.