Michael Eckenfels, 18 March 2021 ~ #UnboxingDay
When I bought my first Everything Epic game last year – Big Trouble in Little China – I had such a great time with playing it, that I bought the expansion as well (Legacy of Lo Pan). The game was immersive, brought back all the memories of that fantastic movie, and made me feel as if I were in that universe for a short while. I didn’t like the movie when it first came out – full disclosure – but it grew greatly on me.
In that game box was an insert from the company, which advertised Rambo: The Boardgame. Now, being an impressionable teenager in the 80s, I found First Blood to be a very enjoyable movie, and even went to the theater to see Rambo II, which I liked as well. Rambo III was okay; not the greatest, but okay. All of this flooded forth at once when I saw this ad insert and thought, ‘holy crap, they made a board game out of Rambo?’
Never you mind the kiddie cartoon from the 80s (Rambo: The Force of Freedom). Yeah, let’s ignore that one for now. I checked out the game on BGG and thought how great it was to get to try out experiencing the events of the movie in a board game format, but was somewhat disappointed to learn I was incorrect. The fact is, Rambo: The Boardgame covers missions set in Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Rambo III, but not Rambo: First Blood. That first movie is depicted in a board game that Everything Epic does separately, which is something of a solo version – so of course, look for that one to find its way into my collection soon, I hope, so I can cover it here as well.
click images to enlarge
The cover pretty much says it all. I totally missed in the lower right corner where it says “Part II” and “Rambo III,” and says nothing about First Blood, but that’s on me.
The back cover looks legendary. Lots of cool minis, terrain, character cards, and other information.
Right away, a page tells you that a few suggestions for organizing the cards would be a good thing to follow, which will become apparent in a moment (there’s a LOT of cards in this box).
Upon moving that page out of the way, you come face to face with the Core Rulebook, sporting art with a lot of characters from the movies – some I am not aware of. Or, possibly, they could not secure likeness rights?
The rule book is big but not too long, and it sports a lot of pages like this, with plenty of illustrations to help explain game concepts – always a good thing.
Looks like you can choose your loadout as well, which is very interesting. So you’re not limited to just an M-60 machine gun as Rambo?
Just from this one page, you can tell there’s a lot in the box. Cards alone number above 400, I think.
And it looks like it has a bit of depth to it, with stances, actions, and other considerations.
On the back of this rule book is this – an interesting touch, awarding ribbons for accomplishments in the game.
Next in the box is the Mission Book, which lists all the – wait for it – missions you can play.
The back of it shows quite a bit of iconography. Hopefully, not too much to be overwhelming, but I won’t know for sure until I dive into the game, of course.
Here’s the first page from the first mission. I won’t spoil things by going and taking more pictures of this book, but suffice it to say I think it has you do things that didn’t happen in the movies, which I’m perfectly fine with. It expands on that world and makes it more in-depth, but we shall see once I run a few missions. It also has pages like this throughout, to give you a bit of immersiveness from the movies.
Here’s the six characters you can play that are NOT Rambo. Trautman is of course well known, or should be if you’ve seen the movies. I think the Bao character was in Rambo II, but the likeness is not the same actress. The other three, I don’t recall at all, so I’ll have to re-watch the movies (perish the thought).
And here’s the four characters that ARE Rambo. It looks like there’s one for each movie (II and III) and then two extras that are promos; I’m not sure if you can choose which Rambo character you can play, but it’ll be interesting to find out.
A lot of the weight of this box are these terrain tiles – they’re all double-sided and very detailed. Since Rambo II and III are covered, these are all desert and jungle tiles, but they have a lot of variety.
Here’s something from the Rambo III side of things. I’m guessing. Not many deserts in Vietnam.
More desert terrain – a village, which is visually interesting due to the textures and shadows throughout.
Here’s a couple of tiles from the Jungle side – rushing river, a waterfall (don’t go chasing it), and lots of thick underbrush.
There are even bunkers and what looks like tunnels.
I didn’t take a picture of the markers – trust me, there’s a lot of them – but this was more visually interesting. This combat knife cut-out is what you use to mark the rounds in the game with (the bullet apparently fits in the numbered notches). A very Rambo-esque touch, though unwieldy unless you have a lot of space (because I think this knife is the same size as the ‘real’ one in the movies).
Player references, giving an overview of the flow of the game.
And here’s the cards – I don’t dare open these up as that’ll mean at least twenty more pictures for this article.
And lo and behold – the miniatures!
Here’s all of them organized for your viewing pleasure. Please ignore the dust bits.
Here’s a close up of Rambo in a very well-known pose.
Here’s a few more of the heroes. Interesting sculpts here with good detail. The only thing missing is, I wish they’d have some kind of label on the underside of the base. The D&D board games, as well as a few others, did this to help easily identify pieces.
A few more of the heroes.
And here’s the Hind helicopter, from Rambo III I believe.
And here we have a Huey, with good detail (it’s a bit fuzzy, sorry – but you can clearly see the gun poking out of the side there). I believe this was from Rambo II.
Some of what I’m guessing are bad guys. There’s a lot of Soviet and NVA sculpts, here.
More bad guys.
And these are the NVA minis, I believe, from what I see of the helmets and the AKs they carry.
Thank you for checking this out along with me. I will be reviewing this title and hopefully also be able to check out the other game, First Blood, also from Everything Epic Games.
Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.
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