One of the things that has come out all the recent unrest in our country is that people are making an effort to listen more to black voices. As a result of this, I’ve found out about a number of people and games that just hadn’t reached my radar yet, and I’m going to be making an effort to highlight some here. Today, we’re going to be looking at a game that was completely off my radar, but has gotten fairly popular as of late:
Rap Godz is a game that was designed by Omari Akil, and published by Board Game Brothas. They ran a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2018 that shipped earlier this year. In the game, you are playing an up-and-coming hip-hop artist trying to make it big.
The board for the game shows a circular track that resembles a record. This track shows the three resources in the game – swag, skills, and streets. There are pick-up tokens you’ll put on the board in indicated spaces (the tokens are randomized, but each will show the type of resource it is). Each player takes a color, as well as the cubes, token, and Beef die associated with it. Players get dealt two Rapperz and two Citiez from which they will choose one of each. The City card will tell you your starting resources, as well as a personal goal. The matching City tokens are placed on the board. You’ll randomly pick some goals for the game (though one, The Champ, is in every game). Come Upz cards for the current round (1) are drawn equal to the number of players plus one. Each player gets five Album 1 cards, though some Rapper abilities may change this. Set the Crossfader tokens to Album 1, Track 1.
On your turn, you draw a card and play a card.
DRAW A CARD: Take a card from the top of the current Album deck. Alternatively, you could discard three cards from your hand to take one of the available Come Upz cards, replacing it immediately.
PLAY A CARD: You can either play a card into your own timeline, or start a Beef. Cards in your timeline will collect plaques and resources for you. Some of them have resource requirements, so your cube for that resource needs to be at a certain spot before you can play the card.
Some of the cards are Beef cards. If you play one of these, you’ll choose the opponent you want to start a Beef with. Both of you roll your color die, and you (as the one who initiated the Beef) roll the red Beef die as well. The player who has the highest number on a single die wins the Beef. The loser gets the Beef card in their timeline, while the winner gets plaques and resources from the loser, as well as a Beef cube.
As you move around the track, the first one to reach a Pick Upz token will collect it. This could allow you to draw a card, increase a resource by three, or give you +2 in a Beef. If a resource ever gets up to 30, you switch the cube out for an Upgrade cube. There are also Goalz that can be collected throughout the game.
When all players have had a turn, move the crossfader to the next track. When the fifth track is completed, move on to the next album – this gives you a new deck to draw from (each player draws a new hand from this deck) and new Come Upz. After Album 3, the game is over and players add up their plaques – you get more for goalz, citiez, and Rapper goalz. The winner is the player with the highest score.
I always love to see a strategy game with a music theme – there’s not enough of them out there. The rap theme here is certainly underutilized in the hobby, but it looks like its well implemented here. I like the way the game is laid out in albums and tracks, how the resources are tracked on the record, how each Rapper has their own skill, and the variable goals in the game. I don’t necessarily like the Z at the end of every plural word, but that’s mostly because my spell checker keeps correcting me. But overall, the game looks pretty interesting to me. I especially like how cards are played into your timeline so you can recap how your career went at the end of the game – there’s a bit of a storytelling aspect to this that makes the theme come more alive. Plus, the game has some really vibrant art from Hamu Dennis.
So this is a game I am definitely interested in trying out. It’s currently sold out – a number of people made donations to Black Lives Matter for each copy sold, and Board Game Brothas went through their entire stock in about a week. Until it gets reprinted, the game can be played on Tabletopia.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading!