JUDGE DREDD THE CURSED EARTH GAME REVIEW

2000AD. A cult classic. A triumph of two fingers to the establishment. Its greatest characters were tasked with dispatching corrupted scuzz bags. My favourite was Rogue Trooper. He was a Vietnam vet fighting in the depths of the solar system. My second favourite was the Judge with a grudge, mister Dredd to his friends. His enemies were on their arse before names were exchanged. Dredd games have been around, almost as long as the good Judge has been dealing retribution to said felony’s. From his BLOCK MANIA game that sits on my shelfs, given me by an older, cooler friend in the early 90s. To HELTER SKELTER (no not that Mason book). A battle of the clans styled game, with Dredd as ultimate arbiter of peace. THE CURSED EARTH is a 2019 game from Osprey that the great Peer Sylvester brought to us, utilizing his system from THE LOST EXPEDITION. A masterpiece and no mistake!

WHAT IS THE GAME?

The idea is simple. You play as a group of Judges. You are after a Max Normal (nice name). He is on the run and hunted by you and a bunch of scuzz balls. He is the last infected man in a world of toxic nightmares. Using Encounter cards, you navigate through a series of location cards, to find him. All without dying from starvation, radiation or worse. It really is that simple. On meeting the box and then opening it, you are greeted with the lovely, textured images, familiar to a generation of 2000AD readers. Rufus Dayglo and Dan Cornwell have been hard at work here. They also give us a newly created storyline and strip for the first pages of the rule book. All good so far. Looking through the cards, anyone familiar with THE LOST EXPEDITION, will recognise the system of picture icons. Rations, Movement, skip and add cards. All there. Some new additions are there. We have radiation, fight and enemy move.

WHAT DOES IT DO WELL?

Here me out. The extras components that are added make the game a tasty prospect. Take the tokens that dishearten the player at first prospect. So many tokens. You read the rule book and are required to add so many here, more than in THE LOST EXPEDITION. Then you are told to lay down a continuing series of location cards. God help us. Then something familiar again. Encounter cards. As you play, you feel the past come back. But then the villain moves. You lose heart. You weaken and at this point, the sheer genius of this new tweak is revealed. Some have lambasted Peer for his use of craft. Foolish game player! What you have is a matured version of a masterpiece. One that almost flows on an arc of character action, risk and reward. This is more about the chase (literally). More about the push and pull of say, a monsterous dino riding your arse repeatedly and you having to avoid it and the toxic mess on the floor, than the cannibal killer in the jungle. Dredd is in a toxic wasteland and we are hopeful of success. That does not come easy. The location cards are drawn until you reach the quarry. They are a test of stamina and skill.

WHAT THE GAME HAS DONE BADLY?

Little in my eyes.

SUMMING UP

Each step is trodden in to the unknown. If you want a game that can be taken on by you or a friend or a group of 4, then this works perfectly (well maybe best at 2). Its logic is sound, its playability is bliss and its quality of components in art, textures and detail (bar some flimsy token pieces) exceptional. BUY THIS.

https://ospreypublishing.com/judge-dredd-the-cursed-earth

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