Monday, July 22, 2024

Hasbro’s Tile Placement Game ‘Life In Reterra’ Is An Optimistic Antidote To The Apocalypse

Share This Post

The end of the world doesn’t have to be all grey and depressing like a lot of media might make you think. It also doesn’t have to be a nonstop violent wreckfest (though that one is a lot more fun). Instead, the “apocalypse” might simply be a change, a shift in the way the world works and the way humans live within it. This is the philosophy behind Life In Reterra, a new game from Hasbro by designers Eric M. Lang (Blood Rage, Marvel United) and Ken Gruhl (Kahoots, Mystic Market). In it, players are humans living in a future where nature has reclaimed the world. There’s no reason as to why and no strong story for why the past has become ruins…it just is. The important thing is using the remnants of the past to pick up the pieces and build a new community. To do this you’ll use the land to create sustainable energy, build both fun and functional buildings, and attract other survivors to help you rebuild.

What’s In The Box?

 Life In Reterra box
  • 104 Land Tiles
  • 93 Building Tiles
  • 15 Double-sided Building Cards
  • 30 Junk/Relic tokens
  • 32 Wooden Inhabitant Pawns
  • Score Pad
  • 5 Storage Trays
  • Set Up Board

Life In Reterra is a wonderfully whimsical take on post-apocalyptic setting, taking the classic “overgrown ruins” look and making it bright and fun. The game isn’t concerned with the “how” the world ended or even the loss that is represented, only in the community and rebuilding being done in the new world. The bright colors help make it appealing to players of all ages, and artist Hugo Cuellar’s art shows some cute re-interpretations of things like a fishing hole and a sports field that look like something out of The Far Side. Hasbro gave the whole thing a really nice level of production with wooden figures, thick cardboard, and sturdy plastic trays to keep everything organized. For a relatively light game it’s pretty impressive.

How’s It Play?

Life In Reterra in play

Fans of games like KingDomino will have a lot to like about Life In Reterra. You start with a set of building tiles laid out on the board with their associated cards, which are going to be your community. Each turn you’ll flip over new land tiles and these will form your community, which each player has their own in front of them. The land tiles you place dictate what buildings you place, what power sources you can use, etc. These buildings are how you get inhabitants and relics (worth points at the end) or junk to mess with other players.

 Life In Reterra Farm cards
Life In Reterra Farm cards

The joy of games like this is creating your own little civ, filling it with amenities and being smart about where different important things need to go. However, the interesting thing about Life In Reterra is that you start each game with a set selection of buildings that players are drawn from. It doesn’t really have the expansiveness of some games that also rely on building. The benefit of this is that the game actually becomes way more strategic as it goes along and at times feels more like abstract strategy than anything. It’s less about mastering different strategies and options and more about using the tools given to you in a more effective way than your opponent. The game ends when everyone has filled their land with victory points awarded for buildings, energy sources, inhabitants, etc.

The building sets also give the game one of its strongest aspects: replayability. The base game 6 “base” sets, including the starter set for learning, that you can use to help dictate what sort of game you want to play. Some of them are more chill than others, and each gives you a genuinely different experience each time. It ALSO has space in the booklet for you to create your own set through different combinations of tiles and extend the game’s lifespan even further. It’s a really neat idea and I’d love to see what sets are being created by the community.

The Verdict?

A completed Life In Reterra board
A completed Life In Reterra board

Life In Reterra mixes an excellent theme with a fairly simple tile placement gameplay that doesn’t take much time to learn or play. While it can be played by 2-4 players, I’ve found it works best as a two player abstract game.Not that it’s not fun at full configuration, but it really lends itself well to the sort of quiet back and forth strategy of a smaller player count. One thing I also appreciate is the amount of player interaction that the game has, sometimes a big issue with titles like this. Thanks to cards that interact with other players and the shared building set, you can’t just sort of squirrel away and build your own thing without other people coming in to mess you up a bit. It’s not “mean” like some people might say about other games, but the competition is enough to keep things interesting.

Life In Reterra is a genius bit of design for such a lightweight game and I think is going to be a sleeper hit for families looking for something strategic without being too difficult. I love that it takes the idea of community and runs with it. The apocalypse is a REALLY common theme in board games (not that I mind), and it’s great to see someone take a look at it that isn’t all doom and gloom or just outright comedy. There’s an underlying recurrence about remembering both old and new communities that’s even reflected in the design and the way that you get to make new sets. If this is an example of Hasbro’s original game output, I hope it represents a trend. It won’t be leaving my game shelf anytime soon.

Life In Reterra is currently a Target exclusive, but it will be at other retailers later this summer at an MSRP of $29.99.

Images via Hasbro

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

Latest Posts

D&D Musical The Twenty-Sided Tavern Will Launch National Tour In Spring 2025

Producers Curious Hedgehog and Showpath Entertainment, under license from Hasbro and its Wizards of the Coast division,...

First Official Campaign For 7th Sea TTRPG To Launch On Kickstarter At GenCon 2024

Titled "The Price of Arrogance", it will feature new paths and a story that melds Indiana Jones with Pirates of the Caribbean

Guilty Gear Strive To Add Lucy From Cyberpunk: Edgerunners As Series First Ever Guest Fighter

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Character Joins GUILTY GEAR -STRIVE- In Historic Collaboration

The Next Generation Of Mutants Take Center Stage In Eve Ewing’s Exceptional X-Men

Eve L. Ewing and Carmen Carnero’s EXCEPTIONAL X-MEN #1 hits stands on September 4.

Glen Powell Saves ‘Twisters’

I wish I understood the hold, bland white women...

Marvel Will Celebrate Hispanic & Latin American Heritage Month With Spotlight On Robbie Reyes

This October, GHOST RIDER: ROBBIE REYES SPECIAL #1 celebrates Hispanic & Latin American Heritage Month with new stories starring Robbie Reyes. The one-shot will also debut FANTASMA, a new Ghost Rider created for last year’s New Champions variant cover program.