Keep lava from burning your village in this board game for up to six players that combines tile placement with strategy and the luck of the draw. It’s you against the volcano!
|Eruption||Stratus Games||Board Game|
In The Box
Right away we noticed the big, beautiful board that forms the centerpiece of Eruption. Almost everything you’ll need to understand the flow of the game is printed on the board, including a scoring ring around the outer edge. Six villages sit on the coast of the island, surrounding a very active volcano spewing lava. It’s this stuff that you’ll be trying to avoid by using wood, straw, and stone walls represented by small wooden tokens. Slightly larger wood tokens corresponding to the color of each village are used to track the heat building up as the lava gets closer and closer. There are 43 tiles that you’ll shuffle, draw, and place on each turn. You’ll also find two dice included that dictate whether the lava is successful in overcoming the walls you place in its path. A small deck of 36 cards give players additional leverage by letting them move lava tiles and walls, or exchange cards for protective walls.
Everything packed into the box is nicely made and sturdy enough to stand up well over time. A special note about the game’s art direction is that actions on cards are depicted visually in a way that even young kids can understand. No more than three cards are held in a player’s hand, which also makes it easier for the little ones to manage all the resources needed to join a game. These factors make Eruption especially nice for family gaming groups.
How It Plays
It’s funny to think about how many games with a volcanic theme we’ve played in just the past year. Each offers a different angle, from trying to jump into a volcano in Tiki Mountain to fighting fires in Ablaze! to evacuating a city in The Downfall of Pompeii. Eruption reminds us a bit of Pompeii in the sense that players have a chance to determine where the lava flows, but Eruption’s strategy of blocking the lava presents a good tactical challenge. Each turn in Eruption consists of drawing and placing lava tiles that match their surrounding tiles. This mechanic reminded us a bit of Gold Mine, another fun Stratus game where players gradually built a network of underground tunnels. Players also have a chance to play cards and build walls each turn, in an effort to keep lava from heating up their villages.
The scoring ring around the edge of the board is actually more of a thermometer! The heat starts rising once lava reaches your village and at certain phase in the game events will raise the temp in all the villages. Playing walls to divert or block lava can help keep the heat from rising, as well as cards like Rain that drop the temp of a village by 30 degrees. The dice work a bit like you’d expect in a classic RPG, where one die represents the lava and the other a blockade, with modifiers based on the wall’s material. Eruption is a game that moves quickly and where all players eventually overheat. The key to winning is to be the last player standing by placing walls between you and the lava, while playing cards and tiles that turn up the heat in your opponents’ villages.
A game that’s easy to teach and intuitive to play. Strategic decisions around trading for resources and placing walls or tiles help Eruption go beyond a simple race game. Some luck is involved in how tiles are drawn, but a stronger strategy will always win the day.
I like that you can put walls anywhere, but you have to gather the walls first and make good use of your resources. Deciding between playing cards or trading them in is important. Sometimes the first round of a new game is hard, but Eruption made sense and played smoothly right away.