A few weeks ago, I recieved a cool little package in the mail- a neat little boardgame called "Wreck the Nation" It was sent for me to review, but DANGIT, I've been so busy since then, that I haven't had a chance to PLAY the danged game. Finally, I corralled someone to play a couple of rounds, and can now give my critical imprimatur.
In the game, each player is a corrupt politician, beholden to a particular industry (Lawyers, Banking, Oil, or Military Contractors). The purpose of the game is to become the first to squander every bit of tax money given to him/her at the beginning of the game (1 trillion.) Think of it as sort of a "Monopoly" in reverse.
Gameplay is pretty straightforward- you roll the dice, move your little metal marker, and depending on what space you land on, you either take a card, "Gouge the Government", or take a swing at buying media outlets.
First: the cards. They come in Revenue, Expenditure, and Homeland security. As would be expected, the player wants to land on expenditures, tries to avoid revenue, and Homeland security is pretty much a potluck of the good and bad. Each card is based upon events and decisions of the Bush administration, and can be reasearched on the Wreck the Nation website. Thus, the game serves to be somewhat educational. However, it's also a drawback, as those more intent on gameplay will find themselves skimming through the bush references, and just following the directions at the bottom of the card.
Sometimes, the cards instruct you to "declare war" on a number of issues, poll the voters, or send your opponent(s) to the most dreaded spot on the board, "Wreck the Nation", and collect all previous expenditures from other players.
Players can try to buy a few media outlets to create a "media monopoly" triad. Buying media is a mixed blessing- it costs almost 1/3 of your starting bankroll (which is handy), but then COLLECT hated revenue, when other players land on those that you own. Their main advantage is the benefits that a few choice cards give to those who own media monopolies.
"Gouging the government" is a quick and easy way to lose a bit of cash (unless you roll two sets of doubles- then you earn money- read the rules...)
Like any board game, the more people playing, the better the experience. I felt I was missing out on something, with only one opponent, but overall, I'd have to say that the game works best as an educational tool, as the gameplay lacked the strategy that I'd prefer to see in such a game.
Otherwise, the game is well-produced, well-thought out, and handsomely produced (neat metal pieces- you don't see that often.) I give it a 7.5 out of ten.