20 November 2019
New and improved version of one of last year’s greatest tabletop experiences.
Last year’s Wildlands was just too good to leave alone. Thanks to Martin Wallace’s smooth integration of simple cardplay with fierce miniatures skirmishing, three expansions quickly followed, adding factions and a couple of new maps. Now Osprey has published an entirely new game, transposing Wallace’s slick mechanisms to a crazed, 2000 AD comic-strip mash-up, in which reality's boundaries have fragmented, causing the likes of Slaìne, Strontium Dog and Nikolai Dante to rampage around the streets of Mega-City One, much to the annoyance of the local law enforcers.
But this is more than a straightforward, sci-fi reskin with a savvy geeky twist. Helter Skelter introduces new tweaks to Wallace’s system – for example, adding in Psi powers that allow cards to be stolen from other player’s hands and gives each team access to a unique power, such as Celtic warrior Slaìne’s ability to ‘warp spasm’ into a berserker rage.
It also vitally refines its source game. There’s no more wild movement, and you can no longer play a card to draw two more during your turn. But there are more opportunities to interrupt another player’s turn, making Helter Skelter a little more focused and tactical. Plus, the card design is much clearer now (gone are the confusing character portraits on the right-hand side) and they’ve finally realised they really should distinguish between the 6 and the 9 on the map cards.
Even if you’re not into the cult British anthology comic that inspires this future-shocking Wildlands iteration, it still stands as a new and improved version of one of last year’s greatest tabletop experiences.
PLAY IT? MUST- PLAY
Designer: Martin Wallace
This review originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.