The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction is a resource management card game. You are trying to develop and load bombs faster than your opponents using the personnel and resources at hand. After the tipping point, whoever has the stronger bombs wins.
The Manhattan Project Card Game Stats:
Players: 1-5 players
Time: 30 minutes
Published by: Minion Games
Retail price: ~$15 on publisher website
Categories: Card, Resource Management, Strategy
The Manhattan Project Gameplay:
To set up the game, you’ll place bomb plans, landmark cards and the deck of resources in the middle of the field. In addition to the hand of five cards, players can use landmark cards during their turn.
Players will use the cards in their hand as personnel (sideways) or machinery (vertical), matching the input values to obtain a certain output. The player will collect their output resources (yellow cake, uranium), and purchase bomb plans or bombs if possible. After drawing up to five cards, play passes to the next player.
Bomb plans have values between four and seven based on the amount of resources need to purchase it. All bombs to load onto the bomb plans have a point value of two. The first player to reach ten points signals the last round of the game, giving other players one last turn to build. The player with the highest number of points wins.
The Manhattan Project Card Game Review:
The card game is fairly quick to learn and explain.
Figuring out the best play for your hand is a fun kind of puzzle. However, once you get the hang of how to always create the best play, there is not really anything else to do strategy-wise. You can sometimes choose to go for stronger bomb plans with more points, or more bombs to load up for extra points, but there is not a lot of flexibility in play.
This game reminds me of Splendor in the way you are trying to obtain resources. However, because of the limited choices on the field, there is not as much opportunity for subterfuge and not as many different ways to obtain points. This is where The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction falls flat.
Of the cards that do offer subterfuge, one (the ability to choose and steal a card from your opponent) is overpowered. In a game where each card is crucial for building resources, losing one card not only handicaps your next turn, but also gives the opponent more resources of her choosing.
Overall, as a card game, it is travel-friendly and may be a good game option for strategy and puzzle-minded players. I have not tried the single-player version of the game yet.
Thank you to Minion Games for sending this game to Unfiltered Gamer. The review is our honest opinion of the game.