Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance
Publisher: Oni Games & Renegade Games Studios
Playtime: 30 Minutes
Aggretsuko is an anime series that has grabbed the hearts of adults everywhere. The cute series is a part of the Sanrio (Most known for Hello Kitty) franchise and features Retsuko, a 25-year-old Red Panda who struggles to navigate through her work and social life. After a stressful workday, she tends to go to a karaoke bar to rage with some metal tunes. It’s an endearing series that resonates with young people who are trying to find their place in this world. Oni Games and Renegade Games Studios have collaborated to bring the franchise to the tabletop with Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance. The card game utilizes a deck
How To Play
Oni Games and Renegade Games Studios have collaborated to bring the franchise to the tabletop with Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance. The card game utilizes a deck of cards. 13 of them are dealt to each player at the beginning of every workday (Or round). Each player is also given a rage token, which looks like a cute little Retsuko. The goal in any given round is for players to get rid of all of the cards in their hands. Anyone who has played the card game President will have a good grasp on the rules before they even start playing Aggretsuko.
Like President, the starting player will play any card they like from their hand. There are quite a few plays available to the player. They can play a single card, a pair, or even three cards of the same rank (The number on the card). Regardless of what they play, the next player will need to play a card of a higher rank that still has the same amount of cards that was played before. For example, if the previous player played a single 6, the next player would need to play a single of a higher rank. If the player had played a pair of 4s, the next player would need to play exactly one pair of a higher rank.
There are many other plays available to players too, and most of them are based around poker hands. Four of Kind, Straight, Flush, and Full House are all just a few more plays that are available. If a player is unable to beat the previous play, they must pass. If every player passes, the round ends. The player who made the last play gets to start fresh and make a play. Once per round, a passing player can choose to rage. They will flip their rage token from the polite side to the rage side, then they can place it on any card that was played during the current round. At the end of the round, the raging player may take their token and the card it was sitting on. The card can be used in future rounds. The Rage token stays on the Rage side until the end of the day.
The day ends when a player has emptied their hand. Players score points based on how many cards they have left. The more cards the players have, the more points they score. If a player did not rage during that day, they get to subtract one card from their hand for scoring purposes. Then a new day begins. The game ends after five days, and the player who has the least points wins.
Pacing and Interactivity
As mentioned before, if you have played President, you will have no trouble picking up Aggrestsuko. There are only a few differences in rules, and most of those differences take place in between rounds. Even if players aren’t familiar with President this still isn’t a difficult game to learn. The simple rules make Aggretsuko accessible to most types of players regardless of experience or age. It plays quickly, and most games will end within 30 minutes. The pacing is fast, with short rounds that ensure that players are constantly engaged throughout.
Aggretsuko isn’t the most interactive card game, which might be a problem for some players. Players don’t really have a way to affect the plays of other players. The only way to interfere is to simply make bigger plays, and that isn’t always possible due to the lack of control players have with their hands. The Rage token adds some much-needed depth to Aggretsuko. Without the token, the amount of control players have is minuscule and the game becomes mostly about luck. Aggretsuko doesn’t rely on strategy too much outside of a few possible ways to approach the game. It won’t take long for players to learn how to maximize their hands, then everything is dependent on how well players use their Rage tokens (And the quality of their opening hands).
Like games like Poker, knowing when to pass is vital to success in Aggretsuko. The ability to pass even when a player has a play available is nice. It gives players the feeling that they can control a bit more. One difference that most players will appreciate is that this game doesn’t suffer from any snowballing. When a new day starts, everyone has a clean slate with fresh hands. This ensures that players always feel like they have a chance of performing better when the next day starts.
Theme and Components
The gameplay of Aggretsuko is enjoyable, but the experience does fall short when it comes to the way it utilizes the theme. Oni and Renegade Games do their best at linking the gameplay with the Aggretsuko franchise, but the final product leaves a lot to be desired. The rules don’t make the game feel like it is an Aggretsuko game. The only reminders in the gameplay lie in the Rage mechanic and the turn structure. The 5 days remind players that they are working a full workweek. The final round is even called Friday.
The scoring at the end of the day is a small nod to the office theme as well. If a player has too many cards, they are working overtime and score more points. It’s a bit cute, but again, doesn’t make the game feel like Aggretsuko. Even the Rage mechanic falls a bit short since it doesn’t really utilize the way the Retsuko actually rages in the show. It’s not that the game doesn’t use its theme, it just doesn’t use it too well. The Aggretusko fans at our table were disappointed and wanted a few more gameplay mechanisms to be references to the anime. As of now, it’s mostly just President with an Aggretsuko coat of paint.
Each card has a number and a character from Aggretsuko on it. The lower ranks have some of the lower office employees while the higher ranks have the bosses and executives. It’s fun seeing the characters, and each card has a quote, but even this doesn’t do enough to suck players into the world of Aggretsuko.
Aggretsuko Is Great For Fans Of…
Anyone who enjoys playing President and wants to enjoy a slight variant with an Aggretsuko skin will be satisfied with Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance. The game can also be enjoyed by those who prefer light card games with little downtime and interaction.
Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance
Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance fails to make the most out of the source material, but still delivers an enjoyable card game.