27th Jul2021

‘Crisis Protocol: Rocket & Groot Expansion’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

With loners like Thanos and Hulk having recently joined my Crisis Protocol ranks, the popular combination of Rocket and Groot offers a welcome change. In keeping with their relationship in the movies, this interstellar duo work best when taken together – in particular, because of the Deadly Duo Team Tactics card bundled with them, and because Rocket has a “Personal Bodyguard” ability that works exclusively when Groot is nearby.

As always, let’s look at the models first of all. Rocket is as small as you might expect, but his miniature is highly recognisable and stands atop an emerging Groot-root, grimacing as he blasts away with an oversized plasma rifle. Groot, on the other hand, is a fairly large model on a medium sized base. He paints up well and has lots of nooks and crannies for wash-style painting, but it’s hard to escape the amount of brown that simply has to feature on a model of a tree man. The good news is, the pair looks really diverse and since you’ll often see them on the table together, that’s a very good thing.

Moving onto the characters themselves, let’s first examine some of their statistics and skills. Going with Groot first, here we see a seven health, short movement (but medium base) model, with size and threat of three each. Groot’s defence stats are four, two and three respectively for physical, energy and mystic damage. Grot has a basic strike with range two and five strength, which benefits from the very simple “gain as much power as damage dealt” caveat. Groot can spend this power on the expensive but powerful I Am Groot attack, which is range two and deals eight dice worth of damage. I Am Groot also throws the enemy model medium, and inflicts stagger.

Groot has just two more abilities, both of which cost two power. Firstly, Groot is a Living Plant, and as such he can pay two power and remove three damage tokens. He can also use his final ability, Tangling Vines, which enables him to choose an enemy within three range and inflict Root upon it. Root simply makes another model spend one power before using any reactive or proactive for as long as the effect (which never alleviates on its own) is in play.

Rocket, on the other hand, is the classic definition of a glass cannon. Rocket is a small, size one model who moves medium and costs two threat – he has just three health on both his healthy and wounded card sides. He has two physical and energy defence, and three against mystic attacks, On the plus side, thanks to his Small Stature passive ability, he benefits from being considered in cover at all times. Personal Bodyguard, which I mentioned earlier, is another mitigating factor to Rocket’s squishyness – this ability simply allows Rocket to transfer the target of any attack from himself, to Groot, as long as Groot is within range one of Rocket.

So, if you now imagine a situation where Rocket is pretty much glued to Groot at almost all times, thanks to Groot’s longevity and the way in which he keeps Rocket alive, what does Rocket bring to the party? Well, in summary, he brings guns and explosions. His basic Plasma Rifle attack is a range five, strength five attack that (like Groot’s) also bestows Rocket with power equal to the damage dealt. His Hadron Enforcer attack, which is seven strength and costs four power (also range five) is both a meaty attack in terms of base value and because it has a Vortex effect that drags other enemy models towards the target and also deals them two damage. His final Superpower is Booby Traps, which effectively deals four dice worth of damage to any enemy ending their movement within range three of Groot.

Because of their interdependency on each other, Rocket and Groot make a very interesting addition to Crisis Protocol. I’m not sure how “good” they are in practice, but Rocket deals out a lot more damage than you might expect thanks to the “bonus” of his Vortex weapon and via his Booby Traps, whilst Groot is both himself very hard to kill – and he makes Rocket hard to kill in turn. These guys make a great, very fun addition to your Crisis Protocol roster, and for six threat between them, you’ll have a good chance of fielding them often.

Crisis Protocol: Rocket & Groot Expansion is available online at 365Games.co.uk, or at your local games store. Don’t know where yours is? Try this handy games store locator

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