Fate of the Future brings Disney’s forgotten superhero movie back to life (Review)
The best thing about The Rocketeer: Fate of the Future, the newest two player board game from Funko Games, is the joy I felt upon realizing that such a thing even exists. You don’t get much more niche than The Rocketeer – a 1991 1930s gangster / superhero movie that even Disney himself has probably forgotten – so I can’t imagine many families browsing the shelves of Board games Target search for goodies related to Rocketeer. But Funko Games, and in particular its boutique label Prospero Hall, has built so much goodwill with gamers by delivering a constant stream of nothing but high-quality board games like The Goonies: Never Say Die, Back. To The Future: Back In Time, and Pan Am The Game, that at this point he could release a game about unripened cheese and I know that would be a modern classic.
Fortunately, The Rocketeer is a bit more interesting than unripened cheese. I watched the movie as a kid and haven’t thought about it much since, but the board game brought back all of those memories. Like all Prospero Hall games, the presentation and attention to detail is world class. From the original art and gold leaf lettering on the retro Los Angeles card box to Art Deco style game pieces and game board, The Rocketeer absolutely nails the theme.
The game itself also reflects the plot of the film. Fate of the Future is a 1v1, semi-asymmetric game of heroes versus villains. Each player gets three characters to control, a unique deck of cards, and three figures to move around the board. The board itself is reminiscent of the Disney Villainous game board, with plenty of icons to learn and six different areas each character can move between. The object of the game is to move around the board “fighting” with the other player – the Rocketeer version of a combat phase – to steal the Rocketeer’s blueprints from the opponent and earn Final cards. At the end of the game, i.e. when the Luxembourg Zeppelin reaches Los Angeles, the player with the most Final cards wins.
If you’re familiar with the movie, all of the characters, actions, and locations should look familiar. If you’ve never seen it, however, there’s a lot to digest. Not only do you have to familiarize yourself with the characters and the various icons, but all the common board game terminology is Rocketeer as well. Health is called Grit, Silver is called Clout, and Combat is, as mentioned earlier, a Tussle. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of mechanics and components to learn, but I can say that my uninitiated playing partner has had a steeper learning curve than I have.
Rocketeer is definitely a game that needs to hit the table more than once before you get used to it. At the start of each round, players draw a hand of seven playing cards. Each card has two options: you can perform the actions it offers from a column of icons, or you can use its special ability by playing the cost of Clout and following the instructions. The symbol on the map should match the symbol of the character you are currently playing, so there are a lot of decisions to be made each turn. Until you’ve seen all the cards in your deck and learned some basic synergies and strategies, the turns can seem pretty overwhelming. Additionally, every Finals card you collect has a special condition in order to earn you points at the end of the game, so you’ll need to keep these secret tasks in mind as you plan each turn.
Each match lasts three to five rounds, and my partner and I really started to get used to it in the fourth round. In our second game, we felt like experts, even though we changed heroes and villains and had to learn slightly different mechanics and strategies. I suspect The Rocketeer will be part of our regular 2-player rotation without going stale, in part because of the asymmetrical quality of the unique hero and villain decks, but mostly thanks to the delicious bluffing mechanic that surrounds the Rocketeer’s blueprints.
Each time you steal the other player’s blueprints, you take three cards that represent the actual plane and two decoys. You then give these cards to your three characters face down so your opponent doesn’t know who has the real blueprints. To collect them, players must fight and knock out the character holding the real blueprints. If they knock out a character holding a decoy, they will have lost a turn and will have to keep looking. Multiple cards in each deck can allow each player to hide the real blueprints again if they’ve been discovered or even have your opponent reveal their plans preemptively without a fight first. This little mind game in the biggest card game was hilarious for us, and I was looking forward to pretending my partner. It’s basically Carrot in a Box, wrapped up in a board game.
The Rocketeer: Fate of the Future is an exceptional throwback to a forgotten ’90s superhero flick, functioning both as an ode to the film and an ode to the era of the luscious soap operas that inspired it. It’s easier to enjoy after a second game, and even more so if you’re a fan of the movie, but it’s a great strategy game on its own, even without the fan service. Two-player games can be hard to find, especially ones with as much depth and personality as The Rocketeer. I would recommend it to any board game couple looking to try something with minimal setup and good replayability. Even if you only shoot a few sessions of it, the MSRP of $ 24.99 is extraordinarily attractive.
If you need a little more conviction, The Rocketeer is streaming on Disney +. You can make it a whole date night! I’d better stop now before I start suggesting Rocketeer themed cocktails as well.
Next: The Goonies: Never Say Die Is A Great Way To Dip Your Toes Into TTRPG
Use Chaos, or this mod, to make Yennefer look like the actress.
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