The theme is quite light. Hong Kong has had a mystery blackout and you are one of several people trying to restore order before the world goes mad. Thematically this means using resources wisely to scout and gain control of strategic area of the city.
The player boards work you through the round structure and so have a lot of writing and information on, which can seem intimidating at first, but actually really helps with the game flow. One player will roll the resource dice which will give you access to three different resources. Then you will come to the card play. You start with three columns you can play cards too and you will activate these cards to gain the resource of the matching colour die or activate special abilities.
This is all in order to fulfil objectives which in term can give you other benefits like placing your cubes on the map and building a mini engine of powers that will activate at the end of the round. You will be able to improve you deck with purchases and attempt to scout areas for rewards and end game scoring set collection. Lastly you may select one column of cards to draw back into your hand. This is the clever part of the hand management where you will build the columns to achieve goals but also give yourself a lot of good options.
Blackout: Hong Kong seems like a game that has a lot going on, which it does, but it all flows well and ends up a little bit lighter than you may expect for a Pfister big box game. It’s a lot of fun too!