Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of Rolling Freight.
Last year at Origins, my friend Erin mentioned a new game that she had the opportunity to play. I recall some of the key points from this conversation: dice, APE games, and trains. I knew that Ape Games also published duck! duck! Go!, a game with rubber ducks. I was both excited and skeptical. But Erin spoke highly of the game, so I knew that it must have something going for it.
I was pretty stoked when my review copy arrived. The first thing that I noticed were the beautiful components. If the final bits are anything near as nice as these, we are in for a treat.
Rolling Freight is built around establishing routes (shipping goods) and building track. But the unique aspect of the game is how you get the resources to build the track and establish the routes.
This is done via the roll of a handful of dice at the end of your turn. The die faces depict different colors. These colors match up to the colors of the links that you want to build. But you can also use the die to purchase upgrades (special powers), establish routes, and buy contract cards that give you the right to work on building the track. It's a nice use of dice, and I never felt like I was without any options on my turn.
Another interesting part of the game is the way that track is built. Unlike games like Age of Steam, where you can build pretty much wherever you want, Rolling Freight borrows from the Early Railways series of games from Winsome Games. Here, you can only build track if you have purchased the corresponding contract card for that link. That card will come from a deck of contract cards, of which only 4 are available at a time.
So far, I have only been able to play once. I enjoyed the game, but I did wonder about what I perceived to be a wash/rinse/and repeat aspect of the game. But I lost. I came in third place and was soundly defeated by Dan, who came in first and was doing some pretty awesome shipments at the end of the game.
To me, this means that I missed something and that I need to alter my play the next time we play.
Other than that notion, I had a very good time. There was plenty of player interaction and I, more than once, angrily stated that Mike or Dan stole one of my contract cards.
From my initial experience, I can say that Rolling Freight is a solid train game that can be enjoyed my newer gamers and more experienced train gamers. The rules are easy to learn and you don't need to master any of the tricky economics of some of the heavier train games.
Rolling Freight is currently available on Kickstarter. It is worth checking out. The rules are available, so you can give them a read if you are interested.
I am also going to do an audio review of the game with Eric (or in conjunction with Eric) on an upcoming podcast.
The guys at the Dice Tower, and our gaming.
Archive for Bradley Keen
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Every year Richard van Vugt of Gamepack.nl publishes a wonderful photo blog/list of the new games showcased at the Nuremberg Toy Fair. There are a number of games that look really interesting, including a new game from Stefan Feld and a Kiesling and Kramer release.
Here are a few of the games that I would like to play:
1. Paris Connection
Alright, you've got me. I have already played this game. It was part of last year's Winsome Essen set, and it is great. Congratulations to Queen Games for recognizing the great games that John Bohrer and Winsome Games keep coming up with.
You could probably take this game to crazy analytical levels, but I suspect that most gamers will enjoy it as a heavier 30 minute filler. It's good fun.
2. Casa Grande from Ravensburger.
Casa Grande by Günther Burckhardt has a definite Ravensburger look to it, and that's a good thing. Actually, it reminds me of Arkadia. It looks like players build buildings on the board and score points (?) based on the movement of Supervisor tokens that move around the edges. They seem to move via a die roll, so luck could be too large of a factor. But the components look great and it just has a "look at me, I'm easy to play, my bits are nice, and I have strategy" feel to it.
3. Plateaux from Winning Moves
Plateaux has all the makings of a fun two player abstract. It can play with more than two, but I wonder how chaotic it would be. Either way, players have the choice of two actions: Place a Brick or Move their Pawn. At the end of the game, the player with the highest pawn thingie wins. A perfect information abstract game. If you like that type of thing, this will excite you. If you don't, then you won't.
4. Olympos from Ystari
Whoa! What's this? Ystari games excite me. Up until this year, I owned all of them. I will now admit that I don't own Industria or their new three musketeers game. (I intend to fix this at some point...maybe). But a brand new release that joins Ystari with Philippe Keyaerts and their big box format is good news.
Yeah, this one is going to be a winner, I can just feel it.
So, those are the games I am most excited about. But I wanted to take a minute to also plug some recent additions to The Martin Wallace Ludography, a list that I try to actively maintain.
Martin has two new light card games coming out from Kosmos: Schlacht am Buffet and Volle Scholle.
Schlacht am Buffet is a re-release of ...und tschüss!, part of the Gold Sieber small box card game series. It has been out of print for a long time, though a Japanese company did produce a version of the game. It has no text, so that version would have been perfect. But Kosmos decided to stamp a theme on it and produce a new version with bits. Whatever. The game is brilliant. It is my favorite quick card game for more than 3 players.
I don't know much about Volle Scholle, but I am working on translating the rules. With that said, it's a super light game, and the game description on the geek pretty much covers most of the rules. It looks fun, in much the same way that ...und tschüss! is fun. I'm slightly concerned that it will be too random or chaotic for my tastes. ...und tschüss! is also random and chaotic, but it's a 10 minute game and it doesn't pretend to be anything else. But I will buy this game.
Martin is also going to release Discworld: Ankh-Morpork at Essen, a game based on the Disc World series by Terry Pratchett. I don't know much about it, but I doubt that I will pass it up.
A Few Acres of Snow should also be released this year, a remnant of the 2010 Treefrog Game Subscription. I'm somewhat sad to see Martin drop this model, but only somewhat. A subscription must put a lot of pressure on a designer to put out some very very good games. He would have to. If I order games up to a year and a half in advance, they had better be worth it. Dropping the subscription model takes away some of this pressure. This two player war game promises to be lighter and quicker than his prior two....and I am looking forward to the day when it shows up in the mail.
Finally, Mayfair is releasing a two player game from Martin, Test of Fire: Bull Run 1861. Martin has designed some of the best War/Euro games out there, but when he leans more towards War games, his designs sometimes leave me confused and cranky (I get tired of constantly looking up errata and different rules for particular situations). I do not think that Mayfair has some magical power to fix this, but designing for a second party means that he may tone down the rules some and I am excited by this game. It's not a must buy, as it doesn't have the Treefrog stamp on it, but it is a must play.
Let me know....are you excited by any of the Nuremberg releases?
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24 Feb 2011
[Hi! Despite my absence from audio podcasting, I'm not gone. I was excited to see the start of the Dice Tower blog and simply hope that these short posts are entertaining to some.]
Martin Wallace has released a number of Civilization/Empire Building games. The list includes Sixteen Thirty Something, Struggle of Empires, Empires of the Ancient World, Tempus, and Conquest of the Empire. I have played most of his games (with the exception of Conquest of the Empire), and it is interesting to see where he takes the genre with each new game. Bits and pieces of the games are carried over, while other chunks are forgotten.
Rise of Empires is Martin's latest game in this category, and I would say that it is his best and most approachable games. The rules are easy to grasp and they thankfully lack the caveats and holes that bothered me in his early offerings. Have a go at the Empires of the Ancient World rules sometime. I can only fairly state that I had a terrible time understanding the adjacency rules and the rules concerning water areas.
I've played Rise of Empires 3 times now, once with two and twice with three. Our latest game took about 2 hours to complete. I was joined by Mike and Dan.
Mike started off the game strong, and amassed an army of farms that he later drilled for oil. He had an amazing number of black resource disks that he could later trade for victory points, gold, and cities (which bring additional victory points). Dan and I moved slower, but concentrated on gaining territories on the board. In our first game as a group, I owned the board, and came out with a large lead in the end. Dan wasn't about to let that happen again. So we fought over the board, but reaped the rewards. Most of the locations on the board grant money, resource disks, or player cubes....as well as victory points.
The game was tight. I spent most of it in third place, but closed the gap between each round. In the end, Dan won and Mike fell into last place. Had he had some board territories, it would have been a much closer game.
Anyhow, it's a really fun game and I honestly think of it as a welcome addition to Martin Wallace's progression of War/Euro games. Yeah, I know. It's not a war game, but there is direct player conflict. You don't get to roll dice (a plus), but cubes are fighting and many get eliminated. That's a war game in my book.
Next week we will hopefully play Rolling Freight, a game that is currently available on Kickstarter as a "pre order". I can't wait to write about it and to discuss it on the podcast.
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