My wife and I have a now, well established tradition that over the summer we spend an afternoon to go and buy a game that we know nothing about but looks intriguing enough to try. We then spend a few hours playing the game in a public place. I have an extremely busy summer this year, and we had the chance to sneak away for an evening so we go a jump start on this "summer" tradition. Wacky Wacky West was the game we went with this year. The price for the game was right, it looked interesting, and my wife liked that it was published by Mayfair Games. Every other year, when we have done this we have selected a game we like, so did we keep the streak alive?
Wacky Wacky West, as the name implies is a wacky game that mixes elements of tile laying, deduction, and social interaction. The board comes with several buildings printed on it in various colors with different point values. Each player will secretly be given one of these building colors as their color. At the end of the game they will score points for each of those buildings still on the board.
Players will also be given multiple tiles that take up 1,2, or 3 spaces. These tiles will either further the railroad, the road, or the river. On a player's turn they will play one of their tiles. The tile must be played adjacent to the "worker" that is already on that tile type. After placing the tile, the player then moves the worker to the end of the just placed tile.
Throughout the game these tiles will be covering up building on the board. However, sometimes a tile will be placed over an outhouse, at which point a vote is required. Each player gets a set of voting cards that range from 1-3 postive and 1-3 negative votes per card. Each voting card can only be used once. If there are more no votes than yes votes, then the tile is not placed, and the player's turn ends. Eventually each worker is going to reach a spot where it makes new tile placement impossible. When that happens the worker is removed, once it is not possible to place any more tiles everyone reveals their secret building. Players count up the point value of building left on the board and whoever has the most wins.
The Game We Played
It did not take long into our first game for my wife to discover my secret color. I had red, and she proposed to place a tile that covered up the five point red building. To do this also covered up an outhouse and a vote was needed. I played my 3 value no card, and she placed her 3 value yes card. In the event of a tie, the tile is still played. It turns out to be much harder to save buildings from being covered up than it is to cover them up. Meanwhile, I was still trying to figure out my wife's color. I thought it might be green but I was not terribly sure.
At the end of the game, she revealed orange to be her color. I was thrown off because the very first building she covered up was an orange one. However, after doing that the color was mostly left alone. She had multiple orange buildings on the board, while I only had a couple of red buildings. I do not remember the score but she won by a lot.
My Rating: 3 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: It is kind of hard to properly rate this game. I like the mechanics and the way the game plays, but it is clear that this game is not really meant for two players. The box technically says two, but I think three is needed to really get the social dynamic of the voting that is suppose to be so core to this game.
Her Rating: 3 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: This game is not really for two people. It is silly, but it is OK.
Combined Rating: 6
My wife thought of a variant where we both have two buildings that score. We played that way, and we both liked the game so much more. The variant added a lot more intrigue back into the game. We also both want to play this game with more players. I do not consider the game a bust, but of the four games we have gotten so far through this tradition, this is our least favorite.