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.
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