My full review of Geared: Build a Bike can be found here:
A full list of my board game reviews can be found on the same site here:
(Thanks to Dad's Gaming Addiction for the layout idea)
Geared: Build Your Bike is a card game 2-4 players. Designed by avid cyclist Alex Solomon, the goal of the game is to be the first person to build enough bikes to score 1000 points. Can you build your bikes before your competitors get theirs first?
How to Play
The object of the game is pretty straightforward. Players combine Parts Cards to build a complete bike for points. A complete bike consists of one Handlebar, Frame, and Wheels Part Card. You can combine any colored parts together to create a bike, but making a matching color set will net you higher scores. Players will have to think about when to put out parts because other players can play cards to steal or remove parts from other builds. The first person to score 1000 points worth of completed bike sets is the winner.
The pace of the game is pretty quick. During each player's turn, they can either play Parts Cards (Handlebars, Wheels, and Frames) from their hand or play an Action Card (Steal, Remove, Swap), but not both. When playing Parts Cards, you can either play one of any color, or up to three cards if they all are of matching colors. There also happens to be a set of wild Parts Cards that count towards whichever set it's attached to. I should point out that if you play an Action Card during a turn, you can't play a Parts Card on that same turn. Play continues clockwise and goes on until someone has won the game.
We tried out Geared over the course of two evenings. The first group consisted of just my daughter and I; the second consisted of 8 gamers that could be considered casual to competitive. My daughter was a fan of the vibrant colors on each of the cards and couldn't get enough of the game. Each game lasted about 10-15 minutes with two players and we played a handful of times until bedtime. She had a few friends over the next day to play and the rules were not so complex that she could explain them proficently.
Playing with a larger group seemed to work better than anticipated. I know that the rules say that the game is for 2-4 players, however the game feels like such a social/casual game that we wanted to stress test the system as it were. More players meant that the card sets were spread out a bit and at first we felt like that would be a problem. Thanks to the rule that when you run out of cards for the draw pile, all completed bikes are shuffled back into the deck along with discarded cards. Cards were being recycled back into the deck which ensured that the odds were evened out over the course of the game.
With the older group, Geared seemed to meld into the background. After playing for about an hour, the group was more engaged in the table conversations as the turns played out. The simplicity of the game meant you could carry on a conversation, say at a party, but at the expense of any really depth of play.
Geared: Build Your Bike is game best tailored to the younger crowd and casual gamers. The game is ridiculously easy to learn, the games are relatively short yet the game lacks a certain amount of depth that competitive gamers would enjoy. This is definitely a game your kids can enjoy with their friends and perfect gateway to other games outside of the Hasbro line up of games.