Played this tonight with 3 players. A very enjoyable family game that reminded us of the old game Hotels by MB with a bidding twist that works. Each player starts with 2 Million in cash. All are then dealt 2 attraction cards from which they have to pay the bank the amount they're worth. Better rides with higher payouts cost more. This is a nice mechanism since the person then has less to bid for rides that come up in auctions. The turn consists of revealing an event card, rolling the dice and moving a park visitor, and collecting ride points.
The event cards consist of things like allowing you to close other player's rides, moving park guests to more opportune positions, holding an auction for a park attraction, paying cash to one or all the players, and moving the year marker which will eventually end the game.
The auctions make the game interesting. There are 4 types. Single attraction face up, double face up, single blind (face down), and double blind auctions. You don't know what type of event card or auction is coming up. If you blow too much money on an early auction, you might miss the opportunity to win a double later on. The more attractions you own, the more points you get when a visitor frequents your ride.
Player movement consists of rolling 2 dice. One die has 7 colors (one for each of the visitors) and a wild spot that allows you to move the visitor of the color indicated (or one of choice if rolling a wild spot). The other is a six-sided that shows how far they must move in the turn. You cannot retrace their steps. This is where the second dilemma can present itself. The obvious is to move a visitor to one of your attractions which scores you double it's ride value in points. The next option is to move the indicated visitor to a ride of another player allowing both of you to collect the amount of points shown. Finally, if the first two options don't suit you, you can try to position the visitor closer to your attractions.
Finally there's the option to buy a maintenance or custodial person at the beginning of the game for a set amount. You may purchase both if you like. These people allow you to avoid nasty event card payments should you not have one or both of them in possession. Think of them as insurance tokens.
In our first game, Tye started off with the wooden roller coaster and popcorn stand which cost him quite a bit of cash. He was out of the running for a few double auctions that came along. I managed to pick up the steel rollercoaster for a lark in a double blind auction, but couldn't capitalize on it for pretty much the rest of the game. High value attractions seem to get hit by the closed tokens a lot and are furthest away from the gate meaning they don't get as much traffic. Micki managed to get the information kiosk at the park entrance. It's fairly low (a one pointer) in value, but there's an event card that moves 4 visitors to it during the game. If you happen to own it, it's 8 points. Plus, there's lots of traffic through that area, so she managed to score well in the game. An ususual amount of year turn event cards came up and ended the game after about 2/3 of the event deck was run through causing a low scoring game. I ended up with 27 points, Micki with 17 and Tye with 22.
In the second game, the steel roller coaster never came up. Tye managed to get the wooden roller coaster in a bid but could only capitalize on it twice. Lots of points went to middle of the road attractions like the water rides and ferris wheel. Micki made a killing off her attractions. I had the most rides (12) in the game and got hit late on by the event card which caused everyone to pay 1 point for each ride they owned. Ouch. The game went to the next to last card, and all attractions but 2 made it on the board. Final score Micki 49, Tye 38, Walt 35. If the maintenance cost event card had come up earlier it would have been a different game.
Overall, this is a great family game with a good balance of luck and strategy. It could use a few tweaks though. Here's a few changes we decided to make. You may turn in either a maintenance or custodial persion chit to reopen a closed ride (you then lose their insurance protection). There are two blank event cards that come with the game. One event we made was to allow all players to purchase a maintenance custodial person for 100,000 more than the original cost at the start of the game. The other allows the purchase of a custodial person in the same manner. Finally we take out one of the year movement event cards and shuffle it into the last 10 cards to assure the game will at least go into the bottom 5th of the event deck. I also used the extra sprue cardboard to cut out a fifth players ownership tokens and allow another player. I think that six players would cause the event deck to be run through too quickly.
Overall ratings, Micki - 9, Tye - 8, Walt 8.5