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Subject: Ready to Rock rss

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Chris Baylis
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READY TO ROCK is a card playing game about going to a rock concert and fighting your way from the Mixer Desk down to the mosh pit - the wild dance area directly in front of the stage. It is for 3-9 players aged 14+ (though some of the cards may make a parent or two question the age choice, 16+ would probably have been better) and a game takes from 10 minutes to about 30 minutes - the shorter and more frantic the better.
READY to ROCK has been researched and developed (and self-published) by Tommaso Bonetti. The graphics and illustrations are by Dario Quadri. Translations from Italian to French and German are by Aurelie Andre and Verena Richter respectively. As there is no information in the rules book or on the box as to who gave the English translation I am going to assume that it was the developer, Tommaso Bonetti (whom I am also assuming to be the designer) who did it.

The idea of the game isn't new - laying cards to make a path or passage to a target area - it's been done dozens of times, but the theme is, to my knowledge, different. The rules are in a small booklet, taking just 4 pages for each translation, but unfortunately, at least from the English translation, they are hard work, virtually impossible to unscramble, and I have seen a lot of board games. It took several readings to get even close to understanding the basic mechanic and I'm not sure now how close to playing it we are; there are so many grammar and spelling errors that it is obvious the game was never proof-read or play-tested by English speaking games players.

There are two decks of cards (as far as we can make out) one with "Ready to Rock" right across its rear side and one which is mainly black with "Ready to Rock" in small lettering in the top right corner on their backs. Almost everything has to be assumed, apart from saying that the Ticket Cards and VIP Pass Card should be shuffled together and dealt out until one player gets the VIP card and thus becomes the Start Player. The next part of the preparation states that "Every rocker draws out four cards..." It doesn't say from where these cards are "drawn out" though we can assume it's from the deck that includes (again as far as we can assume) the deck of Path cards, Flash cards and Wall cards, which, again we assume, should be well shuffled. These are the cards that the players use to make the pathway through the concert crowd and to cause events that are usually advantageous to the player.

The player whose turn it is draws a card from the deck and then may take one or two actions; an action is playing a card or moving your pawn (in this game the player pieces are guitar picks). When playing Path cards you either butt one against the other, long side against long side making sure they fit together exactly (landscape against landscape) or you may then play exactly on top of a previously played Path card or cards. The idea is to form a contiguous passageway through the hordes of revellers so that you can move your Pawn onward towards the Mosh Pit (we are assuming the players are attempting to reach the Mosh Pit but the rules do say "Under the Stage" which isn't usually an area anyone attempts to get to - onstage maybe, backstage definitely, but not under it).

8 of the cards show a mini wall icon (the rule book says 7 Wall cards but I have 8 n my deck so perhaps I picked up a spare card at Spiel) - these are known as Wall cards - which block the way for player movement, although body surfing will get the player over the wall. There are only 3 different photographs - 3 x Hell's Angels, 2 x Mosh Pit and 3 x Head Bangers. There are 12 different types of Flash card: - 6 x Body Surfing,2 x Smashed Beer, 2 x Shots on Fire, 2 x Lots of Beers, 2 x Flashing Tits, 2 x Groupies, 3 x Ear Plugs, 2 x Chemical Queue, 2 x Piss Stop, 2 x Beer, 4 x Pushed Away and 9 x Ready to Rock. Each of these cards affects the game; generally by the way cards are drawn or played.

There are 24 cards marked by a musical note that form the Stage Card Deck. There are 2 of each:- Wall of Death, Ballad, Circle Pit, Special Guest, Fire Explosion and Shitty Weather. When one of these is flipped the effect can be quite alarming. Pathway cards can be rotated, Mosh Pit cards can be discarded, player's hands can be swapped etc. The final set of cards are the player reference (aka The F*cking Legend) cards which explain the icons found on cards throughout the game.

READY TO ROCK appears, in my opinion, to be a case of someone knowing their own game design, describing it to and playing it with friends and family who are supportive, and then going ahead and publishing it without giving it to non-influenced outside play-testers. In its current state the game isn't easily, if at all, playable, at least not using the English rules translation.

There is, on Boardgamegeek, a speeded up video demo of three players going through a game (http://boardgamegeek.com/video/21314/ready-rock/one-complete...) but with no commentary as to what the players are doing. If you carefully watch what is happening on the screen you can roughly tell the game mechanic - players are drawing cards and playing cards and placing pieces and moving pieces - but as there is no commentary it is still not clear what cards are being played and what effect they have.
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