After a round of Felix: The Cat in the Sack, my friend pulled out Rocketville because, as another friend put it, it's a bid game like Felix. That's kind of like De Vito and Schwarzenegger in Twins.
I got off to a good start winning the first three squares with cards strong enough by exactly 1. Rich, on the other hand, spent the first 12 rounds drawing cards instead of playing. This turned out to be a great strategy because he pretty much couldn't be stopped towards the end of the game. Actually. it was really frustrating for the rest of us because he seemed to win every other square by exactly 1 and won the game by 20 points
I felt better going into the second game with a good handle on how it works. This feeling didn't last too long. We introduced an endorsement card. In this case, any time a player got a robot card, he had to give a campaign card to the player with the endorsement. This wasn't a game breaker by any means since the endorsed player would typically get the other player's crappiest gray card.
And how the gray cards flowed! Throughout the game, all my cards were either gray or brown. The gray cards are completely worthless if any other player plays a card of that square's color. Amazingly, I was still able to win some key spots with gray cards, so I finished 1st or 2nd in a few districts.
Rich, of course, was still drawing all the best cards and won the second game as well, but this time, I was a few points behind him.
Some thoughts about the game
- It's really simple to play, but you wouldn't think of it by looking at that mess of a board. Since color plays an important part of the game, some color choices of the districts aren't too well planned. More than once I found myself nearly playing a yellow card on a brown space because that space had a yellow background. Really, Richard Garfield?
- Only one endorsement card per game? Surely they could allow a few more at a time to make the game a little more interesting.
- The only hint the game gives that it was designed by the same man who made Magic: The Gathering is the concept of card advantage. Unfortunately, it's totally moot when every freakin' card in your hand is gray.
- The most worthless robot card is easily the one that gives you 4 points for having the least amount of markers on the board. You know how, before the second Big Wheel on the Price is Right, the announcer says "contestants not appearing on stage will receive" and it's a list of about $100 worth of crap? That's what this card does. It enables you to lose with dignity.