Mississippi Queen: The Black Rose
This is an expansion for Mississippi Queen and cannot be played as a standalone game. It allows play for two to six players.
The expansion contains the following:
6 new river tiles,
3 boats complete with paddle wheels: The Black Rose and two others that are the same colors as two in the original Mississippi Queen game,
A sticker to put onto the starting board, and
First off let me clarify one thing regarding the boats. The duplicate boats are red and white and are used both in the two-player variant and the six-player game. There are stickers that are added to each of these boats so that players can separated them for the boats provided with Mississippi Queen. Not the best solution but a solution nonetheless. Since the boats are plastic you could always paint the smoke stacks to make the boats more obvious.
The idea behind this expansion is to provide the players with several different variants to the basic game as well as to add some more challenging river tiles to the game. So with that in mind lets look at the variants.
One other thing, I’m going to assume that those of you reading this are familiar with the Mississippi Queen game and passenger rules. Therefore, I’m not going to rehash the rules to the basic game, I’ll just make reference to them when necessary.
The two-player game:
One thing people probably figure out very quickly is that many race games, no matter how good, really stink when played with two players. The races just lack excitement; then again it could just be me. Well in order to spice things up a bit this variant gives each player two boats to race down the mighty river. Player One has boats 1 and 4 while Player Two has boats 2 and 3. Each passenger stop has only one passenger and the game ends when a player gets one of his boats, with two passengers, to the landing platform at a speed of one.
There are a couple other neat things regarding the movement of a players boats:
1)The active player decides in which order to move his boats
2)The player is allowed to push his other boat along
3)The player may exchange coal between his boats if they are adjacent at the end of one boats movement and they have the same speed. However, neither boat may be at a passenger or coal station, the loading platform, a sandbar, or floating logs. Whew.
Truth to tell I’ve never actually played the two-player variant but it does sound interesting. You could race the boats in two different fashions. One speeding down the river while the other looks to make a more careful journey. Or, and I like this one better, use one boat to pick up the passengers while using the other boat to hinder the opponents lead boat. There is a certain amount of joy one gets when running into an opponents boat and forcing them off course.
The six-player game:
Not much to say here really as the game is the same as the original Mississippi Queen except that it can handle six players. To do that the 6th player gets one bonus coal at the start of the game. The coal is a one shot use and only on the players first move.
I’ve played with six and it works fine. I like racing games with lots of racers speeding around the course. I think it’s the conflict between speed and room to move that make race games interesting to me.
The Black Rose:
This variant brings the Black Rose onto the Mississippi and changes the game the most drastically. However, except for the use of the Black Rose, the game play and victory conditions are the same as in the original game.
The Black Rose is similar to the other boats except for the following:
1)The coal wheel for the Black Rose has only white and black spaces without numbers. So the Rose can only use at most one coal for maneuvers during its movement. However it has unlimited coal.
2)The player who moves last controls the Black Rose and moves his boat and the Black Rose as if he were moving two boats in the two-player game (see above). Therefore, the player can exchange coal but with a maximum of 2 units.
The Black Rose can never be removed for the game. If it were to get into a situation where it needed more than one coal to maneuver out then it may use more though no more than necessary.
Again another variant that I haven’t played and I’m not too sure that I ever will. The concept is interesting but I think this changes the racing dynamic even more. The aspect of picking up passengers in the original game helps the race from becoming a blow out. I don’t think that with more people the Black Rose is really needed. But that is the beauty of this expansion; just play what you want to play.
New River Tiles:
There are six new tiles that can be added or exchanged into the basic game as you see fit. The tiles add new features and complexity to your race down the river.
The new features are:
Sand Bars: Running your boat onto one of these runs you aground and ends your movement. Coming off a sandbar is difficult.
Floating Logs: Slow your boat down as you move through the obstacles.
Coal Supply Stations: These stations allow you to pick up coal the same way you pick up passengers.
The new features are really nice and are the main reason that I picked up this expansion. The sand bars and logs really add to the decisions in the race and make the basic game better. The racing becomes more interesting as boats fight for the best positions to avoid these hindrances.
If you have Mississippi Queen and you’d like to spice it up a bit I recommend the Black Rose expansion. Play with the rules you like best and don’t worry about the rest. For me the new tiles alone were worth the price.
Let me make sure I read this correctly.
You wrote a review of the Black Rose without having actually played with the Black Rose? Not even once?
Glamorous Mucus (#81471),
Yeah, I know it seems crazy but it is an expansion with several different rule variants, similar to the El Grande Expansion or the Alhambra Expansions. I've used what I felt I would enjoy most and hopefully everyone finds something they like in this expansion.