Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Steampunk Rally (Roxley Game Laboratory)

I tried coming up with my own definition of steampunk, but after writing and re-writing, I finally decided to just copy and past what Wikipedia said about it. "Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery." This trend/fad has taken over many aspects of popular culture, including fashion, literature, music, and you guessed it...board games. Today, I would like to tell you about a game called Steampunk RallySteampunk Rally is a racing game for 2-8 players, ages 14+. It takes about an hour to play and retails for $50.
1. Lay out the Racetrack (Swiss Alps for first-timers) and select three of the five available middle track tiles to build a continuous racetrack. At the end of the Racetrack, attache the finish line tile and the end track tile after that.
2. Place all the Dice and Cogs within reach of all players.
3. Sort the four decks according to their border color (gold, silver, copper, and black). Shuffle each deck and place it face down within reach of all players. Take the top card from each deck and place it face up next to the deck to form the individual discard piles.
4. Flip the Play Direction token like a coin, and place it between two random players.
5. Have each player select an Inventor. Then give each player their Inventor CockpitInventor Machine PartInventor Pawn, and a Light Bulb.
6. Place the Inventor Pawns on the Racetrack and have each player assemble their Invention by taking their Cockpit and Machine Part and connecting them by forming a valve connection.
7. Finally, give each player a Damage Gauge, and have it set to zero.
Game Play - The game is played over a series of rounds with the following four phases each round.
1. Draft - Each player draws one card from each deck to form a hand of four. Simultaneously, each player then selects one card (plays it face down). Once all players have selected, you reveal your card and either attach it to your Invention, discard it to gain Cogs or Dice, or stash it if it is a Boost card. Cards are then passed to your neighbor according to the Play Direction poster and the process is repeated until no cards remain in your hand.
2. Vent - Use Cogs to reduce the pip value of Dice currently in the die slots on your Invention. Each Cog reduces your dice total by two pips (either one die two pips or two dice one pip each). Any die reduced to zero is discarded. (Note: Skip this step on your first turn.)
3. Race - Roll all the Dice in your dice pool and storage slot. These Dice are used to activate the Machine Parts on your Invention. You may also use Cogs to re-roll a die, or increase a die's value by one pip. (Note: You cannot increase a die's value beyond six.) Keep track of damage you receive uring this leg of the race by decreasing your Damage Gauge one for each point of damage.
4. Damage - If you Damage Gauge is above zero, do nothing. If it lower than zero, you must discard a Machine Part from your invention equal to the the number shown in red on your Damage Gauge. You may then reset your gauge to zero. If you run out of Machine Parts to discard, your machine explodes sending you to last place. You also must discard all your Machine Parts (including your personal inventor one), leaving you with only your cockpit.

The game continues until someone crosses the finish line. This signals that there will be one more round played. After the final round, the player furthest past the finish line is the winner.
Steampunk Rally is a gorgeous game. When I initially unboxed it, I felt spoiled as if I were opening a decadent surprise. For starters, there are 108 dice in the game! What kind of game comes with 108 dice?! That's just crazy, and by crazy I mean fun! Next, the artwork is beautiful. There are a lot of little details in the art that stand out and demand attention. If you look at the cockpit for the Wright brothers, it has that old airplane look to it. That is not only appropriate, but picture perfect.  The artwork for each inventor is also full of details that are pertinent to each inventor.

Another aspect I appreciated was the variety of inventors. It would have been easy to have a bunch of old white guys, like that villain Edison. (Yeah I said it!) Instead, we have the likes of George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, and Ada Lovelace to name a few. When you game with women regularly like I do, the fact that there is more than one woman character to play with is HUGE!

Lastly, the game plays well and roughly at the same pace no matter how many characters there are. Usually when you add player count, you add play time, which you don't always have the time for. There is also no feeling of hopelessness if you fall behind in the game, as comebacks are not only possible, but to be expected.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have been sitting on reviewing this game for far longer than I should. Unfortunately, my game group doesn't play many racing games, so it took me a while to get a good enough feel for this game to review it. With that said, I would say that it is one of the best racing board games I have ever played and is one of the only ones I reach for when we do play a racing game. Roxley Game Laboratory may not have many games in their catalog (yet), but the three they do are each works of art. They are unique from each other in mechanisms and theme, but uniform in their high art quality and stunning game components. Be sure to check out their other two games Super Motherload and Santorini.

This game was provided to me for free by Roxley Game Laboratory in exchange for an honest review.