Steampunk Rally – Keep on rolling…
August 22, 2016
As one of many iconic inventors from throughout time, you have pledged to prove yourself the best inventor via the medium of racing, with wacky contraptions of course. You will be building a racing machine via drafting mechanics (Pick one and pass) adding up to 4 new parts to your machine per round. You can either use the cards you draft as actual parts in your machine or recycle them to gain dice (How your machine moves) or to gain cogs (Used for clearing dice out of your machine).
The second phase is a venting phase. When you activate parts in the race phase they are blocked up by the dice you use to activate them. This is where the cogs come in. You can spend cogs to reduce pips on dice to eventually remove them from a part and free it up to be used again. This is an interesting mechanic as it means you have “maintenance rounds” if you go gun-ho with part activation, resulting in a close race at the end of the game. Cogs can also be used in the race phase to change the result of dice or even re roll them.
During the race phase, all dice you earned in the 1st phase get rolled and used, unused dice are lost between rounds. Dice are used to activate parts and depending on how expensive activation is, you will get 1 or more items or movement. Parts can generate dice (which are rolled and used immediately), cause actions (Such as free venting), gain cogs, gain armour (Counters damage) or give you one of the 2 movement types. Flying movement (gold) tends to be slower and more costly, but allows you to bypass dangerous areas on the board damage free. Normal (grey) movement tends to allow you to move further for your investment but if you travel over a hazard on the track you will take damage. At the end of each leg, any damage that takes your machine below 0 results in you loosing that many parts from your machine. This tends to be bad as your parts are what allows you to move. Occasionally it can be used tactically! Can’t vent a part? Just leave it to fall off later! I’m sure someone will clean it up….
I got this game because of the theme and it really stands strong there. The rules seem more complicated then they need to be but once you get your head around them they make sense, but feel convoluted. Some players did not like that the amount of damage you could do to other players was limited. Though I can see their point as a valid concern (One of our players got into the lead and stayed there), I personally see that as a positive as I prefer to just focus on what I am doing and hate it when that is screwed over. This could possibly be balanced in another way but I’m not quite sure how. I would like to play this again as it is an interesting take on the engine builder, quite literally. The dice add an interesting spin on it as you have to take into consideration bad rolls which I feel levels the playing field a bit.