Saturday, 30 November 2013

'Kings of Air and Steam' - a Steampunk Pick up and Deliver Game

I haven't posted anything about board gaming for a while, so here's a review of a game I played last week.

Kings of Air and Steam is a pick up and deliver that first appeared on Kickstarter, which I played at my board gaming club last week. It has a steampunk type them - you use airships to travel around the world picking up resources from factories, transporting them from factories to depots. The depots are on rail lines which allow you to ship resources to cities where they are in demand.

I've not played many pick up and deliver games before, so I don't know whether this is a common approach, but each round has give movement phases in it. At the start of the round, each player secretly plans out his moves in advance. This takes a lot of thinking, as while the first move or two might be quite easy, the later moves are much more problematic. Why? Well by the time you get to the later moves in the round, there's a good chance that other players have already beaten you to a factory and stolen the goods from under your nose, forcing a quick rethink (the pre-planned moves you made at the start of the round dictate how many spaces you have to move in that movement phase, but not in what direction, so allows limited last minute changes of plan). That's just the basic rules of course, there's lots more too it than that, and multiple routes to winning, but that's the gist. Once you get the basics of movement etc you really get into the game very quickly.

The board is hexed based and really beautiful. The pieces are good quality, including chunky plastic airships. Overall a very good build quality.

The game took about 90-120 minutes with four players, and everyone was playing for the first time (although the Neil whose game it was had read through the rules a couple of times and is very good at explaining games even when he hasn't played before. I'd definitely play this again, and give it 8.5/10. It's ranked 835 on BoardGameGeek which to me seems a bit harsh, I'd definitely rate this higher than that. Of course I haven't played many pick up and deliver games before, there may be much better ones out there which is why this hasn't got as good a rating. If anyone's got any recommendations for better Pick up and Deliver games, do let me know!