|Here we are, looking very confused (witness Mike's expression) as Ptom explains Steampunk Rally to us|
Anyway, back to Steampunk Rally. Players take on the role of famous inventors or scientists -- Tesla, Marconi, Einstein, Edison, and several others were in our game. They are constructing a steampunkish contraption from the cards they draw to race around a rocky track that tends to tear apart your machine. There are three different types of energy -- steam, electricity, and heat. Your contraption will probably specialize in one of them, but need all types eventually. There are a number of strange mechanics in the game. You place colored dice on your machine to represent you powering up your machine, but then you have to pay to take them off -- "venting" them -- before you can re-power it.
There is certainly a lot of variety, and we felt a lot more confident about the game after playing several rounds. However, not my favorite new game of the ones we've played.
All complaining about the veneer aside, this is an excellent game. There are so many paths to victory, so many strategies to utilize to win, that every game could be different. We played it twice and had two completely different strategies win the game. In the first game, Joel won by focusing on controlling tiles for victory points, while in the second game Ptom won ("Ptom's Winning!") by using the commodities. I look forward to playing this one again.
In Splendor, you are a gem merchant, picking up five different types of gems (or gold -- which is like a wild card). You use these gems to purchase cards, which give you a permanent bonus of one gem of a certain color. There are three tiers of cards, each costing progressively more gems. Some of the cards provide victory points, most of the lower tier ones do not. If you collect enough "bonus cards" you may acquire a noble as a customer, which provides you with more victory points.
Between the one time we played it at Joel's two Sundays ago, and the twice I've played it at the school board game club, I've yet to win this game. It is fun, fast, and a clever design. The kids loved it and picked it up quickly. So, it was a worthwhile purchase, and definitely a game I enjoy playing and look forward to trying again (and getting that elusive victory!).
Three weeks of Sundays, and three new board games!