What's Eric Playing?: Week of February 25, 2019
More reviews! This week it’s Railroad Rivals to start (since the expansion is now live on Kickstarter), and then we finish up EXIT Game month! Who knows what next month will be. As always, click on the header to read the full review.
Overall, I think Railroad Rivals is pretty great. I mean, I don’t think you’re going to be able to convince me to play an 18XX game anytime soon, but if this is what they’re like (albeit an abridged level) then I can see why people are so enthusiastic about them. It’s a nice mix of drafting, tile-laying, and route building, and the auction mechanic is significant within the game but it feels like the actual value of what you’re bidding on is easy enough to parse that new players aren’t as inhibited by it as I’ve seen in other games with major bidding mechanics. Add in some pretty fantastic art and a solid playtime and you’ve got a really solid contender of a game going. I think the 45 – 60 minute time point is a great place to hit, as it’s not too long of a game that it’s intimidating but it’s also got a fair bit of time to do what it sets out to do, which is teach the basics of a railroad game to players. If that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for, I quite enjoyed Railroad Rivals; hopefully you will too!
Overall, I find Cosmic Run: Regeneration quite pleasant! Having reviewed it, now, I’m hyperaware of how many mistakes I’ve made trying to type “regeneration”, but, that’s a conversation I get to have with myself later. As far as the game goes, it’s a cute, solid dice game where you have pretty substantial decisions every round. It does the thing that I like in Catch the Moon where if a player has a really good / lucky roll you’re almost happy for them because it was such a clutch move, even if it costs you a lot of points, which I appreciate. Additionally, it has a cooperative mode, which I’m always into (didn’t get a chance to check it out before review), so that’s nice. Add in a solid production value and you’ve got yourself a nice little game, especially for families or fans of dice games (a group of which I am certainly a member). It’s not too tough to learn, but it’s a lot of fun, so if you’re looking for a solid dice game for your collection, Cosmic Run: Regeneration might be a good fit! I’ve enjoyed it.
Yeah, overall, I think PUSH is a fun little family game! It’s the perfect gift to get your family if you’re trying to wean them off of older games and into newer stuff; it’s non-offensive, not terribly difficult to learn, and you can get through a few games pretty quickly with no problems whatsoever. I think it’s important, however, to view this game in the context of what it’s trying to be — it’s not going to replace much in your collection, and I’m not put out by it (they gave it out for free to BGG.CON attendees). Instead, it’s a perfectly reasonable attempt to bridge the gap between older and more modern games, and I’m fond of it in that context. If you’re looking for a light push-your-luck game without much more to it, PUSH is certainly a solid choice to check out!
Overall, I very much liked The Polar Station! I generally gravitate towards things with a snow / ice / water theme, anyways (for some reason), so that gives it a slight bias in my already-favorable opinion of the EXIT series. I don’t really have any complaints about the puzzles, but also none of them were like, blowing me away, either. But that’s fine! It’s a consistently solid entry in a consistently solid series, and I, as always, look forward to playing the next one. If you’re looking for a solid entry point into the series (but don’t want, say, The Pharaoh’s Tomb, my personal favorite starting point, for some reason), I’d definitely recommend The Polar Station! It’s a cool little puzzle game.