Recap: Rolling Freight First Impressions
So I generally dislike train games. I recognize that they can be good, even great games, but they just don’t interest me. Route building and pick-up-and-deliver, the mainstays of the genre, are not all that interesting to me in general. And, the game usually revolves around money and stock so train games often feel more like work than play. Plus, the theme does nothing for me. I’m not a big theme guy in general, but maybe an exciting theme could increase my interest.
With all that said, one of my groups has gotten very interested in train games. After much discussion, I caved and said that I would go ahead and play a train game with an open mind. The game to try was Rolling Freight. Check out my first impressions as well as a record breaking (for my group) Sentinels encounter.
Rolling Freight. Rolling Freight omits the stock aspect of most train games and eliminates money as well. Instead, it focuses on route building, pick-up-and-deliver, and uses die rolling in lieu of money. On the surface, that addresses one of my general complaints about train games. So did the game end up being awesome and changing my dislike of the genre? No. Not one bit.
In Rolling Freight, you roll dice. The die faces generally have one of four colors on them. Those colors then become your resources for use in the game. Although, color only really matters for two actions – contract acquisition and route building. Beyond that, the dice can be any color.
Despite the dearth of money, Rolling Freight had two main problems. First, the players were not in control of which routes they wanted to build. Instead, there was a random offering of routes (although they were sorted into an A, B, and C stack so that progression wasn’t totally arbitrary). But, with only three potential offers at a time, the choices were very restrictive. Since players can’t control their routes, it made that aspect of the game feel unsatisfying and heavily luck based. Especially early game.
The second problem was that the game was simply too long for what it was. Rolling dice and building track is fine, but the game lasted quite a bit of time. What could have been an enjoyable 60-90 minute endeavor was less tolerable later on. Plus, even as we entered the third phase, the game was already in a “rich get richer” scenario. Because the two leading players had gotten better track laid down in the first two phases, everyone ended up giving them points during the pick up and deliver portions. That made phase C feel even more unnecessary and dull.
Of course, I’m not a fan of the genre, so understand that that’s where I’m coming from. But, the four people I played all like themselves train games. And none of them were too pleased with the result. So, I’m pretty confident in my decision to pass on any further plays of Rolling Freight.
Sentinels. Legacy, Expatriette, Visionary, Nightmist, and Tachyon challenged Cosmic Omnitron. While we took some initial hits, ultimately between Tachyon’s hypersonic assault and Legacy’s takedown, we were able to buy ourselves several villain turns.
But, the thing that made it most memorable was that in a single turn Tachyon did 51 points of damage. She had been building up and had a pile of burst cards in the trash. Three Lightspeed Barrages in one turn lead to that massive damage output. In one turn, Omnitron went from a threat with 59 health, to a baby with only eight hit points left. Anyone do more damage than that on a single turn? I’d love to hear the story.