Welcome to Grease Monkey Garage. We fix a lot of cars here,and we need your help. But there’s a lot of competition, so you’re going to have to be quick and efficient if you wanna become the new top mechanic in our shop.
Grease Monkey Garage is a light, fun game about fixing cars. The concept is simple and easy to teach and the gameplay is quick and fun. Lets’ check it out.
The Quick Bit about How to Play:
Grease Monkey Garage is a very compact game that centers around 8 cards used to represent the Garage and a Car Market for you to select new Cars to fix. (There is a starter setup in the rulebook – but we started using the Random setup of the garage and it works just as well).
Each player starts with 1 dedicated Specialist of their selected color and 3 Mechanics that are shared by everyone in the shop. If you work really hard, you can gain another Specialist midway through the game.
On your turn you MUST move all 3 of the Blue Mechanics, and you have the option of moving your Specialist(s). When you land on one of the spaces in the garage, you collect a resource token that will help you repair cars, or perform another action: repair, gain a car or gain a Specialist.
So…pretty simple. Move the workers around. Collect resources. Repair cars. Let’s get a little deeper though so we can understand some of the strategy.
There are 8 spaces in the Garage for you to send your workers to each turn, so there are plenty of options for where you are going to get them to work. But you cannot send them farther than 1 space per turn (and they cant move diagonally). So, your options are limited, but not overly so. Let’s take a look at the different shops in the Garage.
Tire Shop – sending your mechanic here allows you to collect 2 tires to repair a vehicle.
Parts Shop – sending your mechanic here allows you to collect 2 parts to repair a vehicle.
Tools Shop – sending your mechanic here allows you to collect 1 tools to repair a vehicle.
Oil Shop – sending your mechanic here allows you to collect 1 Oil to repair a vehicle.
Workbench – Spend anyone of your resources to gain a different one. This can be done multiple times and still be considered this one action. So if you have a tire and an oil, you can trade them for a part and a tool.
Front Desk – Repair one vehicle or gain any 1 resource.
Shop Office – Repair 1 vehicle or hire a new Specialist. You cannot use the new Specialist on the turn you hired them. They will be available next turn. Note: hiring a second Specialist counts against your final score, but the benefits way outnumber this -2 pt penalty.
Checklist – when you send your mechanic here, you get to select a new car from the “Market” to work on. You may have as many cars in your area as you have dedicated Specialists. You immediately refill the car “Market” as soon as you select a car to work on.
You can only have 9 resources stashed at the end of your turn, so make sure you keep the ones that are going to help you next turn.
You can, however, perform any of these actions in any order. So you can use your turn to build up resources towards repairing a vehicle already in your Bay, or you can repair a car right off and then select another and start working on it. Towards the end of the game you will be able to accomplish a lot on your turn, especially once you have recruited your second Specialist.
There’s also a Bonus card that each player receives that gives you Bonus points at the end of the game if you’ve repaired cars that match the type listed on your Bonus Card.
This balances what vehicles everyone is trying to repair, otherwise every might be vying for the same cars all the time.
The Part about whether I like the game or not:
So, right off let me me just say how much I like this game. It’s very compact, and doesn’t take that long to play, but there is a whole lot of game in here. Fedor Sosnin has published 2 other games of his design through Disruptive, but I have to say that this is his best yet.
There is a certain amount of AP when you first start playing, especially if it’s your first game. Everyone is immediately trying to come up with a strategy, but to be honest, sometimes your options are limited, especially early on.
Because you are sharing the 3 Mechanics with all other players, there will be times that you cannot get what you need to accomplish what you wanted to this turn. If you figure out you can’t do much, you can bank supplies or move the Mechanics to locations that will screw up your the next player’s plans.
There is also quite a bit of competition for gaining new cars. Because the requirements for repairing the vehicles are clearly printed on each car, several players may simultaneously be saving up resources to fix 1 certain car. If my neighbor beats me to it, it can screw up my plan. You can even get screwed out of getting a new car several rounds in a row, but luckily you always have your dedicated worker so you can set yourself up for next turn.
The game play is quick and not incredibly thinky, but there are real choices and strategies that arise. When you are playing with 2 players, you can kind of plan out your strategy for the next round, figuring out where your opponent is going to move the shared mechanics to, and where that will leave you. With the higher player counts, however, you have to adapt at the beginning of your turn, since 2 or 3 people have moved them around before they are back in your control. The only saving grace in this is that they cant move YOUR Specialists around, guaranteeing you can at least get some of what you need on your next turn.
Getting that second Specialist is essential. Even though it costs you 2 pts in the endgame scoring, it is really worth it to have 2 options each turn that no one can mess with.
While we never ran out of resources, there is a limited amount of each type in the game. I doubt that anyone Player will horde all Tires, but they can become scarce when you need 4 to fix your vehicle.
Grease Monkey Garage is going to be a hit. The game is simple in concept but deep in strategy. The bonus cards and optional random setup ensure that every game will be different offering tons of replyability. The artwork is perfect for this style of game and the icons are clear and easy to read – even from across the table.
Basically, I love this game. It is compact enough to travel with me, but has a lot of bang for its size. It is exactly what I’m looking for in a small box game, and I’ll be backing it the second it hits Kickstarter.
Grease Monkey Garage is coming to Kickstarter soon.
Grease Monkey Garage was sent to us by Disruptive Games in exchange for an honest review, which is exactly what we provided. Since this was a prototype, some of the components may and probably will be different in the final version, but they are fine just like they are.