Welcome to Steam Park. As a very distinguished robot, we know that you prefer your park to be clean and you like to visit parks that tailor themselves to your needs. Enjoy your stay and try not to make it too dirty.
Ok, so Steam Park. Basically it’s a game where you are the operator of a theme park for robots. Your goal is to earn money. You do this by attracting robot riders and fulfilling bonus cards. The more riders in your park, the more money you make. But you have to have the right rides for the robots to visit your park. Different-colored robots are attracted to their respective colored rides. Blue robots ride blue rides. Pink robots ride pink rides. Green robots ride green rides. But…building attractions and having robots visit generates dirt. So be careful, if your park gets too dirty, you will lose money or your park will close altogether.
The dice-rolling mechanic used for doing everything in your park is pretty cool. All at once, everyone rolls their six dice.
But, luckily, you are not stuck with whatever you roll the first time. Everyone rolls their dice as fast as they can and as many times as they want. When you get what you are looking for on a roll you quickly place the die on the Iron Pig, and keep rolling the rest. When you are satisfied with your all of your dice, then you grab one of the Turn Order tokens. Each one of these is either a bonus (cleaning up dirt) or a detriment (gain more dirt), so there is a distinct advantage in finishing your rolls earlier than other players. Once there is only 1 player left rolling, they get 5 more rolls and then must take that final roll.
Depending on the face showing on each die, you can perform that action this turn.
You can: clean up 2 Dirt, build a ride, build a stand, activate a bonus card, attract a rider, or nothing (blank face).
You can also sacrifice any die rolled (except for the blank die) to expand your park.
There are also restrictions as to how your park must be constructed, and special bonuses provided by constructing stands.
You do this for six rounds, collecting income (for riders) and dirt (because of construction and riders). Whoever has the most money after paying the cleanup cost for all their dirt wins.
So that’s how you play. But how is it?
Well. I really like this game. It is light and fun with enough strategy to keep you focused. The two parts of the game that are the most engaging are the frantic rolling of dice and the actual construction of your park, which has a bunch of restrictions but ends up being a Tetris-like experience. There is a good deal of luck involved, as the game relies heavily on dice-rolling, but also in attracting riders. When you attempt to attract riders to your park, you grab however many riders you rolled (of any colors you want) and then put them in the bag and blindly select that many riders back out of the bag. If the ones you blindly choose match the rides in your park, you add them to the rides. If not, they go back to the “bank”.
But the game is not all luck; there is a great deal of strategy involved as well. Each turn, you are working with 3 achievement cards (you only get new ones if you complete the ones you are given). These cards may or may not influence your decisions. If you have a card that rewards the number of green riders in your park, you are naturally going to lean towards building green rides and attracting green robots to your park.
But that is not easy. First you have to build green rides. All green rides have to be touching, but can’t touch any other colors or attractions. Plus there are only 3 rides of each color, each holding a different number of passengers (1, 2, or 3).
Then you have to spend one of your 6 actions to put a green rider in the bag and hope to blindly pull out a green rider. Then you have to spend an action to activate the card. All of this can be done in the same turn, but then you have also added quite a bit of dirt to your park.
So, lots of luck, lots of strategy, and frantic dice-rolling. A romping good time. All in all, very enjoyable.
But…there are a few things that bugged me. Granted, these are just minor points that came out of playing with my friends but enough for me to be a little bit taken aback.
First, there are the components. When you first open the box to set up the game, you have to put all of the rides together. They have to be punched out and then bent correctly and inserted into little stands. This takes quite a bit of time, and you have to be very careful. My set was not cut very well at the factory so I ended up ripping a little bit of the graphics off of two of the black rides. They also have a tendency to fall apart as you are getting them out of the box. Luckily they store completely assembled, so if you are careful, you only have to build them once.
The second problem I had with the components was the robots. Basically, they look like parts. Human parts. Human male parts.
It’s the same problem I have with the “towers” from Five Tribes, but it is a real thing. It’s difficult to un-see this once you have noticed and with some people it becomes a thing.
Overall a very enjoyable game that I have now played many many times. It is different every time we play it and always very competitive. It is relatively easy to teach and plays pretty quickly. It will probably stay in the rotation for awhile.