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  • craig duncton

Steam Punk Rally: Fusion by Roxley Games


‘October 27, 1953, Earth. The Martian invasion has finally been defeated...but the cost in human lives and worldwide destruction has been far too dear. The champions of the Steampunk Rally assemble with a daring plan: they will travel through time, gathering history’s greatest minds, to prevent the war from happening. They will compete in a new more spectacular Steampunk Rally, adding captured Martian technology and the newly-discovered fusion energy to their own brilliant inventions, to demonstrate the intelligence, benevolence, and power of humanity to the Martians. By working together they will avert the apocalypse... but only one can be crowned Ambassador of Earth!’

Gameplay: ‘Steampunk rally fusion is a fantastically frenzied racing game where players construct powerful racing contraptions using unique and varied machine cards and a multitude of colourful dice, representing heat, steam, electricity, and fusion power. Roll and place dice on your invention to generate motion and other effects, such as fainting additional dice, preventing damage, and venting previously used dice (which clog up your machine parts). During the game, you will receive damage from hazardous terrain, events, and cards played by opponents. Racers who end a round with damage must remove installed machine parts...and if you lose too many, your invention exploded! The game is played over a series of rounds until one player crosses the finish line, at which point one final round will be played. The player furthest along the track at the end of that round is declared the winner!’ Each round comprises of 5 different phases which players mostly complete simultaneously. The first phase involves drafting cards. You are given a bronze, silver, gold and boost card. You choose a card to either add to your machine, sell or in the case of boost cards stash. Once you have chosen one card, you pass the remaining three to your opponent and then draft another card from the incoming selection and so on and so forth to all the cards have been drafted. Next is the vent phase. In this phase you can spend cogs to take two pips from one die or one pip from two die. You need to do this in the course of the game to free up your machine parts in order to activate them. You then embark on racing. In this phase, you can activate machine parts in order to repair damage, move along the race track and draft extra dice and bonuses. You can use cogs in this phase to reroll dice or to add pips to die rolls. As you move along the race track, you will encounter terrain that causes you to sustain damage. If this causes your damage counter to go below zero, then you will have to discard machine parts equal to the amount of negative damage on your gauge. If you can’t do this, your machine explodes. After this, you return unused dice and reset the turn marker.

Components: Box and insert - I love a box that is well thought out and organised perfectly for the game which it holds. I don’t want to have to buy inserts to organise the game and this box does not disappoint. The box itself has great artwork that really stands out and has a really quality feel to it. It’s slightly textured and immediately feels luxurious and upmarket. The outside of the bottom of the box shows you which cards to put in which slot which is helpful and the insert is designed to fit everything in for easy set up and organisation. A definite plus for people short on time to set up and take down games.

Track tiles - modular design and double sided. You can play either side - they are different colours so easy to distinguish and it tells you how many track pieces you need. Can add more or less track for longer/shorter game. 12 inventor standees and 8 bases, 24 inventor cockpit and machine parts - each inventer has a cockpit and a machine part specific to them. These are all different. We’ve only played as a couple of different characters but some are more advantageous than others we found. I understand that only 8 people can play at a time but I don’t understand why there couldn’t just be 12 bases so they were already set up for gameplay. The rest of the resources are so nice that it seems a shame to just scrimp on this bit. Also enjoyed the write ups about the characters in the rulebook. 120 machine parts (40 gold, 40 silver 40 copper) 40 boost cards - these form the decks which you draft from in order to create your machine. Great quality glossy cards. Easy to read and work out what each part does. 8 lightbulb tokens - cardboard tokens to show when you have activated specific parts of your machine 1 play direction token - cardboard token which is interchangeable with the event cards for alternative game play 41 cogs (metal and cardboard) - we were gifted the deluxe version which comes with metal cogs and cardboard cogs. Love the metal cogs, so well made and a great touch 18 fusion dice, 36 heat dice, 36 steam dice, 36 electricity dice - dice representing the different properties which correspond to squares on the cards. Fusion dice look cool and have 4-9 on their faces. 6 damage gauges - little round dials which are a great way to keep track of your damage. Only issue is that if you gain more than 4 protection then you don’t get any additional benefit and the dial turns to the negative side - you have to look really carefully to see there is a black line separating the two 8 player aids - these are really helpful and to be honest I wish all games came with these. It just helps to structure gameplay without having to keep referring to the rulebook 1 on ramp tile - used in the initial games to make it a bit easier Extra gameplay resources: Event cards 5 challenge tiles 18 secret project cards The above are used in additional variants of the game. Event cards replace the turn order marker and add events into the game. Challenge tiles are placed on the race track and add another strategy to the board. Secret project cards are completed during the game by individuals. When certain conditions are met then you can reveal the card and activate the bonus.

Overall thoughts: Firstly before you try to play this game definitely check out https://roxley.com/products/steampunk-rally-fusion#howtoplay We made the mistake of thinking that we had sussed it and had a fairly lack lustre first game only to find we had played it completely wrong and watching how it is supposed to play on this link really helped subsequent plays to be far more successful. This game is interesting. The set up makes this game look like a race game but for me it’s more about building the engine than racing. Of course, you are racing your opponent but the build up to racing is slower than in other games and some rounds you don’t move far at all while trying to protect your machine or discarding used parts etc. There are lots of different elements and strategies to employ and whilst at first I was getting annoyed that the dice weren’t rolling in my favour - there are lots of opportunities for rerolling dice or increasing rolls if you choose to turn in cards or activate machine parts for cogs etc. I like that there are different variants of the game along with a double sided track and this means there is huge replayability in this game. Personally I enjoyed making the machine more than I did the race element but of course the machine would be pretty useless with nothing for it to do! The production of this game is such good quality and it’s one that I’ve shown a few people just to get them interested. Just because it looks so awesome. I think we are going to need a few more playthroughs to really know how much we like this game but I’m excited that we can play it in a variety of ways each time.

Thank you to Roxley Games for sending me this copy for review

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