Rocky Road a la Mode

Joshua Mills-Designer

Adam Maciver-Artist

Green Couch Games-Publisher

 

ICE CREAM MAN!!! Every kid has yelled that at one time in their life, when they've heard the ice cream truck music coming down the road. Well now you can relive that excitement from the other side. Now you get to be the Ice Cream Truck Driver and you are driving around town, trying to attract customers in order to sell your fantastical frozen treats in the newest game from the team of Joshua J Mills and Green Couch Games, Rocky Road a la Mode.

Please note that this is the Preview version from Green Couch Games and the game art and components have not been finalized.

Set up is super easy, here we go, first, set up the roads that your Ice Cream Trucks will travel.

Next, line up your Ice Cream Trucks in a random order, the truck on top always goes first.

Then, let's put some Rocket Pop tokens out on the board on the three pothole spots.

Everyone gets an Ice Cream Truck Card to place in front of them

and three treat cards randomly dealt to them

Stack the rest of the treat cards near the road and lay out three face up next to the draw pile. Also, near the road place out the eight location bonus cards in four coordinating piles with the highest value bonus on top.

Now you are ready to play Rocky Road a la Mode.

In the game you are Ice Cream Truck operators, trying to gain the most loyalty points by selling your ice cream all over town, ultimately the game is a race, sort of, to 9 loyalty points, I'll explain later how that may not always be the case.

In the game, the players are not going to have a set order, the truck that is furthest back on the road is always going to be the player on turn, like in the game Tokaido or in Patchwork.

So, on your turn you are going to take one of the three possible actions.

  1. You can Restock, which is drawing or taking 1-5 cards from the draw deck or face up row of treat cards. The player must announce prior to drawing how many they are going to take and then must move their ice cream truck that many spaces on the road track.
  2. You can attract customers. To do this, take a look at the treat cards above again, you see that number that is on the top right where the speaker is, you know, that speaker that's playing that music that makes kids go wild, when you choose a card with the customers you want to attract, you move your truck forward the number of spaces dictated on the card in that spot. Then you take that card and you tuck it under your truck card with only the customers and their wants showing.
  3. The last action you could take on your turn is to Serve your customers that you have attracted, to do so, you start with the topmost customer and you discard treat cards from your hand that match the large treat symbol on the top left of each card with what the customers want. When you serve that customer you slide the card up to cover it up and move your truck one spot along the road track. When you have served the second customer on the card, you take the card and you spin it so that only the icons on the bottom of the card are seen coming from the back of your ice cream truck card.These icons are now permanent bonuses. So the next time you fill a customer order, you don't have use quite as many cards from your hand. These cards also can have loyalty points on them, these count towards your goal of 9 loyalty points to trigger the end of the game.

Along with getting permanent bonuses from the cards, if you collect the correct number of bonuses you gain location cards that grant loyalty points. Players can only collect one location card of each type.

Along the road, when you land your truck on the Rocket Pop Token, you get to take that into your collection and it can be used as a wild to fill customer orders. When spent, the Rocket Pop Token goes back on to the road in the Pothole space that is in front of the truck token that is furthest ahead on the track.

The game ends when one player has nine or more Loyalty Points. Play will continue however until the player who triggered the end of the game's Truck Token is furthest back on the road. This player does not take another turn. Be careful, in our games the player who triggered the game end has been the furthest back on the Road Track several times, meaning no one else gets a turn, gotta get those points when you can, and do it quickly. Everyone adds up their Loyalty Points and the Ice Cream Truck driver with the most Loyalty Points wins the game!

Great little games that make great big connections. Every time I preview one of these titles from Green Couch Games, I think that Jason could not have come up with a better tag line for the company. These little small box filler games are quickly becoming the jewels of our collection, from Fidelitas to Avalanche at Yeti Mountain we've enjoyed each and every title in our family. Rocky Road a la Mode continues that tradition.

This is a fun set collection game that gives off a bit of a Splendor feel, the collecting of cards and using those cards to fill orders to gain permanent bonuses that allow for easier filling of future orders. But it plays quicker and let's face it, the theme is a ton more fun, I know I'd take selling ice cream over jewels, and that kind of shows if you get to meet me ever in person.

It's fun trying to build your engine in Rocky Road a la Mode but you better be well aware of what the rest of the players are doing, focus too hard on getting yourself rolling and forget to deliver the goods that can gain you Loyalty Points, and you'll find yourself scrambling to catch up as this one plays quick, 20-30 minutes tops but there is a lot of fun and decisions to be made in those 20-30 minutes.

I can't wait to see the finished product, and I should have asked Jason some of the plans for the Kickstarter before writing this, but he's been a busy man at Origins this week. I can envision some cool Truck tokens and the Rocket Pop Tokens will surely be a lot of fun as well, and probably another play mat for the road!! Oh man, now I'm really wondering what they've got in store. One thing I don't have to wonder about is gameplay though as Rocky Road a la Mode is fun, a lot of fun.

Watch for Rocky Road a la Mode on Kickstarter, 6/20/2016!

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