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In Steampunk Rally players take on the roles of famous inventors from the turn of the last century like Nikola Tesla and Marie Curie, constructing fantastical contraptions that make use of steam, heat and electricity in an attempt to win a no-holds-barred race through the Swiss alps. Primary mechanics include drafting cards, placing them in a tile-laying fashion, and placing dice onto them to activate them for game effects.
Here's what Paul Saxberg, publisher of Steampunk Rally had to say about the game!
1. What does the game involve?
Each round starts with a card draft in which players carefully select machine parts to add to their invention and one-shot boost cards to aid them or hinder opponents. Players also have the option of discarding drafted cards for dice or cogs to power their invention, but they must make this tricky choice when each card is drafted.
Players roll their dice and use them to activate machine parts which provide things like movement, shielding, and additional dice with which to activate more parts. Driving through terrain causes damage, and if a player's damage gauge ends up in the red at the end of the turn, they must lose parts from their invention. These will need to be replaced in the draft phase, constantly forcing players to discover new synergies. The dice that are placed remain in play, blocking future dice, unless cogs are spent to vent them, freeing up the spaces to be used again.
2. What skills can you build/gain from the game?
Steampunk Rally uses basic math extensively (mostly addition & factoring) and introduces engineering concepts in a fantastical way. Creativity and logical analysis is encouraged as players who are able to discover combinations and synergies between parts during play will do better overall. It also features a diverse selection of real-life historical inventors, scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, with miniature biographies of each included in the rulebook.
3. What's your favourite tactic or are there any tricks you can teach us?
Add more parts to your machine than you need, so you can afford to have some of them fall off when damage happens. Damage *will* happen. Don’t forget to add a way to move forward!
4. Do you have any funny/heartwarming stories about a game of Steampunk Rally?
A girl of about 9 or so came to our local game convention specifically because she had heard about Steampunk Rally and wanted to play it. She was shy, so her mother came and spoke to us, and we added her to a table with some adults who also wanted to play. She picked up the game immediately and understood it better than the adults did, and went on to win her very first game. The designer was present, so we had him autograph a copy and present it to her as a gift – she was terribly shy, but extremely happy!