Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold:- Whistle Stop: Rocky Mountains

Game: Whistle Stop: Rocky Mountains

Publisher: Bézier Games

Designer: Scott Caputo

Year: 2018

Rocky Mountains Expansion is an expansion to the 2017 train game Whistle Stop. The core gameplay of trying to get your trains from one side of the board to another, trading in goods along the way continue. But this time someone put a mountain range in your way. How inconvenient! Rocky Mountains physically makes the game bigger by adding a 3 tile wide extension to the game board. This mountain is covered in tricky terrain that will be taxing to lay dow new tracks, however with the promise of gold and other valuables in the foothills it might jsut be worth the reward!

In addition there are a variety of new tiles added to the game, such as tracks with stops that reward you whistles or give you a choice about which resource to receive. Others are new special tiles which allow for selling your ties from your hand for instant resources or trading shares for gold! There are also a new set of final stops offering varies rewards, a new company to gain shares in and several new upgrades to fight over.


The new board extension adds more bulk to the game in the form of tough to navigate terrain.
When I first sat down to play I did have a large concern that the extended board (with terrain that's hard to cross) was going to upset the delicate balance of fuel resources in the game. While this is certainly a risk there are a recommended list of new upgrades that you should ensure at least some of are available in order to keep things balanced out. You'll still find that it's a struggle to get all your trains from one side of the board to the other before the game ends. The rewards on the mountain are varied but well thought out. All spaces on the mountain require extra coal or whistles in order to place a tile on, but in return you'll be rewarded with resource cubes, gold or free upgrades. Of course if you don't want to bother with those then just hijack the track your rivals laid!

With this expansion it really feels like there has been a shift towards shares, upgrades and gold. The new upgrades can be intensely powerful (such as the whistle assembly, spend a whistle, get 2 whistles, yes please!) but you'll be needing them so it becomes more tempting to steal them from your opponents. Gold is far mroe plentiful, not only is it easier to get in game but Rocky Mountain includes new, higher value, gold tokens in it. Shares are more manipulable, with one new company, but also the ability to trade them out easier if you realise things aren't going your way.

Some of the new shares, upgrades and tiles in this player's display.
Rocky Mountains certainly brings a breath of fresh air to Whistle Stop, I appreciated the new challenge of the mountain, but mostly I appreciated the change in the formula, it now feels like there are more varied ways to win each game, and every game feels different to the last. There is a genuine risk of fuel starvation in the game, especially if your choose to use less of their recommended upgrades which can lead to a disappointing game, and the setup is now even more awkward than it originally was. Still if you don't mind sorting the tiles in 4 different ways before you can play then you are in for a great upgrade to the original game.

7/10

Whistle Stop: Rocky Mountains was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store for an RRP of £27.99 or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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