"Play this game because you want to see if you can build that Beaded Waste Deconstructor That Gives You Splinters With an Ill Temper.  But by all means, play this game."

Theme and What is it?

The year is 1851 and settlers are moving out West to seek their fame and fortune.  Wouldn’t you know it though, one group of settlers encountered a shiny metallic thing come out of the sky and out popped some strange-looking creatures.

They wanted to trade items they had for the settlers things and soon enough some clever tinkerers started combining the human items with the alien technology for even better things and their new grey-skinned friends are crazy for them.  More important than money, gain Reputation by completing these crazy contraptions, but watch out though, a Bioengineered Covered Wagon That is Riveted Together may come apart at the seams!

Gameplay Mechanics

Goal

The goal of this game is to gain the most Reputation Points by completing Gadgets and turning in any remaining Effect Tokens.

Setup

Hand out the player cards.  Shuffle the Scrap and Thing decks and put in  reach of the players. Put the piles of Reputation Points and Effect Tokens in the middle within reach of the players.  Deal seven cards to each player.

Turns

There are three rounds of Gadget building.  During each round, players select a Base card from their hand to create a new Gadget or add a Mod to an existing Gadget in their Workspace.  When a Gadget’s Attachment Points are filled by Mod cards, the Gadget is delivered and they acquire their Reputation Points. 

They may also choose to play Effect Tokens acquired from delivered Gadgets.  Once the players have played the last card from their hands, they have one more opportunity to complete and deliver Gadgets by playing cards from their Scrapheap. At this point, the round ends.

Initial Impressions

The game is easy to pick up and play right out of the box, even for a prototype.  Some of the terminology took a little bit to get used to but the symbols used for shortcuts were helpful.  Everyone had a good time, especially with reading off the names of the Gadgets.

Game Build Quality

Components of the game are the player cards, playing cards, Reputation Tokens, and Effect Tokens.  The player cards were a very light card stock, printed with information on both sides. The playing cards were a decent playing card stock.

The Reputation Tokens (already punched) are light cardboard stock, suitable for prototypes but still works just fine. The Effects Tokens (see above) are made of a plastic, a little small, but still work for their intended purpose.

Artistic Direction

The art is in Lucas Soriano’s distinctive style yet still manages to give the aliens, settlers, and natives their own look.  The images are fun and follow the feel of the game.

Fun Factor

The game is quite entertaining.  Rounds go fast and turns faster. We got more fun out of who could create the wackiest named Gadget than really worrying about who had the most points — how could you not with this game?!

Age Range & Weight

Age range says 14+, which is probably due to the small components in the game, instead of the theme maturity or complexity.  This game is very quick and easy to pick up, something I think kids could understand. For sure, everyone would be in for the funny names.

Conclusions

Area 1851 Express was a hoot to play.  I have no experience with the predecessor board game from a few years ago but in and of itself, this game stands on its own.

Play this game if you like the art. Play this game if you like a light game to get you through a short game delay during a game night.  Play this game because you want to see if you can build that Beaded Waste Deconstructor That Gives You Splinters With an Ill Temper. But by all means, play this game.

Look for this to be featured as a Kickstarter campaign on March 25th.