Theme and What is it?
I never knew when I started this journey that we would make it all the way west. I could only see flat earth. Now, as we travel on these trains, and build through the Rockies, I now know, the earth is not flat, nor is this game.
Whistle Stop was a game about moving west, and left out the tricky navigation of mountains. The Rocky Mount expansion remedies that.
Whistle Stop was about getting coal, and using it to power your train to move west. This has not changed in the sought after expansion. You are still moving west, but now you are burning more coal to move into the mountains the first time. You must risk everything, or gain nothing.
The overall feel of the game has not changed from Whistle Stop before it. It brings in a few more mountain based powers, and new stock. If you are familiar with Whistle Stop, you should feel right at home here.
The packaging for the Rocky Mountain expansion was a simple affair. Bezier Games realized this was a small expansion, that should fit within the main box. So, they structured the game that way. I was mostly excited about the idea of increases variation of play, since I enjoyed Whistle Stop so thoroughly.
Game Build Quality
Sadly Whistle Stop, nor Rocky Mountain expansion survived the review process. While we never envisioned doing drop tests with board games, we did in fact drop a pitcher of water on the game. It was entirely accidental, but the game soaked that water up like a man walking through the desert.
In terms of board game quality, this game is built really nicely. Wood “goods”, trains and cardboard throughout. I would not suggest trying your own version of the MeepleGamers dumb drop test, this game was not meant to survive aquatic.
I find the simple aesthetic and colors quite pleasing. This game is entirely about gameplay, and not really about the art in my opinion. The art helps the gameplay along.
To me it felt very similar to the modern movement of material design. It has just enough art to help you do what you want to do, play. I give the artists props for making the symbolism work so well that it is just a part of the gameplay.
Trains, are always a favorite in this house. So even my daughter, 6, enjoyed this game. She did not win, but she liked moving the trains. That’s a win in my books.
Age Range & Weight
13+. The game says it requires 13+, and I think that might be an over estimation. I think players with a gaming background could feasibly do very well regularly as young as 10.
A publisher, not Bezier, has schooled me on the idea of the Formal Operational phase of development, and this is precisely why we include this section. Many gaming families focus on training those skills, that in other children may form in later years. For this reason, we want to clarify that when making this recommendation, we tend to focus on children that are raised in families likely to play this type of game.
I very much dislike when I have to say that I am not a fan of something. For me, the underlying game was such a masterpiece that the inclusion of the additional rules for the Rocky Mountain Expansion, were not supportive of the underlying title.
I think I would have liked the expansion more if it was part of the original game. As it stands, it plays well, and is enjoyable, but I just enjoy the base game so much that this particular expansion did not have the wow factor I hoped for.
The new powers you could purchase, were fantastic, I really enjoyed the ability to make coal or whistles, to give you extra fuel, since the mountains sucked up fuel. This is an expansion that would sometimes get played, and sometimes we would prefer the more straight-forward base game. We cannot recommend the base game enough, and would absolutely purchase both as a package, because the base game is just that good.