Review: Steam Park – amusement park on the table

Steam Park - packaging

They were coming to us every year again and again. Amusement park arrived on wheels of cars, full of roundabouts and other attractions. But as demand of people grew together with number of perks, expenses were rising as well. So they eventually discovered, that trucks are unable to carry their whole traveling circus. Gipsies finally settled in Roboburg. Since then, we can go to visit their park any time. We are rewarded with more sophisticated rides. But this year, park is undergoing renovations. We are eager to see, how well they have redone it. Hopefully, they will not disappoint us!

But people still do not know, who stands behind its reconstruction. There is a board game, where players get a chance to build one of these theme parks on their table. Whole fun is called and was created by , and Aurelien Buonfino. It is quite possible, that their names are familiar to you, because they have created crazy Dungeon Fighter (review) in the past. Illustration were prepared by (Dixit – review) and entire game came from production of company Cranio Creations (Sheepland – review, 1969 – review).

This game is actually really such a board game tycoon. You do not know, what it is? It is a genre of computer games, in which you are building your own empire, whether it concerns transport of passengers, taking care of residents of a city, building the zoo or creating a theme park. Some of you will definitely love to hear, that Steam Park can take a little inspiration in legendary game Theme Park.

Steam Park - game is ready

Inside the box, you will not find only a surprisingly thin rulebook. First of all, there is waiting breathtaking flood of cardboard components. A lot of them seems absurd at first glance, but most of them are part of a larger puzzle. After punching them out, owner of the game wants to first put all the attractions carefully together – from a total of three (or two) cardboard tiles, which slide into each other.

These pieces are featuring attractions and stands. Already after their completion, you will notice, they come in three different sizes and hence also differ space for visitors on their upper surface. There is a total of eighteen attractions in three sizes and twenty stands. Each opponent also gets one building place divided into sixteen square boxes.

Twenty smaller expansion plates are also waiting among cardboard components, as well as four silverplate pigs, pile of banknotes, almost fifty dirt tokens and two scales. One of them shows player order, while the other players only recapitulates penalties for dirt left in the park at the end of the game. But this is still not everything found in the box, because next in line are forty pawns of visitors in six colors, all waiting to ride your attractions. To let them in, you’ll need dice (24 = six for each player) and a cloth bag. Last in line are cards with secret tasks.

Steam Park - game in progress

Game starts by putting empty building board in front of each player. He also gets a piggy, six dice and same number of task cards. But he can only keep only three of his choice. Most other objects create supply around middle of the table. It is only required to leave some space for order tokens, which will be in the middle, in easy reach of all participants. They have to be in same amount as there is players in the game. A bag gets filled with one visitor from each of six available colors.

Each of six total rounds starts with action, where all players are participating at the same time. Everybody picks up his six dice and simultaneously starts rolling with them in an effort to get requested outcome of a set of icons. They offer various activities from building, attracting visitors all the way to cleaning the park.

But we will still get to it, because players can roll the dice for so long, until they are satisfied with the results. Unless… Dice, which players are satisfied with can be gradually put off to his pig board, while all other must always me re-rolled again. The sooner he finishes, the better tile from center of the table he gets. Indeed, when the player does not want to further modify results on his dice, he takes a tile with the lowest available order number.

Steam Park - game in progress

When there is only onle last tile left unpicked on the table, remaining player has three more rolls to try to improve his score. Then game progresses to second stage, when everybody gets a dirt token for every stain rolled on the dice. And also every visitor, that player has in his park from previous rounds throws a little garbage on the ground, making park a little more ugly. And while fastest player from the previous phase can clean up his attractions a bit (by removing two tokens dirt for free), last and slowest player has to add two more dirt tokens.

Players will now finally be able to turn in symbols on their dice for action. After the payment of needed amount of symbols, player can purchase a new attraction from the menu (larger size means higher price). Or he can buy a stand, that will provide special skills for the rest of the game.

Players will eventually want to attract visitors to their crazy attraction. But to even invite someone to the park, they need icons with a silhouette rolled on dice. For each such symbol, player may take one wooden pawn from common menu and add it to the bag, where some visitors are already waiting in line. He then stirs the contents and pulls back random visitor for every action.

Steam Park - game in progress

These people came to the park and their color has to match their taste. They are looking for entertainment, that is interesting for them. To be successful and lure them into their park, players have to have free space of the same color on any of their built attraction. Visitors can hop on such ride and enjoy the ride. Their pawn will stay there until the end of the game and provide player with garbage ever since. Bag now contains same number of pieces as in the beginning, only the colors are little mixed.

For their rolled symbols, players can also sweep dirt or extend their park for more space. It soon will be needed, because the placement of individual buildings has fixed rules. This plate extends building space and will help players to earn more money from satisfied customers. Now, we come last phase of the round – income – where players take three dinars for every visitor.

After drawing bonus cards back to limit (these can be played at any moment, when acomplished, to use their rewards), game continues with next round until the moment, when everybody gets some revenue for sixth time. Game is over, but players must return certain amount of cash from their coffers depending on how dirty they park is (= number of dirt tokens). Best theme park owner is player, who has gathered most cash of all.

Steam Park - attractions

Steam Park is a game, in which you have to manage your dice. Now, the first phase may have a crucial role, because players must be able to finish on time. They must not be too greedy in pursuit of the dream result on the dice, but they should often prefer to take, what they have. Sometimes, its just better, than getting two dirt tokens.

It seemed to us, that this is the reason, why the game does not work so well in two. Duel simply leaves you hoping for more, than it eventually offers. Fortunately, this game makes up for all this in higher numbers, when there is lack of everything and first phase of each round is really exciting.

There is a limited amount of attractions, so players must consider very well, which one would they like to take this round. Colors are disappearing fast, so if you are interested in any of these, you will often watch helplessly as last building disappears into someone else’s park. Although there is no direct conflicts, it also has very hard competition not only for attractions, but also for playing order at the beginning of the turn. This makes the game a pleasant contact fun.

Steam Park - cards

Game is also significantly affected by stands. They allow players to influence some of the rules of the game, that are otherwise fixed. If players use it cleverly, they may receive less dirt with toilets, have a better choice of visitors thanks to info booth or the possibility to put already drawn visitor back and try their luck once again.

We mentioned luck associated with drawing pieces. All success might collapse for players here and this might be a breaking point for those, who need to have everything planned down to the last step. Pursuit for the most versatile park is a logical way, but often you are not really able to satisfy all customer demands thanks to luck of the draw. Although drawing fits nicely to the game thematically, it may not be someone’s cup of tea.

Players must balance their park cleverly, but they also must pay attention to number of visitors. Each of them leaves a little dirt behind each round and player must be be able to cope with it. Game gets more difficult with each round and wrong decision at the beginning of the game can be hard to catch up. Scoring in the end is fair and everyone should watch out for it during the whole match.

Steam Park - tokens

Steam Park remains primarily family entertainment, which also corresponds to game time. It moves in the upper floors of beginner games, when you are able to finish four player game in an hour. Three rivals battle just a few minutes shorter, because big part of the game is played by all at the same time.

This game deserves absolute rating for processing. Simple folding options are used to the last drop. The game looks really excellent on the table. Perhaps the only complaint may be directed to dice, which have labels only printed on them and they can disappear in time.

Steam Park has been able to work well as an entry game for every beginner. It has simple rules, principles of action and reaction and uses dice with tactical links. Even with worse tactics and bad luck, you can still do well and do not be completely disappointed. Fortunately, Steam Park still provides plenty of space for strategical players, even with some experience in game. This game is simply really nice and fun.

DesignerAureliano Buonfino, Lorenzo Silva, Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino
ArtistMarie Cardouat
PublisherCranio Creations, ADC Blackfire Entertainment, Edge Entertainment, Heidelberger Spieleverlag, Hobby Japan, Horrible Guild, IELLO, Trefl Joker Line, Нескучные игры
Year Published
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players
(61 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages10 and up
User Suggested Ages10 and up
(17 voters)
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(17 voters)
CategoryCity Building, Dice, Real-time, Science Fiction
MechanicCard Drafting, Dice Rolling, Memory, Modular Board
ExpansionSteam Park: Essen Special Cards, Steam Park: Play Dirty, Steam Park: Robots
FamilyComponents: 3-Dimensional (3D), Components: Dice with Icons, Game: Steam Park, Theme: Amusement Parks / Theme Parks, Theme: Steampunk
Primary NameSteam Park
Alternate NamesПаропарк, スチームパーク

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Steam Park – amusement park on the table
Final word
Steam Park tells us secrets, that remained hidden from us until now. Biggest enemy of every owner of amusement parks is dirt and garbage. Each visitor will drop something, but some must arrive first to the whole area. Players are simultaneously rolling their dice and trying to get coveted symbols. Speed plays huge role at the same time, because the longer players try to get the right combination, the harder it will be to rank well in playing order and not being penalized. Each attraction has a limited number of places and only some visitors wish to go there. In two it's not all that fun and you must be at least a little lucky to be able to win, but it all makes the game very accessible. Steam Park is a great game for beginners, it looks really great, yet thanks to a secret task cards and plenty of opportunities, it will not be refused even by advanced players as a relaxation entertainment.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
beautiful folding cardboard processing
excellent game for beginners
plenty of tactical options
coherence of mechanisms
thrilling game
secret tasks
Cons
demanding gamers will mind luck
dice are not embossed
weaker with two
3
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