From Queen Games
A review by Mawihtec
It is the old west. Opportunity and wealth awaits the brave souls willing to travel out west and grasp them. BUT that’s not you. You are much smarter than that. All these intrepid adventurers need to get there first. This is where you come in. Your running a stagecoach company and building the infrastructure that is needed. You have competition though. Will you succeed as the others flounder and fall? Or will you be the one left behind? “Pioneers” it’s wild out west.
Paint your Wagon.
As we have come to expect from Queen Games, nice box art that is evocative of the subject matter. While inside you have the usual 2-3 Language rulebooks along with,
- 1 Double sided game board (2/3 player and 4 player sides),
- 24 Coaches,
- 4 Starting coaches,
- 49 Pioneer tiles (7 different characters),
- 8 Covering tiles (for 2 player games),
- 10 Gold nugget tokens (3, 4 and 5 point varieties),
- 45 Dollar tokens ($1 & $2 denominations),
- 4 Player boards,
- 80 Wooden Pioneers (20 per player colour),
- 60 Roads (15 per player colour),
- 4 Scoring markers (1 per player)
- 4 Shop tiles (1 per player),
- 1 Wooden Stagecoach marker,
- First player marker,
OK so you have opened the box. Tipped all the bits everywhere and punched the cardboard bits out. Just what are you meant to do with all these colourful bits?
Well for a start- Tidy them up you messy git.
Done? Good you will use all of these colourful pieces to spread your company’s influence from city to city transporting passengers to their destination and making a bigger profit than that of the competition. After selecting the correct board side for the number of players and using the covering tiles if needed (2 player game). Give each player their board, Pioneers, Roads, Scoring marker, Shop tile and some $$. Shuffle the for starting coaches (larger ones) and randomly deal one to each player. Pioneer tiles are placed randomly across the board on each of the city locations. These tiles represent the type of pioneer that is needed in that city. Your Stagecoach spaces have corresponding colours which will designate the type of pioneer you have on the stagecoach. All players put a pioneer onto the starting space as well and your ready to begin….
Turns in Pioneers are played in a series of phases. These are fairly straightforward.
→ Income:- Player boards have a set income and you can gain Bonus income dependent on having acquired “Banker” pioneer tiles.
→ Purchase:- On player boards there are spaces to buy Roads or additional Coaches. Roads can be placed anywhere on the board while coaches are placed in front of a player and filled with Pioneers. Initially you only have one purchase option but can unlock up to two more through the game.
→ Movement:- This is where you move the stagecoach “meeples”. The catch is that every movement (space between two cities) costs you $1 If the route has no road section placed then you pay the money to the central supply (bank). If there is a players road on that route you must pay that player $1 (obviously if it is your colour road it is free).
Movement aim is that you reach a city with a pioneer token matching one of the passengers on your coaches. If you reach a city with a token but do not have a matching passenger tough. you still have to stop.
Right you have collected money, built roads and moved to a spot with a matching tile. Now what? You place the wooden meeples from your matching stagecoach spot onto the city. In return you collect the tile from the city. This will grant you either an ongoing ability or a one time bonus. These will consist of,
- Banker- a permanent $1 increase in income.
- Merchant- Extra purchase ability.
Or you might get one off bonuses of extra money, road laying and pioneer placement to give just a few examples. Play continues in this fashion until either one player has used all their roads or all the coaches have been used. Final scoring then takes place including largest road network. Most victory points wins.
So how did I find Pioneers from Queen Games? It is an interesting game that is most definitely aimed squarely at the younger end of the target audience of 8+. The amount of decisions to be made are quite small and therefore not overwhelming to younger players. I think there is still enough for the older siblings and parents. I do not however think that it has enough meat on the bones for game groups in general. That being said I do not think it has been targeted at those players. This is a family game, lightweight, accessible, easy to learn and teach, If that fits your bill then this could be a good purchase. I found it reminiscent of Ticket to Ride in terms of play weight. If you have kids and you get a chance to play this then do so you might find yourself enjoying it more than you think.
- Simple play.
- Easy to learn and teach.
- Aimed at younger players.
- Good gateway.
- Too simple for the more experienced player.
- Decisions limited.
- Mass market components.
I was provided a copy of “PIONEERS” solely for review through the Board Game Exposure group. This game has now been forwarded on to another member of BGE for review. this does not affect my review or my final thoughts on the game.