‘Raccoon Tycoon’ 2021 board game review
I’ve always loved board games but haven’t always had the chance to play them. Before the pandemic, I would play in person with friends or family once every few months, but during the height of the lockdown, I would play Zoom at least two nights a week. The switch from in-person to online play was a bit awkward at first as Zoom makes conversation difficult, so games that require a lot of teamwork or negotiation between players didn’t translate so well. It meant favorites like The settlers of Catania, which is far too social, were out. In their place, I started to play Ticket to ride, in which you work mostly on your own, quietly trying to make as many train journeys as possible zigzagging across an illustrated map of the United States and Canada (other versions of the game include Europe, Asia, and Canada). ‘Africa). It plays out smoothly on Zoom without players needing to negotiate, pick up, or plot – at least not out loud – and there’s little conflict unless someone blocks your route with their. wagon, which is boring but somewhat rare. It’s a lot of fun, but after a while I started to miss the drama – and wanted more paths to victory than Ticket to ride could afford.
Earlier this summer, when playing board games in person with friends was (momentarily) safe again, my brother, who is a connoisseur of strategy games, told me about a new game he had started playing with his wife and our parents called Raccoon tycoon. They had found it on a trip to a board game store in New Haven, Connecticut called Elm City Games.
It only took a weekend of play Raccoon tycoon with them to convince me to buy the game for myself. It selects the elements of my favorite games (the fast game of Ticket to ride, the social interaction of The settlers of Catania) but is more engaging and fun to watch. A sin Ticket to ride, you win by collecting the most victory points, but there are several ways to earn them – amassing wealth and owning railroads, towns, or buildings – so it’s harder to get bored. There is even counterfeit money, as in Monopoly, which I like because it’s the only time in my life that I will be able to slam a wad of cash in exchange for a city, a railroad or a factory building.
Part of what makes Raccoon tycoon the intricate and bizarre design and illustrations by painter Annie Stegg are so fun. The game takes place in Astoria (unrelated to the Queens district), an imaginary land inhabited by animals. Each railroad you can buy at the live auction is named after a different creature, with cards featuring rich cats, top hat dogs, roaring foxes, skunks with pocket watches , raccoons wielding lanterns and bears polishing their glasses and drinking tea. Every time I play, I discover a clever detail that makes me laugh (my current favorite is the mossy landscape painting on the map for a town called Mole Hill).
Another advantage is that you can play with as few as two people or as many as five, and although you have to take care of several things at once, it is not that complicated that a beginner or a child can. not win the first time he plays. . Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes. I did not try to play Raccoon tycoon online for now, but with the Delta variant creeping some of us underground, if that happens, at least I know I’ll be entertained. And maybe my fiance and I will finally have what we need to wean ourselves off of our current guilty pleasure: watching all 18 seasons of Excellent chef.
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