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Review: The Great Heartland Hauling Co

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To date I have backed quite a few Kickstarter projects, but haven’t seen many materialize. Not that I am concerned or anything – these things take time. When I do get them though, I like to let you, my readers, know. This isn’t just to give you my two cents (though I do,) but to help legitimize this sometimes shaky service – people need to know that these things do deliver (even if “better late than never” is the unofficial motto of Kickstarter.)

This week I talk about a boardgame – one of the first I ever backed. Want to know more? Read on.

The Great Heartland Hauling Co struck me as a simple game when I backed it. At it’s core is a delivery mechanic that involves buying low and selling high, relatively speaking. The game takes place on a ‘board’ made of cards, that serves to randomize profitable routes and (theoretically) create interesting and emergent strategies.  It comes with truck meeples. Treeples? Truckles?

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In the end I didn’t care for it, and it turns out the truck meeples might be the best thing about it. Don’t get me wrong – the quality of the product was great; the cards are top notch, and the packaging is wonderful. Someone secretly replaced my corn with ethanol but aside from that slight shade of green (shown above, but hard to see in pictures) the production of the game was flawless. The problem was the game play.

After reading other people’s (generally positive) experiences I admit it might be possible that we were somehow playing the game wrong, but I don’t see how. I and the other people I played the game with read the rules, and we checked points of contention or indecision multiple times; to me the mechanics felt very raw, like insufficient play-testing had been done. Some parts of the game were much too simple, and others needlessly complex. You know how the complexity of Fresco weaves into a seamless whole that makes every decision matter in some way? It was like the opposite of that.

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We will try the game again at some point, and if all else fails I think that a home brew rule set using the components of the game could really shine, as the core of the idea is still very sound in my mind: moving cubes, buying low and selling high. I don’t want to hate on the product too much as I feel like the company and creators did a lot of things right, but at the end of the day it just wasn’t fun and doesn’t feel very balanced. I give it 2 stars.

Anyone else get this delivered to their door step? What did you think? Love it or hate it?

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This entry was posted by David Winchester.

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