Raccoon Tycoon - Dastardly Review #124
Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Raccoon Tycoon designed by Glenn Drover and published by Forbidden Games was my family's favorite game from GenCon 2019.
It has almost dethroned Dominion as my daughter's must play game. Lots of great things packed into the box and the economics of Astoria!
The first great thing about RT is the art. It is a beautiful game. The pictures of the critters and the graphic layout is terrific.
They enhance game playing without getting in the way. Nice job!
And we grabbed the coins.
Normally we don't get add-ons and just play the game as is but this time we added the coins after a couple plays because the game is sooo good it deserved the coins.
And the coins are awesome. They elevate the game playing experience over the paper money. Something about how heavy they are and the clunk of the 100 coin hitting the table in front of you....definitely something to consider.
Now on to the game!
Setup is quick and easy...just a couple minutes. The first time took us about 10 minutes. The rules provide clear instructions.
I also paused several times to just look at the art and design work. The critters do make you smile. Which I found later to be kinda ironic...cute and cuddly art in a very cut throat game...loved that!
Raccoon Tycoon ends when either all the Railroads or Towns are bought. Then Victory Points are totaled up for Towns, Railroads, Buildings, pairs of Railroads/Towns and some buildings award extra Victory Points for certain conditions. And you can play with Mission cards which also give Victory Points for achieving secret goals.
Game play is fast and very interactive so there is little down time. Turns are normally just taking a single action. But each action can include multiple decisions which is one of the characteristics of Raccoon Tycoon that makes it great - simple, fast but full of decisions.
Production is the most common action.
Select a Production card and then select up to three of the commodities on the bottom half to produce. Your production capacity can be increased by investing in certain buildings.
And then increase the price of all of the commodities on the top half of the card.
Commodity prices are tracked by moving the corresponding token on the price tracker.
Production cards send the prices up.
Selling commodities lowers their price.
Some buildings can effect prices and transactions.
The commodities are wheat, wood, coal, iron, manufactured goods and luxury items.
Another action is selling commodities for money. The price of that commodity is decreased by 1 for each unit of the commodity that is sold. This is the main way to get money.
Once you start to accumulate money you can invest in Buildings. Buildings enhance your actions (increase your hand size, increase production capacity, allow you to sell two types of commodities per turn etc). Buildings also give Victory Points.
And buildings increase your commodity storage limit.
Or you can decide to trigger a Railroad Auction. Everyone gets to compete in the auction with their cash so time this wisely.
Railroads are worth more Victory Points when you have more of the same type. The sliding scale is shown at the bottom of the Railroad card.
Or maybe you want to build towns.
The stack of towns is ordered with the cheapest on top. The Victory Point value and also the amount of commodities necessary to build a town increases as you work your way through the stack.
And that's it...lots of decisions packed into quick, fun game play.
Racooon Tycoon is well balanced...we have won games using a wide variety of strategies...there doesn't seem to be just one way to win. That makes the game challenging as you have to adapt to your opponents or just hunker down and keep on with your initial plan. Lots of fun.
A couple people felt that the luck when certain buildings become available can shift the game too much. After many plays we have not found that to be the case. Every time people griped about 'bad luck' they were able to win or get second by shifting their strategy. Which just shows how well Raccoon Tycoon plays.
Great components. Wonderful art. And balanced mechanics. And decisions!
The Good: Our favorite buy of 2019 so far!
The Bad: Patiently waiting for the next expansion!
The Dastardly: Timing is key to winning this game. And strategy. And your opponent making a dumb move. And being patient. And watching commodity levels Oh and being aggressive during the auctions...but not too aggressive! And balancing Town and Railroad purchases. And buying the right building. And....