When you look at Glenn Drover’s gaming designs, you might think that he prefers games with lots of figures and some form of combat. With games like WarQuest, Age of Empires III, and Conquest of the Empire, you might wonder if he likes to play any other kinds of games. Imagine my shock when he designed Railroad Rivals, a tile-laying game with light stock elements that doesn’t fit the wheelhouse of those previous games which successfully funded on Kickstarter. Now Glenn has surprised us with a family in the guise of Raccoon Tycoon.
In Raccoon Tycoon, players receive commodities to sell. The money gained purchases buildings, railroads, and towns. During each turn players choose one of five different actions to perform. To acquire a commodity, a Price and Production card is played. The player gets three of the commodities in the bottom “Production” portion of the card, while the price of each of the commodities in the “Price” section increases by a dollar. Commodities can be sold at the value shown in the top portion of the board, with the price lowering by a dollar for each commodity turned in. A railroad auction can be started, with the initial bid in the lower right corner of the card. Buildings can be purchased which can give players special abilities. Finally, towns can be gained by turning in specific commodities listed on their cards. Towns increase in victory points the further the game goes on. The game ends when either the town deck or the railroad decks have been exhausted. The victory points from buildings, railroads, and towns are counted and the player with the most victory points wins.
Every turn plays quickly, but the real strategy lies in not only which action to take but what to do within each action. Decisions include which card you play for commodities, how high to bid on a railroad, and whether to pay for a building or town or do another action while hoping the item is available on your next turn. These add depth that mask the seemingly simple actions of the game.
Raccoon Tycoon is a great family-weight game. The limited actions make it easy to grasp for new gamers, while experienced gamers can explore the depth with which actions to perform when, as well as the decisions to make within those actions. You can find Raccoon Tycoon up on Kickstarter now with upgraded components. A retail version will be released later this year.