tabletop tuesday – Mass Transit by Calliope Games

I backed the Calliope Game Night EXTRAVAGANZA! on Kickstarter and the set of three games arrived this past week. I took one of the games, Mass Transit, to work with me because it had a solo mode option and I wanted to give it a whirl on my lunch break.

Mass Transit: The Cooperative Transportation Game by Chris Leder and Kevin Rodgers has players trying their best to get commuters from downtown to their homes in the suburbs. Players draw cards that have different transit routes – bus, rail, boat – and attempt to play them and build a path to the commuters home. Players can also discard cards to help their little meeple move down the track, catch the bus, or get on the ferry.

When playing with friends, you’re supposed to minimize any specific strategic discussion and play the cards you have. In solo mode…well, I tried not to talk to myself too much and just play the cards.

The game is both tiny and huge! The box is small enough to toss into a backpack or purse and bring it to your next game night. But playing the game you need a nice, large surface as your different transit lines spread out from the city center.

The packaging is really cute – the city center is actually 4 puzzle pieces so the set up and break down time is very easy. Just snap the four pieces together and put them on the table, then place the six meeples on their spots down town…just waiting for their ride.

BUT as play continues and the cards go on the table, well, let’s just say this isn’t the game you want to take to the bar, it’s a game where you will need to get everything off the table before you being.

It is very easy to learn how to play but the strategy is a lot more complex than it might seem on the surface. As I sat down for my solo game, I wasn’t sure how much of a challenge it would be playing on my own, but the closer I came to the end of the pile of cards, the more it dawned on me that I had made some mistakes in my placement and two of my commuters were stranded, like Charlie on the M.T.A. in Boston.

This is a quick game to play – I think it only took me about 20 minutes to play on my own and I was still consulting the rule book. I’m sure with a group (1-6 players), it wouldn’t go too much longer. A good pick for a chill game night where you just want to snack and drink and chat and not stress over anything too rules heavy, but still have a game with enough strategy to keep the group engaged.

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