Author: Werner Hodel

Publisher: Goldsieber 1997

Spiel des Jahres



This is a game for 3 to 5 players, and each player participates with a steamboat in a race down the Missisippi River. The rules are simply enough:

Each player has a steamboat which has two major characteristics: Speed and Coal. At the beginning, the players start in a harbour with the full amount of 6 units of coal and a speed of 0. A player may speed up or slow down his ship at a rate of 1 per turn up to a maximum speed of 6. The speed indicates how many spaces a player must move on the river this turn. Whenever the first ship comes onto the last space of the river, a new river piece is added to the river in forward, left or right direction (rolling a direction-die for this). A ship may perform a free turning of 60 degrees per round in order to stay on the river. But now to the tricky part:

A player may alter the shipīs speed for more than 1, and he might turn more than once in a turn when he spends 1 unit of coal for each additional action. But when a ship runs out of coal, a player is out of the race. Ships may also be rammed and thus move out of the course by an other playerīs ship. The first player who reaches the harbour which is the last river part wins the game, but only if he has picked up two passengers on his way. There are some islands in the river on which passengers are placed, which might be picked up, if a player moves his ship to the island with a speed reduced to 1.

This game brings tremendous fun, especially if itīs played with 5 players. When the end is drawing near, each players spends his coals and tries to prevent an other player from winning first, and this results in some ships running out of Coal before they reach the finish. To my mind, this game is a very good example for an easy but nonetheless very good game. Especially nice are the playing pieces with good looking steamboats and very nice passengers. And: I have tried the game with just two players, and it still makes good fun !

However, even a good game can become better: About a year after the initial release Goldsieber published The Black Rose as an expansion set for the game. This expansion contains advanced rules for two players, obstacles like timbers and other items and a sixth ship which may be used to introduce either a sixth player or a "neutral" Pirate.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany