Have you ever had dreams and aspirations of driving an ice cream truck? Just think, you could deliver frozen treats to all the children of the neighborhood. Well, it’s time for those dreams to become a reality… well, at least in a board game. In Rocky Road a la Mode from Green Couch Games you can do just this!
2-4 players take control of their own ice cream truck (complete with ice cream truck meeples!) and take turns advancing spaces around the neighborhood to deliver different types popsicles to the townsfolk. After you successfully provide popsicles to 2 customers, you’ll be rewarded with a permanent popsicle in your inventory making future orders easier to fulfill, or victory points. The first player to 8 victory points wins. There’s also tokens you can pick up by driving over potholes that count as a popsicle to fulfill an order without having to use cards from your hand. But you may not want to race too far ahead to get that token, because the active player is whoever has the furthest back position on the road. So racing ahead too far could give another player multiple turns in a row.
This game is very fun, and there’s some small thematic elements that let you know thought was put in to it. For instance; when you play a card from your hand to begin attracting customers, the number of spaces is denoted in front of a speaker icon with music notes. This signifies your truck driving along playing music bring out your customers. I also love the artwork and bright colors of the ice cream truck cards. They managed to make all of them look so different and it really helps sell the theme of competing ice cream trucks.
My wife and I have 5 children, so most of our gaming experiences happen after everyone is tucked in to bed for the night. Because of this, we don’t want to spend a lot of time setting up a game. We just want to open a box and go. We also prefer games that you can instantly walk away from for 10-15 minutes at a time, because children tend to wake up and need a drink, a story, or any excuse to not sleep. This game meets both of those, thanks to the turn order mechanic. You never have to remember whose turn it is, because the player furthest back on the road is the active player. Super easy to keep track of.
I like the amount of strategy you can employ, mapping out your turn. Being able to control how many spaces your truck moves to restock can be very useful to ensure you are still behind your opponent at the end of the turn. This means you would still be the furthest truck back on the road, and would take the next turn. Chaining together multiple turns in a row to can feel like a huge accomplishment and seeing your opponent do the very same thing to you feels like a punch in the gut.
Now, the game isn’t perfect. I do wish it was a little more interaction between players. I would like to see something I could do to disrupt my opponent’s permanent supply or even make them discard cards. Because of this, you can usually see who is going to win the game 3 or 4 turns ahead of time, and have no way to stop it. I also wish the board was just a bit bigger, but that is such a minor complaint because I understand the need to have it all fit in one small box. So, if there was a mini expansion that came with a larger street to drive around, and a new cards that could be used to interfere with opposing trucks, this game would demand some serious attention.
As it is, this is a fun game that’s quick to set up, easy to understand, and provides some strategic planning with how to best move your ice cream truck. And the stackable ice cream truck meeples are pretty great. I love unique game components like this. Overall, this game is fun and can be played as a cool down from a stressful day or as a warm up to a full evening of gaming. Just watch out for brain freeze.