Ain't It Sweet--A Double-Take Preview of Rocky Road a la Mode

Today we're previewing Rocky Road a la Mode, the latest game from our pals at Green Couch Games. It's a card game about running an ice cream truck--and it's on Kickstarter right now. Is it a sweet treat, or will it give you an ice cream headache? Let's find out!


The Components

First, we need to talk about the main cards from the game: Treat cards. The upper left has an icon that shows one of the three types of treats in the game. In the upper right is a number from one to three that represents how long it takes to attract customers for that card. In the middle of the card are two rows of "customers," and what specific treats that customer wants. Finally, at the bottom of the card, we've got the reward, which consists of VPs, Permanent Supply bonuses, or a combination of both. 

The rest of the components are other types of cards, discs that represent ice cream trucks, and three Rocket Pop tokens.


The Gameplay

Players take turns, but not alternate turns: whichever truck is furthest back on the track goes next, which could mean a player gets more than one turn in a row. 

On your turn you can do one of three things:

Restock: Draw up to five cards, and then move your truck forward on the track for each card you took. 

Attract Customers: Place a Treat card from your hand under your Truck card--then move your truck forward on the track equal to the time number on the upper right.

Serve Customers: Discard Treat cards with the type of treats your customers are looking for, and move your truck up one space on the track. 

Once you've served both groups of customers on a card, you move it horizontally under your Truck card, with only the VPs/bonuses showing. On future turns, you can use any bonuses when Serving Customers. 

If your truck lands on a Rocket Pop space, you take that token and you can use it on a future turn as a wild--and it's then returned to the road.

There are Location cards that give you extra VPs if you're the first to fulfill the requirements. 

When a player has 9 VPs, then you continue playing until the first person to get 9 VPs is furthest back on the truck track. Whoever has the most VPs after that is the winner. 


The Verdict

Firestone--While the cute artwork and theme might make you overlook it, Rocky Road is a solid family game. I know the "time" mechanism is in vogue right now, but it really does create interesting decisions as you weigh the trade-off of doing something awesome now but not being able to take a turn for a while. 

Jeremiah--I'll admit it, the theme and look of this game led me to some preconceived notions of the game. Once I got about 1/3 of the way through the rule book I realized I had a fun game on my hands. I've played it with my boys and it holds up both as a family game and as a great gamer game. That puts this game over the top for me: If I can grab one game off of my shelf and it hits with the family and my gamer friends, it's a winner! 

Firestone--Honestly, I can't see bringing this out with my gamer group. But it's full of jaded people. Like me. :) But this does work well with family gamers of all ages. In fact, our 8-year-old routinely whoops us at it. But there's definite depth here--and it's a great introduction to managing resources. The artwork is fun and evocative, too. 

Jeremiah--Yep, my 8-year-old is a big fan of it too! Everything works for this one. Great meaty choices for the time track, managing resources, choosing when to use a card for its permanent benefits (scoring, resources), or to use it for serving customers. Lots of dimensions to the gameplay!

Firestone--People have compared this to Splendor, and I would say those comparisons are apt. It's not a ripoff, but they share some similarities. But when it comes to playing with my wife and kids, I'm going to pick Rocky Road all day long. They like the artwork, theme, and gameplay better. 

Jeremiah--Agreed. Conversely if there is a drawback to the game for the gamer crowd, it's the theme and artwork. It's great for a family game, but some gamers may take issue with its cuteness.

Firestone's Final Verdict--Rocky Road a la Mode is a fun family filler. Games go quickly, and everyone's engaged. This is my favorite Green Couch game! 

Jeremiah's Final Verdict--Great decisions and sleek design make this great for gamers, and a fun theme and cute artwork make it great for families! There's no fat to trim on this game; it plays cleanly and smoothly with no clunky housekeeping. Rocky Road a la Mode is a great game! 

You can back Rocky Road a la Mode on Kickstarter. Thanks for reading!