Designed by Ian Taylor | Published by Furious Tree Games
1-2 Players | 15-45 Minutes
During the Festival of the Three Churches, inventors of all kinds bring their gadgets, inventions and strange devices together for the world’s biggest science fair. On the second morning, the statue of Lord Admiral Sir Eustace Covington, the towns first mayor has been activated. The statue, an automaton, begins to roam the streets wrecking havoc. This is your moment: use your resources and sabotaging your rivals while attempting to shut down the mayor and receive the glory.
Widget Ridge is a steampunk themed, deck building game where players work to be the first to gather enough spark to shut down the mayor and win the game.
In a 2-player game, each player begins with the same 10 gadget cards capable of providing a very limited number of spark and gold to work with. The market is then populated with 6 additional cards from the card deck available for the right price on your turn.
Each turn consists of 4 phases: Ideas Phase, Discard Phase, Draw Phase and Full Construct Phase.
During the Ideas Phase players draw 5 cards from their deck. These cards all consist of various powers and abilities and they may play them in any order they see fit. Players use gold to purchase additional cards from the market in hopes of gaining additional gold and spark. Players also have the opportunity to build an invention in their workshop.
The workshop is where players may connect cards to gain bigger abilities. These inventions are activated during the Full Construct Phase when 3 types of cards are properly connected. Gathering and selecting just the right cards for your invention can provide a serious boost and… void of any opponent medaling… can propel you quickly to victory.
At the end of a turn players discard their hand and draw another 5 cards from their personal deck.
Players take turns gaining new cards, destroying and melting cards (removing cards from a hand or eliminating them from the game altogether) and activating their inventions. Players also have the opportunity to sabotage their opponents workshop in an effort to gain an advantage. Play continues until one player reaches 100 spark, stops the menacing automaton and saves the day.
Widget Ridge also features a solo campaign with unique 1-player phases.
When playing Widget Ridge, the first thing I noticed was how much the theme really shines. Each card is flavorfully and meticulously packed with fun steampunk gadgets and humor. Fans of the genre will be delighted with the detail.
The artwork is fun and lighthearted and the card quality is decent. The information and iconography are clearly communicated on each card making it easy to understand the abilities and functionality during gameplay. The game box is well constructed and very portable.
If you’re a fan of deck-builders you probably already know what you’re getting yourself into. While there isn’t anything revolutionary about the gameplay, the workshop allowing you to build your own custom invention and the unique spark/score tracker add to the charm of the game. The charm is really the heart and soul of Widget Ridge. Whether the theme appeals to you or not, the effort put into making sure each card tells its own story is clearly evident.
I did have the opportunity to play the game with a couple expansions and they did give the game additional dimension such as playing Location cards in the marketplace. These cards can be tethered to certain market cards and provide additional benefits and bonuses for the buyer.
I think my only knock on the game was the rulebook. It was a little small and a little hard to read.
I’m a huge fan of Steampunk themed games as well as deck-builders so I’m obviously biased. This is right up my wheelhouse. Quick, easy to play and full of charm make Widget Ridge a silly good time. For those needing something more objective: The game play isn’t revolutionary and if the theme doesn’t appeal to you, you probably won’t enjoy the game as much. The solo mode did seem to be lacking from the 2-player game removing some of the more interactive actions. But overall, for the right audience, Widget Ridge is a great fit.