That mental moment took less than 5 seconds start to finish. I am that into the Riddle’s crunchy gameplay!
Start Your Engines
Set up is slick. Each player gets two sheets and a red cup token, and the blueprint board is placed where all can see. Then the dice are rolled and placed on the corresponding columns arranged by colour. Don’t forget to pick one free engineer and one test track!
There are just 8 rounds and each turn has three phases;
- Planning – this is the dice rolling and placing phase described above
- Industry – this is where players pick a die from the Blueprint board and carry out three actions
- Blueprint Bonus – i.e. the action printed on the board underneath the die you picked
- Blueprint Action - i.e. the action printed on the actual die (and column) you picked (or you can check a box on the research track or use it to upgrade the action – if you have enough money to go spending it up at the shop!); and
- Scoresheet Action – i.e. pick one of the 4 spaces in the top right section of the scoresheet (Testing/Sales/Production/Engineering) and carry out that action.
Once everyone has done this twice, the last die is shared by everyone – you get the Blueprint action (but no bonus or scoresheet action). And if you don’t fancy it, you can use it to check off a box on the research track instead.
Auditor (from Round 2 onwards) – everybody checks their Speedometer and gets the points on the highest star checked off – these are written in the round scoring box on the scoresheet. Then roll the red Auditor die and place the cup meeple over the corresponding Scoresheet action box (Testing/Sales/Production/Engineering) – this will be unavailable to you on the next round (unless you choose to pay to ignore it that is!)
Once the 8th round is over, everybody counts up the VPs they have accumulated over the various areas of car production, and the winner is the player with the highest score.
Now, that’s the game stripped down to its bare chassis! There’s so many possibilities and permutations that it would be impossible to cover every which way to gain points. But it’s one of those games where you cannot do everything. You’ll want to. Oh, you will definitely want to. And you’ll panic (if you’re like me) because the first few rounds feel like they are yielding very little. But then, as you go up on the engineering and production tracks, and you get lots of lovely dollar-dollar-bills to spend, the combos start rolling in.
I would say that upgrading your scoresheet actions is a no-brainer. As soon as you can. Because each time one gets triggered, you’ll be able to check off two or three boxes instead of the starter-motor single box. Plus, look out for free upgrade bonuses in the various areas! This will have your combo chains jangling together like Snoop Dogg at a diamond sale! This is the revving heart of your engine and you are going to want to put pedal to the metal each round.
And try not to be overwhelmed by all the icons being used. Because there are a lot! And they are small. There’s a handy glossary in the back of the rule book that I would recommend keeping out in the absence of player aids. Some relate to instant bonuses. Others show what needs to have been collected in order to score that particular VP haul. It’s not always intuitive as to what each one does unlike Three Sisters which seems to have a flow that’s easier to follow. Also, the rulebook doesn’t seem to cover every eventuality which is a little frustrating. BGG is full of recommended courses of action though if you do find yourself ticking-over in a rules grey area!
What I really enjoy is that I can try out different strategies each game. Replayability is off the charts because even though the actions I take each turn and each phase are the same, the decision space is always different. Randomised dice rolls and opponents’ drafting choices see to that! I need to play more and get more familiar with each area because I have found that I miss key symbols (like tyres) when choosing the various tracks. And this then denies me a bonus or VPs at end game. Not that I need one, but that just sounds like the perfect excuse to play Motor City more! Haha
I won’t go into it in detail as that can be found here, but I love playing Motor City solo. Auditor Emma is a force to be reckoned with, and I love every minute.
If you like the sound of Motor City solo, I would highly recommend Three Sisters too – it has the same quality of crunchiness and a theme that’s more earthy than oil-rag dirty!