Snowdonia is situated in a national park in the north west of Wales. The national park spans 823 square miles and was first to be designated as such.
Hang on....you are not here to read about the Snowdonia the mountain? OK, lets talk about the game instead then (specifically the Deluxe reprint), which if we are honest, is far more interesting.
Snowdonia might not be as old as the mountain region that it is based on but it is well known and well loved within the board game circles. It is a 1-5 player worker placement game about the construction of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Sounds riveting (no pun intended) right? Well lets take a look at the original Snowdonia game and what the recent Deluxe version has to offer that has personally got me (and over 4,500 backers) very excited about this game.
What we Know about Snowdonia
In Snowdonia, players represent work gangs labouring away to construct the mountain railway. Other train games have you using the railways to deliver goods and perform various other functions, in Snowdonia you are actually constructing the railway. The railway is represented by a number of cards laid out along the edge of the board. Players will have to excavate the land working their way up the mountain, lay track, buy trains, construct viaducts and way stations and manage their resources and worker placement carefully.
For anyone that has visited Wales they know that the weather can be beautiful, glorious sunshine, and also thrashing it down with rain, or foggy and damp. Why am I talking about the weather in Wales? Well the weather plays a big part in Snowdonia. If it is foggy, the work gangs won't risk laying track. If the sun comes out, everyone's spirits are lifted and they work harder, workers will lay more tack, excavate more rubble and generally be more productive. Not only will players need to compete with the weather they will need to compete with the other worker gangs (other players) and an external contractor (represented by certain events).
Contract cards add a nice touch, these cards change your base actions, making them more successful when played. Stations can be built on the train line once all tracks leading up to that station have been excavated. Trains can be purchased (once the buy trains event has occurred) which give the player a boost, but the trains require upkeep. The supply bag is also an interesting concept and adds another layer of tactics and some randomness in to the game.
At the end of the round a set number of cubes are drawn from the supply bag and placed in the stockyard. These could be Iron Ore, Stone or Coal. Only these resources are available for this round from the worker placement spots. In the supply bag there are also Event cubes which trigger different events depending on the space the cube is placed. The events are supposed to represent a rival worker gang, an outside contractor and perform actions like excavation, laying track, completing a station, allowing trains to be bought and forcing players to perform maintenance on their train.
On the surface there may seem like a lot of different aspects to the game. However, it plays silky smooth and everything seems to come together in to, what can only be described, as a wonderful game. The original Snowdonia has been out of print for a long time which has made acquiring the game hard without paying over the odds. It has been on my wishlist for ages but couldn’t justify the high price tag. There has also been a raft of extra content published since its release.
However, Snowdonia Deluxe has recently been successfully funded on Kickstarter. It features all published scenarios and expansions (in excess of 200 extra cards), a new scenario never before published (The Bluebell line created by Tony Boydell himself), 365 custom wooden components with printed scenario specific pieces, double layer custom made insert, all promo cards (including previous print and play only cards), double-sided board with new and classic Snowdonia artwork and a one-player automated AI for a more challenging solo play.
This really is the Deluxe version of Snowdonia. It contains everything ever printed and published, plus some new content, all with upgrade card stock, wooden components and much more. The amount of content that this game contains is staggering, the replay-ability is crazy high. I am super excited about this game and can’t wait till May next year when it should be delivered.