The gold rush has brought many people to your small town and being the enterprising self that you are, you realize this could be exactly what you need to make your fortune. Unfortunately, the same thought has crossed the minds of several of your fellow townspeople. In Saloon Tycoon, you are competing against others in your town to make the best saloon with the services the town wants so you can walk away with the most money.
What is Saloon Tycoon like?
Saloon Tycoon is an action selection gameOn your turn you can either buy and place a tile into your saloon, play a card, draw two cards or take two gold. Those are the main tycoon actions and you can only do one of those by default, but you can also do as many free actions as you qualify for or can afford. The free actions involve “staking” an open claim (public goals) or supply your tiles with cubes.
Each tile represents a different business that you add to your saloon including places like a poker room, pharmacy, theater, etc. Your player board consists of places to add these tiles next to previously placed tiles, but the coolest aspect to the game is that you can also build on top of existing tiles. Once a room is complete (a certain number of supply cubes have been placed on the tile), you get points and a reward for finishing the room and then you are able to build on top of the finished tile. If you think about the supply cubes as building supports and the tiles as floors, then you can see that you are actually building a 3D saloon.
In addition to the open claim cards each player starts the game with two secret claims; goals they are working towards for additional points at the end of the game. The open claim cards are different in that they are available for anyone to claim, but only the first person to claim the cards actually get the points. Most of the open and secret claim cards have requirements of getting certain citizen or outlaws to come to your saloon. The open claim cards can be claimed as soon as you meet the requirements, but the secret claim cards are only worth points if you meet the requirements at the very end of the game.
The game ends once all of the supply cubes are depleted. Each other player gets one final turn once that happens and more supply cubes are made available for those players.
Saloon Tycoon is a quick-playing game that lets you build a 3D structure which makes it looks great on the table. Overall I really like Saloon Tycoon and the best part other than building a 3D structure is the simplicity of each turn. Since each turn only consists of one of 4 different possibilities they are pretty quick and easy decisions. Often you can’t even do some of the actions, so your choices are even more limited for that turn.
Another one of my favorite aspects of the game is the potential for combos to develop on your turn. Even though you can only do one action and then free actions, you can still get a good combo going. For example, if you play a card that gives you a build action and some gold you can then buy a tile with the newly acquired gold. Then you can pay for supply cubes to finish that tile, another tile or even both tiles which will then give the rewards for finishing the tiles which might include a card draw, playing a card, another action, etc. If you time it right and you have the right resources, you could turn one simple action into a monster turn.
- Simple turn options makes for quick play
- 3D buildings!
- Possibility for huge combos
- Some cards can attack other players and really hit them when they are down.
- The setup is about as long as the game
The game is not difficult to learn or play. The rules are short and well-written. Most experienced players could pick up the game quickly without much difficulty at all.
- Players: 2 – 4
- Playing time: 30 – 60 minutes
- Suggested age: 13+