Yes, this is actually a thing. Loosely based on Chris Sawyer’s famous computer game series of the same name, this game has its ups and downs (as well as twists, turns, and corkscrews).
Okay, okay, so it’s by Parker Brothers. But like I said, I don’t hate Parker Brothers. Not all all. I think they are a great company who has made many wonderful board games. The thing that bothers me is when people can’t enjoy other games because they assume all board games are like “Risk.”
That being said, let’s dive in. Imagine “Monopoly,” if it was actually fun and took 45 minutes to play. That’s “RCTBG”. The gameplay is very simple: dice-based movement with a property owning technique. Your goal is to get park guests to visit your rides and attractions, all the while keeping a steady budget and consistently buying new rides and attractions. There is also a nice auction mechanic to the game where players can bid on a ride(s), sometimes not even knowing what exactly they are bidding on. This keeps the game interesting, as risks must be taken to ensure success.
The pieces are the best part. The board is nicely detailed, the money pieces look good, but the Whoa Belly and Roller Coasters take the cake. Literally three dimensional and very fun to assemble and admire, the completed park looks awesome. One problem I noticed, however, is that there is a lot of stuff. Lots of tokens, lots of chips, lots of cards; while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does make the set up of the game much longer than it needs to be. Also, you can’t drown your guests, charge for the bathroom, or take out a piece of roller coaster track and watch the train fly. Too bad.
All in all, it’s not a bad game. Short and sweet, nice looking, and pretty fun, “Roller Coaster Tycoon: The Board Game” is something of a diamond in the rough. It can appeal to a wide audience. Because it is easy to learn, quick to play, and based on a well-known computer game, non-gamers will most likely enjoy it as much as hard core gamers, a rare but wonderful trait for a board game.
Overall rating: B-. It’s not worth going out of your way to find it, but if you happen to come across a $7 copy at an entertainment exchange store like I did, it’s worth a try.