Publisher: Goldsieber/Rio Grande
Mississippi Queen is royally entertaining
Upon opening the box, I giggled. There were these little models of paddle steamers, just a few centimetres long. They were so cute!
And cute describes most of the game, including the rules. True to how boats really move, the paddle steamers have momentum, and it costs fuel to slow down (unlike in deep space in Star Trek). You need to conserve coal for the times you need it - such as slowing down to pick up passengers (who are also, incidentally, cute).
Although you can get in some pretty icky situations if you are unlucky, the game doesn't often have a runaway winner. A fortuitous bend in the river (controlled by die roll) can suddenly put you in front when you were behind. The winner is the first player to reach the end, with two passengers, moving slow enough to not run aground.
The basic game is enjoyable, but if you want to play two- or six-player, or if you want some more interesting river terrain, I recommend the expansion, The Black Rose. It's cute too.