Billabong Boardgamers

Mississippi Queen

Publisher: Goldsieber/Rio Grande
Players: 2-5/6
Reproduced here with kind permission from Funagain Games.

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.

The Black Rose

More of the Same

The Black Rose is one of those expansions that add just a few rules to the basic game, and not much else. As such I would recommend it mostly to those who liked the original Mississippi Queen a lot.

The most important new rules are those that allow a player to control two boats instead of one, and the Black Rose itself - a boat that is controlled by the player in last place. Both of these additions help to solve the problem with the base game of one runaway player getting an unbeatable lead.

Most of the other optional rules - this expansion is nothing but optional rules from which you select the ones you want to play on a game-by-game basis - add small interesting aspects to the game, without changing the overall feel of it.

I don't play Mississippi Queen much, but when I do I always include at least one of the parts from The Black Rose. The basic game seems just a little too . . . basic otherwise.

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