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Subject: Impossible Machine: A first impression review rss

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Brian Modreski
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At the moment, there is nothing to be found on BGG for The Impossible Machine, so I thought I'd try to help out curious geeks with a quick review. This only based on a few plays, but I thought it would be good to get something out there.

What's it about?
Players are inventors of questionable sanity building Rube-Goldberg style contraptions of levers, pulleys, gears and confused animals in order to accomplish tasks like launching birthday cakes into the air or powering a windup monkey.

You score a point for every card you get into a machine, and 2 points for each Catalyst card - the silly goals of the game.

Game Play
Each players gets a color-coded deck of 35 cards. I think all the decks are the same, but haven't made sure. Each card shows a machine piece with an input and ouput. So, for example, a machine piece might require turning gears to power which drops a bowling ball that provides downward motion.

On each turn, a player can play up to 3 cards. Its easiest to place a card on the start of end; you just match up the input/output. You can also play into the middle, but you must maintain the chain of symbols.

If you don't want to play, you can discard up to three cards and draw more to replace them.

Some cards are splitters, which create two rows to play on.

Each deck has 5 'null' cards, which are played to remove an existing card from the machine - normally someone else's of course!

Each deck also has 5 catalysts. The have an input, but no output. When the first one gets played into a machine, the machine will activate at the end of the next player's turn.

Once a machine activates, 3 cards at a time are turned face down from the front of the machine each turn. When all the cards are face down, the machine has completed. Players score points for their cards in the machine and a new machine is started.

Note that you can keep adding pieces to a machine even while it activates, so sometimes you'll be racing to stay ahead of the completing machine!

Once 3 machines have completed, players total up their score and see who wins.

What kind of game is it?
Light filler. It plays in 20 minutes or less. There's not a lot of deep decisions going on.

Figuring out where best to put your cards has a bit of puzzle element. You really want to place all 3 cards if possible, so you can score as many points as possible, so you need to look for good places to add cards in the middle and judge when the best time to play a catalyst is.

Its fun to narrate what the pieces are doing when you put them in, especially if you feel like putting on your best "mad scientist" persona. Of course, several times we informed another player what a terrible idea their catalyst was as we nulled it, only to replace it with the same catalyst from our own hand.

Parts that need some grease
There's some unclear bits in the rules; it never indicates what happens when you run out of cards, or whether cards from a completed machine are returned to the players or not. Need to get some info from the designers on that.

We didn't think this worked well with 2 players. With 5 nulls each and 5 catalysts each, we just kept cancelling each others catalysts and got an unmanageably long machine. It also seemed much too easy to play all your cards into the machine.
EDIT: Whoops! It was pointed out below that we missed a rule that might have changed how this played a lot.

That wasn't a problem at all with 4 players; we finished machines fairly quickly.

Initial Impressions
Its a decent little filler, with a cute theme and simple gameplay. Its inexpensive and physically small, so its easy to fit into a collection if you like the theme.
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Runcible Spoon
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Thanks for the update on this.

I have had my eye on this based on the (at this time) scant info on BGG. I think the Rube Goldberg theme sounds interesting so I think I will continue to keep an eye out for this one.
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Mousey
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Thanks for the report!

Could you also upload some pictures?
I would love to see a contraption in acion.
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Stefano Castelli
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StormKnight wrote:
At the moment, there is nothing to be found on BGG for The Impossible Machine, so I thought I'd try to help out curious geeks with a quick review. This only based on a few plays, but I thought it would be good to get something out there.


Thanks for the review!

Just 3 questions:
1: it composed of just cards?

2: where did you get it?

3: how would you compare it to Infernal Contraption?

Regards
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Roland W. est. 1984
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sounds like an old computergame i really loved...
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Stefano Castelli
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Yay!

Consider that Garage Games released some kind of "unofficial sequel" to the Impossible Machine serie. Give it a try, because they are actually good (and quite cheap...).

There is an entire series about it, the title is "Chain Reaction".
 
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Andrew Miller
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evil_puck wrote:
sounds like an old computergame i really loved...


I'm guessing you mean The Incredible Machine series? I really enjoyed those games.
 
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Brian Modreski
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AasnoW-ix - I'll try to get some pictures uploaded, though I suck at that

Stefano -

1. Yes, just cards.

2. From TimeWellSpentGames, an online game store that happens to be located locally to me.

3. Sorry, I've never played Infernal Contraption.

Quote:
sounds like an old computergame i really loved...

Yeah. Making me think of Incredible Machine was one of the main reasons I bought it.

Game play wise, it doesn't really feel like T.I.M. though. Basically its a game of matching symbols. As I mentioned, its a cute filler, but don't expect much depth.
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Sam
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Yes, please upload some gameplay pictures...

How long the rule is? 1 page or 2 pages? can you scan it and upload as well (if ok)?

Thx
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Chris D'Andrea
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The game does automatically keep moving even if you cancel the catalyst. If any machine has 15 parts in it then the machine starts on the next turn. This prevents you from making a huge machine and running out of cards. I also agree that the rulebook doesn't directly state that you should get your cards back but I assumed you do but again this would make the game more strategic in that you don't want to run out of cards I guess. We played where you get the cards back. I do recall there being a line in the rules that eradicated cards are removed from the game and not placed on the bottom of the players deck.

All in all a very light filler that plays in like 10 - 20 minutes and I taught it to my 5 year old with no problem.

Not a game to be taken too seriously.
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Brian Modreski
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Quote:
If any machine has 15 parts in it then the machine starts on the next turn.

Doh! We completely forgot about that! modest
May need to rethink 2 player.
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Chris D'Andrea
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It works with two but is missing a LOT of the charm that makes the game fun. Like you said above you have to explain what your card is adding to the machine.

But like the card in the box says glowfly makes games for children that are fun for adults so analytical uber gamers need not apply there is no deep strategy here and it is less deep then No Thanks!. BUT for a lite filler or end of the night humor game it is a great buy at $15 retail.
 
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Justin Egan
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Castef wrote:
1: it composed of just cards?

yep

Castef wrote:
2: where did you get it?

FLGS

Castef wrote:
3: how would you compare it to Infernal Contraption?

It is nothing like it... At all.
 
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Brian Modreski
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ah3Dog wrote:
Yes, please upload some gameplay pictures...

Your wish is granted!

Quote:
How long the rule is? 1 page or 2 pages? can you scan it and upload as well (if ok)?

Its a single double sided page (which folds up to fit in the box). I'd want to at least try to get permission before uploading it. I'm still waiting to hear back from the company on rules questions and a damaged card.
 
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Edd Allard
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StormKnight wrote:
There's some unclear bits in the rules; it never indicates what happens when you run out of cards, or whether cards from a completed machine are returned to the players or not. Need to get some info from the designers on that.


The rules state, "When a machine is complete, put all the cards in a pile for scoring." That sounds like cards do not go back into a player's deck. Since machines activate with a catalyst or 15 cards, there should never be a case when a player runs out of cards.
 
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Brian Modreski
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Quote:
Since machines activate with a catalyst or 15 cards, there should never be a case when a player runs out of cards.

They activate at 15 cards, but you can keep placing cards as its completing
 
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Nicholas D'annunzio
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StormKnight wrote:
ah3Dog wrote:
Yes, please upload some gameplay pictures...

Your wish is granted!

Quote:
How long the rule is? 1 page or 2 pages? can you scan it and upload as well (if ok)?

Its a single double sided page (which folds up to fit in the box). I'd want to at least try to get permission before uploading it. I'm still waiting to hear back from the company on rules questions and a damaged card.


Any news?
 
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Nicholas D'annunzio
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got the game!!

I did't understand the rules after a machine is completed.
Do I have to take the cards back?
 
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Brian Modreski
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Quote:
Any news?

Nope. Nor have I ever heard back from them with answers to rules questions or the possibility of replacing a card that came damaged
 
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William Gull
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When a machine is finished, the cards used to make the machine are set aside. This happens for all three machines. Once the last machine has been completed, sort the three machine stacks by color, and then score each color to determine winner.
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