- Designer: Ian Taylor and Shawn Martineau
- Publisher: Furious Tree Games
- Players: 1-2 (3-4 with another set)
- Age: 12+
- Time to play: 30 Minutes
Hey folks! Back again with another game review. This time, we’re inventors from Widget Ridge. Widget Ridge is a city that was built near a ridge of a volcano. They invent widgets. Thus, Widget Ridge. How did they end up near a volcano ridge? Funny story. While on route from England to Australia, a ship full of miners fell through a portal and landed on a volcano. Unable to move the ship, they did what miners do. They dug. They used the energy from the volcano to build this city. Now, it’s time for he Festival of Three Churches. Basically a large science fair. So grab some gears, use some steam, and put some elbow grease into it. We’re inventing and trying to win it all!
Widget Ridge is a one to two player deck building game. Players are trying to buy parts to inventions, invent creative inventions, and earn 100 spark first.
Widget Ridge comes with 2 starting decks of 10 cards and 2 cards used to track spark, a deck of 60 market cards, 3 jumbo goal cards, 1 jumbo boss card, and the rule book.
Starter Cards – These cards have the gold border. In the bottom left corner they are numbered 1-10. When played, these will give you gold (gold circle) or spark (blue hexagon).
Spark Tracker – Use these two cards to track your spark. The card with the widget is your ones spot. The other card is your tens. Put the two together, and you can track 0-100!
Cost – How much gold the card costs to buy. This is located in the top right corner.
Types of Inventions
Augment – Goes first in your invention
Device – Goes second in your invention
Accessory – Goes last in your inventions
Connections – To connect your invention parts together, each one needs to match one connector between parts. The three type of connects are Electrical, Gear, and Chemical.
Play/Connect Ability – The ability the card does when it’s either played from your hand or connected in your workshop.
Full Construct Ability – The ability the card does when you have a complete inventions.
Destroying Cards – Discarding to your discard pile
Melting – Removed from game
Workshop – This is an area not represented by anything in the game. It’s worth mentioning that your workshop can only hold one of each type of invention.
Each player will take their starter deck of 10 cards and the spark tracker. Shuffle this deck.
If playing the standard version the goal is 100 spark. If you want to play with a different goal, there are jumbo goal cards that changes the play of the game. I’ll be going over the standard version of the game.
Next, shuffle the market deck, draw and turn face up 6 market cards. These form the market you buy from. When a card is removed from the market, it is immediately replaced.
Determine first player. They draw 3 cards and the second player draws 5 cards.
Each player takes their turn until someone gets to 100 spark. There are four phases to a turn.
- Ideas Phase
- Discard Phase
- Draw Phase
- Full Construct Phase
Ideas Phase – Players may take the following actions as much as they want/can.
- Play Cards – Play cards from your hand. When you play a card, do the ability, then leave the card in front of you.
- Purchase Cards – Spend accumulated gold to buy cards from the market. When you buy a card, it goes on top of your discard pile.
- Place or Replace Invention – You may place or replace an invention card in your workshop. When you connect an invention, make sure to do any ability that’s activated by connecting.
- Clean Workshop – Discard all cards in your workshop
Discard Phase –Discard any cards left in your hand and any cards that aren’t connected in your workshop to your discard pile.
Draw Phase – Draw five cards from your deck. If your deck is depleted, then you shuffle your discard pile to form a refreshed deck.
Full Construct Phase – If you have an augment, device, and accessory in your workshop, you can activate your invention. First, read the name of your invention. This is important. It’s funny to hear some of the combinations of inventions.
- Preform the abilities from left to right of your invention. These will read like “You may ___ (Augment), if you do then you may do _____ (Device) or _____ (Accessory).”
- Even if you haven’t activated an invention, all players will lose any remaining gold in this phase. Think of it as just weekly expenses. Coffee, food, gas, coffee, frivolous spending, coffee. . . Did I mention coffee? Alternatively you can think of it in a Dave Ramsey aspect. You’re just making sure all the money you have is accounted for and spent to the appropriate areas. Either case, you have to start your next turn with 0 gold in your pocket.
It’s then the next players turn. This continues until one player has reached 100 spark first. You’ve done it! You’ve taken the gold. . .er all the spark and won the festival! You’re name and invention will go down in Widget Ridge History!
Phase 1 – Mechanical Bison Stampede
- Take 3 Mechanical Bison out of the market deck and place them next to the boss card.
- Set up the market place.
- Get your starting deck, shuffle it, and start with 5 cards in your hand.
- Shuffle the second starter deck and use that for the boss turn.
You play your turn as normal.
Mechanical Bison Stampede’s turn
- Melt all the cards in the market place and then refresh with new cards.
- Draw a card from the boss deck, refer to number in bottom left corner, then do what the boss card says for that number.
You’ll discard the mechanical bison and defeat the stampede when you gain spark. When you reach 10 spark, you disable one bison. When you reach 20, then you disable the second bison. When you hit 30 spark, the last bison is disabled and you move to phase 2.
Phase 2 – Lord Covington
- Before leaving the market place, pick one augment or accessory from the melted pile and add it to your deck.
- Next, count how many cards are in the melted pile. This is Lord Covington’s spark total for phase 2. Shuffle the melted market cards back into the market deck.
- Refresh the market place and begin.
- Take the 10 card from the boss deck, shuffle the remaining cards, and place the 10 on the bottom of the boss deck.
You play your turn as normal.
Lord Covington’s Turn
- Draw a boss card, refer to the number on the bottom left corner, and do what the boss card says. Lord Covington’s power is equal to his discard pile.
- Lord Covington eats inventions in the market place equal to his power. He starts closest to the market deck and moves to out. He can only eat a maximum of 6 cards a turn.
To beat Lord Covington you need to earn 100 spark before the boss deck reaches the number 10 card.
Widget Ridge is a deck building game. Clank!, Dominion, The Quest for El Dorado, Mystic Vale, Legendary. These are all deck building games. I was trying to think of some smaller sized deck building games, and the only other ones I could think of are Hero Realms and Star Realms. I think Widget Ridge fits this nice place in the deck building genre. Widget Ridge is a small box deck builder, but it plays like a big box game. I love the ability to travel easily with this game, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room in your bag.
Component wise, Widget Ridge is a nicely designed package. The box is small and easy to pack everything into it. The cards are nice and sturdy. The boss cards and goal cards are a large size. I’m not sure if this was needed, but it’s definitely nice to have them easy to read and easy to tell apart from the other cards. The art in this game adds so much to each one of your invention. When you’re playing this game, the cards spark your imagination about how completed inventions might look. The card names themselves when connected make funny sounding inventions. Foot-Powered cargo rocket with grappling hook. That’s just funny to think about. A rocket that delivers cargo, it’s foot powered, and for what ever reason it has a grappling hook. That’s the point of this game. Making crazy inventions that are fun.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Furious Tree Games or whoever had a hand in designing the box for this game. I have a lot of small box games. There’s nothing more frustrating to me than when a box lid doesn’t want to release, and you’re stretching the box sticking your fingers in the side to try and get the game opened. Widget Ridge has these nice semi-circles cut out of the lid on each side to help with this. It’s a little thing. Isn’t it the little things that matter though?
Speaking of little things. I really dig these spark trackers. I like how they look, and how with just these two cards you can track up to 100 spark. There could have easily been tokens to track this, but instead it was two cards for each player. It’s a space saver and it’s functional.
The one issue I found with the components was the rule book. I personally found it a little hard to read through the rule book due to the white ink on black pages. I’m not sure if anyone else had this issue, but I found it a little difficult to read. I had a hard time finding some answers to rules questions. One being when does the market get replaced. After searching online, I found that the market replenishes right after a player purchases a card. Another was on the solo variant. I knew the first phase I had to beat the mechanical bison stampede. It was when I got to Lord Covington I was unsure of the win condition. The win condition is getting to 100 spark before Lord Covington reaches the end of his starting deck. So basically you have 9 turns to reach 100 spark.
The game plays like your standard deck builder. You’re playing cards to get more cards and victory points. You’re adding cards to your deck, melting and thinning your deck. What I enjoyed that this game added is the connect ability on your inventions. So you’re playing cards from our hand, and then you can keep a combination of 3 cards in your workshop. You can attach multiple cards in a row to the invention to activate the abilities. Then, you’re basically making an engine that you can run each turn. Your engine can pump out gold, spark, or even let you thin your deck or draw cards. It’s so satisfying to get the perfect invention going that fits your play style.
Overall, Widget Ridge is a nice deck builder that plays big. It’s compact, easy to transport, and fun to play. You can add more players with additional boxes of the game, but I think this will shine at just 2 players. Your turns might feel like they start out slow, but it quickly picks up speed as you buy cards and build your engine. This game is a nice intro to deck building. I recommend this to anyone that’s a fan of deck building games or a fan of steampunk genres. It’s so fun, fast and comical creating these crazy contraptions.
Widget Ridge currently has an expansion for pre-order. It’s called Walkabout and it adds location cards to the market deck. This is an interesting change to game play, and I’m excited to check this one out too.