Roads & Boats & me

Roads & Boats & etcetera is available now, direct from Splotter, unlike the other 3 games I want more.

Do I buy it? I can’t try it. I vaguely suspect it will appeal to me less than other Splotter games I have played, but really I have no idea.

Does anyone here who has played it have a feel for my preferences? Will something someone says here sway me one way or the other? I don’t know, I’m just vacillating. FWIW, I like Antiquity, but I think I prefer FCM, TGZ, and Indonesia, for the kind of interaction they provide.

My apologies for the self-centred and low-value post (I suppose if someone reading this wants R&Bs and was unaware that R&Bs is currently available, it might be useful to that someone).


My guess would be no, you shouldn’t buy it.

Firstly not only is the box big, but more importantly it requires a lot of space to actually play a game. The 3 player game I had with La Luna Verde just about was ok on a 4foot square table.

This leads to the next point, La Luna Verde wasn’t wowed by it and you and he have a fair match up in tastes.

With your enthusiasm for mastery and repeated plays I wonder if this would satisfy. The map variety is there but I wonder if the single minded focus on getting up to shares would provide enough variety for you to sink your teeth in to. It lacks FCM’s branches of end game states to build for in my limited experience. It doesn’t generate the instinctive play you need in Innovation or FCM of focussing through the chaos.

It has a ponderous slow first half which is maybe too much of the game.

Also it’s not great at 2. It becomes so zero sum that it ends unsatisfyingly too soon often. Neither player much developed but one in a better position so without the uncertainty it’s boring from then on. So it often ends in the unfun first half and isn’t Go level of conceding and easily starting again. (Not that I’ve played Go, but I can surmise hopefully accurately enough)

It’s not without it’s merits, particularly the end of the game can be tense and really running your logistics network to full capacity is satisfying. Plus the sheer joy of playing a heavy game and drawing on the board is superb.

That being said in the event of fire, or whatever disaster, it’s not a game I’d look to replace in my collection. It’s not anywhere near Food Chain or Indonesia for me and isn’t as week night friendly as Great Zimbabwe.


Roads & Boats is the Splotter title that most appeals to me (through an admittedly shallow perspective of their catalog). Everything about R&B suits my style; the lasair faire ruleset and the passive-aggressive-only player-interaction is right up my alley which, as a matter of understanding the difference between our preferences, probably condemns it as a title of interest for you.

I’ve gone to great lengths to get my own 20th Anniversary edition copy, churning through the secondary market first in search of a 4th ed + exp. The box is big. Really big. Too big, just to, mostly, accommodate the acetate. It’s heavy too, but not any more so than your set of Dominion.

For anyone, I would recommend a try-before-you-buy policy for R&B unless you, like me, have too more storage space and money than common sense.


I understand why the size but, yeah, that box size, man…

Yeah. @EnterTheWyvern got me accurately. For me, it was mostly about focusing on the logistics of your resource conversion. While adding a Jalapeño of Splotter-style player interaction, it is in service of protecting your own logistics and attacking other’s logistics. Which is great fun, but not “I can fit you in my 4x4 Kallax no matter what” fun.

However(!), I can see myself changing my mind with more plays but only in the condition that the game will present itself differently as I play more and play better.


Thanks to all for the insightful comment. The balance is definitely on “don’t buy” after that, but here’s the comment from Discord that has me still vacillating:

I’m not confident enough about the game to wholeheartedly suggest it, because I still have to explore it more as a group experience. With that caveat in mind, I think the game is worth getting because it is still one of a kind - treating economy, politics and territorial conflict as emergent phenomena that come out of sheer logistical approaches - and it really knows what it wants to do. If only already for its uniqueness and precision I’d get it.

Now, there is a take that might override everything that points to it not being “for me”.


Good news: if you buckle up end up with a copy, the secondary market for R&B tends to be a seller’s market

1 Like

Your market is not the same as my market, unfortunately. That might also be true in Japan, I’m not really sure.

1 Like

That’s true. I would expect it to follow the pattern of other Splotter games’ secondary markets.

Well, it is one-of-a-kind. But then, I heard things about Neuland being kinda similar. Need to check that one.


Yup, @pillbox will buy it from you if you don’t like it.

(I have nothing else to add other than a bad in joke)


Well, in the end my curiosity got the better of me, and I ordered the anniversary edition during the short window it was available for.

If it’s any good, I’ll probably end up making a Vassal module for it so I can actually play it with other people.

Also bought the FCM expansion, so perhaps I’ll end up with a Vassal module for that too…


Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it :slightly_smiling_face:


Hey all. So, I screwed up the order and R&Bs won’t be arriving until April or something (along with The Great Zimbabwe).

I want to start working on the Vassal module, but I don’t have the images I need. Can anyone supply me with scans of the tiles, tokens, etc? @pillbox ?


I am happy to assist! However, my copy of 20th Anniversary edition has such bad alignment that when I posted about it on BGG, Splotter got in touch and offered to replace the majority of the tiles. That was a while ago and I’m still waiting for replacements.

That said, my 2nd edition terrain tiles are all very good and I can certainly scan those (they are famously single-sided, unlike 3rd, 4th, and 20th Anniversary). I’m missing a lot of tokens and bits of the 2nd edition copy, and that includes all of the base game buildings and resource chits.

Let me see what I can come up with.


Great, thanks! One of the main things is just having the relative sizes of everything correct. Image quality I can always try and upgrade later if I get better images (from Splotter, for example, but aside from permission they haven’t given me anything yet).


Splotter finally came through with the print files - they had just forgotten about it.

So, all I need now is, uh, all the pieces that aren’t on the cardboard sheets scanned, like the wooden pieces, with a hex for size comparison only.


First build of the Vassal module is ready. Base game only, needs some spit and polish, but it’s working fine. I’m puzzling my way through a single player scenario right now!

(And I just realized I can’t build a raft factory in the desert. Time to try again!)


Looking good! How long has it taken so far?


I’ve been working lightning fast⚡. The more modules I make, the easier it gets. About… 40 hours, maybe?


First game complete!

A measly score of 110 wealth points.

Major mistake was not realising the game is only 20 turns instead of 33. Based on that, I shouldn’t have researched and built the steamer factory and produced the steam-ship, and I needed to get wonder bricks earlier for irrigation to build the stock exchange, and mining gold earlier to ramp up the scoring. There’s a lot to get done in 20 turns…

As with my Antiquity module, updates are probably going to be frequent, and too much hassle to duplicate posts here, so if anyone wants to find the latest module, please go to the end of this thread: BoardGameGeek

Of course, I’d still really appreciate any feedback, suggestions, or general RBO&ADTS commentary here.

1 Like