SNAP Review – Mass Transit

It’s rush hour! Can you build a network of busses, trains, and ferries to get every commuter home to the suburbs?

This is a SNAP review for Mass Transit.

Game

Mass Transit is a cooperative game for 1-6 players, It plays in about 20 minutes, no matter how many people are playing, and it’s best for ages 8 and up.

Mass Transit was designed by Chris Leder and Kevin Rodgers and is published by Calliope Games.

Art

The art in Mass Transit is simple, but effective, line art. It’s clearly inspired by public transit maps.

The hexagonal “Big City” board makes setup a breeze and gives an anchor to start building on.

Stickers for the meeple “commuters” are really cute and increase our desire to get them home.

Members of our family tend to “adopt” a meeple as their personal friend and make it their mission to help that worker get home.

Mechanics

At the beginning of the game, all six commuter meeples are in the Big City, and it’s our job to get each one to its home in the suburbs.

Each player has four cards. On your turn, you must play at least two cards, and you must play any cards that have the ! symbol.

Any card can be played onto one of the six routes radiating out from the Big City. Most cards also specify a transportation type (walking, bus, ferry, or train), and could instead be played to move a meeple along that type of route.

Suburb cards are played at the end of a route. Each suburb has a type and a minimum distance that the suburb must be away from the Big City.

Yellow cards can’t be played for any transportation value, and most of them contain obstacles.

Once any player can’t play at least two cards, the game is over. Can your team get all six meeples to their homes before you can’t play your cards?

Expectations

To start, Mass Transit is a small box. We didn’t expect it to have the table presence that it has.

You can see plainly from the art on the box that it is a transit game, and takes a lot of art elements from classic public transit designs.

We really like cooperative games, they play well with our family.

I love the look of all of these cards, with the very clear different kinds of transit routes, and walking as its own thing.

So it’s a small box game, with relatively simple straightforward pieces inside. We felt like we had a pretty good idea of what was happening. But what surprised us about Mass Transit?

Surprises

First, it surprised us that there was such a big table presence coming out of such a small box. You start with the small hexagon in the middle, but end up with paths radiating out. If you’re not careful, you could cover the whole table! Most of the time, you could play this on a desk or a card table; it’s not huge. But it’s a lot bigger than we expected.

We were pleasantly surprised at how quick it was to grasp the concept. You have six little guys on the hexagon, and you’re trying to get each one of them home. That’s easy.

But it’s agonizingly hard to win this game. This is like Go – simple to learn, but hard to master! Just like that, this is so hard. In fact, the only time we’ve ever won this game is when we played it solo – which is just a tiny bit easier than playing in a group.

It’s not so difficult that you feel hopeless. Almost every time we’ve played, we get very close to winning, and it encourages us to keep trying. “We were so close! We can do better next time.” (All we need to do now is master the Vulcan mind-meld, and we will win at Mass Transit in a big group. Maybe.)

Other than solo play (where you know all the cards that are available), it plays exactly the same at all player counts, from two players all the way up to six players.

Recommended?

We really enjoy Mass Transit as a cooperative game. We like the art style of the game; it’s very classic and embodies that “transit” idea. We love the adorable meeple guys that make us think about “getting a captain home from the Big City”.

It works very well as a family game, either with kids or adults, and it’s got just the right difficulty level. It’s not easy to win, but it’s easy to get close.

We give it 4 meeples out of 5.

Mass Transit meeples with stickers

The Family Gamers received a copy of Mass Transit from Calliope Games for this review.

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?

Mass Transit
  • Meeples
4

Summary

Age Range: 8+

Number of Players: 1-6

Playtime: 20 minutes

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