Rocket Jockey - Supply Cargo to Planets in the Future

"Rocket Jockey" is one of the latest games released by "Mayfair Games," which is regarded as one of the premier brands in board, card and dice games. "Mayfair Games" was actually founded back in 1981 by Darwin Bromley in Chicago, Illinois, and today they not only publish their own games, but also have English language licensing arrangements for many German-style board games, among them "The Settlers of Catan series."

"Rocket Jockey" is one of the first in a series of Mayfair's new releases under the "FunFair" brand. The "FunFair" logo will denote that a game is suitable for all ages. They will be simple to play and setup will be minimal, and they will also be lower priced that some of the more traditional "Mayfair Games."

We opened the box for "Rocket Jockey," and found an assortment of playing cards, including cargo cards, destination (planet) cards, maneuver cards, co-pilot cards, alien cards, scoring cards, a rocket marker and a full-color 8 page set of illustrated instructions. The object of the game is to deliver more cargo to given destinations than your opponent, before the aliens arrive at the planet Earth. Prestige points are earned based on the number of maneuver cards played, allowing the movement of cargo between planets. Additional prestige points can be accumulated as more planets receive deliveries. The game is intended for 2-4 players, ages 10 years old and up. Depending on the number of players and experience level, the time to play a game would approximate 30-60 minutes.

The staff at "Toys Bulletin" had a fun experience with this game, but we wanted to put it to a real test with a group of "expert" game players, mostly teenage boys and adults. We had only one copy of "Rocket Jockey," so we set up one table for 4 players intending them to play two games, and staggered the arrival time by two hours of a second group of 3 players, and hoped they could also play two games.

We explained the game and its rules, and stayed nearby to answer any questions or settle any disputes as best we could. The focus groups did play a total of 4 games, and they quickly figured out some strategic ways to improve their chances of winning, although there is always an element of luck in games such as this.

The comments were universally favorable. They had not played a game quite like this before, and the easy setup and rules were big pluses. The game play was fast, and it took some concentration to find the necessary maneuver cards to move cargo from planet to planet. They enjoyed creating delivery chains to earn more prestige points, and quickly found out the importance of utilizing co-pilot cards to reserve shipments or alter maneuver cards at the right time. They also liked the way the alien cards were introduced in the latter part of the contest, actually controlling the end of the game.

The verdict was a unanimous "thumbs up" for "Rocket Jockey." We told them the game would be available later in 2012 at a retail price of just $15.00 and they all nodded their heads. The price was fair and the product definitely met their expectations.
-- RJ Cullen


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