Avalanche at Yeti Mountain Preview!!!
Avalanche at Yeti Mountain is a race game, kind of themed after those ridiculous 1980s skiing movies, at least it seems that way to me. The players are engineering students who have perfected the “rocket-powered skis” and you are now out on the mountain testing them out to see just how well they work by having a race to the bottom of the mountain. But, along with racing down the mountain against your fellow engineering students, you are also trying to avoid the Yeti who is out to keep you all off of the mountain and the oncoming avalanche that is being caused by your constant use of the rocket powered skis.
The entire game of Avalanche at Yeti Mountian is played using a deck of 60 cards and pawns and markers. The cards are dual purpose, they are used at the beginning of the game to create the mountain to race down, and this is done by placing 12 cards side by side on the table. Each player is then dealt 4 cards for their starting hand. Each player is given a Rocket status card which is set to the ready at the start of the game and then each player then chooses the color pawn that best represents them racing down the mountain.
The cards themselves contain all the information for playing the game, in the upper left hand portion of the card there is a number and a symbol, these are used for movement when played from a player’s hand.
When it is on the table as part of the mountain, this is the symbol that is used for rocket jumping, but we’ll get more into that later. Also on the card are two tracks that are followed, one by the racers and the other by the Yeti. The card is also divided into either 2 or 3 sections noting how far the avalanche can move on that card when the avalanche is triggered. So, to start the race, each player selects 1 or 2 cards from their hand. The numbers on the card is the speed that you might move this round. You can only play two cards if the symbols on them match, then your speed is the total of both cards. But beware, there is a safety speed limit on the mountain, and if the players exceed that speed limit then the players that are going the fastest crash, this limits them to only moving one spot on their turn.
After checking the speed of the racers, the racers get to move, taking into consideration any crashes of course. Starting with the player who is moving fastest each player will move their pawn down the mountain the number of spaces that your speed allows, if you were to ever stop on another player, you move forward to the next available spot. Now that all of the racers are on the mountain, they could in theory use their Rocket Jump ability the next round. To do this the players must play a card of a matching symbol to the card that their pawn is currently on. But beware, if others use that same symbol to rocket jump, the player who is furthest behind of the players who used it gets to use the rocket jump. There is one other way to Rocket Jump, you can play from your hand, two cards of matching symbols, the matching symbols act as a wild so to speak and allow you to rocket jump regardless of what everyone else on the mountain does.
When you successfully execute a Rocket Jump, your skier jumps completely over the next card (ignoring any remaining spots on your current card) and then begins their normal movement. Each time a Rocket Jump is used, the avalanche speed increases by 1.
After all the racers have moved, the person who was moving the fastest down the mountain now gets to move the Yeti a number of spaces equal to how fast the fastest player was going. The Yeti has their own path down the mountain, it weaves in and out of the racing path, if while moving the Yeti, you ever cross a spot that contains one of the racers, that racer loses the ability to use their Rocket Jump next round. The Yeti can be moved down the mountain or up the mountain, but you can never change the direction of the Yeti once you have started movement one way.
After the Yeti has wreaked their havoc on the mountain, the avalanche starts moving down the mountain, it moves the number of spaces as indicated by the Avalanche tracker. As was noted earlier, some cards have 2 spots for the avalanche, some have 3, as the game continues and players use their Rockets, the avalanche will increase in speed. If at any time the Avalanche moves through or stops on a space that has a racer, that racer is eliminated from the race due to being buried by the Avalanche. After Avalanche movement, any player who was not hit by the Yeti flips their Rocket status card to the ready side and discard the cards they played this round and draw one more card, even if they played two this round. The game ends as soon as the first player skis off the final card of the mountain.
So there you have it, that’s the quick how to play for Avalanche at Yeti Mountain and it really explains that quickly and easily, if not quicker. This is another fantastic offering from Green Couch Games and designer Matt Wolfe. You may recall that Matt is also the designer of one of our most anticipated games this year, Wombat Rescue. This one is a bit lighter than that and it fits in well with Green Couch Games’ growing stable of fantastic lighter weight filler games. This one, more so than the others, can be a bit random and sometimes that can lead to a bit of frustration, I’ve seen it on a couple occasions, but it moves fast enough that you really don’t care if you are the one caught in the avalanche, well, you might care but the game will be over so quickly you’ll be ready for the next race. There are a couple variants in the back of the rules to add some variety to the game including a nice two player variant where each player is controlling two racers. Also in the box will be solo play, so that should appeal to some as well.
Avalanche at Yeti Mountain is currently running on Kickstarter, with 23 days left in the campaign, it is currently sitting at $9.2k of its $15k funding goal(as of 9/9/15). $19 gets you the game and shipping in the United States, only $23 for the game and shipping anywhere else in the world. Get on it, or the Yeti will find you!!