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On the Road

On the Road is a bag building set collection game based around touring rock bands. It's a game for 2-4 players, designed by Leo Colovini and Gabriele Bubola, and published by Helvetiq.

The game is played on a path made of randomised tiles. You play a number card from your hand to move the indicated number of tiles. You collect terrain tokens for the tiles on which you land and you add your band's fan meeples to the bag for these and any matching terrain tokens: so the more matching tokens you have, the more of your meeples you'll be adding to the bag. Players will also be collecting musical note tokens, and when you land on a city tile you draw fans from the bag equal to the number of note tokens that you have. If they're your fans, they go onto the festival board at the end of the track, and at the end of the game the win will go to the player with the most fans at the festival.

On the Road is a set collection game because you'll be adding more of your meeples to the bag when you land on tiles for which you have more matching symbols but this is a game where you have only limited agency. For sure, you have some agency over which tile you move to because you choose your movement from the three cards in your hand but you may well find yourself with duplicate cards and so reduced options. The gameplay for On the Road then makes it primarily a children's game. Children will also be amused by the fact that when other players' meeples are drawn from the bag, they get placed in a queue for the toilet.

To be fair, there are some choices to be made over how and when to make best use of the tokens you collect along the way. You can discard non-matching tokens to redraw from the bag or to move your meeples back into the bag when they've been drawn by other players, or you can discard four non-matching tokens to move to the scoring board one of your meeples drawn by another player. Typically, players will take this latter action as a way of getting extra mileage out of their terrain tokens after their van has reached the end of the track and they've therefore finished with any movement actions.

Older players may well find the rock band theme appealing, and you'll appreciate Miguel Coimbra's art, so it's unfortunate that On the Road doesn't offer more to keep older players engaged.

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