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Gear & Piston - Board Game Box Shot

Gear & Piston

| Published: 2013
18 1

Remember the time when cars didn't have rubber tires, air conditioning, power steering? Of course you don't, and neither do we. It must have been an exciting time, the dawn of automobiles, an era of inventions and progress that would lead to road trips, drive-in movies, hot rods, KITT and F1 racing.

But how did we get there? How much sweat and steel did it take to bring us motorized transportation? Who were these automotive pioneers that shaped history? Well, you can read Wikipedia, or you can be one yourself!

In Gear & Piston each player builds an automobile prototype. Each turn the players plan their actions by taking turns to place their tokens and thus reserve actions in the various locations.

When the locations are resolved, the players take new or junk parts in their hand. They can also steal parts, ply the black market for stolen blueprints, and use unions to muscle each other out of the way. In the end of every turn, the players build a number of parts according to how quick they were to get back to their workshops.

Players need to balance how fast they build their automobile with how reliable it is. One can quickly cobble some junk parts together, or spend time on developing valuable new patents. In the end, two investors judge the prototypes and announce their decision on the winning design.

The game can be set up and explained in less than 10 minutes. A game for two players takes 20-30 minutes to play, with the duration increasing by 10 minutes per additional player.

Gear and Piston game in play
images © LudiCreations

User Reviews (2)

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42 of 48 gamers found this helpful
“Gear & Piston: My Impressions”

I have to confess that although being interested in the original Kickstarter Campaign I was initially wary, so waited for it to make general distribution.

Having now bought and played it I am loving it more and more each play.

The artwork is superb throughout and invokes the theme of the game rather well from the New Shiny Parts through to the scrap parts. The quality of the components is really great, the cardboard is decent thickness and the wooden components fit the theme well. The board itself is well layed out, though the symbols to aid your understanding on what each sections does are a little small and hard to see from around the table but once you have played a round you no longer really need these as they game is simple enough to pick up.

I am really liking this game which pits you as one of the unsung engineer’s of the auto-mobile era trying to win investment for your prototype against other engineers.

Each game you play will be different as you choose a number of scoring tiles (Investors) based on the level of game you wish to play, chosen from 3 different stacks.

You compete for the best parts as well as scavenging the junk yards in order to put your vehicle together with the right criteria to meet your investors exacting needs. You can visit the back alley to do deals to further your cause, at the cost of actions in later turns. Planning is key and rushing for the shiny new parts can end the game quicker than you expected leaving you to finish your vehicle with scrap in order to have it ready in time.

Though the starting player can be changed by who goes last in the Workshop area, which does give the advantage of first choice of action next round, player order for taking the actions selected is determined by the order players placed their tokens their. This then can have very strategic implications of where you choose to place your early tokens.

Players have a hand limit of Blueprints (parts) they can hold in their hand and holding on to them may mean you will not be able to take any actions that allow you to take more.

There is potential here for a lot of player interaction, especially with the Back Ally actions so thinking carefully about the order in which you do things can be crucial.

Great game which scales well and is quite fun to play but brutal to learn the right strategy.
The designers/publishers warn you that new players tend to always go for new parts, I agree but I would add that the game board layout for the actions encourages that behavior to a degree as well. In the games I have played most have ended due to the new Part pile being depleted. This has led me to look at the variant page in the main rulebook and I have adopted the Patent office variant from there, this has slowed the amount of New part tiles being discarded enough that it gives players more time to get their cars together. For me this improves the gameplay quite a lot and makes it a more even competition, I will also have to introduce the expansions next as it looks like these will improve the gameplay still further.

I have now played this a few times and I am liking it more and more each time I play. Despite my initial doubts this has quickly become a favourite game of mine and has seen regular plays at my gaming group. The designers have done a fantastic job and look forward to seeing whatever they produce next either for this or something new.

Really fun game I can recommend as it plays really quickly, even with 5 players, and there is plenty there to allow many more plays

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Gamer - Level 5
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Rated 100 Games
13 of 15 gamers found this helpful
“Who doesn't want to build a crazy looking car?”

I backed this on the second Kickstarter (which was really for a small expansion but had an add-on for the game itself). Rahdo’s run-through sold me on the game and here is what I think about it.

The game is a simple, entry-level worker placement game. I could easily see this as a good introduction to worker placement game for either people completely new to games or new to that mechanic.

The basics are that you have four places you can place workers. The back alley, the new parts area, the junkyard and the mechanics. The back alley will be played by some people a lot (it allows you to pick one of three off the top of the deck of new parts, move your pawn to an earlier choice spot, but you also don’t get to use that worker for an extra turn). The new and junkyard are similar in that you get to get new parts for your car. The new area allows you to pick one new part while the junkyard has you picking one or two parts.

Beyond assembling your car just to work (it must have specific things to work otherwise you pull in scrap parts which is never good), there are investors which give you goals for the parts you put on your car and extra VP at the end.

The game looks really nice and has solid pieces for everything. It could have had fancier pieces, but it doesn’t take away from the game at all.


I am not sure how much depth there is for a two player game, but if you had 3 or more playing I think the decisions for what to take and when to take it would become very interesting. It is a quick game and easy to teach so I will be pulling it out a lot when time is limited.


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