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The Impossible Machine - Board Game Box Shot

The Impossible Machine


It all starts with a simple push...
The Impossible Machine is the game where players build ridiculously complicated contraptions to do simple things. Why turn on the TV, when you can have the bowling ball hit a pin, to pull a string, to let the marble loose!? Players earn points by getting their parts, with the right type of momentum, into the machine as they work together to build ever bigger and better machines.

impossible machine card game
images © Glowfly Games

User Reviews (2)

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Went to Gen Con 2012
14 of 15 gamers found this helpful
“Fun concept, poor execution”

In Impossible Machine, you have a hand of cards that are all Rube Goldberg-esque parts of the machine. Each player has his own color coded deck. There are five types of energy and three types of cards. The types of force are Electricity (batteries powering fans and the like), mechanical (gears), Upward force, downward force, and rightword force. Each card has a force-symbol on the left side and the right side, and the symbols rarely match. To play a card, the card on its left must have an energy symbol on its right side that matches the symbol on your card’s left side. You can play up to two cards a turn. You may also place cards in the middle of the machine, as long as the energy symbols on the cards to your card(s) left and right match up.

Splitter cards have two energy symbols on their left side, and allow people to place cards above and below the split. When someone plays an end card, the machine starts. At the end of a player’s turn three of the machine cards are flipped over. When all of the machine cards are flipped, the game ends and the players count up each card from their color-coded deck that was in the machine. The player with the most cards wins.

Thoughts on the game:
While it is an interesting concept, I don’t recommend it. The number of energy types and number of cards in your deck means that you probably won’t play anything except at the end of the machine and turns where you can’t do anything are common. While there is a discard mechanic, you use it at the end of your turn so it doesn’t help you until next turn.

I don’t recommend this game.

Player Avatar
8 of 9 gamers found this helpful
“Cute, quick game with minor flaws”

We busted this one out to fill a gap at a board gamers meetup. I’m glad we did. The gameplay is very simple and fun with few rules.

For some reason the rules state that you make three machines, which means three complete games, then count up your grand total of components at the end. That’s all fine and good, but for a game that plays this quickly, its short span is an asset to those pressed for time. You could just as easily play only one game in about ten minutes and be satisfied.

One minor flaw is that the symbols on the edges of the card are scrawny and may look very similar. So players with less keen eyesight may have trouble distinguishing between an up-arrow and a down-arrow, for instance.

Another problem is that player interaction is very limited. There is little for you to do, if nothing, until it’s your turn. Even then you only interact with the current board state. Advanced planning is often for naught as the machine can radically change between one of your turns and the next.

You’ll only really get a rise out of an opponent if you nuke some of his/her components. Otherwise your interaction with other players involves hoping they won’t alter the machine’s sequence in a way you won’t like, or praying they don’t lay more pieces than you do.

Once the machine starts working you really feel like you’re on a clock and scrambling to get as many of your components into sequence as possible. This is both great for tension, and really fleshes out the concept of the game.


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