Rush Hour Shift is a game by Alex Siedband, published by ThinkFun. It is for 2 players. In this game, players face off in a strategic battle as they race to cross traffic. The player that can beat their opponent to the opposite side, through the use of some clever strategy and a little bit of luck, will be declared the winner.
To begin, all 3 pieces of the traffic grid should be put together and lined up to form a 6 x 14 unit rectangle. Players choose one of the game set ups from the back of the rule book and place the vehicles on the grid as shown in the illustration. The cards are shuffled together to form a single deck. Each player is dealt 4 cards face down while the rest of the cards are placed face down on the table to create a draw pile. Players determine which color hero car they will use. First player is chosen and play now begins.
On a player’s turn, they will select one of their cards and play it face up beside the draw pile. They will then perform the action of the card. There are 4 card types; move, shift the grid, slide and move & shift. The move card allows the player to move any of the blocking vehicles or even their own hero car the number of spaces shown on the card. As long as the card shows a number higher than 1, movement can be split between multiple vehicles. The shift the grid card allows the player to use one of the shifter handles to shift the chosen side either up or down any number of rows, however one row must always connect to the other parts of the traffic grid. Also, if a vehicle is overlapping the two grid parts, then that side of the grid can not be shifted, at least till the vehicle has been fully moved to one side or the other. The slide card allows the player to move either a blocking vehicle or their hero card as many spaces as they would like until it reaches another vehicle or the end of the traffic grid. The move & shift card allows the player to follow both the move and shift the grid actions above. The player can choose which order to perform the actions.
Once the player has performed their card’s action, they will then draw a new card from the draw pile. Play then passes to the other player who follows the same process. Play continues back and forth until one of the player’s hero car crosses the finish line on the opposite end of the traffic grid. The player that does this is the winner.
This game comes with some really sturdy and nice looking pieces. The board is really thick heavy duty plastic and even has some nice non sliding pieces underneath the center piece to keep it steady. The 3 pieces that make up the traffic grid are easily put together and the side pieces slide easily as well by using the shifters. The vehicles and hero cars are really well done. The blocking vehicles are all color coded and thick plastic while the hero cars have that really shiny metallic finish to them. They all look really great and are brightly colored. The cards are a little thin but are still fairly sturdy. There’s even a little tuckbox to put them in. That’s really great as the game also comes with a mesh bag to throw all the pieces into once you’re done playing. It’s obvious that the box wasn’t designed to be used after opening the game. That’s a minor problem that I had with the game as I usually like to be able to keep all my pieces together nice and neatly inside the game box. Thankfully everything is really strong quality and so far I’ve had no issues with damage pieces or cards yet. So for me, I would have liked a functioning box but I like the quality of the pieces.
7 out of 10
The rulebook is multilingual. It is set up with 6 different languages including English. The rules are separated by language and are fairly easily found thanks to each country’s flag icon. There are lots of pictures showing how the game works and plenty of examples as well. Everything is laid out fairly well and is easy to read and understand. The last page shows all the various setups that players can play through. All in all there are 10 game setups included. I would have like to see at least double that number but I’m sure that players can easily create their own scenarios. In any case, everything looks nice and is well written.
8 out of 10
This game is definitely a strategy game. In many ways it feels like a game of chess with players moving and countering the other player’s moves. I really like the back and forth between players. There’s a lot of great player interaction that seems to be lacking in many games today. There does seem to be a bit of luck involved with the game as you’re only able to do what the cards you draw allow you to. If you get a bad hand, you may be out of the game before you know it. Knowing when to block and when to move your car is also key. Some players may simply try to quickly get their car through while others may concentrate on a combination of blocking and moving. I find that the latter is the best course of action. The game can be played fairly quickly or take awhile depending on the scenario and how much players like to analyze their moves. This is a nice game that plays well with either kids or adults. I really like the depth of strategy that is possible with this game. I enjoyed it fairly well.
8 out of 10
Rush Hour Shift is a strategic 2 player game of moving vehicles in a traffic jam. The play time of the game is variable depending on the scenario and thinking time of each player. The pieces are good quality and are very sturdy. However, I do not like the fact that the game does not have a functioning box to keep everything together in. The mesh bag is nice but I would have preferred a better box. The game has a good bit of strategy to it and Chess fans will probably enjoy it. Fans of puzzle games or mild strategy games should enjoy this one. The game is quite fun with the right opponent. It’s one that both kids and adults can enjoy. I like that there are different scenarios provided but would have like to have seen twice that amount. As it is, the game is good but had the possibility to be a lot better than it is. I enjoy it and would recommend it, but would advise buyers to be aware of the box issue and the small amount of scenarios provided.
7 out of 10
For more information about this and other games, please check out ThinkFun at their site.