With the motto “Nothing is more exciting than prohibition”, Moonshine Run is a card game that brings the 1932 constitutional ban on the production, transportation, importation, and sales of alcoholic beverages in the United States.
I thank A Madman or Two for sending a review copy before it goes live on Kickstarter.
I played it a few times for a couple of months, which is much more than I usually do, but it gave me a good basis to talk about the core mechanics and what this game is really about.
Moonshine Run Details
Name: Moonshine Run
Creator(s): Zack Ringler
Publisher: A Madman or Two
Year Published: 2017
Number of Players: 2 – 4
Age: 12 and above
Play Time: 20 minutes
Learning Difficulty: Medium
Game Rules: Click here
Where to buy: Kickstarter
You play the role of a smuggler trying to get the prohibited alcohol to your Speakeasy (an illicit establishment that sells alcohol).
As you drive through the mountains with your precious cargo, you face natural disasters and other Moonshiners that are trying to outsmart you and take you out of the game.
With Moonshine Run, you will rely 90% of the time on your luck when drawing or playing cards, and I have to say it is not a game for everyone.
In our test group, there were those people that liked it, and those that don’t.
The luck factor was the decisive point on whether they wanted to play more, or not.
So, if card games that are based on luck, and not deck building are your preference, this is a game for you.
What’s in the box?
These are the components that come with Moonshine Run:
- 74 Cards
- 70 Tokens
- 1 Rulebook
As I have received a review copy and the game is not yet published, I couldn’t see the final quality of the cards and tokens.
What I can say, though, is that the artwork in all the cards are well thought and brings the prohibition era atmosphere to the game.
Starcat Games is the company behind the artwork, and they have a few other exciting projects that you can check on their website.
If the project is successfully backed on Kickstarter, it will have its cards printed on a 300 gsm black core with varnish matte finish.
Tokens will also be 300 gsm, but on cardstock with a glossy varnish finish.
Zack told me that he is also working on a better material for the box, as the current one isn’t good enough.
There are a few points, though, that I believe needs improvement:
- The card description uses a font type that’s hard to read.
- The same thing goes for the rulebook with the addition that the letters are too close from each other.
- The rules are hard to understand, hence why I classified it as ‘Medium’, but when you get how it works, the gameplay goes faster.
- It’s also hard to identify token values. My suggestion would be using different background colours for each value, instead of just the bottle, and also have the artwork on both sides of the token.
- There is a round tracker, but we don’t have a marker to move around the numbers.
UPDATE: I was just informed by Zack Ringler that he’s working on the card descriptions and rulebook to make it easier to read. ????????
When we started playing Moonshine Run, I confess that it was hard to understand its mechanics.
It has various card types with different descriptions in it, so we often needed to go through the rule book to understand how it worked.
When we did understand it, everything was easier, and the gameplay was much faster.
A Madman or Two says that the game goes from 20 to 40 minutes, but our average game was very close to 20.
Understanding the mechanics of each card plays a crucial role in that remaining 10% strategy.
Everything else goes under the press-your-luck system.
The goal of the game is to have more moonshine dollars than the other players at the end of six rounds
Before you start, every player receives tokens totalising $10.
The number of the turn is also the number of cards the player will draw for free, and more can be bought for $1.
Then, the cards are set on the table in the same order they were drawn, and the player decides if he will turn the cards.
Turning cards will instantly activate their effects.
When all the cards are turned, or if the player decides to stop turning then, the turn ends.
Some cards will force to end your turn early, some will help you still moonshine from other players, and other will make you lose money.
In my experience, the faster you play it, the better.
There is also an alternative method to play Moonshine Run, that changes the rules a bit more and increase the strategy necessary to win the game.
If, like me, it fits you better, play it with the original rules first, and then change to this alternative method. You will have even more fun.
Here is an excellent video from The Indie Game Report explaining how you play Moonshine Run step by step:
Where to buy?
Moonshine Run is live on Kickstarter until 12th Jully 2017, and you can take a look at it here.
The Kickstarter goal is $5,500 and, for $15, you can have a copy of the card game for a discounted price.
There are stretch goals, but they will be revealed only after the project reaches $4,000.
It was interesting to see how everyone reacted to the situations the game created.
And, finally, if you like games that need a lot of luck, this one is for you, otherwise, you may want to take a look at Santorini. ????