What do you envision of Robots? Emotionless? Cold-hearted? A Cyborg Assassin like Terminator? Cyber-enhanced soldiers like Major in Ghost in the Shell? Or highly inquisitive but full of cuteness like WALL-E ? Matt Dixon believes Robots can also have complex feelings and emotions like humans do. He has been developing the Transmission series – where he tries to examine feelings and emotion that might be difficult to express in other ways – since 2006. Till now, he has completed over 200 images, across Seven volumes of art books. Together with Adam West from Cross Cut Games, Matt Dixion presents his illustration artwork through a charming but pack of creativity board game – Transmission.
Transmission is one of the games that it will not intimidate players by the setup or the numerous amounts of components in the game. In fact, there are only seven components in the game:
- Transmission cards: there are 28 Transmission cards total. Everyone will have the same set of cards: 4 robot cards, and 3 location cards. Players will use these cards to move the Robots.
- Ideas tiles: players will assign idea tiles into one slot for any robots. These tiles provide ideas to the moving robot, aiding it some extra benefits to the player who controls it. Players can buy Ideas Tiles in the Town.
- Item cards: unlike idea tiles, item cards do not provide any additional benefits. Players will sum up all the points on all the item cards to their points. Some cards also have better rewarding points if players collect them as a set. Also, Item cards take up two spaces instead of one space.
First Sock worths 1 point – the second one worths 5 points – the third one worths 8 points
- Pipe tiles: pipe tiles have the same concept as item cards do: end game bonus.Players will sum up all the scores on the tiles that they have laid out during the game. Any flipped tile worth 4 Victory Points. In addition to that, players will also score the longest flow of pipes that they have such as: 1 = 1, 2 = 3, 3 = 6, 4 = 10, 5 = 15 points. Players can buy a pipe at the Pipes location. All the Pipes cost exactly three Engrams.
- Forest cards: players can earn the forest cards by ending their turn in the Forest location. Players can play as many forest cards in their turn. These cards provide players additional benefit as well. In contrast to ideas tiles, each Forest Card can only be activated one.
- Engram tokens: these are the main currencies of the game. Players can use engram tokens to purchase items, pipes or as an extra cost to two ideas tiles at the leftmost positions. Players can earn Engrams at Lake, 1 Blue or 2 White, or Meadow, 1 Green or 2 Yellow. During the game, players can only keep up to 7 Engrams of any colors. If they ever have more than 7 Engrams, they must discard down to 7.
- Electricity: this is also another type of currency in the game. It is mainly used to purchase the ideas tiles. Players will gain 4 Electricity at the Power Station. There is no limit on the amount of Electricity tokens that players can hold.
The game play is also straightforward as well. Each player will take turns by moving one of the Robots, and then perform one action. As indicated above, if the moving Robot belongs to the player, who assigns some ideas to that Robot on the player’s board, the Robot can also use the ideas as well.
Transmission presents a very innovative rondel movement, a mechanism to make movement clockwise, and there will be different actions at each location. At the start of every turn, players will take 3 out of 7 Transmission Cards. If they play a Robot card, they have to move that Robot for this turn. If they play a Location card, then they can move a Robot from one of the locations. The moving distance depends on the Robot. Some can move up to two spaces, while one can move up to 6 spaces. The active player will activate the location where the Robot finishes the movement. Then, he or she will refill their hand up to three cards again. How simple it is!
Another feature that I really like from Transmission is the abundant ways to earn victory points. In my opinion, the easiest and most obvious way will be building pipes. Not only will they earn the score by just building them, they will also earn the score for the longest pipe route. The concept of building the pipe makes the games more engaging, since it acts as a mini game for the players. Besides building pipes, players can also earn more points from the items they buy in the Town. Some items can give more points if they are purchased as a set. Last but not least, the most beautiful and surprising way to score points, the presence of birds and butterflies on the ideas, items and pipes. The additional victory points will be the multiplication of the birds and butterflies.
There is no doubt that Transmission will be the most successful crowdfunding project that Adam West and Cross Cut Games manage. There are so many positive vibes in the games: from multiple ways to score victory points, multiple actions, to the minimum amount of sabotaging or cutthroat. Of course, the credit will also go to Matt Dixion for the vivid illustration and drawings of the Robots. This will be a good addition to family games, or a more casual, laid back game group. It might not be your cup of tea if you are into a traditional Euro style game.
a tranquil but very expressive illustration
Transmission will be available till Friday May 7th, 2021 at 10:59PM. Here is the link to the campaign.