Steampunk Inventions: A Review of Great Scott!

Great Scott!

Convince Queen Victoria that you have the finest inventing mind in this card drafting card game with a splash of storytelling elements.

Gameplay

In the game, each player is an inventor trying to put together a fantastical invention. Each invention is made up of five parts: two assets, and three concepts. A working invention has a level one concept, followed by an asset, followed by a level two concept, another asset, and finally a level three concept.

At the start of the game, the asset cards are split into two decks and all the level one, two, and three concepts are put into their own deck (five decks total). Each player draws two cards from each deck and the game begins.

On your turn you draw a card from any of the five decks, and choose a card from your hand to add to your invention. Once each player has chosen a card, all played cards are revealed and each player passes his hand to the person on his left and another turn is taken. After the end of five turns, each player has a complete invention. Each player in turn explains what their invention does and how it works. Players then secretly award two points to their favorite invention and one more to their second favorite.

Each player than adds up the points for her invention. Each card has a point value, but there are also ways to score bonus points. Asset cards can be one of three types. If the two assets in your invention are of the same type, you earn extra points. You also earn extra points for your concepts matching types with each other. Finally, you score for alliteration: if two or more cards in a row in your invention start with the same letter you earn extra points.

All hands and invention cards are discarded, players draw another two cards from each deck, and another round begins.

At the end of three rounds, players reveal how many points were awarded them for best and second best invention, all points are totaled up, and the player with the highest score wins.

Great Scott! Components

Review

There are a lot of different elements in Great Scott! working together to make it something a little different and definitely enjoyable. It’s fun creating an invention full of alliteration. The concepts and assets are also a wide mishmash of words so you can build some quite interesting things (care to buy a Bedazzling Dodo Destroying Damson Deterrent?).

Explaining your inventions between rounds adds a party-game flavor to the proceedings, but you earn the most points from a cleverly put together invention — so it’s more a fun bonus than taking over the game for players who prefer a more serious card-drafting experience.

The card drafting is well done. You always have a large amount of cards to choose from, and you can always hope you’ll draw the perfect card from a deck, but you also can see what other players already have in their inventions so you sometimes are left having to choose whether to take the card you want or take the card the other player will score big with.

When playing with three players, you never have to shuffle the deck between rounds, which is nice because discovering the cards and putting together all sorts of unique inventions is half the fun. Unfortunately, with four or five players, you eventually have to shuffle the decks which means you can end up with a couple of similar inventions.

Great Scott! is well worth checking out. Its silly Victorian invention humor is enjoyable and blends well with the story telling aspect, but still relies heavily on smart card choices.

Pros: Nice mixture of mechanics, blends strategy with storytelling

Cons: With more than three players you will encounter the same cards more than once per game

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.