It's a game about the great Canal building era of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that captures the feel of the period and gives players plenty of decision making in their attempts to complete some of the most famous British canals.
Players will engage brilliant engineers such as James Brindley and Thomas Telford in their efforts to create canals linking emerging manufacturing centres, providing the waterways that supplied the goods generated by the Industrial Revolution.
Canal Mania - this Ragnar Brothers Game recreates the growth of the English Canal System during the late 18th and early 19th centuries before the railways took over. It's a game for 2 to 5 players and takes 90 minutes to 2 hour to play. You can see their Design Notes for the game as well if you are interested.
The object of the game is to score the highest number of total points by:
Place the Game Board centrally then each Player chooses a colour and takes the tiles and narrowboats of that colour.
Place the train marker on the finish point (2 players - 80 points, 3 players - 70 points, 4 players - 60 points and 5 players - 50 points).
Shuffle the Engineer Cards and deal one to each player.
Each player takes a Junction Contract, two if only 2 players.
Separate the initial 6 contract cards and place 5 face up close to the board and then place the 6th on top of the other contracts which should also have been shuffled.
Shuffle the Build Cards and place 5 face up next to the board.
Place the Goods Tokens and 1 of each players Narrowboats in the Canal Basin (top right of the board).
The initial player is the person with the lowest numbered Engineer.
Starting with the 1st Player and continuing clockwise each Player takes an action in each of the 3 phases:
In phase 1 the player can either:
In phase 2 the player has the choice of:
In the 3rd and final phase:
The end of the game begins when a players scoring marker reaches the Train Marker, at this point the round is completed and then 2 further rounds are played.
Once the 2 rounds are complete then tiles on incomplete canals are scored and the contract isn't. Finally any remaining Goods are moved and scored in the standard way.
The Engineers - you need the right engineer for the job, if you're building through the hilly country then Jessop and Telford help reduce the card cost of that difficult terrain. Brindley allows you to place locks from stretch cards, this is important as you can't have 2 adjacent matching tiles. Rennie allows the collection of additional cards and lastly Smeaton, with this engineer you can place 2 consecutive tiles with a single Surveyor card. You can always hire the engineer you want but it does stop you from selecting a new contract from Parliament.
Moving goods is essential so can you help ensure they are in the places you can ship them from, can you move them through enough of your own towns to score the best number of points before you have to deliver them.
Canal Mania is a relatively straightforward game to play, however that doesn't mean you aren't faced with difficult choices and it doesn't mean that you can't affect your opponents game plans.
This was an interesting time in British history, allowing the mass movement of raw materials and goods and this is reflected by allowing the goods tokens to score additional points.