Transmissions Review

Transmissions Review

Transmissions Review

Welcome to our review of CrossCut Games‘ Transmissions. It’s not often we come across a game such as this, and we wanted to share it with you. Transmissions is a visually gorgeously illustrated game designed by Adam West with illustrations by Matt Dixon. 

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know we skew towards games with stories. We will say that while this game doesn’t have a definitive narrative story, it is well done and worthy of a place on your table. Let’s get into more about this game!

Game Overview – Transmissions

In this game, everyone is working with every robot on the board… Unlike a typical game where you pick your meeple here, you actively play all four robots that you move clockwise around the board. The goal is to score as many victory points as possible by the end of the game. You must select ideas, items, and pipes from their display areas on the board to score points. None of these are free. To buy them you must spend engrams and electricity which you collect. Each player has their player board where they store the engram cubes. Also, on the board, each robot has various slots where players place their purchased ideas and items. You can also score points by collecting forest cards and filling up each robot’s spaces on the player board. At the end of the game, you tally up all your points to figure out who’s the winner!

Game Components

The components of Transmissions is where this game shines! Each of the robots is designed by Matt Nixon. In the deluxe edition we reviewed, each robot is a fully 3D rendered miniature, and I have to say I’ve never seen robots more expressive. Each is in a different pose reminiscent of their original artwork, and they come with a nice brown wash to give them a grimy feel. 

The other standout is the illustrations on the cards and the board itself. As you travel around the board, the robots visit seven different places, each consisting of two spaces. For instance, the Marketplace design is a wooden board that has been shoddily nailed together, whereas the Power Station looks ready to come alive and produce electricity. The cards also have the same artwork with two types of cards per player deck, locations and robots. The Robot cards show an excellent illustration of a single robot, while the location cards show two or three illustrations of the spaces on the board. Using pictures on the cards makes the game very accessible for younger players.

Besides the miniatures and cards, the game has thick inset-style player boards, where you can place your ideas, items, and engrams. Unfortunately, there isn’t a place for electricity, not a huge deal but maybe something for the future.

The ideas, items, and pipes are standard board game cardboard. The illustrations on the items are fun too. For example, you can purchase socks and toasters in the same art style as the robots.

Game Setup

The game is moderately easy to set up. Each player takes a player board, and all the robots are placed on the table at least two spaces apart.

Then as a group, the players select groups of ideas and items (They all have letters on the back). In a two-player game, you choose two groups of tiles of ideas and items. Three players – three groups and four players – use all four standard tile sets. The game comes with A-H grouped tiles and additional X, Z – which are harder tiles recommended for advanced groups.

The Pipes get stacked into four piles in the pipe section of the board.

Then each player takes one engram of each color and a few electricity tokens.

Finally, each player takes the seven cards with identical backs (each set has different backs, but the cards are the same.) They shuffle their cards and draw three into their starting hand. The rest get placed in a pile in front of them.

Game Play

Transmissions is innovative in its gameplay. We love the worker placement aspect of the game, along with the set collection. At first, we were looking for some “narrative hook,” but we realized that’s not necessary here.

The game requires you to play cards from your hand to move the robots, but you can’t plan too far ahead because every player can move any robot. So, for instance, if you plan to move the yellow robot to the power station, the other players can foil your plans pretty quickly.

Also, if other players notice you are collecting toasters, for instance, in the Marketplace. They might buy a toaster to stop you from scoring more points, speaking from experience!

The other exciting aspect is the pipes. At the start of the game, you get a starting pipe, and you use engrams to purchase additional pipes. The longest connected segment scores points. The pipes and items also have butterflies and birds on them. These animals may seem like a simple design choice, but the number of butterflies you collect multiplied by the number of birds also scores you more points.

One thing I like about this game is that there are many ways to score points, and even in a two-player game, we couldn’t tell who was winning until the end.

Overall Impressions

We enjoyed playing Transmissions. It’s easy to pick up and has enough strategic elements to keep us engaged throughout the game. 

We loved the graphic design and the overall game mechanics. It’s fascinating when everyone uses all the robots. It makes the game challenging to plan your moves. In the end, I created 2 or 3 backup plans whenever it was my turn of what I would do next. 

The one thing that could be better would be a place for each player to hold their electricity tokens. Honestly not a huge thing, but everything else seems to have a set place 

We’d recommend this game for your next game night!

If you enjoyed this review, you can find this game in our store!