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The Mississippi Queen
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Store:  Family Games
Edition:  Mississippi Queen
Series:  Mississippi Queen
Theme:  Nautical/Aquatic
Genre:  Racing
Format:  Board Games

The Mississippi Queen

English language edition

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 30-40 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Werner Hodel

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Goldsieber

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Product Description

The players are captains of Mississippi paddle-wheelers. They race their boats down the river. They can go as fast as they want, but must avoid the rivers islands and make two passenger stops on the way. Sudden speed and direction changes cost coal and when you run out, you crash. The first boat to the finish line with two passengers is the winner and gains the title Mississippi Queen!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Spiel des Jahres
Game of the Year, 1997
Deutscher Spiele Preis
4th place, 1997

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Werner Hodel

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Goldsieber

  • Year: 1997

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 30 - 40 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 1,075 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.8 in 17 reviews

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by Gary W
Cruisin' for Chicks
January 06, 2003

While not exactly PC, the above is often the way our gaming group refers to MQ. This is a great filler game for gamers, and a good intro game for non-hard-core types who want a light, entertaining, yet not entirely random game. It's not a gamer's game in the sense of Puerto Rico or even Settlers, but is a good way to start the game night or to close out an evening when there's only half an hour left. This one is requested by everybody in my group for the above situations.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
FAST playing game
January 23, 2001

Two things really make this a 5-star game for me.

First, the game is easy to learn. Most of the games I have played were with my wife's younger brother and sister (ages 11 and 14). They picked up on the rules quickly and enjoyed playing with me--they can always count on their 'big brother' to bring over games they like.

Second, despite what the box says, the game only takes us about 20-30 minutes to play, if even that long. And that is a big bonus, because most of the time, there isn't time. Being busy families, it is rare that either family has time to break open the games that take hours to complete.

This is a great way to entertain when you don't have all day.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
It deserved its "Game of the Year" title after all!
January 08, 1999

Last year when this game was selected game of the year in Germany (No small feat!) I found it hard to believe. I put it on my wish list this year for Christmas. The first thing that hit me was how simple the rules were as well as the concept of the game. Basically, you're racing a steamboat down the river and picking up two Southern belles on the way. What devoted gamer would like this game? So I played it. What a blast! You have to reserve your coal for picking up speed and slowing down. The shape of the river, the position of your opponents, and the timing of when to pick your ladies up is crucial. Half the time you're screaming and laughing, the other half you're deep in thought about your next move. A tremendous game.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Great Family Game or Great Strategy Game
March 12, 2001

I just got this game a couple of days ago and I'm already planning to buy the expansion. This game is great fun. I was even able to involve my 8 year old son with the introductory race. Managing your coal and speed carefully really takes some planning. I love the ever-changing layout of the river, just like the real Mississippi. This game would make a great gateway game to bring friends/family into the German-style games.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Ed
Easy to learn, fun to play, challenging enough!
December 10, 2000

I have introduced this game to teens & adults, male & female, mostly non-gamers, and they all love it!

They can learn in it 1-2 minutes, and you can play 5-6 races in an hour and still want more!

This is among the few games I recommend to new gamers along with F1 Fever (Shaunequest Games), Pirateer (Mendocino), Leaky Pipes (Parker Bros), Acquire (now Hasbro).

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A fun racing game with a great theme!
October 20, 2000

Mississippi Queen is a great racing game that's fun for adults and the whole family. I've watched 5-6 middle-aged men--all experienced wargamers and designers--play six games in a row with great delight. No die rolls or card draws to influence the game. The only unknown is the course of the river, which can twist left or right with each new river tile laid, thus ensuring a different game board with each play. The bits are first class, and the rules can be explained to new players in about a minute, and several games can be played in a single sitting.

While this is not a heavy strategy game, it does have its challenges. Players must use coal wisely, and determine when and where to pick up passengers. Bumping/displacing opponents' riverboats adds some 'chariot-race' type fun to the game.

If you enjoy this game, get The Black Rose expansion for more river obstacles (sandbars, driftwood), coaling stations, and of course, The Black Rose, a black 'rogue' boat controlled each turn by the player in last place. 'Rosie' adds a whole new aspect to the race as she blocks or rams the leaders, and transfers coal to other boats while underway.

I highly recommend this game & expansion to gamers looking for some light fun.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Light, yet satisfying.
October 19, 2000

If you're looking for a deep strategy game, steer clear of Mississippi Queen. But if you've got an hour and want to play something with the kids, MQ is a great choice. It's a combination race and exploration game, which means that the frontrunner has to slow down a bit or risk running off the track. This aspect lets those behind catch up and the finish is almost always close.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Rollin' on the river
September 06, 2000

I hope that this game's German origins and hex-based board don't relegate this title to the 'gamer' crowd, as this is a really cute game--one that'd be great for kids and adults. The rules are pretty simple, and the mechanic for the river itself works very well. Basically you paddle your little steamers down the river, spending as little of your limited coal-reserve as possible, while picking up passengers (cute little plastic southern belles) along the way.

There is some strategy there, too. The player in front has a good chance of winning, but has to place the next tile and bear the risk of which way the river will turn. Players in back can plan ahead much better and crank up their speed higher, but can't stay back there.

My only recommendation is that you ignore the basic rules unless you're playing with children who need a bit more explanation. The full rules aren't that difficult, even though the rule-writers made 'em seem complicated with an overlong explanation of exactly how to determine which boat is in front (including a cardboard ruler, for cryin' out loud). The only remotely complicated rule governs bumping other boats, and you'll figure that one out in short order.

All in all, this is a fun little race game. The components are all of very high quality and the game itself is a lot of fun. Enjoy!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Mike
Sometimes You Don't Feel Like Hurting Your Head...
December 10, 1999

Mississippi Queen's strength lies in three main areas:

  1. Simplicity and balance of play
  2. Strength of Theme
  3. Beauty of Bits

Sometimes you just don't want to hurt your head explaining a new game. Sometimes you want to be able to just break the game out of the box and play without any elaborate set up. Sometimes you want to have gleeful fun trying to catch the leader or try to push the competition off the board.

It is easy to picture yourself as a captain on the Mississsippi River, steaming your riverboat along.. taking chances. The little river boats are so believable. The brilliance of having the board/river flow ahead and randomly is never fully realized until the game is over.

This is an old fashioned romp up, around and over the river. There's enough resource management to please the 'gamer' too. Highly recommended! By the way, pick up the Black Rose expansion to add enjoyment for the poor guy stuck in last place!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A game for novice and expert gamers. Passes Wife Test
November 21, 1999

I am one of those gamers that buy games because of the flashy parts. We're called 'Raccoons'. I saw the flashy parts of Mississippi Queen and was extremely curious. When a friend of mine highly recommended the game, I grabbed this large green box, and the Black Rose expansion and purchased them both right away.

I got home and actually found a fabulous game residing in these boxes, with brilliant plastic riverboats and beautiful board tiles. It is just uncomplicated enough to bring in novice gamers, and just strategic enough for expert gamers to enjoy this fun filled game.

The game is basically a good old-fashioned race (pun intended). These paddleboats race the course of the ever changing river to pick up passengers and make it to the finish line first.

The board is a cool linking set of tiles. There is a simple wooden die that is equally split for Left, Straight, and Right turns (if straight is a turn) which tells the players how to connect the next river tile. The die is rolled after the turn is completed of the very first boat to reach this last tile, so no one knows what the river will look like until one of the lead boats reaches it. On each one of these tiles, there are little islands, which the boats must miss. On some of these tiles, there are houses with docks, where the boats can pick up passengers on their way down the river.

The riverboats have two 'dials' that are fashioned on either side of the boats as the paddle wheels. One paddle wheel has red numbers (1-6) that designate the speed of the boat, and the other has black numbers (1-6) that represent the amount of coal onboard the boat.

The riverboats can change their speed up or down by one unit, and each boat can make one free hex-side change in either direction for free. If the boat must turn more than its free hexside, or if the boat must accelerate or decelerate harsher than one unit, then the player must spend one point of coal each, per acceleration/deceleration point and/or hexside facing, over the alotted amount (one hexside and one speed point). This can get very tricky as people negotiate the islands and decelerate and accelerate as the riverboat captains pick up passengers.

One final note (and from reading my other reviews, you would not be surprised), there is an added tactic used in this game that is revealed in the rulebook, which I found fantastic. These riverboats can push one another. This enables a boat to displace opponents, and possibly force them into tight spots where they would need to spend their precious coal.

One nice thing about this game is that everyone has fun. The game also passes with my wife, as this game is not about guns or war or battles of any sort. It is just a fun game that I think would find shelf space on any gamer's collection.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
For whom the Belles toll.
August 20, 1999

Imagine roller derby with boats, and you have Mississippi Queen. Race paddle-wheelers along an unknown path and pick up passengers while dodging land and jamming with other ships that are trying to slam you off course.

The simplistic nature of the game-play is greatly enhanced by two things which make this game really worth having: The components, and the ship maneuvering system. The large, interlocking, and randomly positioned river tiles are very attractive and provide a suspenseful aspect to game play - Which way is that next bend going to go? - and gives a great look and feel to the meandering nature of a river. But, its the distinctive riverboat pieces make the game! Each ship contains two rotatable wheels which show the current speed of the vessel, and the amount of coal on board. You want to make a drastic move to avoid running aground? Itll cost you in coal. You run out of coal, youre dead in the water (i.e. out of the game). The passengers you are required to pick up along the way are represented by very quaint southern belle miniatures.

Very fun, light, game fare that keeps all players jockeying for position for the entire game. The expansion, Black Rose, adds more spice to the mix to make MQ into more of a gamers game. Both highly recommended.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Missing Something
March 18, 2002

I am not sure quite how to review this game. In some respects, I really like it. The changing gameboard as you play is definitely a big plus. The bit included are good too. The basic theme is also good. However, as I play it there seems to be something missing which I can't quite put my finger on.

Don't get me wrong - this is not a bad game. I like to play every once in a while, however my kids don't seem to care for it much. Maybe if I could play with a bunch of adults it might be more fun. There definitely is some strategy involved.

One big plus is game time. If you want to play a strategic, fun game in 20 - 30 minutes max, then this is a good game.

I have not played with the Black Rose expansion that can be purchased, and that probably would add to the fun of the game. However, since my family doesn't care much for the basic game I would rather buy another game than an expansion.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
This River Doesn't Run Very Deep
August 19, 2001

Until I found a local gaming club, it was hard to determine which of the plethora of German games were worthy of my scarce gaming dollars. My early buys tended to be Spiel de Jahres candidates or winners. Most of these purchases have been solid, but Mississippi Queen was a disappointment. Perhaps my previous purchase of the quintessential [page scan/se=0040/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]El Grande set my hopes too high.

There are several good aspects of this game. I like the graphics. The little boats with their paddle wheels are very creative and set a great theme for the game. The unique twist of tile laying is nice, and it is fun to see the river meander down the kitchen table. For kids, this game is great eye candy with simple enough mechanisms for them to catch on quickly. (I have even used dice in place of the paddle wheel rules for younger children and made it a simple boat race down the Ol Mississippi.)

For adult gamers, the neat theme is the best part of the game. Game play is quite predictable with an odd boat push that messes someone up. When it comes time to move, your choices are quite obvious.

I have heard that the Black Rose expansion turns this into a more strategic game, but I have yet to try this addition. If you have game-playing children, this will be a fun game to play. If you enjoy a good gaming session with tension, strategy, and a plethora of choices, this game may not be for you. I would rate this game a four for children and a two for adults. For the purpose of the Funagain rating system, consider it a three.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Cute board, has some thrill, but not enough options
July 14, 2001

Mississippi Queen provides some thrills, but gets boring after a while. The main problem is that once someone gets in the lead, they are pretty hard to overtake. And if you start last in a 4 or 5 person game, it is very difficult to finish first.

This is a racing game on water. If you really are just looking for a racing game, I would recommend [page scan/se=0217/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Formula De instead. You have many more options and decisions to make as well.

All of this said, I would still kind of recommend Mississippi Queen. The fact that the river is consantly changing is a big plus.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
June 21, 2001

I like the theme in this game. I especially like the board; it's very nicely done. This game is great fun while it lasts. My issue is the longevity of this game--it doesn't have a lot of meat to it. A great game to start the night with, just don't plan on playing it all night.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Mississippi Queen is royally entertaining
July 13, 1999

Upon opening the box, I giggled. There were these little models of paddle steamers, just a few centimetres long. They were so cute!

And cute describes most of the game, including the rules. True to how boats really move, the paddle steamers have momentum, and it costs fuel to slow down (unlike in deep space in Star Trek). You need to conserve coal for the times you need it - such as slowing down to pick up passengers (who are also, incidentally, cute).

Although you can get in some pretty icky situations if you are unlucky, the game doesn't often have a runaway winner. A fortuitous bend in the river (controlled by die roll) can suddenly put you in front when you were behind. The winner is the first player to reach the end, with two passengers, moving slow enough to not run aground.

The basic game is enjoyable, but if you want to play two- or six-player, or if you want some more interesting river terrain, I recommend the expansion, The Black Rose. It's cute too.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Does not float with my group
January 31, 2001

I bought this game based on all of the positive reviews here and the fact that it won [page sdj]SdJ. I have to say, I am disappointed. The game is very simple, and unlike many other German games, this one is simple without an undercurrent of strategy or critical thinking. It is not a 'roll your dice and move your mice' game, but it is darn close. Very little player interaction, other than an occasional bumping of boats. No strategy other than to pick up passengers at docks that are easy to get to and pull away from (i.e., they are along the flow of the river). The random placement of the river is a nice mechanic, but fails to deliver any real surprises or need to think quick. Barreling into the unknown at a speed of six rarely results in you needing to spend more than one coal to keep from crashing.

I can see where this game might be fun among families because it is simple to learn, has good quality components, children can compete with adults on equal footing, and the game is not so boring that adults would refuse to play. But in an all-adult gaming environment, Mississippi Queen is just too simple to hold anyone's interest past the first couple of plays. Maybe the Black Rose expansion improves this, but I am not enamored enough with the game to spend more money on it at this point.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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