It’s time for another Rolling with Benny. This time he looks at a free print and play, roll and write – Recycling Route.
Welcome friends, today we are giving thought to saving the planet by recycling! In Recycling Route, players play as Recycling/Trash companies that are picking up Recycling around their city while collecting a certain amount of Trash. Just enough to avoid those pesky negatives!
Dumpster-diving into this game finds a dice splitting mechanism whereby the player rolling the dice keeps half, 3, of the dice hidden and reveals the other 3 dice. The next player to the rolling player’s left chooses and the rolling player receives the unselected choice.
This works well with 2 players. With 3 players one of the players is stuck playing on their phone for an entire turn. With 4 players, 2 players are left to thumb wrestle or discuss plans for the next game. The downtime doesn’t seem like it would be *that* bad. That said, if you have players who take a long time to decide in your group or if they really hate any downtime (which is becoming increasingly rare in modern roll and writes), then I found that adding a second set of dice does the trick! Besides, most gamers have 12d6 hanging out somewhere.
Overall I found Recycling Route plays smoothly. After selecting dice, those players write in the numbers on their player sheet filling in spaces that when they become the dice roller they will hopefully connect and gain rewards from. As the dice roller, you are connecting 3 spaces to start and checking off the items that match what you picked up. Ones can be used as another number that had been picked up that turn or as a means to start upgrading the truck so you can travel more spaces, up to 5 with both upgrades.
The collection of recyclable materials valued 2-5 can earn points, bigger points if you complete those sections first. I like how these are broken up from 9 total spaces into smaller groupings. It gives a sense of being able to complete some of the tasks without having to finish all of them.
The number not mentioned thus far is the “6” which is the trash number. Every 6 taken is placed in the Landfill and a space is checked off. The 6 is then rerolled and a new recyclable is collected, unless it’s a 6 again, then bad luck, fella cause that’s another check in your Landfill.
For dice rollers like myself who roll low, 6’s are uncommon so most of the games I played few Trash collections happened. Though it is interesting in scoring how crossing out numbers with taking 6’s is useful. Only the open values count toward the total so there is a sweet spot of getting 5 or so 6’s then avoiding them where possible.
Scoring worked out well in the games I played, except solo. Players had a nice range of scores and no one was clearly behind by huge numbers. In solo play, this was the exception where I beat the AI drone by a significant margin, around 30 points. I found that if I took the blind dice then I wouldn’t have to erase anything the drone matched. This may be breaking the game or going against the spirit of the game. However, I played the game as the rules were written.
In all, I’d recommend Recycling Route. I enjoyed my plays of it and found it to be entertaining (except solo). For the cost of paper and ink it’s a good move. Remember to toss your trash and recyclable items in the correct bins when clean up! Let’s keep our planet healthy for future generations to enjoy!
Link to Print and Play: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/232920/recycling-route
About the Reviewer: Benny is the game designer behind Yakitori and Bones of the Caribbean. Lover of roll and write games, husband, and father of three. When Benny isn’t playing or designing roll and writes, he can be found gardening in his fruit and vegetable garden. Benny Sperling can be found on Twitter at @benny275.