Board Game,  Co-op,  New,  New Release,  Party,  Rapid Reviews,  Reviews,  Tabletop,  Tabletop Game

Trial by Trolley and The Vacation Expansion Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Cardboard-Based Characteristics

Trial by Trolley and the Vacation Expansion

Designer: Scott Houser
Publisher: Skybound Tabletop, Cyanide and Happiness
Genre(s): Party, team-based
Release Date: 2020, 2022 for The Vacation Expansion
Game Time: 30 minutes
Number of Players: 3-13
This board game was provided for review purposes

Getting Trollied!

Check this out, board game reviews here on Rapid Reviews. I know, crazy right? Hopefully, going forward, we will be covering a lot more board games and tabletop stuff here as I seem to be sent more and more stuff. I love board games, and along with video games, they take up a large part of my life. I even worked for Asmodee recently, demoing at UKGE. It’s all very exciting.

Anyway, the lovely folks at Skybound sent me not only the base game of Trial by Trolley with the new Vacation expansion but an adorable tote bag too. How kind is that? I have never played Trial by Trolley before, although I have heard of it and also seen other things by Cyanide and Happiness.

Trial by Trolley
Sweet, sweet goodies!

A Funny Little Problem to Have

So, after many games of Trial by Trolley at home and at work I think I am in a position to give my thoughts on the whole package. Trial by Trolley is a party game based on the famous ‘Trolley Problem’ a moral and philosophical quandary first posed by British philosopher Philippa Foot. She states that “negative duties carry significantly more weight in moral decision-making than positive duties.” This game certainly explores that statement in a fun and wacky manner.

In Trial by Trolley, two teams pit themselves against each other to argue about which of the two trolley tracks the conductor should head down. Each team puts very funny cards on both their own and their opponent’s track to try and sway the conductor’s mind about which one he should drive down. There are innocent cards, guilty cards and even modifiers that each team must use to make an impression on the poor, poor conductor.

Game cards showing a game in progress
Choices, choices.

The Guilty, The Innocent and the Modifiers

After selecting a conductor you need to split into two teams. You are able to split how you want as they will change every round, as will the conductor. You draw an innocent card randomly for each team and place one on each track. These will be nice things the conductor will not want to run over, like his family or a blind man and his blind dog, hahaha. After that, each team gets three innocent cards and must choose which one to add to their track. I always found this bit interesting as I picked different cards depending on what I knew about the conductor. Do they like animals? Do they like time travel? Or would they prefer a jetpack? Hmmm, all valuable questions.

Next, both teams get three guilty cards, which at a change, you have to put on the other team’s track. This will be people who the conductor wants to kill. Characters like Hitler, terrorists, and the like. Again, it’s good to pitch the cards at the conductor to try and sway their favour. Some of the cards are really funny though, as you will see from the few I include in the pictures. I do not want to spoil too much though, as this game is all about the cards.

Trial by Trolley game set up with cards and tokens.

Lastly, after all the guilty have been presented, you take three modifier cards and can place one of them on any card already in play. You can make one of the other teams’ good cards worse by playing a bad modifier or even make some of the guilty people better to try once again to sway the views of the conductor. Then everyone pitches their thoughts for a few minutes in what can only be described as complete and utter gobbledygook. I have never heard such strange arguments for why you would run over your own family. Haha, good fun, though. The player who has had the least deaths in the game wins. Good wholesome fun!

The Components

Component-wise, Trial by Trolley is very simple. It’s just a fold-out trolley track, a few cardboard tokens, and a few decks of cards. I would have liked the fold-out track to have been a bit thicker, as the fold sticks up a touch. The rest of the components are of good quality. The cards are of a decent enough stock, and I find the artwork, while not being to everyones taste, humorous and keeps very much in line with the tongue-in-cheek feeling of the game.

The Vacation Expansion

The expansion for Trial by Trolley, The Vacation Expansion, adds new cards to all the decks to spice things up. They add new innocent cards, guilty cards, and modifiers based on vacation destinations to spice things up and making the conductor’s choices more difficult. Some of them really are hilarious, too. Apart from a few pics, as I said above, there are no spoilers here. It’s a good little expansion that adds quite a few cards to the game for a very low price, and in a game that lives or dies by its cards, it’s what you need for sure.

Game cards on a table.
Devilishly funny!

A Bonkers Game With the Right Group

Everybody and I really mean everybody, that I have played Trial by Trolley with enjoyed it. While it may be a bit light on the gameplay side, it’s certainly no Gloomhaven, that is for sure. It more than makes up for it with fun, laughs, and mindless, uncanny discussions between your friends. As long as you have a gaming group that can embrace the crazy, I highly recommend Trial by Trolley and its Vacation expansion; my kids love it. So many laughs. Right, I am off to try and persuade my lad to run over the person who keeps suggesting more Fast and Furious movies. See you next time.

Rapid Reviews Rating

3.5 out of 5

You can get your copy of Trial by Trolley and the Vacation expansion from Amazon today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.