Now, something really funny. I seldom like games that have identical starting positions, or that are about resource/hand management and while Koleijka is not exactly any of those, it is somewhat out of my normal preferences, and does have some level of hand management. Kolejka is a game about queuing – yes, you heard it right. Your family stands in queue and the goal is – perhaps not surprisingly to make sure that you will get all the things from the shops that you need. This however can be somewhat tricky, because it is socialistic Poland, and the shops are not exactly full of anything besides of empty space.
So, what makes Koleijka interesting game? Two things really, first it is something entirely different, and second, it is bug free. Quite a feat in these times where every game needs several pages of corrections and clarifications, and some require everything to be rewritten before the product is playable in a first place. Kolejka then is a game where from 1 to 5 players each receive more or less random, but balanced shopping list, and the goal is to get all the items on the list before anyone else. Essentially, player controls family members that are duly distributed on a front of various shops to wait for the shops to first receive shipment and then to open. Or to fail in both. Players are dealt cards that can be used to make progress in the queue, mostly by moving forward with excuses, or to move others backward with different excuses. Anyway, sooner or later you will find yourself a the end of the queue, and lack of pretty much every critical item that you need.
Games are fast, there is very little downtime even in 5 person variety, it is very easy to learn and top of all it has the best period graphics ever – not to say that their artistic quality is a big selling point. Bad news are that one needs to have specific mindset and crew to play the game. Additionally, unless you have certain history you may find certain aspects less hilarious. However, right people, right mindset and not minding being backstabbed every single minute and it can be really, really fun.
Of course, when everything in the game has a shortage, including the cards you need to make your way in the queue, so is the game itself. Perhaps ironically, relatively huge popularity was unexpected and for some time it was not available – except under the counter where I got mine.