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Boy, do I love trucks. I had toy trucks as a kid, I’ve put quite a lot of time into both Euro Truck Simulator and American Truck Simulator, and in another life I might’ve had my CDL. The Great Heartland Hauling Company by Dice Hate Me Games is a pick up and deliver game with a good bit of variety in the gameplay.

The Great Heartland Hauling Company pits two to four players against one another in a race to make the most money by loading up goods, transporting them across the map, and unloading them for sale. It’s not as simple as “move from Point A to Point B”; players can’t stop on an occupied space and they require fuel to move. Ultimately, you’re trying to reach a goal of a certain amount of money determined by how many people are playing.

Setting up the game starts with handing each player their scoring cards, quick reference cards, and a truck token. Next, the map is assembled. The game board is printed on cards; you draw and place the map cards randomly with some caveats for adjustments depending on the ruleset and number of players. The only constant is that the Distribution Center is in the center of the map, but even that can change with alternate rules if you so choose. After the map is assembled, each player is handed five cards to comprise their hand and the game begins.

There are four types of goods in The Great Heartland Hauling Company: Corn, Soy, Pigs, and Cows. Each of these goods is represented by colored cubes placed on the map at the start of the game. Each city has one “native good” that they produce and two “non-native goods” that they are looking to buy. To load or unload goods, players must have Freight Bill cards matching the goods on a 1:1 ratio. That is, if they want to pick up three Pigs, they’ll need to spend three Pig Freight Bill cards to load them at the point of origin and another three Pig Freight Bill cards to unload and sell them at their eventual destination. Each truck and city has a maximum capacity of eight items and players have a hand size limit of 5 cards, so the game is all about maintaining a constant momentum of moving goods a couple items at a time. While big plays do happen, the majority of gameplay is made up of little sales here and there.

The Great Heartland Hauling Company Set Up

The Great Heartland Hauling Company doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it’s not the tiniest game, either.

At the start of a player’s turn, they need to pick a destination. Moving requires that players spend fuel cards with either 1, 2, or 3 spaces of movement on the face in any combination up to a maximum of 3. Alternatively, they can spend $1 per space moved (again up to a maximum of three spaces moved). Once they touch down, they can either load or unload goods if they have the cargo and Freight Bills to do it. Loading native goods is simple enough, but towards the end of the game you may need to pick up non-native goods. These cost two Freight Bills apiece and you would ideally want to avoid this situation.

The game begins its final round once someone hits the score limit. A final round is played, giving everyone a last chance to unload their goods and recoup what money they can. Anything left over in your truck will result in a penalty; crops like soy & corn will reduce your score by $1 each and animals like cows & pigs will reduce your score by $2 each. Once everything is settled, the person with the most money wins!

The Great Heartland Hauling Company has a great, compact package. The tokens and trucks are made out of wood, and the cards are made of decent stuff. I discovered that by splitting the cards in half and stuffing the bag of tokens in the middle, everything would sit securely in the box without getting too jumbled up no matter how hard I shook it. I appreciate small things like this for travel and storage; it can be a hassle to have to reorganize everything if it gets shifted around.

Included in the game box are some extra rulesets and expansions. Each of the map tiles have alternate rules like toll roads and closed paths. We played a couple of games with these, but frankly I think it just slowed the game down. While The Great Heartland Hauling Company doesn’t take very long to play, the constant drain on money and resources from having to take overly circuitous routes made it feel more like the game was being dragged out rather than any real additional challenge being added.

Conversely, the “In-spansion” (an expansion, but in the box) that adds purchasable items was a great way to mix up the rules. Each player could buy one item that changes the rules of the game only for them; for example, you could have the ability to have an extra card in your hand or you could move diagonally one time during your turn. These add a nice bit of variety to the game without slowing things down too much.

The Great Heartland Hauling Company Wood Pieces

It might not matter to most people, but I really like the little wood pieces. I thought the trucks were pretty cool, and it just feels better than plastic.

We played The Great Heartland Hauling Company over the course of a few weeks and largely enjoyed it, more or less. One of my players ended up buying a copy for himself. I think the game might be a bit big for playing on a plane’s tray table, but it’d do well for gaming where space was a bit limited. There’s no worries about rolling dice or anything like that; as long as you’re careful not to spill any tokens you ought to be just fine.

The Bottom Line:

The Great Heartland Hauling Company is a fun game that can typically be played in around an hour or so. It balances luck and strategy well, and the included additional rulesets can provide some variety if you want to expand your choices.

Get This Game If:

  • You want a game with some variety and randomization.
  • You like to wheel and deal.
  • You like things with trucks in them.

Avoid This Game If:

  • You don’t like resource management.
  • You’re not fond of economic-based games.
  • You’re short on table real estate.

The copy of The Great Heartland Hauling Company used for this review was provided by Dice Hate Me Games.

7.5
 

Very Good

Summary

The Great Heartland Hauling Company is a fun game that can typically be played in around an hour or so. It balances luck and strategy well, and the included additional rulesets can provide some variety if you want to expand your choices.


Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!


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