Circus Train, by designer Tom Decker, is a 1-5 player game in which you are the owner and operator of a small circus train in prohibition-era America. In this game, you and your opponents are vying to employ the best talent while putting on the most magnificent show each month. While touring the country by train, you will have the opportunity to perform while adding talent to your show through hiring the performers stranded in cities by defunct circuses. Just remember to keep an eye on your wages, because your talent definitely will.
Through clever card hand management, you control the movement of your train around the American northeast, making strategic business decisions about talent, performances and payroll in this fast-paced strategy game. Each turn represents one week of real time, and after six months, the circus season closes for the year and the game ends with one player declared as having The Greatest Show on Earth.
Inspired by Sara Gruen’s novel, Water for Elephants, Circus Train Second Edition includes thematic elements such as improving your show’s reputation by picking up alcohol for your talent and staff (legally, in Canada), the high costs of supplying big cats and elephants, and the ability to “red light” (firing by throwing off the train) disgruntled talent or talent that has simply become too expensive to maintain. These elements are blended into the game’s mechanics, keeping it all simple while adding layers of depth and strategy.