$10.00

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User Rating Comment Status
martin blakebrough
Wales
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10
Aug 2006*
Superb. great replay value. Game of the year.
2006-08-12*
Owned
Neil Palfreyman
United Kingdom
Swindon
Wiltshire
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10
Jul 2008*
First impressions based on a five player game (which I lost comprehensively!) Very impressive, well balanced and thought out, excellent components with simple rules. Left me wanting to play more.

Update: have upgraded this to a 9 following several additional plays. It's just a great combination of elements: To get a result you need some hand management, thoughtful use of the engineers, careful selection of contracts/goods locations (for shipping) plus being able to keep a close eye on what your opponents are doing. Excellent.

Update after a couple of years! - has superb replay value. Never played a game that I didn't enjoy. A classic.
2006-11-03*
Owned
Ann Hamon (annhamon@aol.com)
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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10
Sep 2008*
3-5 players. Keep 2011.
Have expansion
2011-07-04
Owned
H-B-G
United Kingdom
Halesowen
West Midlands
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9.9
Feb 2013
ɅV
2014-07-16
Owned
J S
United Kingdom
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9.5
Sep 2006*
Jeez - the Rangnar lads make some really good games! I'd much rather play this than go poncing about on the Norfolk Broads. In fact, playing this game is like making love to a beautiful woman. First you tenderly unwrap the contents from it's silky exterior, open her up like a...

Little wonder they are going like hot cakes.

Good job fellas.
2006-09-04*
John Mellby
United States
Plano
Texas
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9.5
Nov 2007*
Oh this is extremely nice!
2007-11-18*
Owned
Pontus Nilsson
Sweden
Gothenburg
Bohuslän
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9.3
May 2009*
A great connection game, but I only want to play it with 5 players.
2009-06-01
Owned
David Siskin
United States
Playa Del Rey
California
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9
Jul 2008*
I can't remember the last time I was so excited when a new game came in the mail! I loved History of the World and Viking Fury and have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. Everything looks beautiful and professionally done.

The game is challenging, well-balanced, and, as long as everyone does some planning in their downtime, will move at a brisk pace. Quite enjoyable! I would say it is in the same vein as Age of Steam and Ticket to Ride, and fits somewhere in between those two in weight, though much closer to AoS.

My only gripes are that 1) I would like a reference card for each player; and 2) the cards seem pretty thin to me.
2006-08-23*
Owned
Martin Leathwood
United Kingdom
Bristol
Unspecified
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9
Aug 2006*
Been waiting with bated breath for months and it has not disappointed. Brilliant blend of good gameplay plus real thematic feel without masses of rules and chrome. I love the neat but simple rules that ensure canals are built and operate in line with reality i.e. no great circle routes and few long hauls are possible. Certainly my best game this year.
2006-08-11*
Owned
g colhoun
United Kingdom
Unspecified
Northern Ireland
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9
Aug 2006*
Whilst certainly owing mechanisms to other games, Canal Mania is very much its own man(iac). The theming is excellent and the production very sound. The player is faced with plenty of tricky decisions, and there is much packed into its two hour or so playtime. Terrific stuff.
2006-08-21*
Owned
Steve Kearon
United Kingdom
Cardiff
Wales
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9
Aug 2008*
A game of two distinct elements that work together beautifully. Pick up cards from a face up set to build canals. Far more issues to address than TtR: contracts dictate where you can build and the maximum length of connections. Different tile types need to be laid, which requires different card types. There's a 7-card hand limit, and some cards seed goods into towns when they're picked up. The second element (which scores more points than track building) is to ship goods down your canals, maybe with the help of other player's canals; different from AoS in that each town can have only one goods cube, and goods don't have target cities, they can go to any destination but not through the same colour town twice. It's important to choose the right contracts & try to manage the goods placement and shipping to your advantage.
2007-06-02*
Owned
Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson
Sweden
Borås
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9
Oct 2006*
I really enjoy this game. A good mix of analyses and luck of drawing. Similar and on the same time very different from Age of Steam. It's the best candidate to be my favourite game of 2006!
2006-10-10*
Owned
Dave Heberer
United States
Redmond
Washington
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9
Oct 2006*
A very nice blend between a ticket to ride mechanism of drafting cards to build and a heavier age of steam delivery mechanism. Not a lot of rules or fuss, but a lot of important decisions to make.
2006-10-19*
Owned
Anthony Simons
United Kingdom
Royal Wootton Bassett
Wiltshire
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9
Mar 2007*
Duration:-
Engagement:-
Experience:- Challenging; creative building and approaching a strategy for goods delivery are both important.
Presentation:- A quality game with excellent components and reasonably clear rules.

Great game; strikes the balance between the more complex networking games (AoS for example) and the simpler ones (TtR for example). A very engaging game, I couldn't recommend it more.
2012-05-05
Owned
Keith Shapley
United Kingdom
Fleet
Hampshire
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9
Mar 2007*
Good quality pieces reminiscent IMHO of Stephensons Rocket. Played 1, 5 player game so far. Took a long time 3 hrs but I think thats typical for my gaming group during a first run through and it certainly will come down next time. Very enjoyable time playing it and lots to think about before the next game. . My attempt to win was scuppered by building all of my acuaducts early taking advantage of having the acuaduct expert and so being forced to wait for tunnel cards to appear later on for building through the difficult terrain. Doh! Overall, its just the right level of complexity for me and for that reason beats Age of Steam and Ticket to Ride hands down.
2007-03-04*
Owned
Gary Jackson
New Zealand
Auckland
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9
Jul 2007*
Excellent game, clear concise rules, elegant play, historical accuracy yet good gameplay. Avoid the variant of only earning one per route vs one per city connected - lengthens the game! 2nd edn streamlines the game slightly, only small improvements so not essential, but you wouldn't bother with edn 1 again.
2007-07-13*
Owned
Frank Hamrick
United States
Rocky Mount
North Carolina
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9
Feb 2008*
9/13/06 - Received from Game Surplus. First game, September 25. This is a good one. Our first play convinced another player he had to buy it. I came in 3rd in a 4-player (Cris won), but I really liked it. Lots of tension, goods are very important, but so are completing more routes than others. I mistakenly thought the number on the route cards (contracts) counted for points, but it is the number of routes completed that counts. A learner's mistake.
July 17, 2007 - Have now played it many times, own the upgrade, and still love this one.It is a classic IMO.
2008-02-19*
Owned
alan beaumont
United Kingdom
LONDON
Unspecified
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9
Feb 2008*
1st edition plays better than 2nd, which needs modifications to victory conditions. 1st edition is excellent for 3/4 players.
Plays fast plenty of challenges and choice of tactics for victory, unusual in a transport net game.
2008-02-15*
Owned
Alessandro Mongelli
Netherlands
Rijswijk
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9
Feb 2008*
I still have to play the second edition but I'm sure the changes made will make a good game better.
2008-02-17*
Owned
William (Andy) Anderson
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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9
Mar 2008*
Own the 2nd Edition. Very nice "train" game that is in the medium weight catagory. I'm glad to of added this one to my collection. If you get a chance to play this don't pass it up.
2008-03-12*
Owned
Mark Pudding
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9
May 2008*
Slightly complex play system for beginners. Very interesting idea.
2008-05-06*
Owned
Caroline Berry
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9
Jul 2008*
Nice game along the lines of build routes and move stuff. Cute canalboat pieces
2008-07-29*
Uwe Rosenberg
Germany
Gütersloh
Nordrhein-Westfalen
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9
Aug 2008*
Without the downtime it would be a 10.
2008-08-27*
Nathan Morse
United States
Powell
Ohio
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9
Jul 2009*
Rock-solid, excellent game. It is definitely in the greater "rail game" family, but exhibits some unusual traits that make it a singular experience.
2008-11-23*
Owned
Want To Play
Ingmar Hauge
Norway
No way
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It's cold outside. There's no kind of atmosphere. I'm all alone. More or less. Let me fly. Far away from here. Fun fun fun. In the sun sun sun...
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Dwayne Dibley - The prince of Dork
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9
Sep 2010
*
2010-10-19
Owned
Want To Play
Ron
Austria
Vienna
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ASL ... yes, this is my Desert Island Game. If I have to give up all my 3000+ games and only allowed to keep one, this would be it. This bloody game stood the test of time. Around for more than 25 years - simply the best.
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Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
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9
Mar 2010
Very good canal building game! A fresh topic, proved mechanisms spiced up with attractive components gives a wonderful new game. Recommended!
2011-03-28
Owned
Bob Henry
United States
Basking Ridge
New Jersey
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9
May 2012
It's not a "railroad" game and those tiles are canals, not tracks... A nice blend of mechanisms that railroad game players will see have parallels from other games. It has some of Union Pacific in it (cards for type of build, etc.) and a bit of Ticket to Ride as well (contracts are more focused but like destinations in TtR). Least anyone think it is too simple, it definitely has part of Railroad Tycoon / Steam / Railways of ___. The goods movement in particular has a similar approach.

So, a good step along for someone looking to move from the UP & TtR fare up towards the RT / S / RoW designs.
2012-05-01
Owned
Want To Play
Daniel Sharp
United States
Austin
Texas
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8.9
Jan 2011
Reminds me of a much more advanced version of ticket to ride. Much better game than I expected. Don't be fooled by the similar look to Age of Steam/Steam, it plays much differently.
2011-01-29
Owned
Big Woo
Scotland
state:
running out of space...
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8.5
Mar 2008*
When someone who has played many many games barges through the door, clutching a box, with a smile as big as when they got sight of their first Scalectrix from Santa, it has to be something special. The appearance of a Ragnar biggie certainly fits that bill.

p: The rules, and there are pleasantly few, seem to pitch it somewhere between Ticket to Ride and Age of Steam, using (the good) elements of both. Promising.

So yes, it's a transport network construction game set in that familiar English landscape with hexagonal cities. It has route contracts, needs skilful hand management to max out the results of a limited amount of construction-cards, offers some goods that need to be ferried between towns for bonus points, has terrain types, and all this has to be crossed by using only 4 types of route-tiles. That can mean only one thing: it's about aqueducts and canals. Ah.

I feel there ought to be bonus points for players who manage to avoid using the words track and station for the duration of the game, but kudos to the Ragnar Brothers for picking a theme that actually fits the mechanisms really well, especially the relatively short route contracts.

Turns are split in three phases, and in each phase you can pick one of a handful of options. Roughly the choice is between construction and stocking up on building bricks for the next turn. Each player also has an engineer which offers a unique special ability, but these are frequently swapped between players right before constructing and are easily retrieved.

I am amazed that a game that offers very few new elements appealed to me as much as it did. It seemingly did more by making them all a bit simpler. A hallmark of superb design. Everything seems to be well balanced and play tested. From the hand-size capped at seven between turns, to the route-lengths, the tile-pool size, the requirement to alternate tile types, the scoring values, the spread of cities and terrain on the board, even to the arrival frequency of new goods to the map. It is so well balanced that you really need to squeeze every point out of your options to win the game, as it will be tightly fought all the way.

We did underestimate the importance of the end-game and in hindsight that only offers yet another palette of appetising strategic choices as placement and availability of goods for the final shipments across your track (whoops, I did it again) is crucial. And it is usually a sound decision to make small detours to cities 'en-route' as they will greatly increase your income during the goods-movement phase over the length of the game, something that becomes immediately apparent in your virgin-game, usually just after it's too late. And for the illiterate under us (ie. me), if you go from a to c via b, you head for b first. Yes, I'm that dippy.

The whole thing wrapped up around the 2 hour mark, and this should speed up with replays. At no point did it drag and it kept everyone engaged. I strongly feel that good games use few elements to maximum effect and the best will distill games that offer a wide variety of strategies and options into one that is clear and remarkably easy to play with little downtime. The best indicator of class is if the game appeals to players with different expectations and demands at the same time. A test it passed with flying colours.

Presentation wise, the only irritant I ran into was my inability to locate the cities on the board. Granted, I am as likely to put my finger on the location of English city on the map as I can be expected to find my way around Tokyo's public transport network, armed with a map in Arabic. But since most names are covered by goods or boats during the game it can be a real pain,

The only mechanism I that sat uneasy with me was the ease with which engineers can be swapped right before the building phase. This timing means that anyone can obtain the engineer that suits their hand, losing mainly the ability to pick up from a new set of cards, but since you cannot pick up from this set and build in the same turn, that's hardly a handicap. It also means that the person lucky enough to pick up a joker track-card can more or less automatically make that a double joker card. And from what I have seen so far, it seemed that people building with this combo were cutting through the hills faster than planes can fly over them. Felt a bit heavy handed when most points had to be squeezed out of a drip-feeder.

On the whole though, a genuine gem. I really liked their Viking Fury but felt it wasn't for everyone. This one is. And professionally produced too.

UPDATE: it is keeping its appeal afer a few replays, but as a 5-player game it is a bit too downtime-heavy for me. Then again, there aren't many games without a bidding or trading element, that I prefer with 5 over 4 for that very reason.
2008-03-24*
Owned
Andrew York
United Kingdom
Basingstoke
Hampshire
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8.5
Aug 2006*
Ordered as per the instructions on their web site. It arrived after about a week well packaged and in good condition. One play only to date with 3 players, played in a little over 2 hours but was very enjoyable.
2006-08-30*
Owned
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
United States
Henrico
Virginia
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8.5
Sep 2006*
I am reluctant to give any game a 9 after just one playing, but this game is pretty close to that. It seems to be quite a bit longer than the 90 minutes stated above, but it remained interesting throughout. I am also sure that we were extra slow due to inexperiance and turns went much faster later in the game. The rules seem long, but that is mostly because they are fairly explicit and have lots of examples. It took a while to explain the game, but everything makes sense and it isn't hard to follow. Abount my only complaint is that the cities and towns on the contracts are a little hard to find (for an American). It would have been nice if the contracts had little maps on them to help narrow the search (ala TtR).

The Age of Steam lite descriptions I have heard are not too far off. It isn't all that much like AoS, but it has a similar gamer quality to it and I ended the game with lots of ideas about what to do differently next time.
2006-09-02*
Owned
Shawn Low
Australia
Footscray
Victoria
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8.5
Nov 2006*
Ordered from Ragnar Brothers. 12 weeks away on a slow boat. Sigh. Expensive too! Damn the British Pound.

Update: Excellent Ragnar game (minus tablecloth). This one is a mix between Ticket to Ride and Age of Steam. Players draft cards in order to build their canal system to fulfill government contracts as well as have a network to ship goods on. There are engineer cards that allow players to break the rules. Players score points for shipping goods as well as for positions according to contracts fulfilled.

The game playes fairly quick with most games running 1.5 to 2 hours and there are good solid decisions to make (where to build your network, what cards to draft, which engineer to hijack from other players, etc). A little negative is the fact that it's a little solitaire-ish. Players could agonise over routes and cards to draft but there's no point really planning TOO far ahead as a contract you want may be snapped up before your turn!

The components are top notch: mounted board, thick hex tiles (1/3 the size of AoS), cards, plastic ships. The board gets a little fiddly but I can live with it. Well worth looking at...if you can afford the hit from shipping it from the UK. If not, wait till the US retailers get stock of this.
2006-11-21*
Prev. Owned
Trond Braut
Norway
Stavanger
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8.5
Jan 2007*
This is a great game. Tense and exciting!
2007-01-21*
Owned
Australia
New South Wales
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8.5
Sep 2007*
We now own this game after importing it from the UK. It is the newer (second) edition with the correctly shaped long boats. I love the mechanics of the game and it is similar to Railroad Tycoon & On The Underground which is why I probably like it.
2007-09-10*
Owned
Captain Spaulding
United States
California
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8.5
Mar 2009*
Feels pretty similar to Railroad Tycoon.
2009-03-06
Ubergeek
United States
Camas
Washington
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I spent 100 Geek Gold and all I got was this lousy overtext message!
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8.2
Jul 2008*
Medium weight gamer's game that flew under my RADAR for too long. Nice components and meaty enough for a main course at a game session. Just substitute canals for rails. Got the 2nd edition.
Owned
Boom Chakalaka
United States
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8.13
Jan 2015
Great theme, good fun!
2015-01-20
Owned
Want To Play
Steve Ramsden
United Kingdom
Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
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8
Jul 2006*
First impressions are that this is a great game. The two hours flew by. Plenty of interesting decisions about which routes to commit to - whether to go for lots of small routes or fewer long ones - whether to ship a cube now for a small payback or wait and hope you can connect a longer route first (and that another player won't steal it). The tight hand limit of 7 cards keeps the cards flowing - no hoarding a la Ticket to Ride thank goodness. Nothing completely original but definitely more than the sum of its parts.
2006-07-14*
Owned
Paul Jordan
United Kingdom
Westbury
Wiltshire
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8
Jul 2006*
This is good but I don't know how replayable it is with the canals being so fixed. Perhaps that does not matter.
2006-07-21*
Nick Fisk
United Kingdom
Stoke on Trent
Staffordshire
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Come on you Seagulls! Sami Hyppia's Blue & White army!
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That's weird. This bit used to mention Shire Games, and tell you all how wonderful we are. But it seems to have got deleted. Let's see what happens this time ....
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8
Sep 2006*
Excellent game of Track (sorry ... Canal) building and goods shipping.

It helps a lot that the game is based in the UK, as connecting canals to your home town is much more fun than doing it in Germany or America !
2006-09-05*
Owned
Brian Moore
United Kingdom
Bolton
Lancashire
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8
Sep 2009*
A really good transportation game about the development of the canals in the UK. Enjoyed it so much I bought the 2nd edition as well.
2006-08-11*
Owned
Daniel Karp
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Developin' Developin' Developin'
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100 geekgold for OverText, and all I got was this stupid sentence.
8
Jul 2007*
I refer to this one as "Ticket to Steam." I've really enjoyed it so far--it has some of the feel of Age of Steam, without the punishing economics. I like the changes for the 2nd edition. I just have to keep reminding myself: never play with five!
2007-07-08*
Owned
Michael Longdin
England
Crawley
West Sussex
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8
May 2015
Well I'm naturally going to like this because it's similarities with Age of Steam are obvious although it reminded me more of Voldampf than Wallace's later effort. Very engrossing and by far and away the best production of a Ragnar game to date - it would have helped if they'd found some way to indicate on the board which canals were currently available though
2010-04-15
Owned
Chapel
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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8
Aug 2011

Little bit Ticket to Ride, Little bit Age of Steam(Or Volldampf to be more accurate), not too complex, not too light and a whole lotta fun. Turning into one of my favorite games of 2006
2011-08-24
Owned
Matthew Webster
United Kingdom
Winchester
Hampshire
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8
Aug 2006*
Rating based on two 3-player games. It will probably rise with more games and perhaps more players. Replay guaranteed at the moment as I have yet to win!

I was looking for something with a deeper theme than TtR (which I love) and an additional mechanic. Marklin is too similar, AoS too heavy and RRT too big! Canal Mania is just right: yes it can take two hours but it never drags as there is so much going on.
2006-08-29*
Owned
Colin M
Scotland
Edinburgh
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8
Aug 2006*
Plus conversion kit to 2nd edition
2013-08-14
Owned
Peter Jones
United Kingdom
Wrexham
Wrexham
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8
Sep 2006*
Excellent game and very well made.
2006-09-11*
Owned
Andrew Martin
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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8
Aug 2010
Owned
Richard Tyson
United Kingdom
Toddington
Bedfordshire
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8
Jan 2008*
Dropped to an 8 - still a great game, but other newer stuff has come along so it's not getting the same play
2008-01-18*
Owned
koen verstraete
Belgium
ruddervoorde
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8
Oct 2006*
A kind of combination of "ticket to ride" and "age of steam". At the beginning I referred too much to age of steam and the differences between them, but after a while I discovered a new game. The only thing that has to be shown at the beginning of ( or during) the game is the map with all the contracts. Likely the designers could have shown these contracts with a small line on the playing board. But for the rest a good game.
2006-10-28*
Owned

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