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User Rating Comment Status
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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...much that he related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and raciest adventures...
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... a picked body of Toads, known as the Die-hards, or the Death-or-Glory Toads, will storm the orchard and carry everything before them, yelling for vengeance.
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9
May 2010
Good, solid, fun game! Although I usually prefer prefer Advanced rules to Basic rules, that's not true here. We enjoy the Basic Game (with the addition of the optional Event cards) more than the Advanced.

I own the expansion, but have yet to try it. As a thought experiment, the game should work superbly with three players, and probably very well with four. I'm doubtful about five players, to be honest - I suspect down-time might be an issue.
2010-05-01
Owned
A Brave New Geek
United Kingdom
London
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9
Dec 2012
Da da dada dada da da da da........
2013-05-13
Prev. Owned
William (Andy) Anderson
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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8.5
Aug 2010
Have the expansion also. Plays well with 4 or 5 players. Rules well written and the game is enjoyable. Cards are of very thin card stock but with some lamination they are just fine. I'm very glad it part of my game collection.
2010-08-01
Owned
Kevin Payne
United States
Quincy
Illinois
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8
Feb 2010
My only real complaint at this point is that it's only 2-player or solitaire. I understand there will be an expansion that will qallow up to 4 players--the sooner the better.

Overall, quite playable. The rules seem a bit wordy for a game that purports to be a Euro.

A must if you are a circus fan. Less so for train gamers.
2010-02-02
Owned
Jeff Grossman
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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8
Feb 2010
How could a game with clowns be evil? How could a game with clowns NOT be evil??? A wonderful little game of circus management.
2011-05-19
Owned
Gary Heidenreich
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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MilwaukeeTEG
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8
May 2011
I like. Love the theme and the gameplay. It's sort of a pick up and deliver but in the early game you are really looking to build yourself up in the spring/summer to rake in the big performances in the fall, which is where the points are. Scores are high and it remains to be seen (need a second play) if we avoid the runaway leader we had (I honestly expect we will). Sometimes it takes a first play to see that type of stuff.

Quick update. Played the scoring completely wrong. It's no wonder the scores were freakishly high. We played the rest of the game correctly and looking forward to playing again.

I can be old school and enjoy the look of the well designed chits in the game. Also had to play the Doors to get some kind of carnival music theme going.

Update: Raised to an 8. Played with the correct rules and the only thing I added from the expansion was the extra stuff to play with more than two. Went alot quicker and definately some different ways to go. I thought the game was better the second time I played.

Update: Finally got tabled again. Basic game with four. Man, a tight game. Some very interesting moves and will benefit with more play.
2014-01-20
Owned
Charles Simon
United States
Ashley
Pennsylvania
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8
Jun 2010
Circus Train is a great game that is surprisingly brutal for what one might expect when they start a game with a Clown. The Advanced Game's rules are complicated a bit by the inclusion of the Basic rules (intended to make it easier), but ultimately it doesn't take much to get them to a fluid understanding. The game plays well enough as a solitaire game, but really shines with more players. That being said, the game does not play with more players unless the expansion kit is purchased. Despite the circus theme, the game really is a great, tight game that relies on strong strategic planning with a bit of luck that your opponents don't steal your shows or talent while hoping for a little bit of luck that the right show demand will pop up near your location. The production values of the game might not be the greatest, but it is fully functional and does not detract from the interesting game play and options. The game gives a lot of options and paths to victory, while at the same time gives plenty of opportunity to cripple an opponent's circus. It truly is a great game that needs to be picked up and reissued to clean it up a little bit, but also to include the expansion kit as one package. If you are going to purchase this game, make sure you also pick up the expansion kit to get the complete game.

Full review at: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/535538/
2010-06-18
Owned
Frank Strauss
Germany
Berlin
Unspecified
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8
Jul 2010
There´s only one thing I didn´t like about this game................it´s to short !
2010-07-29
Owned
Tom Ballou
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
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8
Oct 2010
Fun to play and fairly fast. Hand management is really a trick, and decided what acts to try to collect.

You only have a small set of preform cards, getting all your cards in the right place at the right time is hard. If you get stuck in a corner of the map, it can be bad news if the performance demand shows up across the map. Also there is some weirdness in the track layouts, making some cities black holes of movement.
2010-10-03
Owned
Brett Christensen
United States
Dickinson
North Dakota
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Pat OwlOrbs on the head.
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Rub the wizard! You should probably wash your hands.
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8
Mar 2013
I've only played solitaire.

And now a couple 2 player games. Solid game. I've always liked chit pull mechanisms. Looking forward to trying it with more players.

2012-11-09
Owned
Judy Krauss
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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but I'm not the only one
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My hands are small, I know, but they're not yours, they are my own
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8
May 2011
Solitaire variant.
2011-04-21
Owned
Hilary Hartman
United States
Wilmore
Kentucky
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Just your friendly, neighborhood game player and superhero!
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8
Mar 2011
Ranked as an 8 after one play only. Could go much higher. Great game with more theme than Big Bertha has weight!
2011-03-05
Prev. Owned
Sarinee Achavanuntakul
Thailand
Bangkok
Select a State
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8
May 2011
Awesome game of circus management. Money is very tight in this one, so you have to try to plan carefully and hope that lots of people would want to come to your show in the fall near where you are. The theme is unique, it works, and it's a lot of fun solo (haven't played multiplayer yet).
2011-08-22
Owned
Warren Smith
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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God Save the Queen!
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8
Jul 2011
This is such a great game. I really love the feeling when your 'renown' grows and grows as you get into the mid and end month performances. Scoring those big ticket shows feels good and makes me want to play again. That sense of reward is part of the excellent game design of CT.

Excellent for solitaire.
2011-09-01
Owned
午餐先生
United States
San Mateo
California
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8
Jun 2011
Fun game! I like it a lot. The hand management and the need to balance the circus performers with finding enough performances is great. Very cleverly put together as far as theme and all the little things it needs to succeed.

Yes, the components are hand made. Since this is my first VPG title, I was a tad wary, however there is good quality here. The game is the thing and this has a great game inside an unassuming package. Plus, I think it lends to the charm.
2011-06-27
Owned
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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7.5
Jun 2011
One go at the solo game at the moment, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I did rather poorly, but still was not at the bottom score. Need to make sure I got all the solo rules correct. Also three player, and that was quite a cut-throat game.
2011-06-28
Owned
Hayden Miles

California
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7.5
Jun 2013
new version looks sweet
2013-06-27
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
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The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
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7.2
Sep 2014
Played two games of this at BGG Con 2013. Had a great time with the game, and love the deluxe treatment that VPG has given it with the puzzle piece board, the art work, and the whole flavor of the game.
2014-09-28
Owned
Marc Frank
United States
Portsmouth
New Hampshire
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7
Mar 2010
One 2-player game with advanced rules and some rules mistakes during the game, and one solitaire basic game.

Can't decide between a 6 and a 7 on this one--I like the game, but there's quite a bit of upkeep, and it feels like the decisions-made-to-upkeep ratio is tilted a bit towards upkeep. Need to play a few more games to see if the upkeep feels less cumbersome over time.

Feels like a somewhat heavier version of Bombay.
2010-03-21
Prev. Owned
Richard Pardoe
United States
San Ramon
California
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7
Nov 2010
Interesting game where one is running a train trying to gain income for shows performed and picking up available talent. If nothing else, made me delve a little bit into the history of circuses in America and how they used to be the big show if not the only show in town.
2010-11-27
Owned
Chief EGG Head
United States
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7
Jul 2010
Played once so far 2 player game. Basically a pick up and deliver game. Interested in trying again soon. I think will play pretty quickly now that we have the rules down. First play took a little over an hour including going thru the rules.
2010-03-21
Owned
Gerald Gan
Philippines
Quezon City
NCR
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7
Jul 2010
The game has a good feel to it, flows very well and plays quite fast. The circus theme is also adequately integrated. A good two-player game that I don't regret owning. The first VPG game I've played... definitely won't be the last.

Do I wish the components were better? Well, yes. Will better components mean better gameplay? Likely not.
2010-08-08
Todd Redden
United States
Manchester
Connecticut
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Nut'n honey
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If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything - Mark Twain
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7
Jul 2010
Shellie taught Circus Train, what a great game. It's a train game with a Circus theme, really works well. Lots of choices and player interaction. Want to try the advanced level.

Finally tried the advanced level, and it has some problems. If you drop below the other players you have no options to attack their performs. I think I like the basic game better.
2011-06-18
Owned
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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7
Mar 2012
(Two-player comment only) - Circus Train was ahead of its time by one year. It already presented the topic of putting on a show in 2010 which became the big thing in Essen 2011 with games such as Drum Roll which even featured a similar circus theme. Circus Train basically is a twist the pickup-and-deliver genre changing the delivery part to delivering a show with artists picked up before at different locations and implementing a solid economical challenge with the periodic need to pay wages for artists.
For a DTP-based small publisher like VPG it's a charming effort and minor flaws such as some fiddlyness in handling the components, the lack of player aids or a perceived lack of polish in regard to game balance (e.g. decisive performance markers popping up right for the turn of one player and not reachable for the other) are acceptable and compensated for by the thematic experience and the challenge of scraping together enough money to keep your circus crew in pay. It will be interesting to see if it has the staying power to succeed as a major release by GMT where it's currently on the P500.
2012-03-28
Owned
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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7
May 2011
This game has really bad, terrible, HORRIBLE components. Despite that it still gets a 7 from me. Gameplay is fun.
2011-05-18
Owned
I will not rest until Biblios is in the Top 100. - Steve Oksienik
United States
Howell
Michigan
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Well I been watchin' while you been coughin, I've been drinking life while you've been nauseous, and so I drink to health while you kill yourself and I got just one thing that I can offer... Go on and save yourself and take it out on me
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7
Aug 2010
This is a great hand management/resource management game for 2 players. It's really tough to manage your resources and make everything work as you race across the country to get what you want.

I think this one may increase greatly with repeated plays.

Purchased as the WBC August 7, 2010
2010-08-15
Prev. Owned
Jason Reid
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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7
Aug 2010
Nice pick-up-and-deliver game with some heavy interaction. Only played this once, with five players (which requires the expansion). Like many games, I don't think this scales very well beyond three players. With five, the board changes so much in between turns that it's not possible to plan out more than one intermediate goal.

Also, I don't think that the event cards are well-balanced for more than two players. One in particular came out that seemed especially unfair to the current start player in our five-player game.
2010-08-08
Prev. Owned
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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7
Jul 2015
Oh my!
2015-07-07
Joel J
United States
Iowa City
IA
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7
May 2011
A nice little middleweight combining some hand management with a pseudo pick-up-and-deliver element. There's not a lot new here, but the theme is interesting and I like both of those mechanics, so I find the game quite charming.
2011-05-25
Jimmy Jazz Jazz Jazz
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7
Oct 2011
3
2012-08-06
Owned
Charles A. Davis
United States
Greeneville
TN
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7
Aug 2012
Sorp222 says "it plays like Colosseum but a lot more fun." I agree. Pick up and deliver game with a twist.
2012-08-12
Chad Mestdagh
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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7
Apr 2013
The Victory Point Games press engine describes Circus Train as being a "very tight economic game." Um .... no. Industria is a very tight economic game. If you are off by a dollar in your bids in Industria, it can kill your game. The solitaire version of Circus Train says that you win a major victory if you get 220. In the final stretches of this game, you can make 120 off of a single two week performance. That would not be my definition of a tight economic game.

This may be splitting hairs, but it does irk me somewhat. Especially when the base game is actually pretty fun. The solitaire version of Circus Train would be much better described as a fun middleweight pick up and deliver game with an overall slight lack of polish. Due to the random nature of the layout, some games will just cause you to
lose. But this won't be the case very often. There are quirky things in the rules that leave you unsure what to do. Having a wage card at the end of the multiplayer game costs you double what it would if you had played it. In the single player game ... no idea. Also it is WAY to easy to get the max victory listed. I was able to win max victory 4 times in a row without that much effort. $300 would probably be more realistic for the max victory. The advanced game is also fun ... but may just make the game more convoluted rather than adding to it. The reputation track doesn't add much because you will only really hire once or twice in the game. The event cards seemed to be a non issue for the two games that I tried with them. (They did however make it a lot easier to deturmine which month I was on. Many times in the basic game, I would forget to move the month marker.) Also tracking victory points would have been a real pain if the game didn't come with the little score sheet. (Originally, the game didn't. This is apearantly a new additon.) Due to the random nature of the layout, some games will just cause you to lose. But this won't be the case very often.

Despite all of this, I did like the game. It is fun. It does give you the sence that you are doing something cool. There are great desicions that you make each turn. You can make a plan and watch it unfold (hoping that the right chit will be placed in a city that you can reach.) The randomness helps prevent the game from becoming solvable. It is definately the best game that I have played from Tom Decker so far.

But unfortunately, it does continue to re-enforce the feeling that Victory Point Games is pushing games out their door too fast without really finding all the quirks in the games that need to be fixed. Or perhaps it is just Tom Decker games as there was only one non-Tom Decker game that gave me this feeling.
2013-04-26
Quinn Munnerlyn
United States
Carrollton
Texas
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6.8
Dec 2014
The game starts with drunk clowns in Canada so it gets off on the right foot. Run around the US picking up acts, making sure everyone gets paid and stays drunk enough by taking Canadian excursions. Occasionally you might put on a show to get some cash and points.
2014-12-05
Mark Sautman
United States
Evans
Georgia
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6.5
Sep 2011
Rating after single solo play with basic rules.
2011-09-13
Prev. Owned
Mike B
Netherlands
Utrecht
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6.5
Oct 2010
Initial rating after two plays, one solo, one two player:

Optimization game with luck factor. I'm not yet sure whether I'm going to really like this or not so much.

I had fun with my soloplay, and I enjoyed my 2-player as well. But my wife remarked she didn't enjoy it that much, since the luck factor seems to be pretty high where stuff shows up, and you're basically running (ehr 'training'?) around chasing the best bits. She might be right, not sure yet.

It's thematically allright, and the mechanism of wages makes it harder.
2010-10-17
Owned
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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6
Oct 2011
OT
Own the expansion.
2013-09-11
Owned
hiruko the goblin
United States
Los Angeles
California
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6
Mar 2013
Own VPG edition and pre-ordered GMT Deluxe Edition.
2011-08-24
Owned
Ben Stephenson
United States
Seattle
Washington
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6
Jul 2010
I can't imagine playing this game w/o the expansion.
2010-07-31
Want In Trade
♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
United States
Greer
South Carolina
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Entropy Seminar:
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The results of a five yeer studee ntu the sekund lw uf thurmodynamiks aand itz inevibl fxt hon shewb rt nslpn raq liot.
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6
Oct 2011
This game is a neat take on the pick-up-and-deliver genre of games, with your deliveries being tied in to making better and better circus shows. The solitaire game (which is the only way I've played it thus far) takes a lot of the elements out of the game, so it's hard to judge the game entirely off of just that one play, but there's a clever balance of incentives in the design that force you to decide whether or not it's worth hanging on to your performers and being forced to pay for them. The action card mechanism is familiar, but it works, since the timing element of the game is particularly necessary to manage. As a solitaire game, though, it's pretty tight, since I thought I was doing well, but then wound up not being able to survive the winter. Harsh!

1 play: 1 player

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Base game
Expansion Kit
2012-02-04
Prev. Owned
Gary Jackson
New Zealand
Auckland
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6
Nov 2010
Theme comes through very nicely, gameplay ok if you don't mind the random touches. Rules difficult to decipher - don't think it is that hard, but seemed tricky to learn. Cheap components don't sell the game well.
2010-11-03
Tom Hilgert
Germany
Unspecified
Bavaria
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6
Apr 2011
Nice pick up and deliver Family game. Fresj theme, but highly luck orientated. Get Steffans "Calendar" (files section) which makes it much easier to play the basic game
2011-04-21
Reno Thompson
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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5
Jul 2011
wanted much to like this one, but after 14 plays, some basic,some advanced,and 6 solo, I just do not see what the fuss was about. The theme interested me because I remember "Greatest Show on Earth" w/Heston & Stewart. This game has that flavor but much of the game didn't feel like I was in control. Components were fair to good
but all n all still seemed over priced @ 30 bucks.
2010-07-15
Owned
Rob White
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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5
Oct 2013
Aug. '12: Full demo at GenCon 2012 and we didn't care for it. Was hoping it'd be a cool solo game to pick up. Oh well.
2013-10-20
The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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4
Dec 2013
4 rating based on 2 solo plays of the game. I am rating this game low because as is this entry is only for the 1 or 2 player game. The "expansion" was sold separately which takes the game up to 5 players. That's not my major beef with this game no not at all. My gripe is the game play so completely differently as a 1 player game from a 2 player game. Major parts of the game are removed in order to play the game as a solo game. Including both victory points and best performance ratings (another point rating system.) In fact in the 2 player game you can play either for VPs or in the "easier" variant you can play for best performance rating with "money" not being a winning goal at all. The solo variant however throws out both the points systems and you score based on...you got it money. The money system is altered completely for the solo game as well. Wages are doubled and if playing the "advanced" game you can't "collect money" as an option. SIGH I hate it when a game changes this much yet they still claim it's the the same game.

There every chance I'll increase the rating upon playing it with more than 1 person but I'm going to leave the above comments stand. This is a pretty awful single player game.
2013-12-05
Owned
For Trade
C Sandifer
United States
Lutherville
Maryland
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3
Nov 2010
If you care about winning (I stopped at some point), you can occasionally make short-term plans in Circus Train that come to fruition. However, the remaining 92% of gameplay involves desperately hoping that circus performances, entertainers, and victory points will randomly drop from the sky into a nearly space.

Note that I'm not entirely opposed to gratuitious chaos. I can appreciate DungeonQuest, for instance - which is completely and gleefully random - because the entire purpose of DQ is for players to groan and laugh as a sadistic underground reality beats on hopeless adventurers until they die. But the same degree of stupidity in a 90-120 minute game that pretends to be, well, a real game just sucks.

Oh, and Circus Train also includes random events and die-based recruitment attempts that dramatically affect players' opportunities for success. I'd hate to give you the impression that there is anything predictable or strategic about CT, after all, so I certainly want to come clean about that.

In sum, I felt like I was playing one of those lame corporate throwaways printed on the back of a cereal box, given both the quality of components (Winsome-style) and the sheer hopelessness of it all.

Caveat: I only played the basic game + expansion (to accommodate more players), but there's no way I'm giving this a second chance with the advanced game.
2010-11-08
Douglas Damron
United States
Cross Lanes
West Virginia
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3
Oct 2011
Not fun. It's pick up and deliver. I can't
excuse the bits, some people might be able to.
2011-06-02
Melissa
Australia
Parkville
Vic
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May you find the Perfect Shoe! xxx
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Mostly offline, but trying.
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2
Jun 2012
Bad experience at Bordercon 2012. First play for everyone. 4-player game took 3 hours 15, using event cards. Too long & too fiddly.
2012-06-15
Matt Hiske
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
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N/A
Looks interesting. I am waiting on a review and more comments to decide on this.
2010-01-22
Want To Play
Chris Pabian
United States
DeKalb
Illinois
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N/A
Have played this one time, solitaire. I really like the concept and how the game is played. A lot of strategy involved, plus variablity with optional rules. I will wait till the game is played with another person to rate and comment further.
2010-03-11
Owned
P. Mihalarias
United States
Richardson
Texas
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N/A
P500
2012-05-30
Preordered

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