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The Grand Trunk Journey - Terminal 5 : Variants and Scenarios

Claude Sirois
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From gallery of Klode




The Grand Trunk Journey is a pick up and deliver train game where players are operators of their own railway, trying to be as efficient as possible delivering goods to cities and ports using their cards consisting of rail equipment and locations. The game features Hand Management, Time Track, Point to Point Movement and Pick up and Deliver mechanics.

Board Game: The Grand Trunk Journey
Author : Claude Sirois / Development : Uli Blennemann and Henning Kröpke / Graphics : Harald Lieske

You want to know more about The Grand Trunk Journey that will be published by Spielworxx in March 2020?

Just stop a few minutes at the next 5 Terminals where I will present the main features of the game.

If you haven't visited Terminal 1 : The Storyline, Terminal 2 : Operating your Train Terminal 3 : Delivering Goods or Terminal 4 : Improving your Company you can do it right away before to read this post!




Terminal 5
Variants and scenarios


From gallery of Klode


OBJECTIVE CARDS

After a few games of The Grand Trunk Journey, you can add the Objective cards, which offer extra Victory Points to be scored during the game. There are 10 cards in the game, but only 3 are used each game.

To get an Objective card, you must play a Development card (see the Terminal 4 above) and pay 1 Day. Then, you score VPs according to the condition of the card. Some Objective cards give a specific number of VP. Others will depend of what the player has accomplished during the game at that point.

Here is the list of Objective cards :

From gallery of Klode


SCENARIOS

When playing the Grant Trunk Journey, you always start the game with the 4 same starting cities : Richmond, Burlington, White River Jct and Watertown. Those starting cities ensure a balance in the game.

Experienced players can take another challenge by playing with different Starting Cities. Instead of starting the game with 4 random cities, I proposed some "scenarios" that players can use which include four Starting Cities and the Companies they should use with those Cities to ensure a "fairly" (but not totally) balanced game.

When playing the Intermediate Level, all Companies have in their Starting Deck a card allowing them to improve their Locomotive. When playing the Expert Level, all Companies do not have such a card in their Starting deck, so they have to build a Terminal in a City giving them the card allowing this Action. However, whatever the scenario you choose, companies won't have the same number of railcars in their starting decks. Players will have to figure out the best way to play their company.

Here is the list of the different scenarios proposed (from the rulebook) :

From gallery of Klode


DESIGN NOTES:

During the design process I mainly focused on developing the game with 4 starting cities. Finding those cities was not that easy because I wanted to ensure the position of a starting city was not disadvantageous compared to the others. So I developed an "accessibility index" which represents the average distance between each city and all the other cities as well as one for the distance with the ports. For example (see below), the Burlington index of 1,7 means that in average, other cities are located 1,7 link away. Burlington is one of the most central city. So to determine the 4 starting cities I took into consideration the overall index as well as the port index (average distance to ports). Then, Burlington, White River Jct, Richmond and Watertown were designated the 4 starting cities.

From gallery of Klode


Once I had my 4 starting cities, I tried to play a few games using random starting cities. Sometimes it was fine, sometimes not. When cities are too far away from each other, the game is very difficult to play because you must spend many days to deliver 1 good. So for the game to be fun, cities had to be close to each other. The second element concerns the cards in your starting deck. Some cards are essentiels if you want to progress in the game. So totally random cities could mean an unbalance game between companies. That's why I develop the scenarios that you can see above. With those scenarios, you can be sure all companies start the game "fairly" at the same place in terms of development. So I hope you will like them!

Next steps

That's the end of this series of articles. A Designer's Diary will follow soon on the BGG News. This diary will focus more on the process to design the game.

To preorder the game...
In Europe : https://www.spielworxx.de/produkte-shop/
In US : https://boardgamegeekstore.com/collections/frontpage/product...


The Rulebook is available in the file section of the game page or at : https://www.spielworxx.de/downloads-regeln/

Thanks for reading!

K
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2 Comments
Mon Feb 3, 2020 12:21 pm
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The Grand Trunk Journey - Terminal 4 : Improving your Company

Claude Sirois
Canada
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Quebec
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Microbadge: Spielworxx fanMicrobadge: The Grand Trunk Journey fan!Microbadge: I play with red!Microbadge: Train GamerMicrobadge: Age of Industry fan
From gallery of Klode




The Grand Trunk Journey is a pick up and deliver train game where players are operators of their own railway, trying to be as efficient as possible delivering goods to cities and ports using their cards consisting of rail equipment and locations. The game features Hand Management, Time Track, Point to Point Movement and Pick up and Deliver mechanics.

Board Game: The Grand Trunk Journey
Author : Claude Sirois / Development : Uli Blennemann and Henning Kröpke / Graphics : Harald Lieske

You want to know more about The Grand Trunk Journey that will be published by Spielworxx in March 2020?

Just stop a few minutes at the next 5 Terminals where I will present the main features of the game.

If you haven't visited Terminal 1 : The Storyline, Terminal 2 : Operating your Train and Terminal 3 : Delivering Goods, you can do it right away before to read this post!



Terminal 4
Special Actions and Improving your company


From gallery of Klode


SPECIAL ACTIONS:
From gallery of Klode

When played, a City or Port card can be used for one if its two features:
As a City (or Port) to move your train to that city;
For its Special attribute shown in the central space of the card which can be a...
Railcar that can be added to your train to move goods (see the New London card on the right);
Free Action that you may play (in discarding the card) at any moment during your turn (see the Richmond card on the right). Some actions may cost time to play (in Days), as indicated by the calendar symbol on the card.

Every player has a personal set of cards, which have a different distribution of the same actions. Thus, as long as certain Terminals are not built, a player may not have access to certain actions.
From gallery of Klode


On player's personal decks, the following Actions are available:

HIGH CAPACITY RAILCAR : You can load a second Coal, Iron or Wood cube on a Railcar E

INFLUENCE DEMAND : You can swap any 2 City Goods tokens or 2 Port Goods tokens E

OVERLAND TRANSPORT : You can move 1 Steel between 2 cities directly connected E

RAIL YARD : You can take a Railcar from your discard pile and add it to your train E

RIGHT OF WAY : You can reduce by 1 day the cost of your train movement E

IMPROVING YOUR COMPANY through the DEVELOPMENT ACTION:

From gallery of Klode

Improvement of the company is done through the Development action, which proposes to :

Increase the Force of the Locomotive (top left) : Allows your train to move one more Railcar. The requirement to increase your locomotive is to have delivered a certain number of Steel.

Increase the Speed of the Locomotive (top right) : Allows you to reduce the length of your trip by 1 day. To do so you must have delivered at least 3 Coal.

Acquire an Improvement card (bottom right): When acquiring an Improvement card, you get a personal benefit that will improve your railway. The game features 16 different improvements, but only a limited number is available each game. Some Improvement are permanent, others can only be used once or once per turn. Here are some examples of Improvement cards :
Early Delivery (Permanent): You can fulfill a Special Delivery 1 Day before it is due
Coal Mine (1X) : Immediately take 2 Coal from the Stock and place them with your other delivered Goods
(1X per turn) : Hi-Roof Boxcar: Load a second Steel in a boxcar

With the Development action you can also Build a new terminal (bottom left) which will increase the available track network for all companies and add new City cards to your deck. You also score VP to do that.

End Game Scoring the players will get a number of Victory Points for each Improvement card they own, depending on the position of their marker on the Wood track.

From gallery of Klode


DESIGN NOTES:

Special Actions were included in the game right at the beginning. But they were not coupled with a City or a Port. When you were delivering a good to a city, you could add temporarily to your deck an Action card that was orthogonal to the city where you delivered the good (see the image). At that step, cities were not on a board but cards.

From gallery of Klode


During the first few years of the design process companies were all different and had a certain profile (so special actions were different). Profiles were intersecting with each other for certain actions. In order, their profiles were :
redtrain The Moneymaker (good to raise money quickly, when there was money in the game)
purpletrain The Developer (more options to develop the company)
greentrain The Operator (better to manage the railcars)
bluetrain The Manufacturer (faster to add railcars to the deck)
yellowtrain The Shipper (better to ship goods and use other means of transport such as barge)

I decided to remove the profile of the companies in March 2018 when I did significant changes to the game that removed money and other stuff. Some of those actions could probably be recycled if I develop another map someday... whistle

In the current game, all companies are the same but have a different distribution of actions on their cards. For example, the Overland Transport special action is on the Burlington card for the Vermont Central and on the Peterborough card for the Québec and Richmond Railway.

Next steps

The last article of the series is coming in a few days! cool

To preorder the game...
In Europe : https://www.spielworxx.de/produkte-shop/
In US : https://boardgamegeekstore.com/collections/frontpage/product...


The Rulebook is available in the file section of the game page or at : https://www.spielworxx.de/downloads-regeln/

Thanks for reading!

K
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Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:45 am
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The Grand Trunk Journey - Terminal 3 : Delivering Goods

Claude Sirois
Canada
Quebec City
Quebec
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Microbadge: Spielworxx fanMicrobadge: The Grand Trunk Journey fan!Microbadge: I play with red!Microbadge: Train GamerMicrobadge: Age of Industry fan
From gallery of Klode




The Grand Trunk Journey is a pick up and deliver train game where players are operators of their own railway, trying to be as efficient as possible delivering goods to cities and ports using their cards consisting of rail equipments and locations. The game features Hand Management, Time Track, Point to Point Movement and Pick up and Deliver mechanics.

Board Game: The Grand Trunk Journey
Author : Claude Sirois / Development : Uli Blennemann and Henning Kröpke / Graphics : Harald Lieske

You want to know more about The Grand Trunk Journey that will be published by Spielworxx in March 2020?

Just stop a few minutes at the next 5 Terminals where I will present the main features of the game.



Station 3
Delivering Goods

Board Game: The Grand Trunk Journey

From gallery of Klode


If you haven't visited Terminal 1 : The Storyline and Terminal 2 : Operating your Train, you can do it right away before to read this post!


Now that you know how to move your train, let's talk about picking up and delivering goods!

REGULAR DELIVERIES (Unloading good in a city/port with a demand):
From gallery of Klode


The Cities demand certain goods for their local industry. Thus, the main job for The Grand Trunk Railway is to transport these goods through the country to fulfill these basic demands.

Each CITY demands 1 type of goods and provides 1 or 2, as indicated on its corresponding City Goods Token. For example (on the right), if you are in Burlington, you can unload coal (black cube) and load iron (blue) and/or wood (green). City Goods Tokens are distributed randomly among cities so the distribution is different each game.

Each PORT only demands Steel (white cube) and provides 1 type of good (Coal, Iron or Wood). See a Port token above, just under "Station 3 : Delivering Goods".

To be as efficient as possible, what you want to do is to deliver a good in a city and have in hand the necessary railcar that you need to load the good that you want.

Goods you load in your train Eredtrain are taken from the stock;
Goods you deliver redtrainE are placed in front of you for the following rewards:

d10-1 Cubes delivered to cities and ports are worth VP :
3 VP for each set of Coal-Iron-Wood
3 VP for each Steel

From gallery of Klode
d10-2 Some delivered goods are also a requirement to increase the efficiency of your train. For example, in order to increase the Force of your Locomotive to 2 (so it can move 2 railcars), you must have delivered 1 Steel (top right of the Locomotive card). To increase the speed of your Locomotive, you must have delivered 3 Coal (Bottom right of the Locomotive). I'll talk more about company improvements at the next Terminal about Special Actions and Company Improvements.

d10-3 In addition, when delivering...

Iron : It is transformed in Steel, so you must add 2 steel cubes in the city you delivered the iron (see the space reserved to steel above). That's the only way you can get Steel so you can deliver it to a port.

Wood : You move your Wood marker one step up on the Wood track located on the board (see below). It will increase the number of VP you will get for each Improvement card you will have purchased at the end of the game. So if your marker reaches 4 VP on the track and you have acquired 3 cards, you will score 12 VP at the end of the game.

From gallery of Klode


SPECIAL DELIVERIES (or Just in Time deliveries)

Some of the cities may have an urgent demand for a type of good to finish a project. If The Grand Trunk Railway manages to deliver these Goods on time, they can cash in huge profits in return.

In modern terms, we would call them "Just in Time" deliveries.

The Special Delivery Contract tokens feature a City demanding a certain type of good by a certain time on the Time track. To fulfill that special delivery, you must be able to unload the demanded Good in the right City, at the right time, so when your marker on the Time track is placed on one of the spaces across the Special Delivery Contract token. Only one player can do a special delivery.

In the example below, if you deliver 1 Iron cube in Québec between Day 12 and 14, you get 4 VP.
From gallery of Klode

Design Notes:

The Time Track and the Special Delivery were the last significant components added to the game (in March '18). Thematically it works very well in adding a third dimension (the Time) for deliveries to the usual "Location" and "Type of good" dimensions.

Sometimes I just wonder how come I didn't think about that before!! It makes so much sense in the context of a train company picking up and delivering goods, to deliver on time. What is even more surprising is that only 4 (yes, only 4!) ranked games in the whole BGG database (as of today) propose a combination of Pick up and Deliver and Time Track mechanics! surprise

I like a lot the Time Track mechanic because it is relevant in the context of a train company which tries to be as efficient as possible. I think it is a great addition, allowing :
Another path to victory
Player who are behind to comeback in the game (catch up mechanic)
More tension (will I be the first to do that great delivery that will be worth 3, 4, 5 or 7 VP?)
Another layer of decision (should I change my plan to try to do that great delivery or not?)
I always thought that the game had the potential to be published. I think the Special Delivery is what was missing!

I don't remember what I put in my cereals in the mornings in March 2018 but I did significant (and positive) changes to the game:
Diesel as a resource to move trains was removed and replaced by the Time Track
Money used to improve the company was removed, replaced by a cost in days and a requirement in terms of delivered goods to increase the efficiency of the Locomotive (see above)
Removed player boards used to track money and diesel, not necessary anymore (so less components, good for the publisher)
Turn Sequence was restructured and simplified
Just in Time Deliveries (Special deliveries) were added

Next steps

At the next Terminal I will talk about Special Actions and Company Improvements!

To preorder the game...
In Europe : https://www.spielworxx.de/produkte-shop/
In US : https://boardgamegeekstore.com/collections/frontpage/product...


The Rulebook is available in the file section of the game page or at : https://www.spielworxx.de/downloads-regeln/

Thanks for reading!

K
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2 Comments
Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:16 am
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The Grand Trunk Journey - Terminal 2 : Operating your train

Claude Sirois
Canada
Quebec City
Quebec
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Microbadge: Spielworxx fanMicrobadge: The Grand Trunk Journey fan!Microbadge: I play with red!Microbadge: Train GamerMicrobadge: Age of Industry fan
From gallery of Klode




The Grand Trunk Journey is a pick up and deliver train game where players are operators of their own railway, trying to be as efficient as possible delivering goods to cities and ports using their cards consisting of rail equipment and locations. The game features Hand Management, Time Track, Point to Point Movement and Pick up and Deliver mechanics.

From gallery of Klode
Author : Claude Sirois / Development : Uli Blennemann and Henning Kröpke / Graphics : Harald Lieske

You want to know more about The Grand Trunk Journey that will be published by Spielworxx in March 2020?

Just stop a few minutes at the next 5 Terminals where I will present the main features of the game.



Terminal 2
Operating your train


From gallery of Klode


If you haven't visited the Terminal 1 which talk about the Storyline, you can do it right away before to read this post!




As indicated in the previous post, the game features 12 eastern Canadian and US cities and 4 ports demanding and providing coal, iron, wood and steel. The heart of the game consists of delivering goods to those cities and ports to get VP. To do so, you will use the cards you have in your personal deck composed of locations (C1), locomotives (A1) and railcars (B). Each Location card also features a railcar or a special action (C2). When using such a card, you can use it for its location OR its railcar/special action.
From gallery of Klode
Player cards (image from the rulebook)

In your personal deck you have 18 cards, plus 2 double-sided locomotive cards, for a total of 20 cards of your color. At the beginning of the game, you will have 10 cards in your personal deck, including 4 locations cards representing the 4 terminals you can reach to pick up and deliver goods. During the game, up to 8 location cards will be added to your deck, so new terminals will be accessible. Even though you can add cards of your color in your deck, this is not a deck building game per se because the cards you can add to your deck are pre-determined.

The turn sequence is quite simple. You have 5 cards in hand, you play as many cards as you want or can and replenish your hand to 5 from your personal deck.

Composition of your train

Your train is composed, from left to right, of a City card indicating the location of the train, a locomotive card, and 1 to 4 railcars moving goods.
From gallery of Klode
This train is in Burlington and moving an iron cube (image from the rulebook)


Moving your train around, delivering goods

From gallery of Klode

From gallery of Klode

From gallery of Klode
The heart of the game consists of moving your train from a Terminal in one City to another City’s Terminal or to a Port, delivering Goods to get Victory Points.

To move your train, you must discard the City or Port card that is in front of your Locomotive and replace it with another City or Port card coming from your hand, representing the Location where you want to move your Train.

In the example on the right, your train is in Burlington loaded with iron. To move your train to Watertown, (A) discard the Burlington card and (B) replace it with the Watertown card coming from your hand. Then, move your train token on the board to Watertown.

The movement of your train is recorded on a Time track, which indicates how many days you have spent so far to move your train (and to accomplish other actions that will be explained in a future post). Each rail link traveled cost 1 day. In this example, moving your train between Burlington and Watertown costs 1 day because both cities are directly connected. The more efficient you are delivering goods over shorter distances, the more deliveries you can accomplish.

Managing your railcars

When you move Goods with your train, you must respect a certain number of rules. In order to understand the scope of those rules, you must keep in mind that each city only demands 1 type of good and provides 1 or 2. Ports only demands steel and provide 1 type of goods. I'll give more details regarding the demand and supply of cities and ports in the next post.

The number of Railcar symbols in the top center area of the Locomotive card indicates the number of Railcars this Locomotive can move. This is the Force of the Locomotive. In the example above, that train can move a maximum of 1 railcar. It will be possible to increase the Force of your Locomotive up to 4 during the game.

From gallery of Klode
The color of the Goods shown on each Railcar card represents the types of Goods this Railcar can move. It means that to load a certain good, you must have the right railcar, empty, in your train.

Hopper Car : Coal (black) or Iron (blue)
Flat Car : Wood (green)
Boxcar : Steel (white)

The player can only load one Good cube in a Railcar.

The Train cannot move empty Railcars and the player cannot finish their turn with an empty Railcar in their train. This is an important constraint that leads many decisions during the game (see the Design Notes below).

For example, you can't deliver steel to the port of Portland and move the boxcar empty to Québec to pick up another steel next turn. You will have to remove that boxcar from your train and discard it because you can't move it empty. So managing your hand in optimizing the cycling of your railcars is part of the game!

I'll talk more about the Supply and Demand system at the next Terminal.

Design Notes:

All the movement system based on the location cards was the first mechanic to arise in the design of the game. So it's there since the beginning. This system was inspired by A Few Acres of Snow, a great game, very clever! If you remember, you had locations card that you could play with mean of transport cards to settle a new location or develop an existing one.

In the first few iterations of the game, Locations, Locomotives and Railcars were all shuffled in your personal deck, so it was quite difficult to get the right Location-Locomotive-Railcar combination. So I decided that the Locomotive would stay in play all the time and would be removed from the deck. You now "only" have to match locations and railcars, which is easier (but not always optimal).

The train movement system makes the game more tactic than strategic and allows to plan a couple of moves ahead. The goal of the game is not to find the BEST way to deliver those goods without constraints, but rather to optimize your moves using the cards you have in hands, which doesn't necessarily allow you to accomplish the BEST move. Are you going to be limited in your moves? Yes! Will you be able to move your train where you want, when you want? No. And that's the fun part of the game, to solve this puzzle the best you can! Even though there are some randomness regarding the order in which you draw cards, it is always possible to do something with your hand.

In the early versions of the game, you could have 2 trains to manage at the same time, which was quite challenging believe me!

Not be allowed to move empty railcars in your train and the obligation to put them back in your deck is an important (and interesting) constraint. It simulates the availability of railcars and the fact that railcars are necessary to other subsidiary companies as well, so you can't keep them in your train, not bringing profit. The way you manage your deck will have an impact on the availability of those railcars. You have to note that you can't discard cards for free, you must use them or take a Maintenance actions (at the cost of 1 day) to discard cards (during which you won't be allowed to move your train).

The Time Track to record the train movement (and the other actions players can do) appeared very late in the design process, and I will talk about it more at the nest Terminal about Delivering Goods. Before to implement that mechanic, to move your train you had to pay 1 Diesel per rail link traveled (remember the game was in 1970's at that time). To get Diesel, you had to move Oil. Each cube of Oil was providing you 1 Diesel to move your train. I think the Time Track system is easier to manage and allows interesting stuffs such as the Special Delivery, that I will talk about in the next article.

Next steps

At the next Terminal I will explain how works the pick up and deliver system in the game!

To preorder the game : https://www.spielworxx.de/produkte-shop/
In US the game should be available at the BGG Store.

The Rulebook is available in the file section of the game page or at : https://www.spielworxx.de/downloads-regeln/

Thanks for reading!

K
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2 Comments
Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:00 am
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The Grand Trunk Journey - Terminal 1 : The Storyline

Claude Sirois
Canada
Quebec City
Quebec
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Microbadge: Spielworxx fanMicrobadge: The Grand Trunk Journey fan!Microbadge: I play with red!Microbadge: Train GamerMicrobadge: Age of Industry fan
From gallery of Klode




The Grand Trunk Journey is a pick up and deliver train game where players are operators of their own railway, trying to be as efficient as possible delivering goods to cities and ports using their cards consisting of rail equipment and locations. The game features Hand Management, Time Track, Point to Point Movement and Pick up and Deliver mechanics.

From gallery of Klode
Author : Claude Sirois / Development : Uli Blennemann and Henning Kröpke / Graphics : Harald Lieske

You want to know more about The Grand Trunk Journey that will be published by Spielworxx in March 2020?

Just stop a few minutes at the next 5 Terminals where I will present the main features of the game and a few design notes!



Terminal 1
The Storyline


From gallery of Klode


Excerpt from the Rulebook...

The Grand Trunk Railway was created in mid-19th century as a first goal to build a rail line between Montréal and Toronto. The company’s rail system expanded rapidly West, East and South by the merging of subsidiary companies such as the Québec & Richmond Railway, the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad, and the Central Vermont Railway. The system was mainly serving the Canadian provinces of Québec and Ontario as well as the American states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

You are the manager of a small subsidiary railway recently merged by the Grand Trunk Railway. You are also a visionary. Your ambition? To become the next CEO of the company and be in charge of its fate. But first, you must prove to the board that you have what it takes to operate such a big company by moving goods through the system as efficiently as possible and making the right investments. However, you are not the only one craving such a position. To be CEO, you must gather more victory points than your opponent managers by delivering goods, building new terminals and improving your subsidiary before time is up!

PRINCIPLE OF THE GAME

The Grand Trunk Journey features 12 eastern Canadian and US cities and 4 ports demanding and providing up to four types of goods: coal, iron, wood and steel. As managers of a Grand Trunk subsidiary, the players must use the cards they have in their personal decks, comprised of rail equipment (locomotives and railcars) and locations (cities and ports), to move their train between cities and ports and deliver the goods in demand. The movement of their trains is recorded on a Time track, which indicates how many days the players have spent. The more efficient the players are delivering goods over shorter distances, the more deliveries they can accomplish.

From gallery of Klode
Image of the board (from the rulebook)

From gallery of Klode
Player cards (from the rulebook)

From gallery of Klode


Design Notes :

When I began to develop the game, I had no story at all. The main mechanics were there but it was just a pick up and deliver train game. The first working titles were Another Train Game then, A Few Miles of Tracks, in reference to A Few Acres of Snow, which was an inspiration for the mechanic of train movement I will talk about in the next post. Before to submit the game to a first contest, I finally found my first story, which was set in the early 1970's in the US Midwest region, during the boom of the Steel industry. As a manager of a shortline railway, you wanted to take part in that boom in developing your company and delivering steel to ports for US consumptions and export as well as coal, oil and iron to US Midwest cities using the existing rail network of larger companies. At that point the name was named Routes of Steel '73.

From gallery of Klode
The logos I developed for the game title during the design process.


From gallery of Klode
The different company logos I used during the development (not real companies).


The game was brought back to the mid 19th Century in North East US and Canada in order to match my other game signed by Spielworxx called Griffintown (working title), which should be published in 2021 or 2022 (see below). So I had to develop a new map to include Griffintown (which is located in Montréal). I also removed some elements that didn't exist in the 19th century. We then changed the name for The Grand Trunk Journey!

Contrary to many other train games, you don't have to build tracks to develop your network. Your main task consists of operating your train on an existing network that can be used by all companies. The Storyline of the merging subsidiary companies (and their network) was perfect in that context. You will have to build new terminals to have access to the full network though. As you will see in a future post, all terminals built will be accessible to all companies.

For a matter of gameplay balance, I had to strech (and simplify!) the history of the Grand Trunk Railway. All companies in the game were not merged at the same moment. Here are some key dates :

1852 : The Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) was incorporated to build a line between Montréal and Toronto.
1853 : The GTR purchased the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railway and the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad (two parent companies) who owned the line between Montréal and Portland, ME. This gave the GTR an access to the ocean.
1853 : The GTR purchased the Québec and Richmond Railway and its line between Richmond and Point Levi, which is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, just in front of Québec City.
1884 : The GTR gained control of the Central Vermont which served, among others, Burlington, White River Jct and New London.

The GTR also purchased and gained control of many other companies that were not included in the game, mainly because they were located in other areas such as western Ontario, Midwest and Western Canada.

To complete the network and give players additional options, I also included in the game lines controlled by other companies not related or merged with the GTR such as the New York Central Railway for the line between Niagara (Buffalo), Albany and Boston.

During the design of the game I tried different map configurations and different number of cities. It's hard to explain why, but the magic number seemed to be 12 cities, no more no less!

Why is this game part of a Griffintown Series? Well, Griffintown, which is located along the Lachine Canal in Montréal, was a very important industrial area during the 19th century and was served by the Grand Trunk Railway. My second game, called Griffintown (working title) focus on the industrial development of that area.

Next steps

At the next Terminal I will explain how to operate your train in the game!

To preorder the game : https://www.spielworxx.de/produkte-shop/
In US the game should be available at the BGG Store.

To have a look at the Rulebook (now available) : https://www.spielworxx.de/downloads-regeln/

Thanks for reading!

K
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Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:02 am
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A "Series" needs at least 2...

Claude Sirois
Canada
Quebec City
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Claude Sirois

From gallery of Klode





After The Grand Trunk Journey...

Welcome to...

GRIFFINTOWN
- The Smoky Valley -


This is my second game signed by Spielworxx!

Also the second game in the "Griffintown Series" after The Grand Trunk Journey



Griffintown - The Smoky Valley (working title) is a heavy economic and industrial development game set around the Lachine Canal, which is located in the Griffintown neighbourhood in Montréal, Canada.

In the game, you are an investor during the 19th century, contributing to the standing of Griffintown as a key industrial area in North America by building and upgrading industries, producing and transforming goods, shipping goods abroad and participating in the development of the canal and the city. Of course you can focus on your own business, or maybe become Mayor? Who knows?

The game is for 2 to 4 players and plays in about 3 hours. It uses Hand management and Action points mechanics. If everything goes well, the game should be released around the end of 2021/beginning of 2022.


From gallery of Klode
Playtesting Griffintown at BGG Con 2019 with Uli, Shari, Kris and Smoox (always the Mayor!)


Thanks again to Uli and the Spielworxx team for their trust!

To be continued...

K
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Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:49 am
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The Grand Trunk Journey visits BGG Con!

Claude Sirois
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From gallery of Klode



Last week I spent most of the week in Dallas, Texas, to attend two great events!
I spent the first two days at the Boardgame Designer's Retreat!

From gallery of Klode


What a dream to...
Talk Boardgame Design!
Eat Boardgame Design!
Drink Boardgame Design!
Sleep Boardgame Design!
During two whole days!

Many great designers were there such as Martin Wallace, Rob Daviau, Goeff Engelstein, Cole Wehrle and many others.
Here is a photo of the great presentation by Isaac Shalev on Worker Placement games!

From gallery of Klode


I also had the opportunity to meet other aspiring game designers such as me, testing their prototypes! Here is Shinjuku from Gary Kacmarcik. A very nice pick up and deliver train game in Tokyo, unfortunately not for sale yet. I would have liked to design such a game!

From gallery of Klode




Since I was in Dallas, why not experiment BGG Con! Unfortunately it was not possible for me to attend all the event but I was there enough to have time to playtest The Grand Trunk Journey with

Uli Blennemann
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Gary Kacmarcik
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Shari Stidam
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Board Game: The Grand Trunk Journey
Picture Gary Kacmarcik (prototype)

Thanks to all of you for the great playtesting!

More to come soon...

K
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Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:02 pm
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Find the odd man out...

Claude Sirois
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From gallery of Klode


Find the odd man out :
Martin Wallace
Tony Boydell
Claude Sirois
Stefan Feld
Uwe Rosenberg :


...
Tick!
...
Tick!
...
Tick!
...


Any answer? You can click below...



Spoiler (click to reveal)
None! All those guys made the BGG Hotness List of People yesterday!
See the bottom of the list...
From gallery of Klode






Of course I'm kidding! I'm not comparing myself to any of those great game designers! It was just odd to see my name in the list! wow Don't need to look, it's not there anymore today!

This happened because The Grand Trunk Journey, alias Routes of Steel, published by Spielworxx in 2020, made the BGG News yesterday!

It should be out somewhere in the first half of 2020!

Of course I'm very excited. I've already seen some images of the game from the publisher and that's great to see the game taking its final form.

There's something else...but I'm out of time at this moment. devil

Talk to you soon!

K
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:18 pm
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RoS73 - A Gift for its Fifth Anniversary!

Claude Sirois
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Claude Sirois

From gallery of Klode





Great gift for Routes of Steel last week!!

For its fifth anniversary!

The game has finally met its publisher...Spielworxx!











Yep, that's already been five years that I work on Routes of Steel!

2013

That year, I was done with my expansion maps for Age of Industry and wanted to "practice" my game design.

Why not design a train game?

Just for the fun of it!

Just for me!

Well, at the moment I connected the deckbuilding mechanic with a pick up and delivery train theme, I knew the "just for me" wouldn't be enough. I had to present the game to the world to test its potential!!

With no contact in the board game industry, I submitted RoS to game design contests.

A total of 4

And the reactions were not bad at all! The game finished in second place at the Cardboard Edison Award in 2016 and won the Best Longplayer Special Award at the Hippodice Game Club Competition in 2018!

A few publisher looked and even playtested the game. But provided negative answers.

The good news The game was still evolving and improving.

Until a new publisher showed interest...



After the Hippodice Game Club Competition, Spielworxx told me they had taken my prototype with them and wanted to test it.

Great! But I said NO!

"No, don't test that version. It is good, but I have a better version to propose you, with a very interesting addition. I can send you a new prototype."

I took a chance because you know, I guess the publisher liked the version he had played at the competition. In my new version, the core mechanic was still there, but a few elements were significantly changed. So yes, I took a chance. But I think that was the right move! They liked the game and proposed to publish it! laugh

From gallery of Klode


I don't know what direction the development of the game will take, but I'm eager to know it!

If you're new to this blog you can have a look in my previous posts where I talk about the game. However, be careful because even though some elements are still there, others not.

Thanks a lot to Uli, who runs Spielworxx. That's an honor!

Thanks for your support guys!thumbsup

To be continued...

K

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Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:57 am
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Routes of Steel 73 - Stations reached in 2016

Claude Sirois
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From gallery of Klode




From gallery of Klode




Today I'm taking a couple of minutes to present an overview of the year 2016 regarding Routes of Steel '73.

As a reminder, Routes of Steel is a train game I'm developing, happening during the early 1970's in the US Midwest when the steel industry was still flourishing. As a manager of a new rail company, players take part of this boom in developing their train company and delivering steel to the port for export as well as coal, oil and iron to US Midwest cities. The game uses pick up and deliver, deck building and hand management mechanics.

E January

Sent RoS to a first contest, the Ion Award Game design Competition. RoS is not among the finalists but I've been told I was quite close. Interesting fact, even though RoS had a good rating in general, one of the judge rated RoS 1/10 without leaving any comment to explain this very bad rating... shake

From gallery of ytter

Image : ytter

E Mid-February

Participated to a second contest, Cardboard Edison Award. Surprise, I'm among the 11 finalists from 110 submissions!!! Amazing!!!

E End of February

Got a first contact with a new publisher who is interested by RoS. He saw the video I provided for the Cardboard Edison Award.

Also, time to send my prototype!



E Mid-March

Spent the whole weekend following the contest judging on Twitter (on the left in the image)!



Routes of Steel finally finished in second place between The Blood of an Englishman (First place) and Planet Movers (Third place). Also received great feedback for the game by the judges!



Im March I also sent a prototype to the publisher who contacted me a few weeks before... meeple

E March to August

Looooooong waiting period for the publisher to comeback to me.

In the meantime, great playtesting period with Joe and his bunch of guys in Michigan! Thanks guys! thumbsup

Joe Pastuzyn
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Midland
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E August

Intensive 24 hours in August....

First, I receive an offer for a Development contract by the publisher to whom I had sent a prototype to a few months before...

A few hours later, an established publisher asked for a prototype! Ouch! Difficult decision! robot

I finally decided to go with the publisher who contacted me first and signed a Development contract for RoS! I knew I was taking a risk because he is a new publisher (as he told me), but he is also taking a risk with me, a non established game designer...

E Septembre to November

Great period of development for Routes of Steel! Ian Zang did a great job for streamlining the game and reducing significantly the time to play while keeping the spirit of the game! thumbsup

Ian Zang
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End of November, the publisher has to end the Development contract for RoS, for reasons not related to the quality of the game (which is not yet fully developed anyway). soblue

E December

Finally sent a prototype to the publisher who asked for a one a few months earlier. Who knows what will happen!


Here I am at this end of this year. I would have hoped to be closer to a publication of Routes of Steel but I think I can be satisfied with the results of 2016.

To be continued in 2017...

From gallery of Klode


K

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Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:09 pm
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