Which Train Game is the Best?
Charles Stanley
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This list is intended to inform, and be informed about newly released and upcoming Train games to help the fans of those games decide where best to invest their money, and maybe reveal the undiscovered gems that were waiting for you around the corner.

I have limited this list to games released in 2008 or are coming out in 2009. There are a couple that are from 2007, but only because I've never done this list before & feel they were worth mentioning.
If you find that I have missed a Train game worthy of this list, feel free to add it, but please keep the additions to only 2008 and 2009.

Please, please, please, feel free to make comments on all the enteries on how well (or maybe even poorly) they play, or tell us which Train Games you are most excited about and are anticipating the most. This way, those who are unable to play them all can make a more informative decision on what to buy or play based on this list. I know that is what I will use this list for. Thanks for checking it out!
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1. Board Game: 1865: Midwest [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
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1865: Midwest is a railroad building, and stock trading game set in the United States Midwest, which is based on the 18xx game system. In this, as in other 18xx games, players assume the role of investors in railroad companies. Play alternates between share dealing rounds, in which players buy and sell stock in railroads, and operating rounds, in which players build track, run trains and ferries, and manage the assets of the companies in which they own controlling interest.

1865: Midwest should be a challenging, and engaging gaming experience for the seasoned 18xx gamer.

*looks really well developed, but that also probably means heavy time investment and experienced players only*

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2. Board Game: 18EZ [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:8139]
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18EZ is the first 18xx game designed from the ground-up to help players learn the 18xx system. The game uses a series of modules, which allow players play entire games quickly while learning the different phases of the game in bite-size pieces.
For instance, In the first module, players learn how to build and manage routes. In the second, they are introduced to the stock market. Each module adds an element of interest for the new player, and keeps the game exciting.
After completing all of the modules, players should be able to jump right into any 18xx game, without having to learn the entire complex system. They will just need to learn that specific variation, which will allow them to be competitive in what would otherwise be an hours long, painful session!


*I am really excited about this. I hope it will give me the oppurtunity to teach this system to non-regulars, and maybe find some more game partners in the process.*
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3. Board Game: 18IA: Building Iowa's Railroads [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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18IA:Building Iowa's Railroads is a single-state 18xx game set in Iowa, designed to play out in 4 hours or fewer. 18IA is open for pre-order now at http://18ia.blogspot.com, with a projected first printing of 1000 copies once the pre-order goals are met.

 
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4. Board Game: 18NEB [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:3634]
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18NEB -- Railroads Across Nebraska

18NEB is an 18xx game set in the state of Nebraska. 18NEB is a small game inspired by 18VA, 18FL, 18GA, and 18AL. It is intended to be an alternative to some of the longer and larger games while still providing interesting decisions and tension.

*I personally am still waiting for the 18TX game. Why has no one utilized the train routes in Texas? Or the routes between Ft. Worth and Chicago? Ever heard of cows? Just my own thoughts.*

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5. Board Game: African Rails [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
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A web-published variant of the well-known Empire Builder system by Mayfair Games. True to its name, this one takes place on the continent of Africa. This was designed by the same designer of the similar game, German Rails.

The game can be downloaded here:
http://www.zahag.de/MMsKSg/rails/ar/main.html

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6. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:362]
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Harry Wu's Chicago Express is an innovative new boardgame with no luck factor. CE was originally released in a limited format by Winsome Games as Wabash Cannonball and it was the first game in Winsome's Historic Railroads System.

*This one has a ton of attention and I can't wait to try it. Is it really worth the hype?*
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7. Board Game: Cleopatra's Caboose [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:12020]
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Cleopatra's Caboose: The train game based...in Ancient Egypt?!?

Cleopatra's Caboose is a train game for 3 to 5 players that's based in Ancient Egypt. Each turn, players bid for the right to utilize a game designer of their choosing which denotes both the turn order and a special ability that can be used that turn.


*An interesting change of local, and of mechanisms.*
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8. Board Game: Days of Steam [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:4272]
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Players place track and cities, create routes, and deliver goods. Bonuses are awarded to players who deliver multiple types of goods. This game requires careful management of steam to move your train as well as hand management to thwart other players as well as enable your own route.

500 copies manufactured for Essen 2008.

*I heard a small rumbling a while back about this one, but nothing since. Is it any good?*

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9. Board Game: Formosa Rail: 1899 from North to South [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
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Formosa Rail simulates ten years of railroad construction in Taiwan, bringing rapid ground transportation from north to south. Each player acts as one of the architects collecting five sources then constructs in four possible sites. Construction includes demolishing, tunnel and bridge building and track and station building. Player receives victory points for every construction and bonus victory point for most construction within a site. At the end of the game, player with the highest victory point wins.



*I would love to find more details on this one.*

 
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10. Board Game: German Railways [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1841]
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Preußische Ostbahn is the second game in Winsome's Historic Railroads System and is scheduled for release at Essen 2008.

Harry Wu's Preußische Ostbahn (Prussian Eastern Railroad in English) introduces an innovative new Player Order mechanism. Preußische Ostbahn builds upon the system established in Chicago Express, and takes the game series to Germany, 1840-1870.


*As I said before, looks great, can't wait.*
 
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11. Board Game: The Great Chinese Railway Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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The Great American Railroad Game is a remake of Reiner Knizia's Stephenson's Rocket.

The game will have a completely new map - a map of the United States instead of England - and a few rule changes in this new game.

Players are building railroads and try to gain influence as stockholders in 7 different train companies.



*I wonder if there should be a little more buzz about this one. Maybe Chicago Express and Steam have absoarbed the brunt of the attention?*
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12. Board Game: Gulf, Mobile & Ohio [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:4368]
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Gulf, Mobile & Ohio is the third entry in Winsome Games's Historic Railroads System and is set to be released at Essen 2008 along with the second game in the series, Preußische Ostbahn.

Publisher John Bohrer describes it as a "No luck game about building railroads in the South, 1830-1860," and notes that "The map runs from Richmond to New Orleans, from Memphis to Savannah."

Elsewhere it is also stated that GM&O will be the "gamer's game" of the two new HRS games released this year.



*This one looks really good to me, and I am really looking forward to playing it some day.*

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13. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:97] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
 
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The new edition of Railroad Tycoon.

Rails of the World is the new base game for the system and will include the engine placards, railroad tiles, train tokens, money, bonds, and other items that will be needed in almost all Rails of... games. The gameboard depicting the eastern half of the United States, now broken out into a standalone item, will be replaced by a paper map of Mexico.

The Mexico map doesn’t use tycoon or operational cards and is designed so that new players can learn the basics of the game. The paper map will keep the price point well below the $60 tag on Railroad Tycoon.

Both Rails of the World and its first expansion, Rails of the Eastern U.S. are due out Q4 2008.



*Is cheaper always better? I don't know what to think yet."
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14. Board Game: Ruegen Rails [Average Rating:5.42 Unranked]
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Yet another Michael Mette designed and web-published variant of the well-known Empire Builder system by Mayfair Games. As with several of his more recent games, this game takes place on a much smaller map than the traditional games in the series, so small in fact, that it is limited to only 2 players. It takes place primarily on Ruegen Island, off the northern coast of Germany.

The game can be downloaded here:
http://www.zahag.de/MMsKSg/rails/rr/main.html



*Anyone got any info on this one?*
 
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15. Board Game: Spectral Rails [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:4697]
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Players are Engineers of Ghost Trains traveling through the American Southwest. Each player uses their standard set of Ether cards (1-4) to move, picking up souls and delivering them to Ghost Towns. As you move, you expend Ether to lay track behind. Other players can move along on your Ether track for free, but you may never travel along your own Ether.



*Looks cool. Maybe cross a train game with Arkham Horror and this is what you get? I really have no idea but I would sure like to know.*
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16. Board Game: Steam [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:109]
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Martin Wallace's new train game will be published by Mayfair. The game is of the same family of rail games as Age of Steam and Railroad Tycoon, both previous games designed by Wallace.

The game plays very similarly to Age of Steam but with modifications to some of its mechanics and artwork. Tracks for income, train level, etc. are all printed on the board around the map such that alternate maps can be overlaid on the board and the necessary tracks will still be able to be used.



*Age of Steam is my all time favorite, so I will probably own this. In fact, I know I will. Does anyone think it will be able to live up to it's predeccessor?*

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17. Board Game: Steam over Holland [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:1872]
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1839, The Netherlands. The new railways are the way to get rich. Invest your money in the best railway companies. Become the President of one or more companies and lead them to become the best earning companies of the game. Build new track and stations, buy the right trains and push the stock value to new heights. Who will become the most successful investor?

Steam over Holland is an economics game in which the players invest in and control railway companies. The game is part of the 18xx family of games.




*This one has always looked good to me, but something has held me back and I don't know what it is. Perhaps it is that there is really no reason to try and play every single 18XX game out there? I don't know. Am I wrong?*
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18. Board Game: Steel Driver [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:957]
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A relatively simple train game set in North America and involving shares and building railway lines with a few twists thrown in.

About Steel Driver, Martin Wallace states in the rulebook: "I’ve had it in mind to develop and update the system used in Prairie Railroads to fix some of the rougher elements."



*I finally got this 2 weeks ago, and I have played it once. I had a tuff time at first, but at the end of the game we finally understood it and wanted to play again. Wanting to play again is a good thing right? It is simple (once it is no longer complicated, that is) but has some very deep thinking involved. I have a feeling I will grow to like this one a lot.*
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