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Subject: Gaming on a train rss

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David Reed
United States
Tupelo
Mississippi
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A friend of mine and myself were thinking about taking an Amtrak ride from Mississippi to Chicago. Both of our wives are pregnant and we want to avoid flying. We want to play games during the ride, mostly cards, but none of us has been on an Amtrak train before. Is there room enough to play? Have any of you done this before? Would it be any fun? Any train gaming advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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Amtrak trains have lots of room and are very stable. It's also usually easy to find four seats facing each other. You could probably be more ambitious than just cards if you want!

If you are used to travelling by plane, than being on a train will be incredibly pleasant. If only they didn't take so long, I'd use them for all my travelling. As it is, I look forward to all my trips to Seattle. It's just so nice to have 3 or so hours to sit and read in a nice comfortable chair with scenery outside the window to look at! If a gamer was going with me, of course, then it would be even better!
 
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Chris
United States
Huntington Station
New York
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milhowse wrote:
Amtrak ride from Mississippi to Chicago.

milhowse wrote:
We want to play games during the ride, mostly cards, but none of us has


3 of us would to game on the commute home many nights (sometimes 2 or 4). 45 minutes to an hour. I suggest getting a 4-seater with 2 seats across from each other - it may be the only way. Alternatively, get 4 aisle seats across from each other. Amtrack seats are relatively spacious. Put as much as you can in the storage racks before you play, sort yourselves out a bit.

I happened on a great idea. Where I worked I came across these great little packets of cellophane multicolor 'post-it' type stickies - small post-its, possibly cut to size, would work as well. We used these for all of the peices whenever we played a 'board' game of sorts. They can be easily repositioned, and if their glue stops being sticky, then just replace them. The little packs where particulalry good, each new one snaps up like a tissue in a box. Could be found in an office supply store. We played my Tennis game this way, for example, where all the markers for the players, ball, and scoring all stayed nicely put while the train bumped around. Some regular tape might be a good idea as well to keep a board in place.

Another trick is to bring a large crappy peice of cardboard, say from the side of your old TV box, and arrange it on all of your laps, thus a game table is born. Depending on the game, keep handy little boxes for bits for each player, or cannisters or old cans/jars/containers, and a dice rolling box, and card/deck holding boxes, etc.

Our best game for ease of play was Space Beans. We averaged 2.5 of these in 45 minutes, played quickly. Magic The Gathering worked well if the decks were not too complicated. There are travel games, of course, with magnetics. And some games have been moved to pen-and-paper versions (I've seen 'through the desert', for example).

Consider bringing a few games, relatively small, and if one doesn't work on the train then move on to the next one. Above all plan ahead as best you can, think it through, consider space and peices and cards that move around too much.

I've done this sort of stuff on the plane as well. Why, once we played Twilight Imperium (no, that's a joke).

redtraingreentrainbluetrain

Give us a report on how it turns out!
 
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Ed
United States
Oakland
California
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I've actually taken the same train. The train has a car with a lounge that has tables and such and should have plenty of room for board games (maybe not Railroad Tycoon). Are you bringing any train games? Have fun!
 
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Chris Shaffer
United States
San Francisco
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If you're going to be on a commuter line between large cities, like Boston to New York, you might have space issues. On the run from Mississippi to Chicago, you shouldn't have any problems except when it gets crowded on the outskirts of Chicago.
 
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Dave L.
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Portland
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I have a great childhood memory of playing Kingmaker on the Amtrak from California to Utah with my brother and some guy who saw us playing and joined in. We played at a table by the snackbar, and nobody seemed to mind (although its hardly a busy route). And we used all of the regular pieces and cards and had no problems with things getting bumped around. This was 20-25 years ago, so things may have changed since then.
 
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Richard Irving
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Salinas
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Last year I took the train coming home from Lancaster to Philadelphia where I caught my plane home. We just played card games in the snack bar car--the snack bar was closed but the tables were open.

 
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Robert Jones
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Germantown
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My wife and I played a memorable game of Guillotine on the Autotrain. As others have said, the lounge car is great for most games, even boardgames.
 
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Mark Reist
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Toronto
Ontario
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Last time I took a long-ish train ride, we brought along Citadels, and that worked out really well.
 
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Alan Richbourg
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Arlington
Texas
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I'm going to be on 4 different 6 hour train rides this week, after not riding a train for several years. Sure wish we had thought to bring some games.
 
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Darin Stephenson
United States
Holland
Michigan
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Green Eggs and Ham: The Boardgame

Will you play it on a train? In the rain? Without a brain?

I will not play it on a train. I will not play it in the rain.
I will not play it with no brain. From your game, I will refrain.
 
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Skip Maloney
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Wilmington
North Carolina
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Two words: Lounge car. . decent tables. Travelled from New York to North Carolina and spent 80% of the time in the lounge. My problem was that I was travelling alone and had a relatively hard time convincing people to play a board game (there were poker players everywhere). Funny story - I laid out Louis XIV and actually got a couple of people to play. Because the boards and pieces are all sort of indpendent of each other, as the train moved, so did the pieces and boards. Kinda funny to watch them flitting across the table in synch with the trains dips and bumps on the tracks. Again, lounge car. Never far from refreshments. Table seating, though slightly harder on the butt than your assigned seat, does have the advantage of giving you more 'turning' flexibility. Easier to get up and move around, too.
 
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David Reed
United States
Tupelo
Mississippi
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Thanks to everyone for their input. I'm looking forward to the trip and some quality gaming.
 
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