So I'm sitting here looking at this very big box that I have just cheerfully paid out for and carried home. And its a railway game. How could I have missed that fact- it even says Railroad in huge letters on the front with a picture of trains. I loathe railway games. Yet subtle propaganda from the rest of the household had worked- here it was.
Bits were nice. Board was huge. Connor and I set out a game on the living room floor, nicely obscuring Paul's view of the TV. (he was ailing on the sofa and in no state to do more than commentate on the game). Cat wandered in, batted a few pieces around, curled up on sofa too, much to our relief.
Our first two or three turns were, basically, wrong in many ways, particularly in our understanding of the difference between hexes and links for train movement. Examination of the FAQs left us somewhat wiser and we started again.
Some elements of the game didn't work too well with two players. We seldom bid for first player and when we did it didn't top £2,000. Although we started off fighting over the North East I soon backed out in favour of the rest of the board, partly because there were various bounties on offer that were easy to grab and partly because I needed links from Chicago for my end of game bonuses (and partly because it was physically a long way from where I was sitting).
Connor (who has been playing the computer game for the last month and was a little more at home with tactics) ended up with a long line of links and a large engine, scoring 3 and 4s repeatedly. I ended up with a network of a large number of links around Chicago and lots of goods to transport but few to transport more than 2 links. My engine upgrades weren't heavily utilised.
I suspect we were ignoring useful cards as well- I took a lot more than Connor but there were always plenty left.
In the latter stages we had more money than we knew what to do with- a result of not bidding for first player I suspect.
The game seemed to end quite quickly- 1 3/4 hours including our abortive first attempt. Connor failed to make his bonus as I had more total links than him, while I scored 8 for my chicago links, but he ended up still 12 ahead of me, in the mid 40s.
It doesn't strike me as a good 2 player game, unmodified. I will be looking up variants. The mechanics are fine- the board is far too big and too uneven. Maybe with the Western link I could compete with the North East but I'm not sure I'm keen on a game which forces you into one of two strategies right at the start. For more players I can see it will be a fine game. Even if it does involve railways.