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Subject: For someone who owns American Rails... rss

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Raf
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For someone who owns and enjoys American Rails (me), which other Winsome title would it make sense to pick up next? I'm looking at either Chicago Express or German Railways.
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Well, American Rails uses the same system as Chicago Express, so it makes sense to start there. You might also look into SNCF, since it's another short game with meaningful decisions.
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IllHaveAnother wrote:
For someone who owns and enjoys American Rails (me), which other Winsome title would it make sense to pick up next? I'm looking at either Chicago Express or German Railways.


It depends on what you like about AR and what you want that is different.

The games that Queen has picked up are more readily available. Old Winsome games, you're going to have to find on auction.

Chicago Express on the surface has a very similar feel, but there's a whole different thing pumping under the hood. I've only played AR once, but CE feels deeper, quicker, and more robust overall.

Paris Connection is a lighter, shorter cube rail game that is lots of fun and easy to teach non-gamers.

German Railways is somewhere between Paris Connection and Chicago Express with a mechanism that tries to focus on emerging alliances, one of my favorite mechanisms in these games.

Locomotive Werks is not route building at all, but it is a great game. It is related only in train theme and Winsome games. Otherwise, it is nothing like the others.

Read up on those games and I'm sure you'll find stuff you like.

I think CE is the best of all of the games mentioned but it's closest to AR, and that's just it, you may want more variety.
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
IllHaveAnother wrote:
For someone who owns and enjoys American Rails (me), which other Winsome title would it make sense to pick up next? I'm looking at either Chicago Express or German Railways.


It depends on what you like about AR and what you want that is different.

The games that Queen has picked up are more readily available. Old Winsome games, you're going to have to find on auction.

Chicago Express on the surface has a very similar feel, but there's a whole different thing pumping under the hood. I've only played AR once, but CE feels deeper, quicker, and more robust overall.

Paris Connection is a lighter, shorter cube rail game that is lots of fun and easy to teach non-gamers.

German Railways is somewhere between Paris Connection and Chicago Express with a mechanism that tries to focus on emerging alliances, one of my favorite mechanisms in these games.

Locomotive Werks is not route building at all, but it is a great game. It is related only in train theme and Winsome games. Otherwise, it is nothing like the others.

Read up on those games and I'm sure you'll find stuff you like.

I think CE is the best of all of the games mentioned but it's closest to AR, and that's just it, you may want more variety.


I'm surprised you didn't mention Continental Divide.
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gdapkus wrote:
I'm surprised you didn't mention Continental Divide.


An excellent game, but slightly less available than hen's teeth.
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I own Chicago Express and American Rails and have played Paris Connection.

Paris Connection is a fun game, but I think its design contradicts what audience its meant for. It sounds like a great family game, I mean it plays fast, has lots of little trains and such, but it is still as opaque as ever. People who are new to this genre can easily end the game by building to Paris. They won't win granted, but the game does nothing to help them play better. It's not really intuitive. And as such, I don't think it's a good game for new gamers. I think a game that gives players a clear understanding about what to do is a better choice. I think a good alternative for new players is Samarkand: Routes to Riches. It uses shares and route building, but more importantly, players can see what they need to do because they have cards that they are trying to build camels to. I see Paris Connection as more of a fast game for train/auction enthusiasts.

Chicago Express is very similar to American Rails in a lot of ways, but also very different. The companies are geographically fixed in the former, while they are dynamic in the latter. The biggest changes I feel are that rounds in Chicago usually are about 3 auctions, then builds or develops, whereas in American Rails, each player only has 3 actions for each round and choosing a lesser action allows you to have an earlier pick for the next set of actions. That's big and also in American Rails, auctions start at a minimum of $10, whereas the minimum bid for Chicago can easily go under $10. That means that if a company isn't going to make at least $10 in total dividends in American Rails, you might not even want to auction and win a share.

I actually do not mind the fixed positions of companies in Chicago and I also like the fact that it plays faster. American Rails however seems to be easier to understand and play, so I end up playing that with people I run into.

I looked at German Railways and it seems like an interesting game. I'm not sure how I feel about the player-action-selection mechanic. Essentially, you drop player pieces into a bag and whoever you select gets to have an action for the turn. Players who have the highest incomes get fewer pieces put into that bag, so they are less likely to have actions. On one hand, you could totally not have any actions, but on the other hand, it can be cool to win a game without any actions. The biggest thing that I don't particularly like is that each train has powers and that you have to look up what these powers are. It doesn't seem as elegant as Chicago Express. It also seems to take longer.

So I think Chicago Express is a good pick because it combines design elegance, rule simplicity and fast game length. I would say there's some more thinking involved than American Rails. But maybe your group is fine with American Rails and doesn't need a new game?
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