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Empire Builder» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session Report rss

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Yehuda Berlinger
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Brendan ~250, Jon ~150, Guy ~50

Brendan is a train game enthusiast, especially if the game is played on accurate terrain. I had bought this game used, but hadn't had a chance to play it, as I understood that it is a bit long and it requires writing, which makes it impossible to play on shabbat.

Here's the good news: it didn't take too long. In fact, we finished in about an hour and change, an hour and a half tops.

Here's the bad news: The game is phenomenally boring. Talk about your multiplayer solitaire. It may be that with more players there is some kind of competition for goods and track routing, but there sure isn't in three players. On the other hand, more players is supposed to slow the game down to a crawl.

You can't help but notice how this game predates Euro gaming. It's like the designers came up with one good concept but then neglected to make the game actually interesting. However! And this is a big however. This essential underlying mechanic actually works well, and so the game is simply ripe for changing into something enjoyable. It seems almost trivial to add some variations to make the game work, such as:

* A public pool of deliveries, so that the players compete to be the first to fulfill them.
* Or, auction the deliveries off to the players
* Trading goods when trains meet or within cities
* Train/Rail delivery pacts
* Unique sub-goals, such as connecting certain cities
* Etc.

Now I have to go find out what variants exist, and which are any good. Also bad was the whole crayon thing. While I admit that it has a primal coolness factor, you are constantly having to fight with the materials, rubbing out mistaken lines, redrawing accidentally rubbed or smudged lines, and so on. And, of course, you can't play on shabbat. Tracks would definitely work better.

In our game, nothing happened, except that Brendan had more going on on the west coast then we did, so he delivered more lucrative deliveries. We decided to end when he was at 200 with two more big deliveries on the way.
 
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