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Subject: Board Games and Baseball Review: Trains (this time with the correct text) rss

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Josiah Shanks
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I love the deckbuilding mechanic and do like to try different games that use this mechanic.

Number of players: 2-4
Time: 30-45 minutes for two players
Type of game: Deck building and route building
Complexity: Low-medium

How to play: Like Dominion, it creates a static market instead of random cards showing up from the deck throughout the game. This way you can create a strategy at the beginning of the game. During your turn, you draw five cards. Unlike Dominion, you do not have a very structured turn. You can choose to play cards, use cards for currency, and follow the actions on the card. You can then buy as many cards as you can afford from the static market, they then go into your deck. Some of the cards allow you to lay rails or build a station. If you do that, then you have to gain waste into your deck. You also gain waste into your deck if you buy any of the victory cards. You can choose to skip your turn and discard all the waste in your hand and return them to the market. At the end of the game, you score points based on the victory points in your deck and also for scoring points on the board with your rails and stations that you have built.

Likes: I do like the mechanic of deckbuilding and I do really like the idea of adding more to the deckbuilding mechanic especially when combined with route building. It's an interesting idea, at least in the abstract. I really like the static market that you do with this game that is very similar to Dominion. The setup for the game is not nearly as long as Legendary but not nearly as quick as Dominion.

Dislikes: The waste really can clutter your deck and prevent you from making many moves in the game. You have to be able to afford to lay rails and build stations but your deck can become unnecessarily cluttered. The game is not that conducive to being able to end the game very quickly. Whereas Dominion allows you to chain together actions very easily and can create super turns if you build your deck in an efficient manner, the game turns in this game seems to churn out the same turns every time.

Works with 2 players? The base game works alright with two players. There's not a lot of direct player interaction with two players that may come more into play with more than 2 players, such as building your routes into spaces where your opponent has already placed their route. Supposedly, Trains: Rising Sun works a lot better with 2 players.

Overall impressions: Despite its initial promise of Dominion + Route building, we've found this game to play out the same way nearly every time that we play (and we haven't even played that much). We're not really "cult of the new" board game players. We tend to play games multiple times to see if we like them and try to explore more strategy.Edit: I'll clarify here: the game feels the same when we have played which has left Amanda with little motivation to play more. The victory cards or scoring points based on station expansions and remote areas should give multiple paths to victory but has fallen flat for us.

It's a good game to get you into the deckbuilding mechanic but it's certainly not the best if you want to get into those games. I would definitely recommend a handful of other deckbuilders for two players.

I'm still willing to give it another shot to see if there's something that I'm missing but this game is going to continue its descent out of my top 100 as it goes.
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Jim McMahon
United States
West Springfield
Massachusetts
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Lookee what he can do! He wants a job!
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josiahshanks wrote:
Overall impressions: Despite its initial promise of Dominion + Route building, we've found this game to play out the same way nearly every time that we play (and we haven't even played that much).

Which way was that?
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soulblight
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Ottawa
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josiahshanks wrote:
It's a good game to get you into the deckbuilding mechanic but it's certainly not the best if you want to get into those games. I would definitely recommend a handful of other deckbuilders for two players.


Which would you recommend?
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Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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jimmcmahon wrote:
josiahshanks wrote:
Overall impressions: Despite its initial promise of Dominion + Route building, we've found this game to play out the same way nearly every time that we play (and we haven't even played that much).

Which way was that?


I'm also curious. We've found several distinct strategies in Trains, each ending the games in different ways, including one in which the player lays very little track .

josiahshanks wrote:
Dislikes: The waste really can clutter your deck and prevent you from making many moves in the game. . .


That's what fans like me love about the game. Managing your waste is a key element of the game.

josiahshanks wrote:
You have to be able to afford to lay rails and build stations but your deck can become unnecessarily cluttered. The game is not that conducive to being able to end the game very quickly.


For me, that's a plus.

josiahshanks wrote:
Whereas Dominion allows you to chain together actions very easily and can create super turns if you build your deck in an efficient manner, the game turns in this game seems to churn out the same turns every time.


I like that aspect of the game. It's why I prefer it over Dominion.

josiahshanks wrote:
Works with 2 players? The base game works alright with two players. There's not a lot of direct player interaction with two players that may come more into play with more than 2 players, such as building your routes into spaces where your opponent has already placed their route. Supposedly, Trains: Rising Sun works a lot better with 2 players.


Yes, Trains: Rising Sun has a specifically 2-player board that can be used two ways.

josiahshanks wrote:
Overall impressions: Despite its initial promise of Dominion + Route building, we've found this game to play out the same way nearly every time that we play (and we haven't even played that much). We're not really "cult of the new" board game players. We tend to play games multiple times to see if we like them and try to explore more strategy.

It's a good game to get you into the deckbuilding mechanic but it's certainly not the best if you want to get into those games. I would definitely recommend a handful of other deckbuilders for two players.


To each his own. I find Trains to be an ideal introductory deckbuilder because the game board provides context for what goes into the deck. The Waste cards provide an incentive for hand management.

My wife and I have enjoyed it as a two-player game, though it is less competitive than 3-4 players.
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Josiah Shanks
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Jim - I'm sure you're looking for an overarching strategy that we played multiple times to which I can't honestly remember. The feel of the game with little chaining together of actions with somewhat limited interaction with 2 gives the feel of been there done that each time.

I'm sure there's something we're missing but when Amanda gets too bored during the game to play more with me, it's not an encouraging sign. If I find more people to play with, I'll give it more shots.

Have only played once with 4 people and enjoyed the increased cost for laying rails as well as an increased competition for space.
 
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Josiah Shanks
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For other deck builders for 2 players: Star Realms especially with e addition of Colony Wars if you want to get more people involved.

I've had success with Ascension, Valley of the Kings, DC Deckbuilding Game, and Dominion.

Ascension worked with ex-MTG players. Valley worked with my brother who never played any strategy games. DC was the first step to get a couple that we spend time with to play Dominion. The first time we attempted Dominion with new players they found the action requirements and buys too stifling.

I've yet to try Legendary with new players.
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Josiah Shanks
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Have edited the original review to provide clarification.
 
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Trevor Franklin
United States
Vale
North Carolina
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My favorite deckbuilder and possibly the game I enjoy most when it comes to the table. It takes what's still the best deckbuilding system IMO (Dominion) and just makes it feel like you're really doing something, besides buying and playing cards.
 
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