End The Turn Podcast
Game length: 30mins+
Short Description: based in late 19th century Munich, you are in charge of one of two rival companies trying to control the tramlines and become the best tramline operator! You start with horse drawn carriages, and move all the way up to electric carriages.
Overview: Trambahn is a fantastic two player game for those who want something quick and fun to play with a friend. The idea is relatively simple; there is four different coloured card sets within the box, marked with different numbers(running from 1-10) on one side (referred to as stations), while on the back side is Marks, the money of the game. There is also four terminal cards, which is where the passengers gather to take your tram route. Finally, there are train cards, which start with horse drawn carriages, all the way up to electric trains. The more advanced the card is, the more points it will score you, but the more it costs to get your hands on it!
You start the game with a certain number of cards face down, which becomes your floating cash within the game. You never look at the underside of these cards. Then you have a hand which is the cards you can use for developing your “route”. The player who last went on a tram goes first.
To build routes, you need to build up stations of the same order in increasing order, however you can skip numbers, as long as they are increasing. So I can have yellow 1, 3, 7, 10 stations to form one route. If a number is skipped, you can’t go back and place it later though!
However, to make a route score you points, you need to have a tram powering it! You can buy these with the cash you have in your face-down pile. Only three of them are purchasable at any one time however, and only as the older horse drawn trams are bought to the new more points-scoring trams become available. Once purchased, you place a tram on a route. You cannot upgrade these later, once placed that is it!
At the beginning of each turn you must place between one or two cards at the terminal stations, these are passengers excitedly waiting to ride your tram lines. Once the fourth passenger is placed at a terminal, a tour begins, which means scoring points!
When a tour starts, both players score all of the routes of the matching colour which have a tram powering them. You add up the numerical values of your station and multiply by the tram (so horse drawn carriages only have a 2x multiplier, electric trams go up to 4x!). Once ten tours are completed, the game ends and scores are compared! If you have 8 stations in a row in a route you also score points immediately for that route, which counts as an extra tour, to rack up extra points before running out of tours,
The game is wonderfully tactical, although the theme can be considered a slight bit dry. However, this game is a simple to learn, harder to master strategic game hat is perfect for those who want to fill some time with a bit of good fun. It can cause you to curse your opponent as you watch them place the 10 station for a route you have been slowly working towards. There is a level of real satisfaction if you manage as well to get a complete route running from 1-10 as well, if slightly difficult to achieve during a normal game! From my time demoing it at the UK Games Expo it quickly became one of my favourite games to show, and once you got past the idea of the theme you suddenly discovered this fantastic gem of a game underneath.
Of course, you can argue the major downside of the game is that it only supports two players, however I really think this game is perfect as a two player game. It is fun, relaxing while still getting your brain to grind some gears and brilliant for couples. Considering the cost hovers around 15 shiny brutish pounds, you can get a lot of fun for your bucks for this game. I personally cannot recommend it enough!
This review originally appeared on the End The Turn Podcast website - http://www.endtheturn.co.uk/2016/10/16/trambahn-a-liz-review...
Nice, concise review. A minor quibble though - you don't have to have 8 stations "in a row" - eg consecutive. Just 8 stations in a route, which could even include wild cards. This seemed to happen a few times the first times we played but hasn't happened recently. Not sure why, but maybe we're just in more of a hurry to get cards down for points.