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Subject: Are Railway games any good?? rss

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Iain
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Now before anybody gets on their high horse, or should I say Iron Horse
my subject line was meant firmly with tongue in cheek.

My only experience of railway games has been many years of fun with 'Railway Rivals'


courtesy of boltongeordie


Great game that I even had the pleasure of playing with David Watts the designer

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/designer/250

many years ago at a games convention in London.

I enjoy the track buiding and the subsequent races but now I would like to try something that has an extra element to the game, such as the financial aspect of running a railway company(s).

I have loked at various railway geeklists, following this up by looking at some of the games that have appeared on the lists: if anything this has given me too much information and added to my confusion

So what should I try?

Players - 3 to 5
Time - would prefer no longer than 3 hours
Game focus - 1st railway building 2nd finance/stock market, etc
Complexity - not an issue but I hate incoherent rule books

EDIT something with more meat than RR
and preferably not OOP


All recommendations will be gratefully received and acknowledged.

regards
iain
 
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Russell InGA
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Chicago Express

The 18xx games may take too long. There may be some of the smaller variants that fit within your window.

I don't know about the AOS games.
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The Ticket To Ride Series can provide much fun, I'd personally suggest that the Marklin version is the best, many might disagree with this. I would say that TTR might be one of the best games to get those "less than interested" friends into gaming. TTR is also a cracking family christmas game.

I have yet to play AOS but I have heard some marvellous things about, I would also recommend Dirk Henn's Metro.

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Russell InGA
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I have to disagree with the suggestion of TTR. It sounds like he is looking for something with more meat, rather than less.

(The TTR games are great introductions to boardgaming.)
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buffmeister wrote:
So what should I try?


First of all forget about all the TtR versions as they are very basic and they are not what you are looking for.

The problem with most 18xx games is that they run for more than 4 hours and require a dedicated group of players to enjoy.

Maybe you should try Steam over Holland as it is a beginner's 18xx game that lasts about 3-4 hours.

Chicago Express may be another good option but i guess that it is not easy to get it outside the US. (If someone knows how to get it in Europe, drop me a geekmail!)
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buffmeister wrote:
... now I would like to try something that has an extra element to the game, such as the financial aspect of running a railway company(s).

I have loked at various railway geeklists, following this up by looking at some of the games that have appeared on the lists: if anything this has given me too much information and added to my confusion

So what should I try?

Players - 3 to 5
Time - would prefer no longer than 3 hours
Game focus - 1st railway building 2nd finance/stock market, etc
Complexity - not an issue but I hate incoherent rule books

and preferably not OOP


From your description I'd say Railroad Tycoon fits the bill for you, which you can still pick up on ebay, Amazon and other places. It has track building, making deliveries, and you have to manage the fairly simple financial aspects. The rules are easy to follow, and it plays within 3 hours once you know the rules (after one play).

From RRT you could go to Age Of Steam, 1830 (still available on ebay occasionally) or other 18xx games, if you want more complexity, or one of the Ticket To Ride games if you want less.

You might want to consider Power Grid, which seems to our group to be a "train game" without trains, if you know what I mean laugh
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Iain
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rules_heretic wrote:
Chicago Express

The 18xx games may take too long. There may be some of the smaller variants that fit within your window.

I don't know about the AOS games.



Thanks for the suggestion Russell. I had a look at the game entry for this one, sounds ideal but I guess I am going to find it near to impossible to get

I'm hoping for some input from others on the merits/demerits of the 18xx series and/or AoS

regards
iain

 
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smithpernu wrote:
The Ticket To Ride Series can provide much fun, I'd personally suggest that the Marklin version is the best, many might disagree with this. I would say that TTR might be one of the best games to get those "less than interested" friends into gaming. TTR is also a cracking family christmas game.

I have yet to play AOS but I have heard some marvellous things about, I would also recommend Dirk Henn's Metro.



Thanks Ian

My family and I do have T2R and enjoy it

I was thinking of 'meatier' railway games when I posted originally which I guess I did not make clear (now edited).
BTW I do consider T2R a railway game, not pooh poohing your suggestion mate
 
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WhiteKong wrote:
Railroad Tycoon is a great gateway into heaver rail games. It does have track building and a very good economic element.

For pure trackbuilding pleasure (and a bit of economy) I would also recommend any of the crayon rail games such as British Rails, Eurorails, India Rails, etc.. The larger ones may tip your 3 hour mark, but are incredibly fun if you like building your own network.


Glad someone suggested the 'Rails series, is there any one that you would especially recommend?

I believe I saw a copy of Railroad Tycoon at my FLGS which I will peruse later this week.

regards
iain
 
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My two favorite "meaty" railroad games are Age of Steam and Silverton (Thoguh I've only played the latter as a solitaire game).
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Iain
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Pum_ wrote:
buffmeister wrote:
... now I would like to try something that has an extra element to the game, such as the financial aspect of running a railway company(s).

I have loked at various railway geeklists, following this up by looking at some of the games that have appeared on the lists: if anything this has given me too much information and added to my confusion

So what should I try?

Players - 3 to 5
Time - would prefer no longer than 3 hours
Game focus - 1st railway building 2nd finance/stock market, etc
Complexity - not an issue but I hate incoherent rule books

and preferably not OOP


From your description I'd say Railroad Tycoon fits the bill for you, which you can still pick up on ebay, Amazon and other places. It has track building, making deliveries, and you have to manage the fairly simple financial aspects. The rules are easy to follow, and it plays within 3 hours once you know the rules (after one play).

From RRT you could go to Age Of Steam, 1830 (still available on ebay occasionally) or other 18xx games, if you want more complexity, or one of the Ticket To Ride games if you want less.

You might want to consider Power Grid, which seems to our group to be a "train game" without trains, if you know what I mean laugh


Paul

Another thumbs up for Railroad Tycoon, glad to hear you comment on the playing time. If I want to get my family (as well gaming group) to try this then anything over 3 hours is a bit of a no no.
 
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GeoMan wrote:
buffmeister wrote:
So what should I try?


First of all forget about all the TtR versions as they are very basic and they are not what you are looking for.

The problem with most 18xx games is that they run for more than 4 hours and require a dedicated group of players to enjoy.

Maybe you should try Steam over Holland as it is a beginner's 18xx game that lasts about 3-4 hours.

Chicago Express may be another good option but i guess that it is not easy to get it outside the US. (If someone knows how to get it in Europe, drop me a geekmail!)


Geo

Your suggestion sounds spot on from my look at the game entry on BGG. Just got to get hold of a copy now
 
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Jason

I do want to try AoS , problem id getting hold of a copy
 
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I'd say give Stephenson's Rocket a look. It's currently out of print, but a re-make using a USA map is due out soon.
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buffmeister wrote:
Players - 3 to 5
Time - would prefer no longer than 3 hours
Game focus - 1st railway building 2nd finance/stock market, etc
Complexity - not an issue but I hate incoherent rule books

and preferably not OOP

If you want stocks with your rails, I like Railways of the World, which is a nicer (both physically and ease of play) version of Age of Steam. RRT is OOP, but available still, I think. It is a huge game, so if you don't have a big place to play, it won't work--some review probably tells the exact board size. AoS is a love or hate game. It was the basis of RRT, but novices often play themselves into a hopeless position. Steam, due whenever Mayfair gets its act together (which doesn't happen often) is a kinder, gentler AoS, compatible with previous versions. RRT2 has also been promised, but I haven't heard a status report of it recently (anyone?); it is intended to be more conveniently scaled, with minor play tweaks. As railroad simulations, what bothers me about these is that you deliver colored goods to a city of the same color--goods to where the market is: fair enough--but your payment is based on how many links you travel to get their: not the minimum, but however you can convolute the route to run around, within the limits of your train. It's not very simulationist. It's also a bit slow: you place four (five with a special ability) bits of track a turn; you do this by placing hexagons with straight or curve track on the hex map--seemingly fiddly, but you only place a few a turn.

The Empire Builder series--British Rails is one--give you a set of random deliveries to choose from, to build track to and deliver goods. The network you form needs to be very efficient, and is formed by drawing dot-to-dot on a map with the dots arranged hexagonally (so it's equivalent to the hexes used in AoS/RRT). Because you can draw between dots much closer than you can place hexes with track drawn on them, EB series maps are between the size of RRT and AoS, but the EB map covers southern Canada to Mexico and the entire continental US, while RRT covers only the US east of the Mississippi. EB is about 80% of the scale (dots/hexes between cities), and you build up to 20 segments a turn (about 1/3 or 1/4 across a typical board); as a result the game eases from building your basic national rail network, and then seeing if you can use it to outperform your opponents, only building stubs into towns; this gives the game an epic feeling. The standard game supplies crayons to draw on the board; I've heard china markers work, but haven't tried them. Laminated maps are available which work well with wet erase markers. (Dry erase markers tend to get accidentally erased.) The EB series tends to play at about 1 hour per novice and 1/2 hour per experienced player. (These times are playing the quick versions which start you with more money and usually use faster trains; these rules are used in tournaments and pretty universally among EB players; they really give up nothing in making the play faster.) I think ten EB series games are now available. While the EB series doesn't have stock, it would not be hard to develop add-on rules; it does have an economic aspect: you have to earn money to build out your network. What the EB series offers is the best simulation of efficient rail network building. While only a few routes are sensible in RRT/AoS, many possible routes may be built in EB.

The Ticket to Ride series of games has you collect sets of colored cards (rummy-like) to build fixed routes between cities to satisfy mission cards. It's a fun game, but not very simulationist. As mentioed, Ticket to Ride: Märklin is considered too fiddly by some, though it is certainly well-balances; the question is whether it's worth the trouble for the same fundamental game as TtR. TtR Europe is often considered the most friendly of the series, since a blocked link on your mission route doesn't make you lose the game. If you get Ticket to Ride, also get Ticket to Ride: USA 1910. No stock' no finance.

Union Pacific is a light stock game with a RR theme. OOP, I think.

A nice network building game you might like (no stock; no finance) is On the Underground, a game about building underground routes in London--and ending up with a board that looks like the famous London Underground map. (I've heard it doesn't exactly duplicate the current stations, but that doesn't seem a fatal objection.)

TransAmerica and Trans Europa are light RR games. Every player draws five cards--one of each color--and connects the five cities. However, all track is the same, so once you build to an opponent's track, you can use it to get to your cities. The games look too simple to have any strategy, but to win you have to subtly get your opponents to work for you and minimize how much you help them. Vexation adds three segments of track in each color which can be used to block opponents from using sections of your track--at least until they build around it. These are half hour games, but enjoyable and not at all intimidating for new gamers. No stock; no finance.
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buffmeister wrote:
WhiteKong wrote:
Railroad Tycoon is a great gateway into heaver rail games. It does have track building and a very good economic element.

For pure trackbuilding pleasure (and a bit of economy) I would also recommend any of the crayon rail games such as British Rails, Eurorails, India Rails, etc.. The larger ones may tip your 3 hour mark, but are incredibly fun if you like building your own network.


Glad someone suggested the 'Rails series, is there any one that you would especially recommend?

I believe I saw a copy of Railroad Tycoon at my FLGS which I will peruse later this week.

regards
iain


Cast another satisfied customer for the Tycoon. I think it pretty much meets all of your conditions. I'd say that you'd have to be careful with the 'Rails' series, because my friend has Eurorails, and of the 5 or 6 times we've played it (4 players), we've only finished (according to proper victory conditions) one game out of them. Every attempt has lasted over three hours. The latest was just a week ago, we went from 7:30 to 10:40, and the winner had 7 major cities plus about $120 million in cash (7 cities and $250M is the 'official' victory condition). 'Austrailian Rails' might play a bit shorter.
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buffmeister wrote:
rules_heretic wrote:
Chicago Express

The 18xx games may take too long. There may be some of the smaller variants that fit within your window.

I don't know about the AOS games.



Thanks for the suggestion Russell. I had a look at the game entry for this one, sounds ideal but I guess I am going to find it near to impossible to get


Wabash Cannonball is ideal, check the "Availability in Europe" thread.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/264182
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rantinronrevue wrote:
I'd say that you'd have to be careful with the 'Rails' series, because my friend has Eurorails, and of the 5 or 6 times we've played it (4 players), we've only finished (according to proper victory conditions) one game out of them. Every attempt has lasted over three hours. The latest was just a week ago, we went from 7:30 to 10:40, and the winner had 7 major cities plus about $120 million in cash (7 cities and $250M is the 'official' victory condition). 'Austrailian Rails' might play a bit shorter.

It sounds like you're not playing the fast rules. You get 5 cards to start; you pick the three you want--this makes for a good and even start. Trains run 12 and 16 dots per turn instead of 9 and 12. Most games start you with more money. The tax card is ignored. As I mentioned above, these rules are used in tournaments, so they are probably the most common rules in terms of games played.

Why Mayfair doesn't make these the official rules, I don't know. My guess is that it comes down to the game being designed to an actual scale: so many miles per dot; trains run at so many miles per hour (but the time scale is...a day?) In any case, I routinely play games at 1/2 hour per person or less. Aussie Rails isn't especially fast, but Nippon and British are a little faster--once you get used to the maps, as usual. We were all playing slower on the newest China Rails map.

If you find a lot of time is spent counting out positions (depends on your players) use the loan rule: you can borrow $X by paying back 2x $X at the first opportunity.
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Iain
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Thanks for your thoughts Tall_Walt, I will try and get hold of a copy of RT as I mentioned in an earlier response.

regards
iain
 
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GeoMan wrote:
Chicago Express may be another good option but i guess that it is not easy to get it outside the US. (If someone knows how to get it in Europe, drop me a geekmail!)


I'm in the final process of getting a dozen copies of Wabash Cannonball and shipping them out to appreciative buyers in Europe. I don't know if John has any more (I don't think so). If he does I'm willing to do a few more.
 
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I have a few more.
 
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No.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist. I am not a fan of railroad games as I am not a fan of rails, railroads, trains or the term chugga chugga chugga wuuu wuuu.)

 
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Steam over Holland is good for beginners to 18XX. I know this because I am an 18XX beginner and Steam Over Holland was my first and is my only 18XX game. The production quality is very good and the rule book easy to read. I made a few mistakes on my first play, so I'd advise reading this session report: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/252773 to clarify things.
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Ed

Thanks for the session link, much appreciated.

regards
iain
 
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My GF, who's a rail buff, really likes Silverton, India Rails, Iron Dragon, Eurorails, and Rail Baron, in that order. She kind of likes the 18xx seriea too.

Of these, I have not played the first, but I like the middle three in that order. I cannot stand Rail Baron, as it is Monopoly but with trains.

Hope this helps.
 
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