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Subject: Are train games and math inseparable? rss

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Buz
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My wife is a fairly avid gamer, but she does not like math at all. This is a shame, as some of my favorite games come with a decent math component (Indonesia, Power Grid).

I would really like to get another train game, but are there any which offer depth of strategy and little to no math? Here are my thoughts so far:

Transamerica looks too light and I might as well play one of my 100 copies of Ticket to Ride.

Steel Driver looks like the investment cubes take out some math. How much remains?

Santa Fe Rails looks interesting, but is it deep enough to be called a real train game?

The upcoming release of Steam may scratch my itch, but will the 'base' or 'beginning' ruleset be palatable for my wife?

Any and all thoughts/comments/suggestions are welcome!

Thanks in advance...
 
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Andrew Snyder
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I think you might be out of luck. At their heart, train games are about delivering stuff from location a to location b in the most efficient way possible. Efficient implies math.

Having said that, if simple arithmetic isn't too annoying I can recommend the Empire Builder series of games. Drawing on the board in crayon is always fun.
 
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T. Nomad
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I asked a similar question here.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/319691

Maybe the answers can provide you with some hints.
 
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Walt
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TransAmerica and Trans Europa are indeed nearly mathless. They have a subtle strategy that is not that easy to master. The games tend to be underestimated. Vexation makes for more obvious strategy, but perhaps that might be considered a "lightening" of the games. In any case, TA or TE and Vexation are quite inexpensive. Even if you decide you don't like them much, they're ideal for railroading non-gamers into gaming: who can get intimidated by putting sticks on a map?

You might consider the Empire Builder family of games. They don't have much math above counting, though they play a little long: an hour per beginner; a half-hour per experienced player.
 
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David Gibbs
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Thurn and Taxis is a pretty decent stealth-train game. Sure, the theme isn't officially trains, it is postal routes, but it feels like a train game. And, no math.

Ticket to Ride, or variants, also have trains with no math.

 
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J C Lawrence
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Twq quick suggestions:

Clippers
Stephenson's Rocket

Clippers needs exactly 5 players but is a much better game than the solidly mediocre Santa Fe Rails. Stephenson's Rocket plays very well and quite differently with 2, 3 or 4 players.
 
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Walt
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Stephenson's Rocket will be reprinted as The Great Chinese Railway Game by Rio Grande Games, tentatively by the end of year. (RGG schedules got hammered by the move to Chinese printers, and their poor quality, followed by the complete move to German publishers.)

PS: You may like Silverton. but it's fairly math-heavy, and with more digits than needed.
 
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Dave L.
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Maybe Days of Steam? I don't know too much about it, but some players have called it Carcatrain, which may also make it too light.

Also from Stratamax is Congo Line, which has been well received and is a bit heavier, although I think it may be sold out.

 
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