God’s purpose for my life was that I have a passion for God’s glory and that I have a passion for my joy in that glory, and these two are one passion.
Jack has been asking me for feedback on Bindle Rails as a multiplayer game, so I thought I'd at least put a few words out. I'll try to post a session report on one of these games in the future.
My wife and I play BR together fairly frequently these days. She enjoys several aspects of the game - the way the Goal cards make each game very different, the fact that it's sort of a multiplayer solitaire (which I know some gaming groups detest), the railroad theme in general, and the chance element that can swing things in and out of favor rapidly during the event draw. For the most part, I'm a fan of all these elements as well.
She doesn't have as much interest in playing BR as a solitaire game, but I do. I've found that, at present, the multiplayer game is (a fair bit) kinder and gentler to the players because of the rule tweaks. I think the change that probably seems to have the 'kindest' effect on game possibilities is the ability to piggyback on technologies. That is, one can acquire a tech which is owned by another player for 1 less '+'. If one runs the tech path towards Business Theory and the Telegraph early, both players can be drawing 9 or 10 cards a turn for the last 3 (or even 4!) turns without a hefty sacrifice, barring Inefficiency draws, and this can make the game much more winnable than the solitaire version typically is. Of course, competition of players against one another for VP is still very close and provides tension and interest.
Runner-up for 'kindest' game-changer is the tweak that allows one to build only the desired routes on the Corporation mat as long as they're connected to each other and they begin in the home city.
One other element that has a pronounced effect is the likelihood, especially later in the game, of running out of cards after only a few events. With two players drawing 8-10 cards each, the deck remainder is small (7-11 cards) compared to the typical solitaire game (17-19 cards), and several events require multiple card draws. In the solitaire game, one draws for five events and rarely runs out of cards to play them all out, which is often devastating.
Our scores in two-player matches are typically in the 70's unless we get creamed by an early event round (which does happen occasionally). I think the lowest score I've had in a two-player match was in the mid-40's.
We haven't tried the more 'aggressive' variants, such as the ability to play Events against one another, so I can't comment yet on how those work.
As I said, we enjoy the game very much and the fact that the two-player rules take a bit of the edge off of the challenge probably makes the game that much more enjoyable for my wife, who actually beats me the better part of the time. This is good, because it's far easier for me to persuade my wife to sit down for a game of BR - sometimes she asks if I'll play - than it is for me to persuade her to play 18xx.
Thank you very much for the feedback. My two-player testing on the game was *extremely* limited as it is a hard game to teach solitaire, although once both parties know that version, it's really not that hard to play this version out. My thoughts on making it easier is that your opponent may very well play harder than anything I could devise through the solo game.
I think the aggressive variant of playing cards against someone would make the game harder and, for better or for worse, more chaotic as a couple of event cards could really screw the other person royally. In a way, it's like a stacked event deck of the solitaire version of the game.
Again, thanks for the feedback. I should make a computer version of the game at some point and see how it goes.