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Subject: Fun Train Game? rss

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Jonathan
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I've never played a train game before, but I checked out Empire Builder recently, and it seemed like fun. Is this the train game I should get? Is there another, better game I should look for? My group has never played a train game either, but we like games like Acquire. Ideally the game should be fun and not super-complicated. Personally, I like crayons. Any thoughts would be welcome, thanks!
 
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Burke Glover
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Somehow I feel like this is a trick question.
 
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/9746
 
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Jonathan
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If I wanted useless answers, I'd have asked Grognads to chime in.
 
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Amy O'Neal
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I personally like all the crayon rails games (Empire Builder series)... TransAmerica and Ticket to Ride are both good... they're similar, but definitely have some major differences... Played Metro, which seems to be a fairly light game, but definitely has some strategy involves... Haven't played any of the 18xx series, so I can't judge that series... All of these are fairly quick and simple games... except Empire Builder series... Of all of these, I would have to say I like them in this order... Empire Builder series, TransAmerica, Metro and Ticket to Ride... But note that all of these are higher than some of the other games I have played... Hope that this helps a little bit, since I think I'm being a little vague tonight. zombie
 
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Tom
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If you like Acquire, and you like trains, you would probably like Union Pacific.

limecamelredtraingreentrainbluetrainyellowtrainblacktrain
 
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Fred Minard
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I like Empire Builder for the decisions on what commodities to pick up and deliver. Silverton is slightly more complex, and a very good time indeed. Even more complex would be some of the 18xx titles. My favorite is Federico Vellani's 1841. Now if you and your friends like Acquire, then you'll love Alan Moon's Union Pacific. If you can only get the german language edition, that's not a problem. Just come back to the geek for the rules translation.
 
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Stephen Smith
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I'll second (or third?) the suggestion of Union Pacific if you happen to like Acquire. That said, I find that Stephenson's Rocket has an even greater Acquire-ness than Union Pacific. Both are among my favorites, though I get to play Stephenson's much less than UP.

All in all, though, the Empire Builder series games are my favorite train games. Just be aware that they have length issues with both inexperience and more players. The games per se not particularly complicated, though it can be challenging determining where to build rails and what loads to deliver. In a lot of ways, the game is all about route optimization, which can seem a little too mathematical / analytical for some players.

 
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Nate Sandall
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Crayon rail games are good - I personally have only played Eurorails and Lunar Rails and I like them both.

Union Pacific is a great game for 4 players, maybe 3 or 5. TransAmerica is fun and light and perfect for a five or six player warm up. And there's always Ticket to Ride to consider.

1830 is a great game! It's the best introduction to the 18xx series and it's not too complicated. It's a very deep game that rewards repeated play. Personally my favorite of the 18xx games is 1856 which is easier to come by and cheaper but a little more complex. Honestly though, it's not prohibitively so and judging by the games you've rated it will not be a struggle for you to get into as it's probably equivalent to Power Grid in complexity.

Everyone rates Age of Steam highly after the first time they play it. It's not a bad game but it's awful fiddly. It's high ratings come from the hordes of people who played it once and thought it was great. It is kinda fun the first time trying to get the hang of the system. But then they never replay it! They buy it only to have it sit on their shelves forever after.

Rail Baron isn't bad but it's overlong and overpriced for what you get out of it.



 
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A L D A R O N
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Stephenson's Rocket, the great, underrated train game. Very accessible to new players but deep and well balanced.



http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/204
 
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Fun - I would be thinking of Trans-America or Ticket to Ride.

The next step up would Union Pacific or then start branching out into the whole wide world of Train games.
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Cavedog_pdx wrote:
Everyone rates Age of Steam highly after the first time they play it. It's not a bad game but it's awful fiddly. It's high ratings come from the hordes of people who played it once and thought it was great. It is kinda fun the first time trying to get the hang of the system. But then they never replay it! They buy it only to have it sit on their shelves forever after.

Wow, that is the most negative comment I have every seen about this game.
 
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Mikko Karvonen
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My favorite train games are Age of Steam (which, incidentally, I have replayed several times and plan to play often in the future) and Stephenson's Rocket. But they are very different games: one concentrating in tight monetary management and pick-and-deliver, the other being about managing your few actions efficiently and trying to figure out, which companies you should invest in. Then there are various connection-based games that are yet another sort of game.

So your fun train game might be one of several, very much depending on what you usually like. Based on your profile, I'd recommend Age of Steam. It seems to fit to other games you regard highly.
 
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Daniel O&#039;Connell
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Cavedog, your comments on Age of Steam are bizarre. It is one of the most replayable games I have, even without the expansions. I have it in my bag even as I type, ready for another outing tonight.
 
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Daniel Kearns
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I've always enjoyed Empire Builder and Eurorails. They're quite fast for two players and capture the "train experience". Fun, but not fast, until you get familiar with them. Avoid Iron Dragon.

Ticket to Ride also fits your description. Light, fun, and fast, with a satisfying amount of tension.

Transamerica might be too light for your tastes. The rules for Stephensons Rocket seem simple but playing it is an exhausting mental workout like Tigris and Euprhates. 18XX is too long and complicated and I do not find it fun (I still get confused and angry anytime someone uses the word "float" to indicate something other than buoyancy).
 
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David Whitcher
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This is my Fav just because of the unusual them http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/2339
 
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Jonathan
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Thanks for all the good advice guys. I'm going to try an grab Empire Builder and give it a shot.
 
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Daniel Karp
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There are a large number of very fun train games I would recommend over Empire Builder. Age of Steam if you want something heavier. Ticket to Ride if you want something lighter. I rate both games a 9. Other fun train games include Union Pacific, which has some similarities to Acquire, and the 18xx series, which are probably the heaviest of the train games.

By contrast, I rate Empire Builder a 2, admittedly based on one play. I guess I'm the minority opinion, here , but I thought Empire Builder was one of the least fun games I've ever played. I summarized it in my comments as:

Wait for your turn. Keep waiting. Then make the move you knew you would make (and, in fact, probably required no decision). Repeat. Except when you "miss a turn."

It's not that there were NO interesting decisions to be made--I'd say that, over the multi-hour game each player made a dozen or so interesting decisions. Otherwise, I felt like I was just turning the crank and watching it go.... very... slowly... and... tediously. I only played it once, and maybe if the game could had gone faster it wouldn't have been quite so bad for me. But I don't think it would have gotten good.

If you decide to get it, and don't like it, don't let it turn you off of train games entirely.
 
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Scott Russell
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IMO, Empire Builder is a great game, but only for two, at most, three players. All of these players must not suffer from AP and must be fairly quick players. Otherwise it drags (and drags and drags...).

One of my worst game experiences ever was a six player Empire Builder with two new players. Good thing the other players were fun to talk to, because there was ample opportunity.

TtR, UP, SR and TA are all excellent first train games. If you really like crayons, try the Trainsport series or Railway Rivals.
 
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Denise Lavely
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I am by NO means a train game expert, I have played Ticket to Ride & Transamerica & Stephenson's Rocket & that's it But we were struck by the similarities of Stephenson's Rocket to Acquire when we played it. If you want a train game, and like Acquire, Stephenson's Rocket would probably be one to look at at least. But for all I know maybe ALL the heavier train games are kinda like Acquire
 
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Rob Hamilton
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If you like train games and Acquire, you can't go past Union Pacific. The English version is out of print but the German version is easy to find and all components are completely language independent. 10/10
 
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Chris Shaffer
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dakarp wrote:
It's not that there were NO interesting decisions to be made--I'd say that, over the multi-hour game each player made a dozen or so interesting decisions. Otherwise, I felt like I was just turning the crank and watching it go.... very... slowly... and... tediously. I only played it once, and maybe if the game could had gone faster it wouldn't have been quite so bad for me. But I don't think it would have gotten good.


Four experienced Empire Builder players can finish a game in less than two hours. I'd say there are more like twenty interesting decisions per player, per game - and sometimes more. To my mind, that's not a bad ratio for a light train game.

Many people enjoy the Empire Builder series. Don't be put off by Daniel's dislike for it. He has a valid criticism, but it's a matter of personal preference whether you'll agree with him that the problems with the series are game-breakers.
 
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Daniel Karp
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TheCat wrote:
Four experienced Empire Builder players can finish a game in less than two hours. I'd say there are more like twenty interesting decisions per player, per game - and sometimes more. To my mind, that's not a bad ratio for a light train game.

Many people enjoy the Empire Builder series. Don't be put off by Daniel's dislike for it. He has a valid criticism, but it's a matter of personal preference whether you'll agree with him that the problems with the series are game-breakers.


Absolutely--as I said, I have the minority opinion on this one. And I should have added that my playing conditions were far from ideal--we had two very experienced players and two novices (I'd played once before--I'd almost forgotten), and the experienced players were perhaps a bit TOO helpful in terms of suggesting moves to the novices. Mainly, I wanted to point out that, if you have never played a train game, there are several that I think are really a lot of fun, especially Ticket to Ride. But I'll also say that twenty interesting decisions in two hours is quite low in my book, especially when there are so many not-so-interesting decisions which seem more like work to me, e.g., finding the shortest route between two cities, calculating the cost of building tracks, etc. But it is not as if these are hidden imperfections in the game--they are explained right there in the BGG descriptions, and if the game still sounds appealing to you based on those descriptions, it may be a good choice for you.
 
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Dick Ruck
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jmw23 wrote:
Ideally the game should be fun and not super-complicated. Personally, I like crayons. Any thoughts would be welcome, thanks!


What about Railway Rivals or Dampfross?
Fun - YES.
Super-complicated - NO.
Crayons - YES

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/539
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/460

The only problem is they might be difficult to track down.
blacktrainyellowtrainblacktrainyellowtrainblacktrainyellowtrainblacktrainyellowtrainblacktrain
 
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Robert Bowsher
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Union Pacific - it's a great game, one of my favorites. But I'm not convinced it's a train game in the sense that Age of Steam, Empire Builder, and Silverton are train games. It has a railroad theme, but it's very thin. But if you like Acquire and you like trains, you'll probably like UP.

Stephenson's Rocket - another Acquire-flavored variant with what seems like a very thin train theme. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking this game is easy - it'll melt your brain a lot faster than most of the games on this list.

Age of Steam - some like it, some think it's 3 hours of pure pain. Its big problem for a lot of people is that for a game as long as it is, it is _very_ unforgiving of early mistakes. Money is so tight and the penalty for running short so painful that you can lose the game, or even be eliminated, on the first turn. I'd hunt up someone else's copy and see if it's your bag first. Volldampf supposedly has the same mechanics without the tile-laying madness.

Some thoughts in general about the crayon rail games - these all strike me as group solitaire, in that there's not a whole lot of interaction between the players as the game progresses. You can pull some tricks with high-value, low quantity loads, and you can play some games with city access, but that's about it. If you like your games nonconfrontational, this is a Good Thing. If not, they can feel a little dry.
 
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