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Subject: Recommend me a Winsome [or other cube-rail] title rss

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Lacombe
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So I have a budding 18xx group finally, and they've expressed interest in moving on / expanding to not only other 18xx games, but also other heavy train games in general ["if they're as good as this one"--1830--is the line from one player].

I have Age Of Steam which I haven't played a lot and will hopefully be seeing some table time with this group. That's a nice contrast in style from 18xx, but I'd like to have another. Stephenson's Rocket is a touch light for a headliner.

I was thinking of picking up one of the heavier Winsome / "cube rail" titles [Chicago Express / Wabash Cannonball didn't "wow" me the one time I played; it felt a little too restrictive / uni-dimensional]. What [and what else] would you suggest?
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Lacombe
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Also, how different, how heavy, how good, and how appropriate for the group described is Silverton?
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German Railways I think will be coming out soon as well as Paris Connection. I like Paris connection but it is more of a filler type game still very interesting to play. German Railways I have the most frustrating time with but it is certainly different. I like Locomotive Werks I think best. A stripped down Automobile with just the best parts.
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Richard S
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Finally, a recommendation question in my wheel house...

First off, give CE/WB another try or two. What is there is pretty opaque and takes some digging, but it is really quite interesting.

Others that I can vouch for:

Pampas Railroads is longer than WB and just as interesting, but many find it more grok-able.

German Railways is excellent. Yes, there is randomness which I almost never recommend. But, trying to win without taking a turn for round after round is just too neat to pass up.

If you can get a copy, Age of Scheme: Routes to Riches is pretty unique.





Not Winsome, but American Rails provides a good gaming experience. It is, admittedly and intentionally, more straightforward than the other games I have listed.

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Richard S
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NateStraight wrote:
Also, how different, how heavy, how good, and how appropriate for the group described is Silverton?


For whatever it is worth: I have not played the game, but I was poking about in the same area of games and passed on it. Don't remember now why.
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Richard S
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NateStraight wrote:


I have Age Of Steam which I haven't played a lot and will hopefully be seeing some table time with this group. That's a nice contrast in style from 18xx, but I'd like to have another.


Have you considered expansions maps? Some of them provide quite a different experience.

Of note

Age of Steam Expansion: Sun / London

Age of Steam Expansion: 1830's Pennsylvania / Northern California
Particularly, 1830's Penn.

Age of Steam Expansion: Montréal Métro (3 player only)
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Eugene
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Pampas Railroads is my favorite Winsome. Not really a cube rail game, since it's straight-line links. The decision track might resemble the one for Wabash, but Pamapas is an entirely different game. The game length is fixed, making Pampas more about incentives and share holding.
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Caleb Wynn
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What about Wooden Shoes & Iron Monsters? I just got my gamekit "reprint" a few weeks ago and cut everything out and laminated it. I have read the rules but have not played it yet.

It seems like a heavier game somewhat in line with what 18xx offers as far as companies go. There are a large number of them and they merge. There is no stock market, so it is similar to WC/CE in that respect.

Someone more knowledgable may correct me here. Remember, I have not gotten the chance to play it yet. I also just got the reprint for Locomotive Werks. I hope that I get the chance to play it this week!

Edit: I should mention that none of the titles I mentioned, other than Chicago Express, are cube rails titles.
 
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Rick Holzgrafe
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Silverton is a game I very much enjoy, but it is less interactive than any 18xx game. There is no stock market or stock manipulation; each player grows his own railroad. Players compete for routes and to purchase claims on mines. The more players, the more competition, which will increase player interaction: I usually just play with my wife, which keeps interaction fairly low. But it's still probably going to feel less interactive than 18xx.

Mines produce goods (in the form of chips) which you then attempt to deliver to a market town. The market price for each kind of good varies during the game. Prices tend to rise if nobody is delivering that kind of good, and tend to fall (sometimes drastically) if a large amount gets delivered. Timing your deliveries can be important. This is one of the more interesting parts of the game.

Much of the game is dice-driven; if lots of dice-rolling will turn off your group, you should avoid Silverton. Likewise avoid it if you don't like long games (but an 18xx crowd should be okay with that), or if you don't like a somewhat complex set of rules and "fiddly" mechanics. (I haven't even mentioned a lot of the game's features; it's more complex than this post might lead you to think.)

In its favor, Silverton is unique in its mechanisms and is incredibly thematic and evocative of the era. I really do enjoy it and would recommend it enthusiastically to anyone who doesn't mind the caveats I laid out above.
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Peter Mumford
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NateStraight wrote:
I was thinking of picking up one of the heavier Winsome / "cube rail" titles [Chicago Express / Wabash Cannonball didn't "wow" me the one time I played; it felt a little too restrictive / uni-dimensional]. What [and what else] would you suggest?

Clippers is new to me and after one play I love it. I bought it for $10.

It is a very finely honed game of incentives. I would not call it light, but its not heavy either.. maybe its similar to Wabash, or a little longer. Its got no luck and lots of screwage.

BTW its totally a train-game!
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Lacombe
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Thanks for the suggestions so far.

Most sound fine if it were just me.

The group is not really a typical 18xx / "incentive torquing" group, though.

Other favorites of members of the group include Dominant Species, Fury of Dracula, Battlestar Galactica.

One of the guys is a history buff and is starting to get into some card-driven wargames quite a bit of late.

Suffice to say subtlety really isn't what I'm after, though it's my preference.

Not necessarily "straightforward," though.

The game should be blatantly confrontational.
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Eugene
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Clippers can be pretty mean. When all the other players conspire to divert that westbound line away from your big 8 island, rage is the usual reaction.
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Andy Leighton
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thorndor wrote:
Finally, a recommendation question in my wheel house...

First off, give CE/WB another try or two. What is there is pretty opaque and takes some digging, but it is really quite interesting.


I don't know CE has never really worked for me. It seems too prone for group-think and degenerate game-play.

I find Baltimore & Ohio a much better game.

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I watched a video of Silverton rules/review a couple of months ago and decided it didn't look very good (lots of dice and long).

Obviously I'm going to recommend Chicago Express. The game gets better the more you understand it.

B&O is basically a cube rails version of 1830. The main differences are that there is no rusting, no selling trains between companies and not much blocking. It plays quicker (3.5 hrs) but is not so confrontational.
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Garcian Smith
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Chicago Express is one of my favorite games. It's just so interesting how it plays because while it is about money, you have to think about alliances, incentives, sabotage, etc. It also plays fast even with new players.

I think you should take a look at it from a different standpoint than another 18XX title. I haven't played 18XX but I assume you have to worry about trains, routes and perhaps crops? I'm not sure what other train games are like.

I think CE is one of those games that appears to be just a "race your train" sort of game until you understand the game and see that it's more about incentive. The trains are merely a stage that people manipulate until someone walks away with the win. Yes, give it another try. I'm not saying it's the game for you, but if it isn't at least you understand fully why. Otherwise it's a game that packs heaviness into a tight time frame.
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Lacombe
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Re: Chicago Express

Yes, I've only played it once, but I have a pretty decent understanding of what it's about [not that I know how to pull it off, of course].

It struck me as a micro-action game of marginal gains, which isn't a particularly interesting model of competition to me, in general.

Among this and other things, it also seems to be a turn-order maneuvering, auction-heavy, and potentially indecisive ($1 victories) game.

None of those things interest me either. I understand what people see in it, I'll probably try it again sometime, but I really don't think it's for me.

I guess I could be wrong.
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Eugene
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photocurio wrote:
Clippers is new to me and after one play I love it.

You planning on coming down for EGG on the 25th, Peter? I'm always up for Clippers. I'd invite you to stay at our place, but my parents are visiting that week.
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Richard S
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NateStraight wrote:
a turn-order maneuvering,

somewhat
Quote:
auction-heavy,

Very! The heart of the game.

Quote:
potentially indecisive ($1 victories) game.

How so? A win is a win. Multiply everything buy one hundred if it helps.
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Edwin Nealley

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I am also getting into Winsome Games- 18xx is yet to happen here, but I have a couple waiting to be pulled out in some mega-game, all-day slot.

I have really enjoyed most of what I've played, they are a generally very solid bunch of financially driven games that are (mostly) themed on trains.

Age of Steam, Chicago Express, Paris Connection and German Railways are all growing favorites to me; I am still trying to grok Pampas Railroads and South African Railroads but think they will also be favorites as they grow more familiar to me.

I don't know if he'll weigh in here, but you may also want to look at
J C Lawrence
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and his favorites, as he seems to know Winsome Games very well, and is also very interested in 18xx games.



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Jack Neal
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paulclarke339 wrote:
I watched a video of Silverton rules/review a couple of months ago and decided it didn't look very good (lots of dice and long).


Silverton can be quite engaging. It is cube rails that have more to do with optimal routes and carrying goods, almost a precursor to Age of Steam in a lot of ways. The die rolling, while tedious, make the game enjoyable and replayable. The solitaire aspect also is necessary for my gaming tastes.

As for a recommendation on cube rails, my Open Rails Origins is print and play and is a cross between cubes and 18XX. Cleveland Interurban is also print and play but is very approachable for newbies into the train genre.

Two other titles I'm working on, "Appalachian Rails" and "Great Lakes Transit" are also cube rail games with different tacts and aspects of shares and such as applied to a solitaire experience.
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Jack Neal
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Favorite Winsome?

That's a tough one.

Baltimore and Ohio versus Chicago Express with a healthy dose of respect for Texas and Pacific and German Railways. It's a tough, tough decision. Gulf, Mobile and Ohio is also quite fun.
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Peter Mumford
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NateStraight wrote:
Re: Chicago Express
Yes, I've only played it once, but I have a pretty decent understanding of what it's about [not that I know how to pull it off, of course].
It struck me as a micro-action game of marginal gains, which isn't a particularly interesting model of competition to me, in general.
Among this and other things, it also seems to be a turn-order maneuvering, auction-heavy, and potentially indecisive ($1 victories) game.
None of those things interest me either. I understand what people see in it, I'll probably try it again sometime, but I really don't think it's for me.
I guess I could be wrong.

Nate, you're asking for a Winsome Game.. these things your not crazy about are Winsome games. Chicago Express is one of Winsome's masterpieces. Maybe they are not for you?

You mentioned looking for heavy games. I'm not sure Winsome put out any games with the dense weight of (for example) Dominant Species. Winsomes tend to have simpler rules than DS. But they will keep you up at night trying to figure out just where you went wrong.
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Peter Mumford
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I think if you want a really good, heavy rail game, skip the cubes and go for: 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight. Its outstanding really, different than any other 18XX. A wide open playing field for craziness. Plus its on a par with DS in terms of weight, and it will please your history buff gamer.
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Lacombe
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thorndor wrote:
Quote:
potentially indecisive ($1 victories) game.

How so? A win is a win. Multiply everything buy one hundred if it helps.


And noise is noise.

Unless players are playing perfectly [like your comment over in my blog on the errancy of assuming perfect rationality], there are going to be some misjudgments that lead to a player "accidentally" or "undeservedly" getting a point or two more than they "should" have. It doesn't feel right to me to have the game be decided effectively by this noise in the system.

You might say "But that just means the best player won" or even "But that just means the player who made the fewest stupid mistakes won", but I don't think either of those is quite the truth. Nobody likes to win [or lose] Puerto Rico because a n00b picked Craftsman at the wrong time, but whereas it's pretty easy to get out of the n00b-slump in Puerto Rico [say, after your first game], it seems CE is intentionally set up to obscure "good play" as much as possible, keeping players n00bs as long as possible, and making random noise determine the winner as often as possible.

I want to be able to enjoy the game during the learning process, not just after I and everyone I play with have come to grips with the butterfly effect systems in the game that cause very small actions to have very small marginal gains that award very small victories to players in multi-turn-long series of events that are near impossible to forecast.

Some like this. I don't.
 
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Lacombe
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herendil66 wrote:
I don't know if he'll weigh in here, but you may also want to look at
J C Lawrence
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and his favorites, as he seems to know Winsome Games very well, and is also very interested in 18xx games.


Yes, I'm pretty familiar with JC's comments / ratings, and also with where what I want out of a game differs from what he wants out of a game. If only all BGGers were as vocal / clear / reflective about their game preferences, we could really get something out of the ratings comments section.
 
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