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Subject: More than String Railways' big brother rss

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Gunther Schmidl
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When I initially read about Paperclip Railways, I thought, basically, "it's like String Railways... except with paperclips instead of strings."

How very not true this turns out to be.

Sure, the game is definitely inspired by String Railways, and Tony Boydell admits this openly, but it's more of an older brother -- or, actually, more than even an older brother; a disciple who outshines his master.

It's a very clever game with a number of interesting tactics we discovered on our first play, and I'm sure there are several others we've yet to discover.

Two to five players can play on a very constrained field that enforces both interaction between the players and very creative tile laying in order to escape victory point penalties. Stations can be placed more freely, but penalties are higher.

And it's the stations that really turn Paperclip Railways into a whole different game.

The "Brake Van" (whatever that means) Edition of the game comes with a huge stack of stations that are both places to go and currency to pay for paperclips with. The second edition will come with even more cards.

One thing I've noticed that indicates whether I'm going to like a game is how hard it is to pick which cards to discard for payment and which to actually play. Race for the Galaxy is a game that does this fantastically; London is one, too; and so is this.

Each card gives you up to three paperclips to build a route with. Some stations may add further, free clips, but you don't always want to build the longest route possible. Or do you? One of the strategies we saw was trying to get as many long routes as possible as quickly as possible in order to trigger one of the ending conditions; plus the player with the longest route gets a hefty VP bonus. On the other hand, hitting as many station special effects as possible requires one to be more sparing with the clips. Decisions, decisions....

There is more, of course, and all of it is clever. Certain stations only allow building to certain other stations; there are minimum lengths for the routes; there are limits to how many connections can be made to a station, and there are special effects that will leave an opponent cursing as their plans are suddenly thrown into disarray when the evil blue cubes arrive and blockade their stations.

Really, the different stations are what this game is all about. There are already two promotional stations, and given the designer's statement that he basically can't stop churning out new cards, the replay value should be, basically, endless.

The mechanism for dealing with promos, too, is genius. No need to try and match the promo cards' thickness and paper color and size exactly; the game provides three empty tiles that can be thrown into the station mix and are, upon drawing, replaced with a free pick from the available promos.

Of course, a review wouldn't be a review without some minor criticisms, so here goes...

The way the edges of the play area are set up make it extremely hard to guess where the ACTUAL demarcations are. String Railways uses, well, a string, which makes it abundantly clear where the field ends; here, you have to use your imagination and it's almost impossible in two-player. I'm thinking of just grabbing the strings and placing them as a visual helper. However, I'm also pretty sure this is much less of a problem in 4-player; not sure about 3 and 5. I'm bad at visualisation.

The cards move around easily. The game comes with blu-tak , but I wouldn't want to have to stick it under each card, then clean it back off. There's no real solution for this other than "be careful".

So, yes, I'll be picking up those extra stations in Essen. Put me down for a copy?
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Adam Badura
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What two promos? I expect one of them to be Paperclip Railways: UK Games Expo but what about the other one? How to get it if one isn't going to be in Essen?
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Anthony Boydell
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adambadura wrote:
What two promos? I expect one of them to be Paperclip Railways: UK Games Expo but what about the other one? How to get it if one isn't going to be in Essen?


our website shows a list of current promos - some are print n play online, some are hard-copy from shows...

i could be persuaded to send the occasional promo in PDF...
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Gunther Schmidl
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tonyboydell wrote:
adambadura wrote:
What two promos? I expect one of them to be Paperclip Railways: UK Games Expo but what about the other one? How to get it if one isn't going to be in Essen?


our website shows a list of current promos - some are print n play online, some are hard-copy from shows...

i could be persuaded to send the occasional promo in PDF...


Ok, I'll send the boys over for some "persuasion"... or is that not what you meant? devil
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Anthony Boydell
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gschmidl wrote:
tonyboydell wrote:
adambadura wrote:
What two promos? I expect one of them to be Paperclip Railways: UK Games Expo but what about the other one? How to get it if one isn't going to be in Essen?


our website shows a list of current promos - some are print n play online, some are hard-copy from shows...

i could be persuaded to send the occasional promo in PDF...


Ok, I'll send the boys over for some "persuasion"... or is that not what you meant? devil


Keep an eye on the Surprised Stare facebook pages...
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