Rex Gator
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I am considering Chicago Express as a game to add to my 5 player lunch gaming group. We usually have about 60-75 minutes to play. On the Chicago Express forums it seems the consensus is that you want to add this expansion if you are playing with 5 players. My question is as follows:

How much added play time should I expect if I add the expansion to a 5 player game?

am I being unrealistic to think this will be playable in a 60-75 minute window?
 
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Eric Flood
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You don't have to add both at once.

While the Erie adds another company-running-out requirement to the game, it shouldn't result in more than an extra round or two as far as game length. NG shouldn't result in much difference either.
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The game length depends on the total number of actions taken. More players just means fewer actions per player, so should be about the same total length.

Erie means 1 extra share must be sold, so will add 0-1 extra rounds to the game.

More players will make the auctions last slightly longer.

Answer: 5-10 mins?

EDIT: I misread - you are already playing 5 player. EDIT again: because I can't read. In this case it will take you 0-1 extra rounds, so allow however long 1 round takes you, plus rules explanation the first time you use it.
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Also, the Narrow gauge trains make null auctions slightly stronger and increase blocking. This might mean a longer game, especially if Wabash doesn't come out. Maybe +2 rounds in a game with lots of blocking and no-one reaches Chicago (worst case scenario).
 
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Actually I do not own the base game nor have I played it with my group. I am considering adding it to our rotation but it seemed the consensus over on the main game forum is that 5 was not a good number for the game without the expansion.

I am worried that playing the game with the expansion 5 player will push play time past the 60-75 minutes we typically take for a "lunch session".

Put a different way, how long should a 5 player "typical game" take if you include this expansion?
 
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60-75 mins sounds about right, provided the session is not punctuated by rules questions, but it's cutting it fine - it'll depend more upon whether you're a fast/slow group and group-think. If you used Erie only (no Narrow Gauge) it should fit in.

One possible option is to take a photo of the board (modern digital cameras are everywhere) and record player portfolios, rebuilding the game state only takes slightly longer than setting it up as a new game. We've done this with longer games such as 1844: Switzerland
 
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Eric Flood
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With enough experience, the base game shouldn't take longer than ~30 minutes, even with one or two new/ish players. I wouldn't recommend the expansions without at least ~10 games of the base game, even if that means they're all 5p (which is a fine game, just more difficult for new players).
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Thanks Eric. I may just go with the base game and see how it flows.
 
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Benjamin Keightley
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I agree with Eric (see my post history for 'credentials').
 
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