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Subject: Paris Connection Review: as Fun French Burlesque Show rss

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Kevin Gordish
United States
Westland
Michigan
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Many thanks to John Bohrer of Winsome Games for this review. He was instrumental in helping me acquire a copy Paris Connection from Queen Games, a reprint of a 2010 Essen Winsome Games release of Paris Connection. Winsome Games games puts out some bitchin fun train games, Baltimore and Ohio is one that comes to mind.

Last Friday the physiology department hosted the annual holiday party. The burnout of classes made refreshments and the assortment of salty Chinese Food was a nice respite. Even better was the after-party at the local brewery with flowing pints of oatmeal stout. Oatmeal good for breakfast and dinner. Johnny Cash was right, "And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, So I had one more for dessert." Every year at the party I try to bring a light new game to introduce to my non-gamer colleagues. This year I broke out Paris Connection and by the end of a three player game, my friends were shocked about how fun this new game was.

When I ordered the game I told my girlfriend I was expecting a new game to come in the mail and to keep a look out for a box. "What's this one about?" "Paris Connection is a resource management game involving the pimping out of Paris Hookers. You have to keep a strong pimp hand and have the most money at the end of the game." "Really?" she asked. "Laughingly, Nooooo, it's another train game." "The first choice sounded like more fun."

Paris Connection is a light train game involving a business management/stock trading game mechanism. The wooden trains included in the game serve dual purposes: they represent built track and when in hand they represent shares in each color company. The game plays three to six players.

At startup, trains of each color are placed around the Eiffel Tower and on the valuation track. The rest of the trains are placed in the bag, depending of the number of players, a varying amount of trains are secretly drawn and placed beyond player's shield. This starting hand represents the shares you have an interest in. It has officially been determined that any game with player shields and secret planning instantly rules! The remaining game in the bag are placed in appropriate piles around the board.

The game is simple, but strategic and consists of only two actions:
A. Build Track: Take up five trains of one color and build track
B. Exchange/Purchase Stock: Take one share from beyond your shield and exchange it for up to two shares of another color.

The rules of building track are stream lined. Two trains can occupy the rural hexes (green) and only one train can be placed into a city. Trains are built adjacent to the starting spots surrounding the Eiffel Tower. Building track has two effects on gameplay: its dimishes the stock piles and when a train is built into a city it raises the stock price by a corresponding color amount. Smart placement can quickly raise the price of a stock. The tension begins when the price of the stock is starting to increase when to start purchasing shares and dump underperforming companies. Will enough stock still be available to purchase on your turn.

The game ends under two conditions: there is only one color of train in the stock piles (5 of 6 colors have been exhausted) or a player has built a train in Marseille. Of all the cities, building in Marseille, has the greatest benefit because it is worth the most, four points. At game end, shares are totaled at the current stock valuation multiplier. Dependent on the number of players there is a varying share holding limit. For every share above the limit there is a twenty point penalty. This has not been a factor yet in my game play sessions. I imagine Paris Connection with larger groups, there might be an opportunity to benefits from going over the share limit if the price was right.

The board is sharp looking, but it must be said, the six accompanying little boards to place the trains onto are completely pointless. The intent to the show players available trains that can be used to build or purchase. Why spend time organizing the little trains onto the boards? Making small piles near the board is sufficient and reduces the setup time by a few minutes. Honestly, the six pieces of cardboard could be used as firestarter and not change gameplay. Also, the trains are a bit thin and can be sometimes difficult to pick up. When building track usually players pick up five trains and slide them on the board to the planned hexes they intend to build.

Overall, Paris Connection is a fast light game with some strategy.

Thumbs Up
Quick and Plays up to Six.
Board Looks Great
Great to Introduce to Non-Gamers or Physiologists.

Thumbs Down
Not as satisfying as Chicago Express, 2038 or Baltimore and Ohio, but those Trains Games are a Horse of a Different Color.
Not as fun as Paris Prostitutes.

Author of Dice Slam
http://diceslam.blogspot.com/
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J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
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Re: Paris Connection Review
radiosonicfan wrote:
...the six accompanying little boards to place the trains onto are completely pointless. The intent to the show players available trains that can be used to build or purchase. Why spend time organizing the little trains onto the boards?


Because good play requires to knowing exactly how many shares of each company are in player hands. Thus the game commences with each player noting how many shares of each company are held across the players, and then proceeds with each player watching the other players and their choices and deducing both their holdings and their understanding of other player's holdings, and using their own turn to guide other player's to conclusions they prefer to thereby incent them to advantageous choices.

Quote:
Making small piles near the board is sufficient and reduces the setup time by a few minutes.


Counting a pile is a hassle and takes longer throughout the game. Arranging the grid once at the start is faster over the course of the game.

Quote:
Overall, Paris Connection is a fast light game with some strategy.


I find it a notably heavy game, one that is both subtle and very hard to play well.
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Dan Foster
United States
Eagle Bend
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Re: Paris Connection Review
clearclaw wrote:

I find it a notably heavy game, that is both subtle and very hard to play well.


Yeah, if this game were quick and light, after 10 plays or so I should have more than just one victory. And I had no idea what I did to win that game. It of course was the only game that ended by a train hitting Marseille.

I still have no clue how to properly play this game out, oy!
 
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Tim Koppang
United States
Westmont
Illinois
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"It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy..."
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"For the listener, who listens in the snow, and, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." -- Wallace Stevens
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Re: Paris Connection Review
I look forward to trying this game out more and more. Thank you for the review.
 
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Kendahl Johnson
United States
Albuquerque
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Re: Paris Connection Review
Top game on my wishlist. This one is going in my next game order. Thanks for the review and the comments.
 
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paul Engle
United States
milford
New Jersey
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Re: Paris Connection Review
I have had alot of fun playing this game. I don't think it is heavy just some people get confused at what is going on.

The only "Must Play" strategy IMHO is to get the max (without going over) # of trains/stock you can possess without penalty before the game ends.

From then on it is just figuring out what others are going for getting there first and destroy other companies you don't own.(someone will eventually make that train route to no where in your game)

Going 1st I think is a disadvantage.

Watch what stock gets picked 1st sometimes that's a losing position.
(also look at possibilities for growth,just because alot of stock is available doesn't mean it has scoring opportunities)

Since getting to the top # of shares is so important sometimes you pick a stock and dump it in future turns just to get to that magic number. I lay very little track and mostly play off of other peoples plays, the more time you lay track the more others are going for those valuable shares and then they are gone before getting around to you again.

Oh and never have I had a game end by going to marcelle(sp?) If someone gets closer I just destroy that chance (breaks the get the most shares strategy if that happens)

Paul.
 
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Jenny Nguyen
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Bungarribee
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Re: Paris Connection Review
I think it's simple enough that it can be played 'lightly' but it's actually quite a deep and satisfying game between like minded players. My only annoyance with the game is setting up, considering how quickly it can end.
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Bruce Murphy
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Pyrmont
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littleboy wrote:
in terms of stock counting, why not just have a track or grid with a count, and use 1 cube per colour as a marker, like a standard decreasing "VP" track. And then just use a big stash of cubes to grab from for your stocks. Seems like it would be a lot less faff than messing about neatly arranging multiple tokens needlessly


Except that now you have to count things initially and then keep two things in sync in a way that will be really bad if it goes wrong. If this bothers you, better to make up some sort of long track with small depressions for each train piece that is easy to sort pieces into. I'm tempted to put something like that together, actually.

B>
 
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Bruce Murphy
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littleboy wrote:
not sure I understand Bruce? isn't the number of trains (cubes) fixed at the game start, just put a coloured cube on the relevant number on your vp style track, everytime you lay track, move down the appropriate coloured token, every time you trade stock, increase one colour on the track, and reduce the other one by two. isn't that how it works?


No, each cube will start at a different number due to initial stock distribution, so you need to carefully count all the cubes/trains to start with anyway, and then you have extra work to do where they have to stay exactly in sync or you'll deeply mislead folks.

A physical indented track that assisted with the counting process would be much more effective than double-accounting. I'll look at making up an example one when I get home.

B>
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