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Subject: Age of 1830 railways of steam to ride rss

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Matt Riddle
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Why do people love train games such? In general I like them. Why are they so popular?
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Rick Holzgrafe
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"the understandably frightening and chimeric semicolon" -- HiveGod
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See What is the essence of railroad games for a good discussion. My own response is here.

Edit: Might as well just quote my response. Then you'll have to go to the trouble of clicking through to see opposing viewpoints.

rholzgrafe wrote:
As has been mentioned, "train games" covers a lot of ground, and different train games scratch different itches.

"Building something" is definitely part of the attraction. It's great fun to build some kind of functional engine, watch it grow, and watch it work for you.

Train games are also usually connectivity contests. Players compete for real estate and connections to strategically important locations. This is a part of train games that I particularly enjoy.

Some train games involve pickup-and-deliver, with competition to make the juiciest deliveries before someone else gets to them. This also usually provides such games with their basic economic engine: you are in a race for connectivity, but expanding your railroad costs money that you can only get by delaying your expansion and making deliveries instead. For anyone who likes economic-engine games, the train model provides a pretty good one.

Some train games are also stock market games, adding another layer of interest and complexity.

Most train games involve a map, and gamers usually really like maps. (I don't know why, but they do. I do too!)

Some train games have historical context, which is an attraction they share with some wargames.

And finally, as several others have pointed out, trains are just plain cool. Chugga-chugga-whoooo!
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Marshall Miller
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The Warren is a roleplaying game about intelligent rabbits trying to make the best of a world filled with hazards, predators and, worst of all, other rabbits.
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For me, train games are all about planning and the tension that builds while you work to see if you can execute your plan. In some games the tension comes from fear that someone else will block your route (e.g. Ticket to Ride) or deliver the good you want before you (e.g. deliveries in Age of Steam). In other games the tension comes from waiting to see if you will have enough money (e.g. taking out money in Age of Steam). In some games, the tension is all in the timing (e.g. when will dividends pay in Union Pacific, buying trains in 1830). Lastly, sometimes its just the tension of the race to the finish (e.g. Empire Builder). In almost every train game, I can literally feel my blood pressure rising as I watch my opponent's hands to see if their move will crush my carefully laid plans or allow me to keep things rolling for one more turn.
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Matt Riddle
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Good answer. People like routes
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Ben Pinchback
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Is it the routes or the trains themselves? Maybe both? Kids love trains. Adults love trains. Maybe it's one theme that just never gets old.
 
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