Limited Access - Back 9th Feb 2018
This review is based on a 5 player game, which only one of us had played before.
We played this on 1st November 2005 at the All Aboard games night. The first thing I noticed was the box, sitting on top of Alhambra - same publisher, same box size. The artwork is very nice and makes the game look enticing (2000 version).
Once we figured out the plyer number cards, we were quickly able to set the board up. You notice that there are a variable number of wooden trains (well, more like old-fashioned loaves of bread -no wheels, no windows), because the number of playing pieces depends on the number of players. The scoring track runs around the outside, with the starting stations inside that. Four bonus destinations are grouped in a square in the middle of the board. The playing tiles are shuffled, and we placed ours in those middle stations, which doesn't block any important information.
Youngest player starts, by drawing a tile and playing it anywhere legal on the board. The aim is to make the highest scoring tracks (one point per tile crossed or re-crossed) for your colour, scoring double if you connect to the centre squares. You can't block a corner or an opponent at their station, unless there are no other legal moves. If you don't like your first tile, you can choose another but then must play that 2nd tile. We played that you then had to keep that first tile for your next turn.
In the basic game you have to lay your tiles all facing the same way with a red arrow. This kept the game quick, even with five. There was plenty of table talk and attepts to persuade the tile to be played elsewhere! Scoring is continuous as soon as you finish a route, and you then remove the scopring train. Every train scores by the end, which is a nice mechanic. There was a ten point spread from first to last, so it was a good close game.
The rules and tactics were easily grasped. Playing the more advanced version with four times more playing options would be interesting. The pieces are nice Euro wood, and the art style is very authentic to the original Paris Metro station style. The only thing that might cause problems is the squiggly train tracks. There are hard to see in poor light or with bad reflections, and it can be hard to see your route without physically tracing it. Since all the pieces have to look the same and be able to join every other piece, I guess there's not much that can be done, except perhaps a matt finish to the tiles. i didn't find it too much of a problem, and enjoyed being surprised by how good some of the routes were when counted.
Everone enjoyed this one, and I would be tempted for a train mad younger friend.