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HellRail (Second Perdition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session Report rss

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Matthew Baldwin
United States
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This was the second time I'd played Hellrail, and this session confirmed what I already suspected: Hellrail is a
great little game. Players engineer tiny trains, laying track and delivering damned souls to the nine circles of
Hell. One thing I noticed this go-round, though: the "Special Effects" of the Circles now strike me as being
almost superfluous - indeed, even a detriment - to the game. Much of what I like about Hellrail is its relative
simplicity and elegance, something that the Circles' powers (which are arbitrary and vary greatly in usefulness)
detract from. The next time I pull this one out I may propose we try it without the Circle Effects and see if that
improves the game.

After the morass of rules that I had to wade through for Overthrone, explaining Hellrail was a relative snap. I
had a definite advantage, having played Hellrail before. I held onto my high-scoring cards and made longer
trips to deliver payloads, instead of making a number of short, low-paying trips - a strategy that seems to work
fairly well. In fact, moments before the deck was exhausted, I was certain that I had the game in the bag. Then
disaster struck. William landed on the Circle that makes everyone roll a die and derail if they throw a "6". I
rolled first and got a "6", forcing me to discard my whole hand and return to the Gate. Then Matt rolled a six as
well, suffering the same fate. We decided right then that if William rolled a "6" that we would quit
immediately, because rolling a "666" in a round of Hellrail can't possibly be a good omen. Luckily, William
didn't derail as well, but so many cards had been discarded that the game went from "nearly over" to "halfway
through" in a moment. I wouldn't have minded, except that I wasn't sure if I could maintain my lead. In fact,
for the second half of the game I managed to make only one delivery, and my lead was seriously eroded. But
when the draw deck was finally exhausted, I still held the #1 spot with 52, while Matt trailed with 49 and
William came in third with 48. Close one, that.
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