Trains Board Game
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- 2012 Meeples Choice Nominee
- A game for 2 to 4 players with a 45 minute playtime
- A big game with a 2 - sided board
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
The railways of today are amazing things and bullet trains, freight trains and more keep entire countries running. From transporting the populace to carrying essential materials, trains play an integral part in a nation’s power and economic development.You will start with a small set of cards, but by building a more effective deck throughout the game, you will be able to place stations and lay rails over the maps of Osaka or Tokyo. Gain enough points from your railways and you will ultimately manage the most powerful railroads in modern Japan!
From the Manufacturer
Manage Modern Railways. The railways of today are amazing things and bullet trains, freight trains and more keep entire countries running. From transporting the populace to carrying essential materials, trains play an integral part in a nation's power and economic development. You will start with a small set of cards, but by building a more effective deck throughout the game, you will be able to place stations and lay rails over the maps of Osaka or Tokyo. Gain enough points from your railways and you will ultimately manage the most powerful railroads in modern Japan. This English edition of Trains, designed by Hisashi Hayashi, features updated graphics, artwork and streamlined card abilities. With extensive replay value, Trains is one game you won't want to leave the station without.
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This item Trains Board Game
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|Sold By||Edu-K-Fun||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||AGY Trading||Amazon.com|
|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||11.7 x 11.7 x 3.6 in||11.75 x 11.75 x 3 in||3.5 x 11.8 x 11.8 in||11.75 x 11.75 x 3 in||11.81 x 3.54 x 11.81 in||3 x 11.8 x 11.8 in|
|Item Weight||4.4 lbs||2.8 lbs||4.38 lbs||2 lbs||3.09 lbs||3.8 lbs|
Top customer reviews
1) Train theme: this is fairly obvious but does make the game more family friendly. It is nice to have a non-violent, competitive game in my library.
2) Board element: There are two methods of building up victory cards. First, buying victory cards from the supply (very similar to Dominion). Second, building train routes to connect to different cities. The second option doesn't junk up your deck with useless cards, and adds a strategic element to the game. You can build tracks to hamper your opponents progress, or even turtle up on the other side of the map to try and isolate yourself. This element is probably the largest difference between other deck-building games.
3) No limits on action cards: most deck-building games limit the number of action cards that can be played. It might seem that removing this limit would reduce the strategy, but really it just makes it more likely that all the cards will be explored. Too often I have played Dominion and several cards in the supply pile are not even touched (don't want to junk up the hand!).
4) Dual action/money: Played action cards provide currency for buys during a turn. Again, increasing the probability of diversifying the cards in your deck.
5) Waste cards: Building tracks or stations, even buying action cards, will result in your deck filling up with waste cards. Waste cards do nothing (they aren't even worth negative points), they just slow down your ability to play. Fortunately, you can skip a turn to trash all waste cards in your hand, which is a nice mechanic.
The only thing I don't like about the game is the choice of packaging. The inside of the box is broken into two troughs, with some foam padding to keep the cards from sliding around. It's obvious that the box is made to accommodate future expansions, which I give them kudos for, but it makes it very difficult to organize and setup the game. The included dividers are nice, but don't help much when it comes time to clean up. Other than that, the components are very nice and I expect will hold up for years to come.
I do hope to see some expansions, maybe including some attack cards.
The game is for 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, and takes about 45 minutes to an hour or so to complete a game. The game ends when any 4 card decks get bought out, or when all the stations have ben placed, or when a player runs out of all their wooden cubes (each player has 20). Most of the points will be tallied at the end, but some cards may let you score in-game. There are a lot of cards here (many reminiscent of ones seen in Dominion), and randomizers are included and clearly marked on the card face (unlike Dominion). A larger file card is included to help sort the cards in a Rolodex-style fashion (the bottom of the plastic tray insert is corrugated to allow for card traction). The box comes with a bunch of foam pads that can be removed later to help store future card expansions. The rule book is 12 pages (including a reference sheet on the back cover), but with a lot of white space, large font size, and pictures, so it's really not all that hard to learn. If you know Dominion, you already know 80% of how to play Trains.
The production values are high, the cards are thick and have a nice sheen to them with lots of nice, photo-realistic illustrations of railroad life, and everything seems durable and well put-together.
My only real complaints are:
1) I wish the game used little plastic bullet trains instead of wooden cubes (and the blue player color is super dark and easy to get lost on the maps).
2) The "mountain" hexes look like forests. Seriously, the picture is just a bunch of trees, no mountain visible. Get a clue, designers and artists! If you call something a "mountain," it better look like one.
3) The maps look rather amateur, just like they did in the original Japanese limited edition. How hard would it have been to have a better artist make the maps look super cool? At least the scoring track around the board is nice, with plenty of room for scoring markers to share the same space.
4) The game goes a bit too heavy on the icons, so many cards have zero text, just symbols you have to memorize (there aren't very many, but it is annoying at first).
5) Some cards provide BOTH action(s) and money, but they aren't readily apparent because they are color-coded red (action) not blue (money), and the designers screwed up by not making such cards coded red AND blue (like Dominion does for treasure/victory combo cards) so they are easy to tell apart. Also, a money card ("Tourist Train") also scores you one in-game victory point each time you play it, but it looks too much like the regular money train cards and it's easy to forget to score it as a result.
6) The "Tourist Train" card may be overpowered according to some players. I ignored it the first game and bought none while my opponent had 3--I lost on a tie. In the next game, I bought 4 of them early and often (my opponent bought 3 of them but not until at least mid-game) and I easily won, scoring off the chart. So if this card is available to buy in the game, you have to buy some and do it fast or you might be guaranteeing yourself a loss no matter what happens on the board. The safest thing to do if Tourist Train is OP is just not to use it.
7) There are multiple cards that discard cards or trash waste, but only one card that trashes money, and one card that trashes itself for money. There are a fair number of boring, underpowered action cards and expensive rail laying cards that negate some situational penalties, but the latter are nearly worthless in a 2p game. Some of these cards suck and will never get used. Although that leaves a fair number of interesting, fun, and decent cards to choose from, the game is screaming for more variety and better cards, including a card like "Chapel" in Dominion that lets you trash multiple cards of whatever you want.
8) The game needs bigger money and victory point cards like the Platinum and Colonies from Dominion Dominion: Prosperity. None of the victory point cards are as good as in Dominion but (mostly) cost the same--this seems intentional, however, as you cannot ignore the board in favor of a strategy of buying victory point cards alone--you will lose this way, so that's a good thing, but I'd like to see one more Victory Point card comparable to Colony. And the money-trashing card, "Temporary Timetable," becomes a deck clogger once you upgrade most of your money cards and/or one of the bigger money card stacks runs out and you have nothing to upgrade to.
I know these sound like a lot of things are wrong with the game, but they are small enough--and the rest of the game is awesome enough--that I can still highly recommend it. Trains isn't perfect, but it is a great game. The theme is tightly integrated (unlike Dominion's loosely medieval-inspired nonsense), and frankly, Trains feels more like I'm building a railroad than Ticket to Ride ever did. It's also easier to learn and a lot more fun than Power Grid, with way more variety. This is a better game than Dominion without much added complexity. In fact, it's the added complexity and challenge of the maps that helps make it so much better. Once Trains gets a few card and map expansions under its belt, I doubt Dominion will ever hit the table again with my group.
By the way, if you can't wait for the official expansions, you can get some free promo maps online at Board Game Geek. Maps so far include GenCon (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin area), Northeastern USA, China, Germany, Nagoya (Japan), and Poland. Also, you can find rules for running Trains as a 5 player game there. Basically, you deal everyone their usual starting hand of 10 except they get 1 less normal Train (Money) and 1 Landfill (trash Waste) card instead, then add two random extra card stacks to buy from, and the game end changes to when any 5 stacks run out, or all stations are built, or all rail (cubes) have been laid. You'll need to add 21 tiny wooden cubes from another game you own in a color that is not red, green, blue, or yellow for the 5th player (one is a score marker, the rest are rail tokens).
UPDATE #1: Played 8 two-player games now and still absolutely loving it (though I discovered a few more nitpicks I've added to my original review). I can tell games with 3 or more players are going to be tough and brutal, hotly contested affairs and can't wait to try some!
UPDATE #2: Finally have a 3 and 4 player game under my belt, and it does radically change things. The maps become infinitely tighter with lots of interplayer conflict (or at least the potential for it), and card stacks, stations, and cubes run out much faster. I love 2p Trains, but 3 and 4 are even more fun (but lower scoring). You pretty much have to build into opponent-held cities to win. 3 of the 4 new players loved it (the other wasn't sure yet, but he lost badly). All were experienced Dominion players. 2 of them thought it wasn't quite as good as Dominion (at least not yet), and 2 of them thought it was already better. Everyone agreed it needs more maps and cards, but I'm sure those are in the works. I've played all the cards and 3-4 player games now, so the only thing left to try is the unofficial 5 player rules. Will post my results as soon as I can put a 5p game together.