Thursday, August 12, 2010

On The Horizon: a sequel to Chicago Express...

A new train game seems to be released every few weeks, so many so that I don't play many.  I do love some great train-themed games, though, like Ticket To Ride and Age of Steam.  One particularly good train game from a few years ago is Chicago Express.  It is short, heavy, and totally luck-free.  I can't claim to have ever grasped the right way to play CE, trying to balance investing in successful companies whilst not diluting one's profits too much.  My friends weren't too fond of the heavy calculations but the math crowd I game with eat this one up.

A (sort-of) sequel has already been released by Winsome Games called Preußische Ostbahn but like most games from the very small Winsome Games, the print-run was limited and the quality is... er, lacklustre. Queen Games, released CE, is now releasing PO as German Railways so I expect the quality to be fantastic. The game bears many similarities to CE but differs greatly when it comes to the fascinating new turn mechanism. Turn order is determined before every round by drawing lots from a pool of cubes put together by all the players. The persons with the highest income/score puts only one cube in while the person with the least puts in cubes equal to the number of players. Since only a subset of these cubes is pulled out before scoring, it is entirely possible for a player to never get a turn. Interesting.

These players can, of course, still take part in the auctions and purchase stock but may never run the train track for their companies. This makes a huge strategic shift - dilution does not occur in German Railways so you basically want to buy into companies that are thriving and let the others do the work. One reviewer on BGG describes winning the game without ever playing a single turn. He just purchased the right portfolio of stocks. Crazy.

Sounds good, eh?
A picture of the PO board thanks to BGG user duartec

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