Train games ladder

Train games are fascinating and provide hours and hours of fun. There are so many different types of train games with varying degrees of complexity and fun. There are the kids games, the gateway games, the more complex but less of a gamer’s game and of course the hardcore gamer’s games. My personal experience with train games at the moment is only about 5 games. They include the 3 Ticket to ride games, Transeuropa and Railroad Tycoon. I can already see a ladder forming in my gaming experience with train games.

The best intro to train games is Transeuropa. a very simple game that introduces the concept of having to form and connect a network of trains. Every player has a set of coloured cities and they have to connect all of them before anyone else by placing tracks on the board. The best part of this game is it is quick fast and fun and perfect for introducing anyone to board games especially train games.

The next step up the ladder could be Ticket to ride. Of course there are instances where people have played TTR first and then found Transeuropa to bee far simpler. But TTR establishes the concept of a personal network of trains as opposed to the general network in Transeuropa. So each personal network hopes to achieve destination tickets or routes and awards points. There is an element of set collection and the game can also get quite tense and exciting with routes getting blocked! Ticket to ride – Europe is an extension of the basic TTR with a few additional features. Personally for me I’d rather give this a miss and go to the Marklin edition directly. Europe is good if you get tired of playing too much TTR as we did in the beginning because of less access to more games!

Ticket to ride – Marklin is the next step and the best of the TTR series. I the dimension of passengers, and delivery and introduces this as a precursor to the goods delivery mechanic of more complex train games.

Railroad tycoon is at the moment my highest step in the train games ladder. It kind of culminates in all the mechanics that I have exposed to like routes, laying tracks, delivering goods and achieving goals. It beautifully introduces the concept of finance and money in to the game. It also adds the auction mechanic to determine the start player for each turn. all these things add a wholesome experience to RRT and makes it the perfect train game that I have played so far.

So what next? My appetite is whetted. I love train games and I want all of them. I have looked up Union Pacific, Age of Steam and the 18xx series as the culmination in this ladder. I hope to fit in more games with different degrees of complexity into the their appropriate steps in the ladder so that a more complete view at most of the games is possible. But for a newbie like me with about 1 1/2 years of strategy board gaming this seems like a nice way to go through this.


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