Thursday, 19 September 2013

String Railway

I've never understood the whole train theme genre of games and haven't been able to get into them really. String Railways didn't really change that, but it brought "trains" to a tolerable level - a 20 minute light filler that is visually attractive and is unique from any other game in my collection.

Objective: Score victory points by placing your strings, representing your railroads, onto stations cards. The winner is the player with the most victory points at the end of the 5th round.

The "game board" is created out of a large, looped, black string.

The smaller grey string is placed inside the board representing the mountain.

The blue string is similarly placed representing the river.

Players choose one of the marks on the black border string, and place their Starting Station card. They take five strings in their colour, four short and one long, and the game is ready to begin.

On a player's turn, they turn over a station card from the deck, place it anywhere inside the playing area, and then lay down one of their strings (railroads). Strings must begin and end on different station cards. After a player has placed a railroad, they score points scored based on the stations it is going through.

There are eight different types of stations, each with specific scoring rules - clearly indicated by consistent use of icons on the cards themselves. Most stations simply award points for an initial connection, and impose a limit on the number of players that can connect to that location. A couple of them award points to the owner (the first player to connect to it), but then remove points for any future connections by other players. Players also lose points for building over the river, mountain, as well as other player's railroads that are not inside a station card.
My Thoughts: I loved the creative feel to it, playing was fun, the components were surprisingly fiddly but easy to understand. I like how fast you can teach players and that it doesn't take too long also the vibrant colours. I think that String Railway works nice as a family or something to play at the start of your night.

Who Would Enjoy Playing String Railway?

Family Gamers: Choo Choo All Aboard, String Railway will do great in a family gaming setting, very colourful and visually attractive, rules are simple to learn, setting up and playing are quick, theme is neutral and teaches some math skills with both adding and subtracting involved frequently in the scoring.

Casual Gamers: Everyone likes playing a fun new game with unique mechanics, String Railway provides some light gameplay where you don't have to be paying that much attention. Turns go around quickly and you can easily enjoy conversation, company, and beer without grinding the game to a halt. That being said there is still enough of a game that is enjoyable to play, making routes with string is actually pretty fun and a very different mechanic that makes String Railway leaves a refreshing taste in your mouth.

Gamer Gamers: Do you own every train game that exists? Then maybe string railway is for you. Seeing as luck is a big determining factor of who wins and there are not any real tough decisions to be made I would not recommend this to a serious gamer. On the other hand "Gamer Gamers" tend to have collections and non serious gaming friends. Because of the uniqueness of String Railway and lower price point I would recommend it even if you only get a few plays here and there.

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