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train games

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jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008

In Oracle's original thread about making a train game, I think I said something like "there are already a lot of train games, so it will be hard to original", which of course, created a challenge for me to try to cook up something original.

I'll first point out that I haven't played many, if any, train games, but it seems that many/most involve things like track laying and/or stock speculation. So to be original, I want to do something that doesn't include either of those.

The board, then, will be a preexisting network of train routes, owned by various companies, and players must in some way gain access to those routes to do something; presumably to transport commodities to get payoffs.

Question: are there any games that already do this? I'm sure there are, I just want to know what they are so I can see how similar they may or may not be to the more specific set of ideas I'm working on. My guess is that to the extent I've described it here, my idea is so far a fairly standard "pick up and deliver" game, but I think with some good mechanics, there could be room for something original here, as long as I stay away from track laying and stock speculation.

Any train games you know of that don't use either of these, but do feature "using pre-existing tracks to deliver goods", would be most useful. I'm aware of Rail Baron, but that seems different because players are trying to gain control of specific routes, which is basically like track-laying, in the sense that the players will have routes that are "theirs" and other routes that are "other peoples". I'm looking to do a game with no track ownership. (the routes are owned by "companies" who are NPCs, in a sense)

Thanks for any help you can provide!

-Jeff

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Re: train games

jwarrend wrote:
So to be original, I want to do something that doesn't include either of those.

You could do a Train Heist game, with players starting on horseback, catching up to the train, and ending with a brawl atop the moving train... object is to either be the last man ON the train (thereby getting all the loot yourself)- or just get the most loot...

Another idea is something like the movie Speed... some out of control train where you have to keep the speed up and make sure the junctions are switched properly.

- Seth

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: train games

sedjtroll wrote:
jwarrend wrote:
So to be original, I want to do something that doesn't include either of those.

You could do a Train Heist game, with players starting on horseback, catching up to the train, and ending with a brawl atop the moving train... object is to either be the last man ON the train (thereby getting all the loot yourself)- or just get the most loot...

Another idea is something like the movie Speed... some out of control train where you have to keep the speed up and make sure the junctions are switched properly.

- Seth

Hey, not bad! But maybe I should have been more specific. I am, indeed, looking to be "original" in the sense of not just creating the same train game that everyone else has created. But, I would still like to build on the structure and feel of those other games. I want the game to be an economic game; I want you to feel like you need to get something to some other location, and must use the right trains/routes to get your goods to where they need to go. But I don't want a major component of this to be "laying track" or "buying shares in companies". There's more in my head than I'm fleshing out here, but already up to this point, I think there's enough that if there's an overt similarity to another game, someone should be able to spot it if they happen to have played whatever that game is...

I think your Speed idea sounds neat, although I have no idea how you'd make it into a game. I'm sure it can be done...

Scurra
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train games

The reason train games eschew predesigned boards is that it restricts the range of strategies possible - if you already know that there is a route from city A to city B, then it becomes a case of calculating the most effective return from that route.

What the 18xx boards do (pretty effectively IMO) is to "force" certain routes by means of geographical features - which makes them more of a simulation. IOW there will be a route from city A to city B but it may not appear at the same time as the historical original and may veer slightly from the actual.

I tried to take this one step further in a design I once did based around the London Underground. The reason some of the lines were built where they were was that the investors speculatively bought land out in the sticks and then paid the companies to build lines out there in the hope that this would encourage investment in the area (admittedly this is a highly inaccurate rendition of the history, but it's good enough for a game!)

But frankly, finding something that doesn't turn in to Rail Baron (or even Union Pacific) may be trickier than it sounds.

For reference, the railway game I am developing (Cash on Delivery) doesn't have fixed tracks, but it does have a deliberately tightly constrained board which means that routes are pretty fixed - the trick is choosing between controlling the routes and/or delivering goods over the routes. There are no shares in the game: the economic game is built around delivering goods to the right places in the most efficient way. But I quickly rejected a "fixed track" board because it limited my options so much. Now the game has a track-building element, it opens up things like sabotaging other people's tracks, building in awkward places, controlling the key crossing points and so on. If that aspect wasn't there, the game would be very dull. But if you can find a way to do it, then more power to your elbow :)

Oracle
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Re: train games

jwarrend wrote:
In Oracle's original thread about making a train game, I think I said something like "there are already a lot of train games, so it will be hard to original", which of course, created a challenge for me to try to cook up something original.

Hmmm, you talked me out of an idea just so you could use it yourself (j/k) :).

jwarrend wrote:
The board, then, will be a preexisting network of train routes, owned by various companies, and players must in some way gain access to those routes to do something; presumably to transport commodities to get payoffs.

Question: are there any games that already do this?

Take a look at Pacific Northwest Rails. It sounds like exactly what you're talking about.

Jason

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: train games

Oracle wrote:
jwarrend wrote:
In Oracle's original thread about making a train game, I think I said something like "there are already a lot of train games, so it will be hard to original", which of course, created a challenge for me to try to cook up something original.

Hmmm, you talked me out of an idea just so you could use it yourself (j/k) :).

Heh heh heh. Actually, I was surprised you switched the theme. I liked that you were making a train game without track laying. But I think the theme probably does work better for city building, or at least, you've made it work with the mechanics you've chosen.

jwarrend wrote:
The board, then, will be a preexisting network of train routes, owned by various companies, and players must in some way gain access to those routes to do something; presumably to transport commodities to get payoffs.

Question: are there any games that already do this?

Take a look at Pacific Northwest Rails. It sounds like exactly what you're talking about.

Thanks for the tip! It sounds like it has some similarities, but the mechanics I'm envisioning are still a bit different, though perhaps not different enough that someone would publish it or anything. But from a design standpoint, it's still worth going a little further, perhaps.

Thanks for the info!

-Jeff

Anonymous
train games

Quote:
You could do a Train Heist game, with players starting on horseback, catching up to the train, and ending with a brawl atop the moving train... object is to either be the last man ON the train (thereby getting all the loot yourself)- or just get the most loot...

that sounds like a cheapass game i played one time, i think called zombie brains or something like that.

IngredientX
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Joined: 07/26/2008
train games

Leto wrote:
Quote:
You could do a Train Heist game, with players starting on horseback, catching up to the train, and ending with a brawl atop the moving train... object is to either be the last man ON the train (thereby getting all the loot yourself)- or just get the most loot...

that sounds like a cheapass game i played one time, i think called zombie brains or something like that.

I think that's "The Great Brain Robbery."

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