Last month was my first participation in the Blogger board game club. I was sent Timeline which is a fun plain sailing family game. I did ask for something a little different this time round and possibly more of a challenge. I had no idea what game would arrive but I really did not expect anything like this!
This is so different to any game I have ever played before. Now I’m not going to put this game down in any way; as it is really well designed, it’s great to look at, once set up and it seems to have good reviews elsewhere. My problem with this game is the amount of rules and things involved.
The game intro begins like this!
It’s 1899 and the Union Pacific Express is headed north to deliver its payroll and forty-seven passengers. Suddenly the train is attacked by a host of thieving bandits aiming to become the richest outlaws of the old west!
Seeing the box contents for the first time made me gasp, this game looked so complicated. A box full of cardboard with pop out train carriages and other pop out parts.
The instruction booklet luckily makes an inviting read, it’s in colour which makes a change and all in English, no flipping pages to skip the foreign parts. It makes understanding this game a little less difficult.
After popping out all the pieces we had to build a train, or train carriages anyway. No there is no board with this game it’s all played on the train. We did not need to build all the carriages. It is one carriage per player, unless there’s only two playing and then it’s 3 carriages. Yes there are different rules for less players – another complication.
Anyway after building the train. We pick characters or bandits crooks from these rather shady looking lot.
There are six to choose from. (Two players pick two each) The characters come with playing pieces for the train plus character cards each as above.
As well as the characters being placed on the train, many pieces of loot and jewellery also get scattered around the train along with the Marshall, he’s the good guy protecting the train.
So that’s the basic set up but how do we play this unusual game?
I had to read, re read and constantly go back to the instruction leaflet to make sure we were playing it right. There is just so much to take in that’s it’s so easy to forget what we are doing.
There are many different types of cards too. The round cards, action cards, bullet cards and a few more I think 💭
The round card is what starts the game off.
This card by itself contains lots of game information. See those numbers and symbols on the top? Well the numbers determine how many rounds, but those strange symbols determine how the other cards gets played! Yes I said it was complicated.
Next the Action cards. After choosing the preferred bandit. Each player gets 10 action cards. All of them showing the chosen character doing different things. Each person then chooses six cards from their deck to play with.
Playing the action cards is a little difficult to explain. The action cards include actions such as moving about the train, robbing passengers, shooting etc and they can be played in any order per turn.
Each player playing one card at a time.
This first round of playing is called “Schemin” Once the Schemin round is done and all cards per rounds are down, the “Stealin”round commences
The cards get turned over and revealed one by one beginning with the first card played.
The actions then commence on the train going round each player one card at a time. Run, climb, punch, Rob, shoot or alert the Marshall are the available actions. All actions then have various consequences both good and bad and getting the loot very much depends on the actions of other players as well as our own planning.
This is a bullet card. The one thing that no one wants in their hand. These get added to your collecton of action cards if shot. Each player starts with six, shoot another player and it turns to five, then four and so on as the shot players get them. These stay with you until the end and are pretty much useless. If they end up in the playing hand they minimise the number of actions played.
And the winner – The one who collects the most loot of course, along with an extra bonus for the bandit firing the most bullets.
And if all that wasn’t enough to take in, there is advanced mode game play once the basics are mastered! Err I think we will stick to the “easy play!” for now!
It is actually a great game once we got our heads around the many rules and many different card types. It is a lot to take in and it does take a few goes to grasp the whole gameplay concept.
The age guide is ten and over. Younger children will need more guidance on the rules and play.
No one can really die or be knocked out of the game in this, but they can be shot at and end up with lots of bullet cards along the way or even robbed by other players. Two people can play at a minimum but as I said earlier, the rules then change slightly.
Both Ryan and Jordanna have played this with myself and also found it a bit mind blowing to begin with and a lot to take in.
One of my early worries was also about storing the game. The trains could be taken apart and rebuilt everytime but this would possibly cause them to split or break. Well no need for that anyway because the clever game makers designed the box in such a way that the assembled carriages fit inside.
What a great idea!
If this game sounds your thing then the cost is approximately £27.99 from Esdevium games. It is at the time of writing reduced slightly on Amazon to £25.49.
Find out more about the blogger game club here!