Take the Train

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Just another game for Oskar Freysinger who claims that games can’t convey philosphical ideas:

Train by Brenda Brathwaite. A board game, it seems, with a mean twist.

Train is not your standard board game. It comes on a full-sized window, not in a cardboard box. There is no company logo on the rules, because there is no publisher. You cannot buy it, because only one copy exists in the world and it is not for sale. You cannot play it, unless you see it in person. If you do see it in person, it will not be at a game store but at an art gallery. And when you do play it, you will only play it once because it was intentionally designed to have no replay value. This goes way beyond the “indie” aesthetic, beyond perhaps where many so-called “art games” have gone, to something that is such uncharted territory for games that we don’t even have a name for it yet.

In terms of mechanics, Train is a relatively conventional roll-and-move, race-to-the-end game. Each turn you roll a die and either add that many passengers to your train car, or move your train car that many spaces forward. The objective is to deliver passengers to a series of locations, the names of which are printed on “terminus” cards. To give the play more of a German-game aesthetic, event cards are introduced that allow you to speed your car forward, switch tracks, block other people’s forward progress, take over other players’ cars, or derail a train car.

As the rule states: The game is over when it ends.

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