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Friday, May 24, 2024

Village Rails

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Village Rails is a neat tableau creating card game for two to four players.  Each player takes on the role of a railway network manager wanting to usher in the age of steam trains by connecting villages together whilst meeting the demands of local residents.

This thematic game is surprisingly challenging.  Each player chooses a track card and gradually builds a 3 x 4 cards tableau in front of them.  Although the players can essentially place the cards in any order, careful planning is needed in order to maximise the returns of the cards by their placement.

Completing train lines allows players to plan a trip and play a terminus card.  These, in turn, generate income, which can be used to choose other cards and purchase extra trips, thus earning points.  Balancing income and points necessitates agonisingly careful decision-making: income offers more options within the game, but it is the player with the most points at the end who wins the game.  However, points have little impact during play.

There is wonderfully evocative art style throughout Village Rails that portrays the rustic quaintness of rural England at the time the game is set, as well as the exacting traditions of local planning authorities.  The themes of the game are baked into the mechanics.  As the tagline proclaims, this is a game of locomotives and local motives.

The rulebook is quite small, coming in at only eight pages of A6, but the writing is small and densely packed.  The setup is clearly explained, however some of the rules and terminology are not as clear as they should be.  Some players may therefore find it helpful to look up tutorial videos in order to fully understand the rules of the game.

One of the big bonuses of Village Rails is that it is small and compact, making it an easy game to take on holiday.  Although it would not be suitable for playing whilst traveling, due to the amount of tablespace required to play, its small size means it would be easy to pack.

Overall, Village Rails is a neat little card laying and management game that would be ideal for when shelf or suitcase is limited.  However, watching actual-plays or tutorial videos could be worthwhile in advance of playing to ensure a full understanding of the rules.

Peter Ray Allison
Peter Ray Allisonhttp://www.peterallison.net
Science Fiction: the final frontier. These are the articles of the freelance journalist Peter Ray Allison. His continuing mission: to explore strange new realms of fiction, to seek out new genres and new visions of the future, to boldly geek where no one has geeked before.

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Village Rails is a neat little card laying and management game that would be ideal for when shelf or suitcase is limited, although the rules were not as clear as they could be.Village Rails