18xx with Ambie: Other Train Games

July 27, 2020

18xx with Ambie is Ambie's video series about 18xx board games featured on The Dice Tower's YouTube channel.

In this video, Ambie talks about other train games that aren't 18xx games.

Hi! I’m Ambie, and this is my video series about 18xx games. If you’re not sure what 18xx games are, check out my 18xx intro video. But that won’t matter too much for this video, because this time I’m going to talk about some other train games that aren’t 18xx games.

You may have been hearing a lot about 18xx games from a certain YouTube series on The Dice Tower, and that might lead you to think that most train games are 18xx games, since they’re so popular now. But don’t be deceived by their popularity! Not all train games are 18xx games, and in fact not even all 18xx games have trains. So even though 18xx games are a huge family of games, there are a whole lot of other train games, even whole other families of train games!

Cube Rails [1:00]
One family of train games is called Cube Rails. Like 18xx games, these games usually have low randomness and shared incentive, but otherwise they feel very different. In Cube Rail games, you’re usually building track for railroad companies by placing cubes or train-shaped meeples on the board. Sometimes you buy or auction off shares in different companies, and sometimes the cubes represent the shares as well as the track. Usually the rules are pretty simple and the games last around an hour or less - some are just 15 minutes long! Some popular Cube Rails games are Paris Connection, Northern Pacific, Irish Gauge, and Chicago Express.

Age of Steam [1:37]
Another family of train games that might look more similar to 18xx on the surface is Age of Steam. In Age of Steam, you’re laying tiles that look kinda like the ones in 18xx, but that’s about it for the similarities to 18xx. Age of Steam doesn’t have any stock market or shares. What it does have is bidding for player order, action selection, and pick up and deliver.  There’s a lot to Age of Steam, but one interesting thing is that you own track that you build. Other players can use it for deliveries, but you’ll get income from it. Also, there’s a lot of competition over the goods since anyone is allowed to deliver them, so turn order is important. There are a bunch of different expansion maps in Age of Steam, and there are whole other families of games based on the system, like Steam and Railways of the World.

Crayon Rails [2:21]
One type of train game I haven’t played is the Crayon Rails System. In these games, there is no stock market, so the focus is on making track and delivering goods to make money. But instead of laying cubes or tiles for track, you draw tracks on the board using washable crayons or other erasable markers! Some games in this series are Empire Builder, Eurorails, and Iron Dragon.

Ticket to Ride [2:42]
One other franchise that you may have heard of is Ticket to Ride. Ticket to Ride involves gathering sets of cards, or tickets, in order to claim different train routes across the country. There are many different versions of Ticket to Ride with different maps and variations in rules, but the original one is still the most popular. 

Others & Outro [2:58]
So you can see there are a whole bunch of types of train games that aren’t just 18xx games! And there are even more games that aren’t even part of a family, like Trains, which is a deckbuilding game, or Rail Pass, which is a real-time cooperative dexterity game where you literally pick up and deliver cubes. So if you want to play a train themed game but aren’t interested in playing an 18xx game, there are still plenty of options for you! Thanks for watching 18xx With Ambie! You can email me at ambie@dicetower.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future videos!

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