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In Freight Train, each player must run his own freight yard and put together the longest freight trains possible. All players use the same main freight yard which always has cars available, although not every type of car is always available. Players must switch cars from the main freight yard directly to their trains or into their own freight yards.
The game lasts three days, but each day is comprised of a different number of turns. Late in each day, the tension mounts as players try to insure their trains will be one of the two longest. The locomotives are waiting to roll. Are you ready?
Alan R Moon
Players: 2 - 5
Time: 60 - 90 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Weight: 390 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
Average Rating: 3.8 in 4 reviews
Just because it's a game with trains doesn't mean that only the boys will like it! I'm a Mom and enjoy playing this game with my 11 year old son and my husband. We took this game with us when we went on a road trip out west. We exhausted ourselves hiking all day and stayed up late at night playing Freight Train. Warning: the more table space you have, the better.
If you like El Grande, you will likely enjoy Freight Train.
You compete with others for common resources. In this case, train cars. You score points for having the longest train of each type.
Everything is out in the open, so things are pretty deterministic. However, you need to remain flexible in order to do well. You may have your turn planned in advance, then something better comes along. This happens a lot.
There is a common pool of train cars that everyone can consume. Also, each player has temporary storage available in 'their yard' where you can store cards that you want, but can't use right away. Finally you have your trains that you assemble with the various train-car cards.
Each turn you can do 1 of 4 (or 5 if playing advanced) things.
- Take 3 cards from the common pool of train car cards and add them to your existing trains or your private yard.
- You can move 1 to 4 cars from your yard to your existing trains.
- Spend 1 point to rearrange your yard.
- If in the 1st or 2nd round you can call up another locomotive to start an additional train.
- (only in advanced) you can place a caboose on one of your trains. (It will now score double, but you can no longer add cars to it.)
I recommend only playing the advanced game. The rules are easy enough, and it adds a lot to the overall game experience.
The game is played in 3 rounds and the end of a round occurs sort of randomly. An end of day marker is placed in the bottom half of the deck in the first round, the bottom 3rd in the second round, and the bottom 4th in the final round. When the End of Day card is drawn, the current turn is finished and the round ends.
The longest trains for each car type score. You gain points in the first round for having cars in your private yard, and lose points in the final round for having cars remain there.
The game seems to play best with 4 or 5 players if following the rules. For fewer players you are supposed to remove cards of each type. But I think a better modification is to take out an entire train-car type or two. That way it forces people to compete for resources. The rules attempt to force resource competition by giving players more locomotives to build trains with, but it seems like you can't realistically have the longest train with that many types anyway, so people tend to build the ones they can win and don't compete.
For 4 and 5 players though, this game is GREAT as is.
This is one of my favorite Moon designs. It is a lot like Get the Goods, but I find it to be much more rewarding. The theme is running and organising a freight yard and it feels right. There are three days (rounds) and at the end of each you score for having the longest or second longest train in each car type, or one mixed train in which the cars all have to be different. On the first day you also get one point for every 2 cars in your private holding yard. On the last day you get -1 point for each car still there.
During your turn you can choose to do one thing.
- From a common pool of various type of freight cars you choose 3 cars to add to your trains, matching types, or placing them in your own holding yard.
- Pull 1 to 4 trains from your holding yard and add them to your trains (matching type)
- Add another Locomotive and another opportunity to score. This can only be done once on the first and second day.
- Rearrange your private yard. This action costs one victory point. Every time I have seen it used it was to avoid taking cars in the last round which would have to be put into the private yard.
This game is a favorite with my girlfriend and her daughter. The only caution is you will need a lot of table space.
This was a very long and quite frustrating game. It didn't appear to rely on much more than luck, with a little messing around. It also requires a huge amount of table space, which makes playing the game a lot harder. You lay out all your cars in front of you, plus there are several rows on the table which people have to choose from.
Not a very enjoyable game, something we will never play again.