original edition of Metro
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You learn to play Iron Horse in about 20 seconds, then spend 5 minutes contemplating each move. Each player is trying to connect his trains, stationed along the outside of the board grid, to either another side station or the town in the center. This is done by laying tiles on a grid, with each tile having multiple entries and exits for track. You only lay tiles on the outside ring or adjacent to another tile, so the network builds as the game proceeds. You're trying to make the longest connection possible, while of course your opponents are trying to end your trip short. The multiple options for play are made reasonable by limiting the number of tiles to place and fixing their orientation on the board, although both of these restrictions can be lossened for those who want a real brain-buster. Like all 'db Spiele' games, this one is home produced with few extras, but plenty of thought and care in the making. Very fun, and works well with 2,3,4, or 5 people.
Iron Horse is kind of the flip side of Streetcar/Linie 1. Instead of trying to build efficient routes to make your train complete the route first, you try to build the longest, most twisty and complicated routes you can.
Components are relatively cheap, but the game is fun enough you probably won't care.
Each player starts with a number of embarkation points on the edge of the board (These are listed on the player cards.) Each turn, you may either play a tile you currently have in your hand (and draw a new one at the end of the turn) or draw a tile which then must play. Each tile has four sections of track, at least one section of which must connect to a station on the edge or existing track. Each final section will have at most one train on it. (Trust me!)
When a section of track winds its way back to the edge of the board or to the town in the center, the train on that track is scored (1 pt. per tile, double if the route ends in the town. Routes that recross the same tile may count it again.) The idea is to form long routes for yourself, but force your opponents into short routes. (There is a mercy rule: You cannot finish a route that crosses one tile, unless you have no other choice.)
The game takes about an hour to play and can handle up to 6 players and plays pretty well regardless of number or players (which is a plus).