English language edition
List Price: $30.00
Your Price: $24.00
(Worth 2,400 Funagain Points!)
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In Streetcar, players try to build a trolley route across New Orleans, competing against other players who are trying to build their own route. Each player has specific locations that they must build to, laying track one square at a time, adding new twists and turns to the board. When two players disagree about where things should go, the tracks can become a jumbled mess of loops and dead ends. You must place your track as best you can to navigate the route. The first player to build a complete route and race their trolley through all the right stops wins!
Linie 1 is a perfect social strategy game. It can be played with youngsters or all-adults, and it's great fun either way.
Some players dislike the fact that they can spend an entire game building a great track, only to be defeated by someone who built a 'worse' line much faster. Well, that's the breaks. Even in the real world, taking a longer route which is available sooner is often more successful. Ask the person who's refusing to drive around the lake until they build a bridge for him.
So, in this game, there are rewards for building efficient routes, but there are also rewards for seeing that existing lines, while not perfect, are available now and could lead to victory.
As to the idea of rolling dice during the race portion of the game. Sure, there's some luck, but not so much that it unbalances the earlier, very fun, track building project. It's rare when someone enters the race very late, with a poor line, and lucks up to win due solely to dice rolls.
It's great fun, and if you can get it, grab it (particularly the Linie 1 version--the Mayfair version kills the race mechanism entirely).
We play this game again and again in our household. Linie 1 is all about building trolley car lines to secret destinations over the same ground that your opponents are building upon. Utilizing your opponent's track is essential. In the end, you race your trolley cars over the track, tracing your entire route to victory. We often play for first and second loser, as well, just to prolong the amusement.
What makes this game really fun, however, is a spirit of malicious mischief, interfering with your opponent's track (if you can figure out where they're headed, that is) while simultaneously smoothing your own way past your alotted goals. My partner is particularly wicked in this regard, often delaying his own victory in an attempt to mess with his opponents; believe it or not, this sort of tactic makes the game very exhilarating! One of our favorite games involved my placement of track in such a way as to block my partner from his final destination when potential substitution track had already been played or held by others, making the completion of his trolly route totally impossible! The havok that he wrought after that was indescribably entertaining!
We once tried playing Linie 1 without the malice, and decided that it took the fun out of the game. Without attempts to interfere with opponents, the game can be quite sedate and even a little dull.
I highly recommend this game to play with friends and family. It's easy to explain and understand, and is full of amusing challenge and contention. Plus, I like building all that track! Trying to repair your trolley route when an opponent has derailed things is surprisingly entertaining, just from an engineering standpoint. Beware the 'Circles of Death', the traffic circles with no exits that evolve to trap the unwary....
My wife is VERY competitive. This has an interesting effect when she loses a new game. If the game itself is bad, it is branded as 'stupid' and we never play it again. If the game is good, then she will want to play it again in hopes of a win. When we first got Streetcar, she demanded six replays in a row until she got a win. That is the mark of a great game.
Unfortunately, the Mayfair edition is marred with some of the worst components I have ever seen in the major release of a game. Where most Eurogames come with thick tiles and chunky wooden bits, this comes with thin tiles that are little more than cardboard, and are all too easily jostled. The streetcars themselves are a farce, tiny wooden nibs with ill-fitting sticker 'sweaters'.
The game covers a lot of the same territory as the more current game of Metro, only from a completely opposite perspective. Where Metro rewards a player for making long, loopy routes, Streetcar rewards efficiency in setting routes. Given a choice, I think Streetcar is the more elegant design.
There is a lot of cleverness here, too. The swapping of tiles for more elaborate tiles is a wise decision, making an innocuous piece of track suddenly into a nexus of activity. Much of the fun of the game is determining which destinations your opponents have, and then trying to steer them on long, circuitous routes. The final race is also extremely clever, with its 'one-more-than-before' movement. This is an improvement over the German version of the game, which used a die roll to determine movement of the streetcar. This rule is vastly better.
The races have been surprisingly close in our games. The first person to complete their route will often have a less efficient tour of the board, so a player ending their track-laying later still has a shot at a come-from-behind victory.
This is a game that almost any family would love. Highly recommended. Just wish the components were better quality!