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Chicago Express
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Chicago Express

AKA: Wabash Cannonball

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Product Awards:  
The Dice Tower Awards
Best Game Reprint Nominee, 2008

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Harry Wu

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Queen, Asmodee North America

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Product Description

The players try to earn as much profit as possible by buying shares in thriving railroad companies. Player have several options for increasing the value of shares in the companies, which, in turn, increase their profits.

Product Awards

The Dice Tower Awards
Best Game Reprint Nominee, 2008

Product Information

Chicago Express has the following expansions available:

Chicago Express: Narrow Gauge & Erie Railroad Company 2 expansions in 1 box Out of Stock

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.5 in 1 review

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One of the best economic train games playable in under an hour
June 20, 2012

Originally published in 2007 as Wabash Cannonball in the usual minimalistic production style typical of Winsome Games, Harry Wu’s ingenious design made a big splash when it was licensed by Queen Games and appeared in a new edition in 2008 under the name Chicago Express. The reimplementation by Queen Games features significant and welcome component upgrades from the original. A table of 2-6 players sees executives invest in the expanding railroads towards Chicago, trying to buy stock that doesn’t just expand routes but more importantly makes them money. Are you up for the intense economic and highly interactive challenge that Chicago Express promises to deliver in under an hour?

Players invest in railroad companies, so it’s more of a game about investing stocks than a train game, and so beneath the train theme lies a strong economic game. One of the central and appealing mechanics of this luck-less and perfect information game involves auctions, but the heart of the game lies in the interaction and changing alliances between players. The replayability is outstanding, since changing interactions make every game vastly different, and repeated play reveals new layers of depth.

The simple rules are very straight forward and highly accessible, and it also plays extremely quickly, most games finishing in under an hour. Despite the simple rules and quick play time, Chicago Express offers an incredibly deep experience. Many consider it quite cutthroat, since mistakes and screwage from other players can prove costly. Certainly it is very tough to play well, especially for first-timers, and the challenging and somewhat opaque subtleties mean that it is best enjoyed with 3-4 experienced players. The clever design makes it an absolute favourite for many.

Chicago Express is truly something special. Granted, it's not for everyone, given that it’s an economic game that relies strongly on subtle interaction through auctions and tough decisions. But it has the advantage of being very accessible, and the simple rule-set and very quick play time makes it easy to get into and come back to. Those who are prepared to return to it will find themselves discovering more depth with each return visit, and a very deep and satisfying experience as a result of the changing alliances that lie at the heart of the game’s engine. The reimplementation by Queen Games has given high quality production values which will please gamers who appreciate the value of a tight and thoroughly rewarding game design that is as deep and replayable in view of its economics and interaction as it is accessible and beautiful. This is a highly regarded title well deserving of the many accolades it has received, and for new gamers to explore and discover the treasures it so readily promises.

EndersGame, BGG reviewer
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