Koplopers & Dwarsliggers
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The first release from this Dutch publisher puts players in charge of their own railway in the Netherlands. Your goal is to transport more passengers than anyone else to their intended destinations -- but given the conflicting demands of both your passengers and the other players, they might not travel there in a straight line.
Koplopers & Dwarsliggers lasts 20 or 25 rounds depending on the number of players, and each round players have five action points to spend in various ways, with most actions costing one or zero points. The one action that costs more -- three points -- allows you to place one of your three trains on the board, so that's kind of important. The one point actions allow you to move a train one section, reverse a train, scrap a train, and play an obstruction card that closes a section of the track. Free actions are picking up or delivering passengers, combining or splitting trains, and having passengers change trains. Each train of yours on the board must move each turn if possible, and once you take a free action with a train you can't do anything else with it until next turn.
Passenger markers are placed semi-randomly within the map's five districts at the start of the game. If you stop a train on a station with a marker -- and you have room for the passengers within your maximum of 500 -- you must pick up the marker, which is labeled with its destination station. Once you arrive there, assuming you ever do, you score the token, emptying space on your train once again. After the designated number of rounds, or after the number of passenger tokens drops low enough, the game ends, with the player who transported the most passengers winning.
Koplopers & Dwarsliggers, which won the 2008 Spelontwerpwedstrijd -- a game design contest sponsored by Dutch website Ducosim.nl -- uses the actual railroad layout in the Netherlands, and the designer works for Nederlandse Spoorwegen. She even held a launch party for the game in September 2009 on a train that ran from Schipol airport in Amsterdam to the northeastern city of Groningen and back, with gamers playing on tables within the coach car. (Thankfully for them, the train was not diverted toward directions unplanned for and undesired.)
Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of BoardgameNews.com