Last year, I was tinkering with a game called Train Town that made the short list in a Korean board game contest, but ultimately didn't make the cut. I've been polishing that concept off lately and trying to trim out all the awkward gameplay while still keeping the core route-building thinkiness that I enjoyed. All this on top of the constraints of a standard deck of cards made for a curious challenge. I've got this core system pretty nailed down and ready for some more thematic twists. For now, here's the basics.
A 4p game is constrained to this large diamond shape, which barely fits on my coffee table!
In all of these shapes, the "center" is not defined at the beginning of the game. The field can grow and sprawl in any direction, but soon the final shape begins to emerge and choices get progressively narrower as the game extends to its outer points.
There is one special rule in a 2p game, which occurs at the end of the game:
And that's the game! Pretty elegant, eh?
Next Steps: I want to add more of the train theme into the game without breaking this essential simplicity. I think adding objective cards might do the trick, like in Ticket to Ride. Things like "A complete route with these three buildings" or "One complete loop with no terminals." might be just enough theme to be interesting.