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Wall Street Journal Article on Train

June 28, 2009

The Wall Street Journal’s Jamin Brophy-Warren (@JaminBW) has published an interview and a video segment on Train: The Board Game No One Wants to Play More Than Once.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2009 12:52 pm

    Hi Brenda,

    A couple of months ago I designed a hybrid card/roleplaying game for a class on social movements that contextualized American Indian activism in the 1960’s and 1970’s by having the players “live through” 150 years of government activism. Players were assigned a tribe and given cards they could play at certain points in time as well as goods to trade. Four moderators (which could be one) represented different government agencies and branches, and played cards and made demands of the players (such as telling them when they could sit, and where, and when they had to stand or were forced to trade or give up goods). The rules were very simple, and the mechanics were card-driven and narrative, but I did observe some emergent play that surprised me.

    I was wondering whether you thought such a game fit into the same genre as Train and the Irish Game, even though the mechanics weren’t in the style of a Eurogame.

  2. June 28, 2009 12:55 pm

    Absolutely, I do. I don’t know what this category really is yet. Dr. Doris Rusch at MIT called them “games about the human experience,” and I liked that quite a bit.

    I use Euro mechanics often simply because they work well and encourage player interaction. For some games, I am not encouraging that, though. So, I use what I need.

    Your game sounds interesting, btw. One of the games in my series, One Falls for Each of Us, is about the Trail of Tears.

  3. June 28, 2009 1:24 pm

    I think Dr. Rusch has a great description, too. I didn’t set out to design a game for my presentation, but I couldn’t figure out a better way to contextualize 150 years of American Indian experience to 20 people in 15 minutes. Response was very positive to the game, both in terms of enjoyment and the goal…several people told me they not only learned but felt and internalized the frustration and confusion of Indian Affairs policy. I’ve considered adapting it for the K-12 range and offering it to schoolteachers as part of an American Indian unit.

    Will your games be published at some point? Or even more convenient, will you bring them to Gencon in August? 🙂

  4. June 30, 2009 2:33 pm

    I was only planning on spending one day at GenCon, but if Brenda would be there with these games, I’d be tempted to make it three.

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