Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Dirk Henn


No. of Players:
2 - 6



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Do you love Metro (QUEEN GAMES) (bitte Link zu Metro einfügen) or Iron Horse (DB-SPIELE)? Then you now get a new release with the San Francisco Cable Car as a theme and a nice new artwork that fits the high standard of design shown in all new QUEEN GAMES products. However, in terms of the rules the game is not simply a re-print of the older titles, but instead the box also includes an expansion in which the players can buy shares of several companies. If you do not know any of the former games, I would still counsel you to have a closer look at Cable Car. Even though the older game Metro only had received an average evaluation here at Kulkmannīs Gamebox, I think that the introduction of the new design and the included expansion allow Cable Car clearly to outdistance its predecessor. The game, if played fast and without too much seriousness, is great fun for old and young, and I personally absolutely loved it.

As in Metro the 2 to 6 players place square tiles onto the board to build railway lines as long as possible. In the basic game, every player gets one coloured company and begins to build his lines from different spaces from the outer edge of the board. The tiles have a direction-indicator showing the direction in which they must be placed onto the board. The line ends at a station, either on another place on the outer edge of the board or the central station in the middle of the board. Once a line is finished, the corresponding player earns as many victory points as the length of the line. Reaching the central station doubles the victory points for that line.


Sounds easy? Indeed it is. What makes the game funny is that you may place your tiles nearly wherever you want. So can choose, if you want to enhance your own line or if you want to put one over on your opponents, making their lines going to bad ends. In some instances this can be funny and frustrating at the same time, since especially the second half od the game will bring up situations in which two birds can be killed with just one stone...

If you are fed up with the basic game, you can start with the two variants Metro was equipped with, too. First of all you can pay no more heed to the direction-indicator, which gives you definitely more possibilities to place your tile. In the second variant you can hold 2 or 3 tiles in your hand instead of the basic one, giving you more variations, too.

And then you have the newly included "Cable Car Company" expansion. In this variant you do not longer have your own company. In contrast, you now can acquire shares of the eight companies in play. Initially you get four shares, that are worth 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% of randomly drawn companies. Now, in your turn you either can place track tiles as in the basic game to enhance companies you want to win. Or you can exchange one of your shares for a different, randomly drawn company share with the same percentage. The game ends after all tiles have been laid out, and the final scoring begins with determining which company has made most profit, which second etc. In the order of decreasing profit the companies then get 8 to 1 points. Now the players add up their victory points by multiplying their percentage values with the profit points of the corresponding companies.

Those of you who know Metro will have noticed that nothing really has changed in the new release except by the inclusion of the new expansion. Personally, I do like the new artwork better, but that is a matter of taste. In Metro you have a more functional artwork that has the advantage that the direction of the lines is easy to read. In Cable Car the lines are painted more subtle, which looks better but makes it a little bit harder to see which direction a line takes. I am not really sure whether it would be worth to buy the new game if you already own Metro, but the included expansion certainly gives players who like the basic tile-laying concept and who are fed up with the basic game a new dimension of playing. While shared ownership of a company may lead to a slight decrease of nasty moves, the concept of company shares certainly enriches the game on its strategic side.


However, if you still have the free choice between Metro and Cable Car, I would highly recommend to take the new game, since the game definitely offers an interesting fuse between standard tile-laying and share ownership rules. While games like Chicago Express certainly offer more sophisticated ownership mechanisms, the rather straightforward drawing of shares in Cable car greatly increases the playing speed and leads to acceptance of the game with a much broader audience. And as a game like Linie 1 has shown, it might also be an interesting variant to keep a player's shares secret, thus increasing the speculative element…

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Copyright © 2010 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany