Author: Stefan Dorra

Publisher: Goldsieber 1995



In a fictional city somewhere on the globe the town-magistrate has decided to build a network of tramways in order to provide better access to the various important buildings in the city. Several routes connecting to different buildings must be built, and up to 5 players may participate in the contest of rail-construction.

At the beginning of the game each player is secretly assigned one of six trams and 2 buildings (3 if only two or three players are participating) to which the player must connect his network. As a final preparation, each player receives 2 bends and 3 straights which he places open in front of him.

The game itself is devided in turns, and during a turn each player places two of the rail-tiles in front of him on the gameboard. He may place them anywhere he likes, not necessary connecting to already placed tiles. The only restriction is that the new tiles must match the rails of already placed pieces. So there my be no dead-ends. If a player has placed 2 tiles, he draws 2 new tiles from hidden decks to replace the lost ones. These new tiles may be of almost any kind: there may be forks, crossings and all sorts of different rails. The two newly-drawn tiles again are placed openly before the player.

The first player who places a tile next to one of the buildings on the plan has to place a "Stop"-symbol at this place. From now on, all players who have to connect to this building have to come across this tile, since itīs not allowed to add a second station at one building. This may have an immense impact on a playerīs tactics, since it may be possible that two or more players have to connect to the same building. So itīs a decision of the players whether to place early tiles next to their buildings in order to ensure a good connection, or to wait and thus hold the other player in longer speculation what buildings he has to connect to.

Players also are allowed to replace already placed tiles, provided they donīt destroy the already existing course of the rails. So a straight may be replaced by a fork, giving an additional exit/entrance to the straight piece, but it may never be replaced by a simple bend which would alter the course of the rails. The replaced tiles go into the hand of the player who has replaced them and become useable for him. Excluded from exchange are tiles showing trees. These may never be changed furing the game.

If finally a player has connected to all of his buildings and both of his depots, he may show his tram-number and route to the other players. Then he places his tram on one of his depots and starts moving it along his route by rolling a dice. The dices shows values of "1" to "4" and two "Stop"-symbols. This symbols allow the player not to move a certain number of spaces but to move his tram to the next "Stop". The other players in turn now must try to finish their tramways as fast as possible. They may use the open tiles of the already finished player for it, thus having a bigger choice of tiles. When they finish their tramsways, they, too, go off into the race. The player who first reaches his other depot wins the game.

The most attractive features of the game is itīs division into two virtually different phases. In the first phase the players try to build a good network of rails, trying to get a straight line connecting their depots and buildings. This phase is strongly influenced by a playerīs tactics, making him decide which tiles are to placed at what positions. Clever placement of tiles will give a player quite a start into the second phase. During the second phase, the players go for a "good old" race-by-dice, trying to get hight numbers or "Stops" in order to move as fast as possible. The builder of a good tramway has an advantage here, since he may have started early into the race. But he still isnīt unbeatable, since he still needs some luck for rolling the dice. To my mind, these two phases make the game fun to play and offer quite a competition between the players. It may be possible to say that the second phase - being based on luck - has nothing to do with a strategy-game. I agree that such an amount of luck is unusual for a strategy-game, but keeping in mind that "Linie 1" is mainly a family-game, I would say that it serves a very high degree of playability. I can throughoutly recommend the game.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany