Author: Franz-Benno Delonge

Publisher: Winning Moves 2005

Spiel der Spiele



After the initial success of TransAmerica, WINNING MOVES and Franz-Benno Delonge decided to publish another railbuilding game. Like it was done with many predecessors in this field, it was decided to change mainly the design of the game, particularly by introducing a new map on which the game is played. Thus, as the title already suggests, Trans Europa now is focused on building a railway grid in Europe…

As indicated, the gameboard shows a map of Europe with a total of 35 cities. Distributed evenly, these cities each are attributed to one of five colours, with all cities of the same colour being clustered in the same region on the gameboard. For each of these cities also exists a matching coloured city card, and at the beginning of the game these cities cards will by mixed colour by colour and each player will randomly receive one city card of each colour. These cards the players will need to keep secret, since it will be the player who has first connected all of his cities into a railway grid who wins the round of play.

After the distribution of cards, the round starts with the placement phase in which each player sets his starting token onto a crossroads of his choice on the gameboard. This crossroads may be a city, even one of the five cities the player needs to connect.

Once all players have placed their starting tokens, the game progresses to the railroad building and thus to the main part of the game. In turn, the players now may place either one or two railway tracks onto empty spaces on the gameboard. It's up to the player's choice whether he wants to place one or two tracks, provided he keeps to the rule that he has to add them to his own railway grid which he began from his starting token. The only exception to this rule is when a player needs to cross either water or mountains: here the passage gets more difficult and thus the player is restricted to placing only one piece of track in his turn.

A great strategic advantage for a player is the connection to an other player's railroad grid. This allows the player to use the other player's railways as well, giving him now the chance to place his tracks anywhere connecting to the combined grid. However, the benefit works two-way, allowing the player to whose grid the active player makes to connecting to use the combined grid as well. Thus, it a connecting to an other player's grid should not be made too hasty or without proper thought, since there always is the possibility that this new connecting is even more beneficial for the opposing player.

The round of play ends once a player has succeeded in connecting all five towns depicted on his city cards. All player`s with the exception of the winner now have to count how many tracks they still would have needed to finish the game and they will be assigned negative victory points accordingly. Then a new round of the game begins with a freshly cleared gameboard and the distribution of new city cards, and this goes on until the game ends once a player has reached a total of at least 12 negative victory points, and then the player with fewest negative points will have won the game.

Unlike many other railbuilding games, Trans Europa is not a long, strategic game where the players slowly develop an ever growing railway grid. Instead, Trans Europa is a rather fast paced small game which - as its predecessor - will find most fans from the group of players liking short games which can be played with only a short introduction to the rules but which offer nonetheless good playing depth combined with a high degree of entertainment. Combining good playability with a nice design, the game certainly appeals to gaming novices and veterans looking for short-time entertainment alike.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2005 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Trier, Germany