Reviews, guides and articles of economic games such as Railroad Tycoon, Terraforming Mars and Brass.

Chicago Express ★★★★

Chicago Express cover

Chicago Express is a game of alliances. But they are not the kind of alliances made explicit through negotiation. Rather, they are the kind that naturally arise from shared interests.

Set at the height of railroad expansion through the Appalachians, Chicago Express is a challenging game of stocks and manipulation. Quick and heavily streamlined, its simple rules hide a tremendous amounth of depth and a degree of tension that it’s often missing from many other train games.

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Terraforming Mars: Prelude ★★★

I had very low expectations for Terraforming Mars: Prelude. So low, in fact, that I almost expected to dump the namesake cards and keep it around only for the handful extra corporations and projects included in the package. After all, what’s the point of playing an engine-building game if half the engine is already built for you? But it’s not quite like that.

It’s something much more interesting.

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Terraforming Mars: The best cards in the game

Cards are the heart of Terraforming Mars and understanding them is the key to win. But each one of them is unique and they interact in subtle, different ways. It’s often difficult to gauge exactly how good a card will be in a given game and often cards we thought would be standouts end up not panning out.

But there are some cards that I know I can always count on. Cards so versatile or so useful that will make a game easier or give me a much needed boost. They are the nine best cards of Terraforming Mars:

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Theme Hospital ★★★

The average hospital wasn’t lucky enough to be designed from scratch. Most were forced to grow organically, absorbing new buildings as they ran out of space and new treatments were developed.

Medical centers that started out curing common diseases like Invisibility or the cheese-induced Bloaty Head could find themselves overrun by many, much more difficult patients just a few years later. The constant threat of earthquakes, epidemics or health inspections only made it worse, making it more and more difficult to fulfill a hospital’s most important goal: To turn up a big, nice profit.

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