Transporting freight in Central Europe or North America
Switch & Signal
A common Purpose!
Rail tracks, switches and signals for trains that need to take commodities from four cities to the harbor. Three types of trains have different maximum speed and can transport one commodity each at a time.
Game set-up is simple- put switches and signals on the chosen board - Central Europe or Northern America - according to specifications in the rules. Time tokens are placed on the station clock and two commodities of each color are placed in the corresponding cities. 18 Movement Orders are shuffled and then you set aside two of them unchecked. 81 action cards for three action options - place signal, change switch or move train - are shuffled and five cards are dealt to each player.
The aim of the game is also quickly stated - we need to cooperate to take all commodities from the cities to the harbor before all movement orders have been used. As each player in his turn reveals one of those orders, the game ends after 16 turns the latest! Tight, very tight, let me tell you already now!
As I said, a player turn begins with revealing of a movement order for moving trains and maybe also placing a train. For Placing, players confer about and decide the color; then you roll a die and the train is put on the resulting starting case; if this is occupied, you remove two time tokens from the clock. For Moving, ALL trains of that color must move; for each one you roll the movement die of the train color; junctions can only be passed across correctly aligned witches and trains must stop for red signals. In cities, movement always stops - with time loss - and you can load a commodity on an empty train or deliver a commodity at the harbor town. If you cannot complete all steps of a die result, you remove one time token for each unused step. As there are only seven time tokens, you must plan very carefully, because taking back time tokens removes one movement order from the game and therefore one player turn!
After resolving the movement order, you can play any number of action cards, either to switch a signal from red to green or to realign a switch in a junction or to move ONE train of your choice. If you discard any two cards, you can select any of the three options. Finally, you draw five cards, regardless of how many you have in hand.
A few more details:
- Trains that delivered a commodity at the harbor go back to depot and can be re-entered. A train always goes forward in direction of the arrows; trains meeting head-on cost time tokens and the actively moved train goes to the depot and an eventual commodity on it into the corresponding city.
- Three helpers depict on the board can be used ONCE in the game - the Logistics person annuls a movement roll; the dispatcher allows you to pass through all cities on green signals without stopping and the Driver blocks movement of ALL trains in a color depicted on a movement order.
- On the North America board, you must take one commodity each to both of the harbor cities and trains can pass through cities without stopping.
Signal discs, switches and time tokens not used in the basic game can be used to vary the degree of difficulty.
All in all, my resume is a positive one, but with a BUT - mechanisms and rules are well-made and work well, mechanisms interact nicely, considering, conferring about and planning of the next move or moves is necessary, but - and this is my BUT - only when you have revealed the movement order, because only then you will know which trains will move and what will be the maximum range - grey ones go maximum three steps, brown ones four and black ones five steps. And this is very the very dominant luck of the dice enters the game - occupied starting cases or forfeit steps cost time and you can only hope that you have enough suitable cards in hand to changes switches or signals, yet another element of chance.
But what is my standard opinion - a good game is a game in which I have played very will, if I did win, and in which luck has deserted my when I did lose.
Finally, a cordial thank you to Kosmos, who presented the game in a fantastically organized and implemented virtual Press Meeting and sent a sample hand-crafted copy to participants!
Dagmar de Cassan
Designer: David Thompson
Artist: Claus Stephan, Antje Stephan
Price: ca. 35 Euro
Publisher: Kosmos Verlag 2020
Genre: Logistics, railway
Users: For families
In-game text: no
Very nice components
Well-working, rather simple mechanisms
Transport and logistics games
My rating: 5
Dagmar de Cassan:
A family game with cooperation as one of the deciding elements; the equally dominant luck of the dice is a question of taste. If can take one or two games to plumb the possibilites of the action cards.
Chance (pink): 3
Tactic (turquoise): 3
Strategy (blue): 0
Creativity (dark blue): 0
Knowledge (yellow): 0
Memory (orange): 0
Communication (red): 3
Interaction (brown): 3
Dexterity (green): 0
Action (dark green): 0