Board game reviews, news and commentary.
Board Game Breakfast Segment #11: Sticks or Cubes for Trains?
Plays Well With Others
Updated: Monday, Jun 2, 2014
Psst! Hello Dice Tower viewers. Chaz Marler here from the Pair Of Dice Paradise board game podcast. Uh, hi. I was planning on starting a series on upgrading the components in the AEG game, Trains, but while preparing my piece, I discovered that the board gaming community has developed fervent opinions on this subject. For example, when AEG originally released artwork depicting the trains in Trains as little sticks, the gamer community rebelled, lambasting AEG on their decision to use little sticks, by posting such vitriol as “I dislike the wooden rails”, “I'd like to hear the reason for the choice to make them sticks and not cubes”, and “I generally prefer cubes”.

Well, what company could withstand that verbal onslaught? And so, unsurprisingly, AEG eventually kowtowed to the pressure put on by these playtesting protesters, and the little sticks were reimplemented as cubes. (What happened to you, Corporate America?)

But, I’ve discovered an underground minority of brave gamers who are timidly asking from the shadows, “what was the problem with little sticks?” The primary position presented by the populace was that little sticks suggest continuous linear direction as your train routes spread across the board, whereas cubes retain a sense of omnidirectionality. This omnidirectionality encourages the players to spread organically in any direction, instead of just in straight lines, which the naysayers feared would be encouraged by the use of the little sticks.

So, before I come forward and officially subvert this combative component conclave by sharing the process I used to upgrade the components in my version of Trains -- including how I swapped out the little cubes with other, more linear, sticklike pieces -- I wanted to ask you, the viewing board game community, what’s your opinion? Should Trains be confined to a quota of cubes? Or could 99.84% of the population not care less?

Join me next time when I’ll cover the process I used to upgrade my game’s components… that is, if the sticklers nixing sticks don't stick it to me first.
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