Exxtra, Lexio and Chicago Express

The “Isleworth Gamers”:http://isleworthboardgamers.blogspot.com/ are consistently getting at least four games running simultaneously and there’s always a good atmosphere.

Exxtra is a 1998 push-your-luck dice game by Reiner Knizia. This is often compared to “Can’t Stop”:http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/41, which is generally higher rated, but I think I prefer Exxtra, because I found Can’t Stop too easy to calculate. Exxtra is a nice simple filler and I would play it again.

Lexio is basically a climbing card game, in the same family of games as “Gang of Four”:http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3085 or “Sh!thead”:http://www.pagat.com/climbing/asshole.html, but played with Mah Jong tiles instead of cards. Playing with tiles was pleasant and it’s an easygoing sort of game. I can imagine grannies playing this instead of canasta. Having said that, I prefer tougher games, so I will avoid it.

“Chicago Express”:http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/31730

Speaking of tougher games, our next game was Chicago Express. This has been around for a couple of years, but I have only managed to fit in three games in of it. I think it’s a classic. If Mikko had not “played it so much”:http://www.mikkosgameblog.com/2008/03/thursday-session-wabash-cannonball-tarot/, I might have ignored it.

Jon asked me to describe Chicago Express at the end of the evening, which stumped me as he has not played 18XX or Acquire. The best I can come up with is:

bq. Intense 45-minute train game where companies run the trains, not players. Players win by investing in the companies most efficiently.

Can anyone else do better? The description at the Geek is poor.

The final scores were:
# Paul – 111
# Iain – 85
# Jim – 72

Bruno Faidutti’s review “points out”:http://www.faidutti.com/index.php?Module=ludotheque&id=589 that Chicago Express is crying out for expansion maps. Has anyone seen any?

  • Well, no expansion maps as such, but I suppose Preußische Ostbahn and American Rails could count as Chicago Express expansions, as they expand similar ideas (and American Rails in particular seems similar, though how much I don’t know as I haven’t played it yet and have barely glanced at the rules).

    A proper map expansion would be welcome.

    You should definitely try Ostbahn, once the new version is out (German Railways or whatever it was called), if you already haven’t.

  • I didn’t know about American Rails. You’re way ahead of me. I hope Preußische Ostbahn and American Rails get glossy reprints.

    I’m just surprised there isn’t a print-and-play map culture for this game, like there was for Age of Steam.

  • The glossy reprint of Preußische Ostbahn is already announced, though details are scarce. American Rails is such a small operation I think it’s unlikely to be licensed somewhere.

    I guess the hard-core Chicago Express players feel the map and the drive to Chicago is such a crucial part of the game that changing it is out of question. I don’t know, I suppose we could always ask on Geek.

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