I moved from the lower unit in my house to the upper unit this week, which did not leave much time for games. Luckily, the one game I did play was interesting and I can’t wait to explore it further!
Maglev Metro is designed by Ted Alspach and published by Bezier Games. In Maglev Metro players pick up and deliver robots to improve their infrastructure (which allows each of their actions to be stronger) and commuters to earn victory points.
What sets Maglev Metro apart from other train games is the tracks are printed on clear acrylic tiles, which allows players to place their lines on the same tiles. Players can only use their lines, meaning while you can’t piggy-back off someone else’s hard work, your opponents can’t explicitly block you from getting to a location.
Our first game of Maglev Metro was on the Manhattan map, which features “The Hub”. The Hub breaks a pretty major rule, you can have as many entrances and exits as you want coming in and out of It Hub. This allows for players to pivot quickly and dash out to lucrative locations easily, without taking turns to rebuild their line, or turn their whole train around.
I found Maglev Metro to be a fascinating experience. At first I was worried, three of the players did the exact same thing during their first four turns of the game before finally diverging. Once our paths split, the game got exciting. The robots in Maglev Metro don’t give you any points, but they do make your train run better (and are necessary for unlocking the ability to pick up commuters, who DO give you points). I enjoyed the constrictions the game placed on us, it seemed to tap into our inclination to be as efficient as possible. We didn’t want to turn around, as that takes a whole action, and we raced for every robot, even though we all had robots languishing on our boards on actions that we weren’t taking.
In the end, I found The Hub to be a good tool to introduce us to the game. It would be frustrating playing the Berlin map first, and making critical mistakes right out of the gate, bringing your progress to a screeching halt. Going forward however, having a hub that lets you change direction and embraces short trips seems to be anthesis to the spirit of the game. Bear kept mentioning how thematically, a Maglev should be travelling at 400kms per hour and wouldn’t be making short trips like this.
Maglev Metro recently ran a Kickstarter for some expansion maps that I was sorely tempted by. Each one looks to add a new mechanic that would greatly enhance the variability of Maglev Metro. But until it gets a few plays and proves that it requires that variability, I’ll be holding off on buying anything further for this game.