Isle of trains: All aboard deluxe is our first Dandra game that we backed on Kickstarter, it certainly won’t be the last. Right from the off the artwork and quality of the box and components stands out and shouts high quality. Every surface of the box has artwork on it and the components have been considered thoroughly with eye catching detail. Its one of those games that wows people when it comes out at game night!
Our Initial Thoughts
In Isle of trains: All aboard you want to upgrade your train and all of the elements that make up a train. In this game as well as the engine itself you will find Cabooses, Hoppers, Tankers, Boxcars and Carriages, upgrading each of these will increase your carrying capacity. The more capacity you gain the more cargo you can load up allowing you to complete the contracts. Dropping off passengers gives you much needed bonuses like extra actions or victory points. The end of the game comes when the progress train chugs into the station for the number of players, then the person with the most victory points wins the game.
In the deluxe edition you get wooden meeples, a printed logo on the passenger bag, a time engine promo card and new ticket tiles to increase the replayability. We also purchased the printed card sleeves which are fantastic with the card printed backs and foil inners, this means you don’t lose any of the card artwork but that they will last a whole lot longer. Especially as this game will be played over and over and over again.
Game Set Up
Isle of trains: All aboard has a very specific set up, first you will start with the island cards, for 2 to 3 player games you will use 6 island cards excluding the research station which is only included when you have 4 or more players. Once you have your map laid out you will then put the corresponding station names next to the map location, then randomly select a ticket tile to put beneath the station name. The train progress track will be placed above the map with the meeple bag and victory points close by. Each player will start with a level one engine and five random train cards and two randomly dealt passengers. Once you have shuffled and dealt the train cards you will then draw three cards and place them face up above the train progress track to create a face up draw pile, with the rest of the deck beside them to create the draw pile.
During the game play each players turn will consist of two actions of which you can Take, Build, Load or Deliver.
In Isle of Trains, when you take, this means you can take one card or one passenger.
When building you may use one card from your hand and place it in the play area after paying the charge, the charge will be paid using cards from your hand.
When loading you can load cards from your hand into your train or an opponent’s making the cards cargo or you can put one of your unloaded passengers onto the train. However, when loading, be sure to check the capacity and cargo types as to what you can load into each train car.
When delivering you can either deliver passengers of the same colour to the train station they match, achieving the bonuses on the ticket tiles or you can complete a contract on a map location by delivering the matching requirements. This will then become your card and you will then try to complete the second contract on the card.
Take: take a card from the face up display or from the train deck. If you take from the face up deck, make sure to replenish it at the end of your turn. If you need to take cards from the train deck built is empty reshuffle the discarded cards to recreate the draw deck.
Take: take one random passenger from the bag and place it next to your engine. If you ever need to take a passenger from the bag but it is empty take one VP token instead.
Build: step 1 Extend or upgrade, to extend add a new train car to the right of the existing train. To upgrade take the eligible card and replace it with the upgraded card of the same category.
Build: step 2 Check your engine capacity, your train capacity is shown on the engine card as a green gauge, the capacity that is taken up by the train cars is shown as a red gauge make sure that the train weight is never more than the engine capacity.
Build: step 3 Check the cost of the build action, the cost is shown in the bottom left corner of the card in a gold circle, the cost is the amount of cards you will pay to complete the action. If you do not have enough cards, you cannot complete this action. If, however you are upgrading you will pay the difference for instance if the car you are upgrading cost 4 to begin with and the new car cost 6 you will only have to discard 2 cards to complete the build.
Build: step 4 Take passengers, when building or upgrading your train you will see on some cards, they give you extra passenger. To take the passengers reach into the bag and select them at random, these are then out next to your train ready to load on your next action if you choose to. Remember if the passenger bag is empty, you get a VP token instead.
Load: When loading you take a card from your hand or a passenger and place it on a train car. The train cards must have the matching symbol to show you the type of cargo you can load onto it. Loading relates to both cargo and passenger; they can be loaded into either your train or an opponent’s. If you choose to load into your opponent’s train you will also get the bonus action shown on the top of the card. You cannot load more cargo onto a train car than it states as you will end up over capacity. Some cards will show multiple cargo types but once you have chosen to load cargo onto the card it’ll only count as that type from then on.
Deliver: Delivering Cargo or passengers will fulfil contracts or ticket tiles. To make a delivery you will need to choose a delivery destination, there are then four types of delivery that can be made. You can choose to complete a primary contract where you will deliver the cargo needed to your chosen island card which will then make that card yours to work on to deliver your secondary Contract. To complete your secondary contract, you will need to again collect the cargo needed once these are both completed flip the card and begin to work on another if possible. The next delivery you could choose is to load passengers onto your train and deliver them to the matching-coloured station destination completing the ticket tile as you go but be aware of which tickets you choose to fulfil as they don’t all go up in bonuses. The final delivery you can make is a special delivery…You can make multiple delivers on one action but they must all be carried out at the same destination.
Moving the progress train in Isle of Trains happens whenever a player takes an island card or the last passenger is delivered to a ticket tile.
Once you have completed your two actions you will need to discard your hand down to five cards, replenish the face up deck if you took cards from there and check to see if the end of game has been triggered. This can happen in two ways either when the progress train reaches its destination or when there are no more cards to be taken from the train deck or discard pile.
If the progress train reaches its destination (4 for 2 players/5 for 3 players/6 for 4 players) the player who triggered then end of play takes the train however, if there are no more cards the progress train isn’t taken unless it reaches its destination in the final play. All players will then take one final turn after the end of play is triggered before scoring the game. Count up all the victory points collected from completing contracts, bonuses and delivering passengers. The player with the highest score will be crowned the winner.
For those who prefer the single track there is a solo mode with 10 unique scenarios to get stuck into. Each has a different rule set and end game conditions, tackle each and watch yourself improve from trainee to the island conductor.
The biggest stand out for us after opening the delivery box was the quality and the continuation of that high standard throughout whole the game. Isle of trains: All aboard has certainly earned its place on our games shelf (not that it currently fits 😂), the game play is simple and with short downtime allowing for all players to keep engaged which makes it a great family game. The small box size makes it easier to transport wherever you choose to game. We will certainly be looking to back/ buy more Dandra games in the future (update: We knew we would, 1 backed through Kickstarter, Solar Storm bought 😉)