Zed has hand-picked an exciting and varied selection of games in his subscription box. Expect to receive some of the best games as well as a few surprises!

    Subscribe Now »

    Looking for the latest new releases? Then this is the subscription for you, each month you’ll receive an amazing box full of just the newest & biggest games!

    Subscribe Now »

    Our two new Mystery Box offerings will help you pick up some of the latest top of the range games and exclusive goodies, but at a much lower price!

    Order Now »

    Menu

    Buy 3, get 3% off - use code BOARD3 · Buy 5, get 5% off - use code BOARD5

    Buy The Game

    Awards

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • Great innovation.
    • Clever use of 54 cards.
    • Interesting choices that can affect other players.
    • Compact and light.
    • Lots of bang for your buck.

    Might Not Like

    • Playing the same map every time.
    • More complex than it first appears.
    • If youre expecting a filler game.
    Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

    Isle of Trains Review

    Isle of Trains Review

    You don’t need to like trains to love... Isle of Trains!

    Dice Hate Me Games didn’t expect such an incredible response to their 54-card ‘Rabbit’ game design competition. Isle of Trains is the brilliant story of a game that, although it didn’t take the first prize, stood the test of time and was given a warm reception by the board gaming public.

    The premise is simple. Build the best train on the island and deliver goods to fulfil contracts. However, Dan Keltner and Seth Jaffee have cleverly designed Isle of Trains to be much more than meets the eye! Hold onto your caboose - let’s see if this game delivers the goods.

    Carriages

    From a designer’s point of view, Isle of Trains is inspiring and innovative. Once you’ve laid out the island - six cards with simple contracts on - and received your brave little starting engine, you begin to see the ingenuity of this game in the cards dealt to your hand. Each card has multiple functions that will have you thinking very carefully.

    Perhaps you will want to build one of your cards as a carriage on your train. In the deck you’ll find hoppers, tankers and boxcars for carrying the three types of cargo. These can be upgraded over time to bring attractive benefits and more victory points. However, to pull bigger freight cars, you’ll need to upgrade your locomotive engine.

    There is a satisfaction that comes as your train develops into a powerful behemoth, complete with bonus-carrying cabooses (the carriages at the back). You can even construct one of six buildings that will most benefit your style of play.

    Cargo

    Turn any card sideways, and you’ll notice one of three symbols. Oil, coal and ‘box’ are the only cargo you’ll be interested in on this curious island. You can load these into your wagons by sliding them sideways, underneath the train cars. Once your train is carrying the correct goods, they can be delivered to gain points and eventually usher in the end of the game.

    More often than not, you might prefer to load an opponent’s train cars! Loading other players with cargo activates different powerful benefits, creating a great interaction between players. Will you fill up your rival’s tanker with oil so that you can gain three more cards and a free action? Or stingily keep the oil for yourself and struggle through like a miser? In Isle of Trains, it’s often better to give a little and gain a lot.

    Currency

    Building and filling freight trains with cargo is an expensive business! How on earth do you hope to finance all of this in a 54-card game? With cards! You may need to say goodbye to that Megahopper and Oil Refinery for a few rounds - those two cards can be discarded to pay for the shiny new Level Two Engine you need.

    Cards paid from your hand are placed face-down in the discard pile to pay the cost shown for the different things you will need to build. Eventually, they will be shuffled back into the draw pile, but then your opponents may be able to draw them.

    A great feature of Isle of Trains is the upgrade system. Instead of having to take a massive hit to your hand to fund the most costly carriages, you only need to pay the difference between what you have and what you want. The Supertanker (cost eight) is a lot more affordable when you trade in your Tanker 201 (cost five) - only needing three cards to pay the upgrade. This allows the game to grow and develop at a healthy pace, with no players left trailing behind.

    Engine Building and Hand Management

    Player’s turns are limited in Isle of Trains, but present plenty of opportunity. Two actions from the following can be taken:

    • Take the top card from the draw pile.
    • Build one card from your hand.
    • Load one card from your hand (as long as there is capacity for it!).
    • Deliver cargo from your train.

    These can be the same action twice in a row if you’d like.

    The true scope and power of a player’s choices comes when loading rivals up with their own cargo. Doing this immediately allows the active player to gain multiple cards and can even line up a chain of actions. This cheeky nod to engine building adds to the charm of Isle of Trains.

    Players will have to carefully plan their actions, as whilst they can inflate their hand to pay big costs, they will need to discard down to a limit at the end of their turn. Hand management is important for getting the most out of the different stages of the game and offers a lot more strategy than first appears.

    Once a delivery has been made, that contract is taken and allows the player to attempt an alternate contract which is worth many more points.

    The game ends (with a last turn for each player - including the player who triggered the end) when a certain number of contracts are taken or if both the draw deck and discard pile are entirely empty.

    Points are awarded for train cars, completed deliveries, buildings and loaded cargo. The winner is crowned the greatest train operator on the Isle of Trains!

    Time to Board - Final Thoughts on Isle of Trains

    If you’re looking for a well-designed, strategic game, Isle of Trains is a tiny package that packs a big punch. Don’t be deceived - there's a lot of depth within these 54 cards! Games cater for 2-4 players and tend to last 30-60 minutes. The art is charming and has a retro, 1950's American feel to it. The cards have a good weight to them and rules are found on two double-sided sheets.

    At such a tiny price, this game makes both a great gift for a gamer and a worthy addition to a collection. Catch Isle of Trains while you can!

    Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Great innovation.
    • Clever use of 54 cards.
    • Interesting choices that can affect other players.
    • Compact and light.
    • Lots of bang for your buck.

    Might not like

    • Playing the same map every time.
    • More complex than it first appears.
    • If youre expecting a filler game.

    Zatu Blog

    Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

    Join us today to receive exclusive discounts, get your hands on all the new releases and much more!

    Excellent
    08000075444
    Bowthorpe Main Centre, Unit 15, Norwich NR5 9HA
    Zatu Games is rated 4.88 based on 12222
    Reviews

    As many have said a beautiful game. 4 stars only as I found it a little simple and short. Far more approachable compared to wingspan etc but lacking that higher depth and strategy

    As many have said a beautiful game. 4 stars only as I found it a little simple and short. Far more approachable compared to wingspan etc but lacking that higher depth and strategy

    I was able to find all the games I needed, including some in the outlet store section which were in good condition for a much cheaper price. The delivery was on time with no issues. Will definitely order again.

    I was able to find all the games I needed, including some in the outlet store section which were in good condition for a much cheaper price. The delivery was on time with no issues. Will definitely order again.

    Highly delighted, thank you.

    Highly delighted, thank you.

    Quick delivery. Xmas pressie so haven't opened yet.

    Quick delivery. Xmas pressie so haven't opened yet.

    Super speedy delivery, well packaged and great prices ! What more do you need ?

    Super speedy delivery, well packaged and great prices ! What more do you need ?

    I managed to reserve a PS 5 after a tweet from Zatu and couldn’t quite believe it. Was waiting for it to be a scam but it’s arrived on the day they said it would. Thank you!

    I managed to reserve a PS 5 after a tweet from Zatu and couldn’t quite believe it. Was waiting for it to be a scam but it’s arrived on the day they said it would. Thank you!

    I love this shop. The choice is huge, the prices great, and delivery really fast.

    I love this shop. The choice is huge, the prices great, and delivery really fast.

    Excellent service! Ordered 3 games ane game arrived in perfect conditions. Competitive prices also. Will order again soon!

    Excellent service! Ordered 3 games ane game arrived in perfect conditions. Competitive prices also. Will order again soon!

    Good prices. Good selection. Efficient service.

    Good prices. Good selection. Efficient service.

    Sorry, Incannot review as this a Xmas gift

    Sorry, Incannot review as this a Xmas gift

    Read All Reviews