Daily Illuminator

April 15, 2023: Express Coming In On Track 1


If you've been here in Gamer World for a while, you know the trains run on time. And, back in the day, Darwin Bromley of Mayfair Games was the man who kept track of them.

Darwin, sadly, is no longer with us, but his work remains. With Bill Fawcett, he designed Empire Builder, launching a popular genre of train games that includes more than a dozen titles (and counting). He was responsible for introducing Catan to the US market. And in 1990, Darwin designed Express.

Express is a simple but deep card game about completing sets of cars, arranging them in scoring patterns, and preventing your opposition from doing the same. It plays simply and brilliantly with three or four individual players – or, if you are experienced, with five or six. It can also be played as an interesting partnership game, like bridge, with four or six players. I was new to the game when we began negotiating to republish it, and I still recall the "aha!" moment when the mechanics suddenly made sense and worked together, and I wanted to play again!

By the kind permission of Trella Bromley, and with the invaluable cooperation of the Train Gamers Association, we will be publishing a new edition of Express sometime in 2023. I suspect this will come as good news to a number of players who have completely worn out their Express decks through hard use! Look for a Kickstarter in the second half of the year, and look for some interesting add-ons suggested by the long-time players of the TGA.

When we demonstrated Express at PensaCon, we were just across the street from an antique steam loco on display. Darwin would have approved. And of course there are pictures!

-- Steve Jackson

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