I like the crayon rail games. I've played a lot of Iron Dragon, some EuroRails, and a smattering of others. I'd like to introduce acquaintances who aren't already experienced gamers to them (doing some boardgame evangelism here). But these games are rather longer than most gateway games. At an hour per player (on average, in my group) and not working very well with fewer than four players, these games don't fit neatly in a weeknight after-dinner gathering, even considering How to speed up a game of Empire Builder?. (The techniques there work better for experienced players, and they don't make the large difference I'm looking for.)

Is there either a faster member of this category of game or a tested set of rules variants that produces a satisfying game in the two-hour range for four or more players? I think a smaller map + a recalculated end-game trigger would do it; a smaller map means fewer options, more route contention, and quicker deliveries. But you still want the game to progress through all the stages (initial build, expansion, money engine), so I don't know if blocking off regions on an existing map (and doing something to be determined with affected route cards) can work.

What can I use for a shorter gateway to crayon rail games?

closed as off-topic by Nij, Mosquite, goldPseudo, Joe W, Philip Kendall Oct 6 '18 at 14:15

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for game recommendations are off-topic. For more information, see this meta question." – Nij, Mosquite, goldPseudo, Joe W, Philip Kendall
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    The poor reception is because this looks like a game recommendation question (I guess you can only see the generic off-topic "This question does not appear to be about board or card games" rather than the specific "Questions asking for game recommendations are off-topic." reason that the close-voters actually selected). See boardgames.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1307/1926 – goldPseudo Oct 6 '18 at 1:02
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    Thanks @goldPseudo. I thought a question aimed at introducing people to a narrowly-scoped class of games would be welcome. (An open-ended "what should I play?" opinion survey would obviously be a bad fit, and seems to be what that meta post is worried about, but the problem to solve here is pretty specific.) I got my answer in a comment, so I'm not going to try to figure out how to do the wordsmithing dance to get this reopened now. – Monica Cellio Oct 7 '18 at 1:23
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    I'm pretty disappointed by how we handled this. Yeah, we've deemed recommendation questions off-topic, but the goal of that was to put a stop to really broad, opinion-based questions. This sort of well-defined, well-written question is the collateral damage of that policy. The least we could do is try to help the OP edit, rather than simply closing. – Cascabel Oct 7 '18 at 2:05
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    @Nij All but one of the close votes were before that comment, and they were all before I could've possibly deleted it. Moreover, a single comment left standing (in this case because I valued preserving context more than I valued absolute enforcement) is absolutely not a justification for our community to make zero effort to improve questions rather than closing. We expect better of ourselves than that. – Cascabel Oct 7 '18 at 19:29
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    I understand the term "gateway game" to mean "a representative member of its class that plays well and entices new gamers to play more games of that type". Is that not the common understanding on this site @Nij? But eh, I'm not going to argue w/you about it; you see a broad unanswerable question & I don't. The way this question played out was disappointing and didn't leave me inclined to guess my way to something that would comply with your expectations. I just came here to solve a problem; I didn't get the reception I expected, but I did get an answer and y'all don't want my question, so meh. – Monica Cellio Oct 7 '18 at 22:08

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