The problem with most social deduction games is getting players to invest in the experience. Stop the Train! solves this problem beautifully.
I enjoy Social Deduction games. They aren’t for everyone, though. Being forced to lie about your role/motives/whatever causes stress for some players, and this is understandable. A lot of players will play games that they don’t realise are social deduction games though, such as Dead of Winter.
Why do they do this? In my experience, it tends to be because the game gives them a framework to play in. Even without looking at player motives, the game has set goals that everyone has to overcome.
These games tend to come with a complication cost. I can’t imagine a game of Dead of Winter that goes less than two hours, with a heap of setup and tear down on top of that. Simpler games like One Night Werewolf are quick to play but have ways of winning too easily.
Step in Escape Plan! (they love their exclamation marks) that has bought what looks like the best of both worlds.
Introducing Stop the Train!
The premise is simple – you are on a train headed to Paris, and a Saboteur is trying to get it to crash into the Paris station. Your goal (unless you want it to crash) is to stop this from happening.
So gameplay sounds simple – see who wants the train to keep going faster, and throw them off the train. Simple, right?
Well, no. And this is why I bought up Dead of Winter. Each character also has their own goals. There is a speedster that wants to break the land speed record. The engineer wants to take a particular route. The Mi6 agent wants the saboteur alive for questioning, so doesn’t want them thrown from the train.
So unlike Werewolf where there are a bunch of ‘Wow. I’m here. Great.’ characters, everyone has their own goals to keep in mind. There is always a reason to play in the game, and the board gives everyone a tangible focus.
OK. I’m listening.
The preview rules are up on the Kickstarter campaign, and it feels like a great game. There are multiple ‘outs’ for the saboteur as well, something that doesn’t always happen with these games.
What do I mean by outs? There are plenty of characters that will be ‘helping’ them as they try to fulfil their objectives. Also, even if you get thrown from the train, you can still win. The others still need to slow down the train, so it doesn’t crash.
The best part? Even a teaching game, where people will be taking time to learn the timings and flow, cant be more than 45 minutes.
I can’t see how the game works?
They have you covered. As well as having the rules available, there is a quick video showing some gameplay highlights on the campaign page.
So as you can see, there is plenty of confusion for the saboteur to work within. There are also mechanics like interventions to help players settle in their roles.
Are you backing it?
Yes. As I said, I love social deduction games. Add the semi-cooperative nature of the game, and this is a game that players like myself and Harls can have a great time.
When this article goes up, there will still be almost two days to jump in on the early bird specials as well. I can see a lot of fun with Stop the Train! on many game nights.
For more information and to check it out yourself, jump over to the campaign page here.