Feb 152011
 
GD Star Rating
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The Basics:

  • Ages 10 and up
  • Plays 2 to 7 people
  • About 30 minutes

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Moderate
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Father Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Train of Thought is a party word game that will challenge and entertain. This game is not for the dull or slow. Train of Thought requires you to be engaged and listen attentively during the entire game.  At the same time, this game is not overpowering or overwhelming and is easily taught within about 2 minutes.

The game is comprised of two types of cards. The single Conductor Card and the Station Cards. The Conductor Card is used to signify which player is leading and is passed from player to player during the game. A Station Card have 6 words printed on it, with a value of 1 through 6 next to each word. Also included in the game is an easy to read and understand rule book, a 60-second timer, and a single six-sided die.

Players are either Guessers or the Conductor. Regardless of the player’s role, there are points to be won. This is an excellent mechanic as it keeps all the players active and involved. There is no downtime. Once the game starts, everyone at the table is simultaneously playing for points.

If the player is the Conductor, they take the Conductor Card and roll a single six-sided die. This die value is placed on the Conductor Card. It is visible to all the players and serves as a reference for the Conductor. The Conductor then takes one of the Station Cards and places it face up so all can see it. The number next to the word that matches the die roll is the “start word”. The conductor then takes another Station Card, but does not reveal it to the other players. This hidden Station Card lists the “destination word”. The previously rolled die value identifies the destination word in the same manner as the start word. The game is ready to begin.

The goal of the game is to get the Guessers to correctly name as many destination words as possible within an allotted amount of time. Doing so wins a point for the Guesser and the Conductor. It is therefore in the Conductor’s best interest to be as precise and clear as possible. It is also in the Guesser’s best interest to pay close attention and do all they can to guess the destination word first.

One of the Guesser’s takes on the role of the Breakman for a single turn. The Breakman is in charge of turning over the timer and calling “time” when it runs out.  The Brakeman is still very much in the game and should participate in the guessing.

When the Conductor says go, the Breakman turns over the timer. The Conductor then provides the Guessers with a 3-word sentence or short phrase that will help the Guessers guess the destination word. Note that the 3-word sentence or short phrase must contain the start word and cannot contain the destination word.

The Guessers then get to shout 1 word each and no more. The Conductor  must listen to the words carefully. If one of the Guessers shouts the destination word, a point is immediately scored for both the Conductor and the Guesser! If none of the words match the hidden word, the Conductor must use one of the words said by the Guessers in a 3-word sentence or short phrase. Again, the Conductor can never say the hidden word. This continues until one of the Guessers shouts out the destination word.

Once the destination word has been guessed, a new hidden Station Card is drawn. The previous hidden Station Card is placed face up in front of all the players. Play continues with the Conductor providing a new 3-word sentence or phrase using the previous destination word on the now revealed Station Card. The new hidden Station Card provides the new destination word. The six-sided die is never re-rolled.

The Conductor continues to draw new Station Cards and providing new destination words for as long as there is time on the 60-second timer. Once the Breakman shouts “time”, the Conductor Card is passed to a new player, another Guesser becomes the Breakman, and a new turn begins.

Points are tracked by players taking one of the Station Cards that have been discarded or not used yet and set aside in a separate “scoring pile” in front of them. Train of Thought comes with 200 Station Cards, which means you will never be short cards to play with.

Play continues for 2 rounds, providing each player with 2 chances to be the Conductor.  After the second round, all players count the cards in their scoring pile. The winner is the player with the most cards and goes on to have a lucrative career in the locomotive industry or word franchise.

Another Explanation

If you found my explanation too complex and confusing (shame on you), then give this video a quick peek. It is both amusing and educational.

Final Word

I am not a fan of word games. I find most of them to be fairly unimaginative in their game design and repetitive to the point where it is painful to even participate. Lack of replay value, player interaction, and imagination often go hand-in-hand with word games, in my opinion. There are exceptions, of course. There are some very good word games available on the market today.

Train of Thought is one of those very good word games.

This game does a lot of things right. First, it provides for a high level of player interaction. I love games where I get to actually play with the other people. Second, it is fast-paced. There is no downtown and a single game doesn’t last very long or feel drawn out. Third, this game is challenging and requires all the players to use their active listening, communication, and logical thinking skills. This makes the game very challenging and rewarding. Fourth, and finally, the game’s mechanics and flow are easy to understand and to teach. This makes it very easy for me to introduce the game to veteran gamers and new players, alike.

This game is not for your littlest geeks. Reading and having a moderately large vocabulary is required to play. Your littlest geeks can still participate, however, but with assistance from the parents. If you play with your littlest geeks, put them on a team with another adult or older geek. This is how we played and it worked just fine. I also suggest you have a “practice round” to help everyone get in the mindset of how the game is played.

For those with older little geeks, the suggested age range is appropriate. Expect some words to be unknown to the Conductor. If this does happen, simply have the Conductor draw a new Station Card as quickly as possible and continue without penalty. The point of this game is to get your little geeks to strengthen their communication and logic skills. This game will do that with ease while not feeling like work.

Train of Thought is all about connecting the dots. As the game progresses, all the Guessers must do their best to follow the thread, or “train of thought”, that is being communicated by the Conductor. If the Guessers fail to do so, they will not follow the logic thread being cast by the Conductor, costing everyone points. Likewise, the Conductor must do all they can to keep the Guessers on the right track by adding small but important details that are connected. If everyone does this correctly, destination words are guessed fairly quickly.

I enjoy this game very much and get it on the table whenever I can. It is fast and challenging. I highly recommended it for your older little geeks and for adults. Great for parties or whenever you just want to have some fun!

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

Train of Thought Game Review, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....

  4 Responses to “Train of Thought Game Review”

  1. [...] Geek provided us with a great review earlier this week and now he’s offering a contest to give away some free copies of the game! [...]

  2. Great review Father Geek, can’t wait till’ my kids are old enough to play :) Keep up the good work!

    • Our thanks, Josh!

      Don’t worry…Candy Land will soon be behind you and so many great games await. Enjoy the journey…and the games!

  3. [...] think, then Synonyms is for you. There are much better word games available to you, however. Train of Thought, for example. What Synonyms has that other words games do not is the extensive and all inclusive [...]

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