It’s no secret that we’re a household full of train fans here and transport based board games also go down really well when we’re sitting down and playing together. When I spotted Stop the Train in a charity shop last year I was pretty sure that Master C would like it, and it turns out I was right.
What do you do in Stop the Train
Designed for 2 to 4 players and for children aged 5 and up, Stop the Train is a simple game, yet one that does include a bit of forward thinking.
Each player has three token of their colour that they need to board a train and travel at least once around the “track” on the playing board. The winner is the first person to get all three passengers back home.
The board is set up so that there is a circular clear plastic track which sits over a ring made up of coloured squares. There are then two trains which sit on this track and can freely move around it. Each train has five carriages which the players tokens can travel around the track “in”. Once you get back to your home station you just need to wait until you’re in a carriage that lines up with one of the paths to your home and then off you go.
If you miss your stop though, by your carriage not lining up with the path, then you have to stay on board and go around again!
Moves round the board are dictated by a large die which has different colours on each face that match up with the coloured squares on the track. When you roll a particular colour you can move a train so that the engine is just next to the colour rolled.
The game may sound quite simple so far, but there are four little diversions on the board which can make the journey home a little bit trickier for players.
There are certain squares on the board that are situated next to arrowed paths. If your carriage lands next to one of these paths you must leave the train, go along the path and wait for a train with an empty carriage to stop in front of you so that you can board and restart your journey. If there is someone else already waiting for the train there then you need to wait your turn behind them.
When I played with Master C it seems I was determined to take as many of these diversions as possible.
Helping another player’s journey – or not…
In Stop the Train there are actually two trains that make their way around the track. When its your turn you can choose which train to move. The bit of the game that took Master C a little bit to realise is that you don’t always want to be just moving the train that you want to get home. It can sometimes help your chances in the game to make one of the other players take a diversion, or to even make them miss their stop entirely. It may sound cruel, but all’s fair in a board game like this!
Stop the Train – our verdict
After just one day of playing it Stop the Train has already become one of Master C’s favourite board games. Ion a way it is no surprise as it is train related, but he’s also worked out that like Ludo and Snakes and Ladders, he does actually have a chance of winning this game, especially if he thinks carefully about how to move the trains.
Our version sadly has a couple of the wooden counters missing, but sawing up the handle of an old wooden spoon and some sandpaper and acrylic paint will soon sort that out! Bearing in mind I only paid 50p for the game in a charity shop I’m pretty sure we’ve already had great value for money out of it and I know that it will continue to be played here.
Stop the Train – the facts
Stop the Train was first published by Spears Games in 1983. It is designed for 2 to 4 players and has a recommended age of 5 years upwards. For reference Master C is 6 and enjoys it immensely and is easily able to follow all the rules etc.
The game is no longer produced, but some copies are available on eBay at the time of writing.