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Circus Train 2nd Edition
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Circus Train 2nd Edition

Run Away and Fulfill Your Dreams!

Gold Banner product
Named one of the Top 10 Solitaire Board Games by Box of Delights!

Selected as the Best Reprint of the Year by Dice Tower contributor Dan King!

Circus Train Second Edition, by designer Tom Decker, is a one- to five-player game in which you are the owner and operator of a small circus train in prohibition-era America. In this game, you and your opponents are vying to employ the best talent while putting on the most magnificent show each month. While touring the country by train, you will have the opportunity to perform while adding talent to your show through hiring the performers stranded in cities by defunct circuses. Just remember to keep an eye on your wages, because your talent definitely will.
Water for Elephants book
Through clever card hand management, you control the movement of your train around the American northeast, making strategic business decisions about talent, performances and payroll in this fast-paced strategy game. Each turn represents one week of real time, and after six months, the circus season closes for the year and the game ends with one player declared as having The Greatest Show on Earth.

Inspired by Sara Gruen’s novel, Water for Elephants, Circus Train Second Edition includes thematic elements such as improving your show’s reputation by picking up alcohol for your talent and staff (legally, in Canada), the high costs of supplying big cats and elephants, and the ability to “red light” (firing by throwing off the train) disgruntled talent or talent that has simply become too expensive to maintain. These elements are blended into the game’s mechanics, keeping it all simple while adding layers of depth and strategy.

Game Data:

Number of Players: 1 to 5

Amazon review

Ages: 13 and up
Playing Time: Approximately 90-120 minutes

Polybag Game Components:

•    One 20-page full-color Rulebook
•    One 22” x 17” paper game map (two 11" x 17" sheets)
•    100 cards  

•    254 thick, two-sided, multi-shaped game pieces

Suggested Polybag Price: $44.95

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What's In The Box?:

•    One 20-page full-color Rulebook
•    One 22” x 17” paper game map (two 11" x 17" sheets)
•    100 cards  

•    254 thick, two-sided, multi-shaped game pieces
•    One six-sided 12mm die
•    One 22” x 17” mounted, jigsaw-cut game map (two 11" x 17" sheets)
•    One bright red, 9" x 11 7/8" Deluxe cardboard VPG game box
•    One beautiful box cover sleeve
•    One "Wipes-A-Lot" napkin
•    One charcoal desiccant packet

Suggested Box Price: $63.95

Video Review:


What's New in 2nd Edition:

-  Contains everything from the first expansion, adding 3 more players!
 - Brand new artwork on all components
 - Bigger cards, counters, and game boards
 - New, never-before-seen Event cards

What They're Saying:

- "...has it where it counts. In the designer’s notes, Tom Decker references a gladiator boardgame as his inspiration, but I’ve never played anything quite like Circus Train. Certainly not in terms of the theming. But also not in terms of a game about players configuring their playing piece to adapt to a sometimes brutally random and increasingly frenzied demand on a tactically significant map. With plenty of fantastic theming to complement the design smarts, this is a boardgame I heartily recommend." - Tom Chick (Quarter to Three)

- "Circus Train is a truly brilliant game that will likely not get as much exposure as it should because of it being a VPG product. I'm delighted that this game is part of their catalog of games because I love what they do, but I also can't help but feel that if this game were made by one of the big publishing houses that we'd be hearing talk about when this game would be breaking into the top 100. Yes, it's that good." - Roger (Roger's Reviews)

- "The wonder of Circus Train is that there are so many paths to win, and so many ways to do things – good and bad – that every ride down the tracks is a different adventure, and every game gives a different reason to argue whether luck is a big factor or not." - Mitch Freedman (The Boardgaming LIfe)

- "For a game with relatively light rules, I found the decision making just hard enough and interesting enough to keep me coming back for more. Oh and did I say how beautiful this game is. A true gem to look at." - Gordon J (Board Game Geek)

- "...with solo rules that’ll really teach you how badly the game punishes economic mismanagement, and an advanced variant that adds a little more strategy and a lot more flavour, it's streets ahead of many more professionally produced games, and a definite keeper." - Matt (Fortress)

- "Played it myself last nite for the first time. BIG thumbs up. Designer did a great job. The opposite of a euro: this game has soul, produces a great narrative, a nice cut-throat dynamic, the random element, and even some chrome. Easy to learn to play and many decisions for a gamer (kept a few of us hard core wargamers engaged for the two hour game). Was a real nail biter with some great end of the game twists and turns." - David Dockter (Board Game Geek)

- "I really did like this game. It just had a great feel about it. ... The game is tight and well balanced requiring you to play strategically but having to respond tactically as the board changes around you. The game is set in the Depression and sometimes you feel it; you just can’t get the performers, if you do you don’t have the money to pay them so they run off and if you play with the event cards then it just gets worse. Very enjoyable." - Alan Hatcher (Boardgames in Blighty)

Having played this literally right out of the box, this game has been a nice surprise. The theme is strong, and the game is very solid. .. 
The solo game is fun too, and very fast. ... A keeper, for sure, and a lot of fun." - Doug Adams (Board Game Geek)


Game Design: Tom Decker
Development: Josh Neiman
Additional Development/Support: Chris Taylor
Art: Vinh Ha
Graphic Design: Barry Pike III
Playtesting:  Paul Aceto, Ian & Natalie Barrett, James Campanella, Douglas Catchpole, Hayden Decker, Vince DeNardo, David Ells, Mike Galandiuk, Joshua Gottesman, Nathan Hansen, Joe Heaney, Timothy Hing, Matt King, Roger Mason, Russell Martin, Joe Miranda, Neil Morgan, Stephanie Newland, Carl Paradis, Steve Pozun, Joe Saul-Sehy, Blaise & Taria Sciurba, Ken Stojevich
Proofreading: Simon King, Ian Wakeham


VPG Sale Price: $37.95 - $54.95

Product Prices
SKU Type Price Qty.
Circus Train box
*Includes a paper
and Mounted Map
(if applicable)
Boxed Edition$54.95
CircusPolybag Edition$37.95

Game Resources:

(Rules require a PDF viewer installed in your browser, or right-click to download and open with a PDF reader)