SNAP Review – Metro X
Are you fascinated by public transit?
I get some of that same feeling while playing Metro X. Flip cards, fill your transit lines, and get passengers all the way to the ends.
Metro X (“the rail and write game”) is a flip-and-write game for 1-6 people designed by Hisashi Hayashi. It’s published by Gamewright in the USA, and it plays in about 20 minutes. Metro X is best for adults and kids ages 8+.
How to Play
Each player gets a subway (dry-erase) board and a dry-erase marker. All players agree which side of the board they’re using, then shuffle the transit cards and put them somewhere that all players can see the deck.
Someone flips over the top transit card. All players pick a route with an empty Train Car Window on their board. Then they write in the number (or Xs) based on the card – in the next available spot(s) on that route.
Check to see if any players have finished a route. The first player to finish each route gets a bonus (circle the gold diamond for that route) but other players may still complete that route on their own board (and circle the white square for fewer points).
There are four types of cards used in the game.
Number – these are the most common. Put in this many Xs on your chosen route, stopping if you reach a bubble that’s already been filled.
Skip – these (value 2 or 3) work like a Number, but you can skip stations on your route that have already been filled.
Transfer – Write an X in the Train Car window, and a number in the next available station. The number you write is double the number of lines that stop at or pass through that station.
Free Space – the only card that does not require you to fill in a Train Car window. Instead, place a single X in any station you choose – it doesn’t even have to be in order!
The game ends when all Train Car Windows are filled – this should happen at the same time for all players. Check one last time for completed routes, then tally up scores. Add up your completed route scores, your transfers, and subtract points based on how many empty spots you have left.
Metro X is Anitra’s favorite kind of game – an abstract! It’s a really good flip and write – the kind of puzzle that always leaves us wanting to play again. “I can do better!” Even though all you’re doing is writing numbers in circles, there’s more theme here than your typical abstract; just enough to make a good hook. The card and boards are very colorful and we always have fun playing it.
Not Immediately Intuitive
Our biggest complaint is with the rulebook. For some reason, it took us several plays to really understand what was going on. We actually played it incorrectly the first time, and had a hard time figuring out where we went wrong.
Surprisingly Accessible and Replayable
Note that the number 6 card causes all cards to be shuffled together again. This reduces card-counting and allows for more randomization than we’ve seen in other small deck games.
The box says 1-6 but you could play with even more people as long as they had copies of the board. Metro X is a great travel game! You don’t need a common table, or even a hard surface to be able play. The player board is nicely sturdy, so you can hold it in your hands to write. You don’t even need to see the cards to play, as long as the player in charge of the deck announces each card clearly.
Since this is a classic abstract flip-and-write game, there’s no player interaction at all. Solo play is identical to group play. It’s more of a “shared solo experience”, about doing your own personal best on your own board.
We love how accessible Metro X is: not only can you play it anywhere, there’s almost no reading and very little numeracy involved. But that doesn’t mean there’s no strategy here! Our five year old could play, but wouldn’t have a great time of it. The recommended age of 8+ seems right.
We rate Metro X 4.5 transit stops out of 5.
At $15, it’s a great value. Find it on Amazon or ask for it at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Metro X from Gamewright for this review.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
Number of Players: 1-6 (could do more with more player boards)
Age Range: 8+
Playtime: 20 minutes