On Track: Behind the Scenes
All aboard! Ride along with us for a behind-the-scenes look at our new award-winning card game On Track™. Much like the building of a railroad, this game was a total team effort, but was such a joy to put together!
To keep us “on track” we sought the insight of a railroad expert (Hi, Barb!) who works at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in nearby St. Paul, Minnesota. Her passion and enjoyment of railroads truly inspired us to make On Track full of lighthearted fun while respectfully tipping our hats to history.
Why a train game?
Trains are an endearing and everlasting part of history, enjoyed by all ages. When you hear a train’s whistle or see one roaring along the tracks, it’s hard to resist counting the cars and wondering what cargo is aboard. Whether it’s the symbolic striping on a toddler’s overalls, wooden train whistles from a gift shop, playing with toy trains, creating hobby railways, or setting up a train to circle your holiday tree, it’s a safe bet that the nostalgia and wonderment of railroads have found their way into your current life.
On Track was developed to celebrate and commemorate the history of rail transportation and provide a pastime as classic and FUN as the railways it features. The theme of trains is one that bridges many ages and interests, and seemed like a natural topic for a card game that’s family-forward, competitive, and FUN!
Discovering the Details
The cards feature different sights and surprises in each environment, just like seeing out the windows of a speeding train – look closely or you’ll miss something! Each of the four players’ railways are located in a different terrain, mimicking the various landscapes railroads cross: coastlines, plains, deserts, and mountains.
Just like looking at a miniature replica of a train town, there’s a slew of cute and curious details that are super neat to spot. They are different for each of the four railroad colors. In fact, you’ll even find pieces of some of our other award-winning Three Corner™ Card Games hidden on the cards. Look closely and you’ll find echoes of enCOWnter™, sqWATCH OUT™, GNOMES vs TROLLS™, and Lava Lizards™ too.
There’s more to delight in than just the details, of course. Planning your moves and watching your landscape come to life along your tracks becomes more and more strategic as you play. You can win with a variety of landscape shapes and layouts so you essentially build a new scene each time you play!
4 Featured Locomotives
All aboard! Here’s a glimpse at the engines and the terminals that inspired the On Track cards.
1. Big Boy
Twenty-five Big Boy locomotives were built exclusively for Union Pacific Railroad. Big Boy locomotives were among the most powerful ever built, and they weighed a whopping 1.2 million pounds! (Now we know where they got their name!) The Big Boy 1404 was in service until 1961 and traveled more than 1 million miles. Put Big Boy back on the rails by playing with the Purple Line On Track cards.
2. The Challenger
This locomotive “challenged” Big Boy in size and power. During Big Boy’s retirement, Challenger was the most powerful operating steam engine in the world. There were 105 Challenger’s built between 1936 and 1943. They measured about 122 feet long and weighed over 1 million pounds! If you’re up to the “challenge,” play the Blue Line On Track cards.
Streamlined and sleek, Daylight engines were known for their bright orange and red colors. Their speed (they could exceed 100 mph) and smooth capabilities made them a favorite for hauling passengers. If you think you can go fast enough, take the Orange Line On Track cards for a spin!
4. Royal Hudson
The Canadian Pacific’s Royal Hudson engines were known by the brass crown on the running board skirts. Revered for their successful design, these dependable and smooth operating engines were often used for high-profile passenger service, transcontinental duties, and as freight haulers. If you’re feeling up to a long haul, play the Green Line On Track cards.
4 Featured Terminals
We chose four terminals to pay tribute to in this card game. Each Terminal Card is played last, but is certainly not the least important!
The blue Terminal Card pays tribute to Grand Central Station in New York, New York. Construction finished in 1913 and took 10 years to build this iconic terminal. The vaulted ceiling reaches 125 feet high and features painted constellations. Its famous clock has always been a focal point too.
The purple Terminal Card gives a friendly nod to Union Station in Denver, Colorado. When construction finished in 1881, it was the largest structure in the western United States. It even included a 128-foot tower! The “Travel by Train” sign was added to the station later to pay homage to the bygone era of train travel.
The green Terminal Card was modeled after Chicago's Union Station in Illinois which opened in 1925. The 10-year construction included the station itself, plus the necessary rail yards, bridges, and viaducts to separate rail traffic from city traffic. The “Great Hall” is known for its waiting room that spanned 219-feet in length with a vaulted skylight 115 feet high.
The orange Terminal Card is reminiscent of the Santa Fe Depot. The station was built in one year, completed in 1915, and was designed to echo California’s Spanish heritage. The well-recognized arches, towers, and beautiful tile work still remain today.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The forming of the first transcontinental railroad in Promontory, Utah in 1869 was echoed by newspapers from the New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, the Omaha Herald, to the Daily Alta California. The feat finally connected the east and west of the United States. People rejoiced, dreaming of the produce and products that would now be available nationwide with the new possibilities of transport.
Create your own transcontinental railroad by playing the Golden Spike team game. Join your railroads at the Golden Spike Card to win!
Discover your own facts about the railways that shaped the landscape where you live. Research local roundhouses and museums near you and pay them a visit. The stories and history behind the history of transportation will excite learners of all ages!
Shop On Track Card Game and coordinating railroad stickers for a combination that can't be beat! Stickers are fun to give as prizes for the game winner, party favors, or gift add-ons for kids and adults.
Free Train Printables!