I recently began my review of the top 10 board games every family should play. This is the list so far:
Top 10 Board Games for Families:
7. Railways of the World
Designers: Glenn Drover and Martin Wallace
Publisher: Eagle Games
Players: 2 – 6
Time: 120+ min.
Age: 12+ (My recommendation: 10+ if motivated)
Fun to Age Ratio: 4
I am fairly new to Railways of the World so I’m not going to pretend to know all the ins and outs yet. I have included it on this list because it looks like it has great potential to become one of my favorites, and it has been garnering rave reviews as an excellent medium-weight strategy railroad game. For purposes of this list, this means it falls into the heavier strategy category. If you are new to the games on my list, I would not start with this one. But if you want something more challenging that older kids will enjoy, give this a try.
As with most of these heavier strategy games, though, the first few plays may go a little slow and all the mechanics may seem tedious. But if you stick with it, the steep learning curve can be very rewarding. The play involves establishing railroad links between cities which allow you to deliver goods. The goods are represented by wooden cubes that are randomly placed throughout the cities at the start of the game. Each cube is colored to represent a certain type of good. The cities each have a corresponding color which indicates a demand for that particular good. Money is first acquired through the issuance of bonds but is earned after every round based on a player’s income level. Income levels increase with the delivery of goods and the completion of certain goals.
The components of the game are absolutely stunning. The graphics, tiles, cards and other pieces are of very high quality and the game board is just beautiful to look at as the game progresses. The game is sold as a basic set which allows for numerous expansions. Included with the current version of the basic set are two game boards: Railways of the Eastern U.S. and Railways of Mexico. A general rule book is provided as well as rules specific to each map. Consolidating these rules may be a little awkward at first. I recommend getting a general idea then just diving in. You may not get all the rules correct the first time, but the discovery of the game’s depth is half the fun.
The game itself has a somewhat interesting history. It is basically a repackaging of Railroad Tycoon The Boardgame, which was developed as a simplified version of Martin Wallace’s classic Age of Steam with a naming license from the computer game Railroad Tycoon. Age of Steam was also re-imagined by Martin Wallace as Steam, released by Mayfair Games in 2009. So if you want to get even deeper into this type of railroad genre, try Steam or Age of Steam.
If you are new to railway games and want something with more substance than Streetcar, I would recommend trying Empire Builder first. But if you feel you’re ready for something heavier, Railways of the World is just the ticket.