Railroad Tycoon Review
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Players: 2-6
Playing Time: 2 hours

The popular computer game Railroad Tycoon has finally come to us in the form of a board game. Anyone in love with the computer game will love this live version, too.

The game plays pretty much as the title suggests—you have to beat all the other players at being the best railroad tycoon. Each player takes the role of a budding railroad baron, building his empire of railroad tracks connecting cities in the Eastern United States. You pick up cargo from one city and drop it off at the correct delivery city, and you earn a point for every city you can manage to travel through in the process. You can also earn points by completing other specific tasks. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

The game is a turn-based game. It starts out with everyone getting their own fleet of colored trains. The trains start out at Level 1, and players must pay to upgrade to higher levels throughout the game. Each level represents how many cities they can travel to when delivering goods. The more levels, the more cities you can travel to—and the more points you can earn. Players must also build the track between cities before delivering to those cities. If you travel on track owned by another player, then the other player gets one point for every track of theirs you travel on to deliver your goods.

Each turn features three different rounds—and you get to perform one action per round. Players rotate through the turns and try to figure out what they want to do with each turn: lay track, deliver goods, upgrade trains or cities, or pick up a card (which can help you along the way). As the game progresses, other people’s track will inevitably get in your way and ruin your plans, so adaptability to the ever-changing board dynamics is crucial.

I found this game to be thoroughly enjoyable. I must note, however, that this game is for diehard gamers, as the board is gigantic and there are hundreds of little pieces to keep track of. And with such a large board, it’s almost impossible to keep track of all your own personal items on the side. All of it is very detailed and well constructed—though we found that the blue cities on the board look more like purple, and the confusion caused some problems.

At one point, my wife walked by and saw the game laid out on the dining room table, with four grown men standing up, chairs slid back, hunched over, moving trains and mumbling to each other. She simply rolled her eyes, shook her head, and walked out of the room. We looked at each other and shrugged. We didn’t care…we were having fun.

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