The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Rails of Europe

Apart from being on the schneid at Race (I’ve lost something like 8 in a row), I got in a game of Rails of Europe. This is an expansion to “Eagle’s very popular game about building Railroads.” (I guess there was a trademark fight about Railroad Tycoon, because the expansion has Glenn Dover’s name, and Eagle’s logo … but those words don’t appear anywhere).

Anyway, I’ve already mentioned my thoughts about Railroad Tycoon, so just a few random thoughts.

  • This is ‘done right.’ A small box with just the map and cards. Re-use all the components. (Not that I own RR Tycoon).
  • There are something like a dozen baron cards, and you get to draw two and keep one. Hopefully they are more balanced. Hopefully an improvement.
  • The major connections (points for linking two cities) are always available, unlike the original where they may show up or not. That seems like an improvement.
  • I don’t remember the original income track, but this seems the same.

Our game was fast. Maybe 100 minutes, with a few minutes of rules refreshers.

Having played another time or two, I do wish RR Tycoon was more unforgiving about cash. It seem taking out shares wily-nily to save actions always wins. Perhaps I’m just used to Age of Steam. Yesterday, If I guessed the ending turn correctly I would have lost by about 10 points, despite having taken out five shares to my opponent’s twenty. (Each share subtracts a point at the end). One of those “Small rule changes has a big impact” — how each game handles balancing the leader. AoS reduces income and VP; RR Tycoon has an income trace that stagnates, but costs no VPs.

In any case, I could see a number of variants that could easily shift the balance a bit (if so inclined). Make each share only earn $4,000 (instead of $5), or make each share cost 2 VPs at the end seem obvious.

I’d also consider going with an Age of Steam style auction for player order … I don’t particularly care for auctioning start player and then having everyone else go around the table.

In any case, Rails of Europe is a mild improvement and people who like RR Tycoon will probably like this. For me, it’s something to play every now and then, and then remember that I should pack the original game …

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Written by taogaming

February 10, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Reviews

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