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Railways of the World - Board Game Box Shot

Railways of the World

Railways of the World is the new base game for the system and will include the engine placards, railroad tiles, train tokens, money, bonds, and other items that will be needed in almost all "Railways of _____" games. The game board depicting the eastern half of the United States, is included in the base game. The map of Mexico will be mounted and is still included in this base game as an introductory map for new/beginner players.

User Reviews (6)

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Novice Advisor
The Gold Heart
Pick a Favorite LGS
155 of 167 gamers found this helpful
“Once Someone has a Taste for Gaming, Give Them the World!”

Railways of the World has been one of those games that everyone I have introduced it to has enjoyed. Perhaps a slight step up from a gateway game (depending on the person), this is easily taught and grasped by new players, yet has enough depth and interaction for most gamers.

One of my favourite things is to watch people’s reaction when I tell them they start with no money at all. That’s right, you want to get things going, you better accept those investor dollars and go into debt. (The ‘debt’ in this game is really a hybrid of a stock and a bond. Like a bond, you pay out interest regularly, but like a stock, you don’t repay it back during the game.)

Much of the game involves “position”; there are auctions for player order; competition for track laying into certain cities to have access to the right types of goods; being able to build tracks along the cheapest route possible before another player utilizes it; being first to deliver goods or connect certain cities; having locomotives capable of delivering goods as far as you need them to; completing the objectives stated on your Baron Card.

The main board is large, and I mean large! It is a grid map of the Eastern US and it’s size makes it best for games of 4 to 6 players. There is also a smaller one of Mexico which is great for 2 or 3 player games. To add to the variance to the static map are the card decks. The cards provide other goals, bonuses, and abilities that can alter your plans or make them more efficient.

Yet throughout the game you must balance your railway’s debt (needed to grow your railroad) with the amount of income your railway receives. It is this struggle, along with the interactions between players on map, that creates such a great gaming experience. And the fact that all this is accomplished with rules that are not much more complex than say, Settlers of Catan, makes it a great game for even inexperienced games. Hey, even my mother-in-law really likes this game.

However, the price of this game is higher than most, and so may deter some people from purchasing it. All I can say is that it is worth it in my opinion, as it is often requested.

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I play green
153 of 167 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 2
“Steaming along the railroads with an express delivery!”

I find it hard to give any game a 10/10 score, due to the fact that it means that there isn’t any way to improve the game. However, I find this is an exception. Railways of the World is a tremendous game where players take the place of a railroad baron looking to expand their rail network across the map and delivering goods in the process, trying to make the most money and steaming along the scoring tracker.

Based on the popular PC franchise ‘Railroad Tycoon’, this game depicts the PC game with the base game of Railways of the World including a giant map of Eastern U.S. and another smaller map of Mexico.

Setting up the game is probably the worst part of this game. I only say this because if you play the Eastern U.S. map with 4 or more players, you’ll be looking to find extra space on the table to put all the pieces on. The map is 91cm x 76cm, which is great for the size to play on but also not so great if you have a smaller table as you won’t fit everything on. I had to extend my dining table to accompany this and to fit all the tiles/trains/cards etc. and I thought I had a large table to start with.

Gameplay starts with players choosing between two baron cards given to them, each having a different goal which will score points at the end of the game. Starting with no money, players then bid on the ‘First Player’ card to go first in the round. Positioning can be crucial, as once the first player is determined, play proceeds clockwise once the round has started. If you’re last to play, especially early on, it may end up ruining your plans to begin with.
All players will take bonds (debt) out at the start of the game to fund their railroad early on and most likely further on in the game. Income and dividends are paid out at the end of the turn, so the more bonds you have, the more you’ll have to pay back to the bank. If you’re not careful with your money, you’ll find you have to take a bond out to pay the dividends for your bonds, sending you in a spiral of debt. Income is determined by how far you are along the score tracker. Further along = more income, though this will reverse and you’ll get less income when you surpass a certain point on the tracker. This is a great mechanic will allows other players to earn more if they’re behind the player in the lead, allowing them to have more money to play with, which could be beneficial in circumstances.

Each turn consists of 3 rounds, so each player will have 3 rounds of actions in a turn. At the end of the 3 rounds, the turn is over and that’s when income and dividends are paid out, and the ‘First Player’ card is bid for again.
During your 3 rounds of actions, you can:
1. Buy and install rail.
2. Take an ‘Operations Card’ which can be beneficial in most cases.
3. Urbanise a town into a city, allowing you and other players to deliver goods to and from it.
4. Upgrade your train, allowing you to deliver goods to cities farther away.
5. Deliver goods from one city to another, scoring points in the process.

When players decide to deliver goods, a goods cube from the city they’ve taken it from is removed from the game and put into a goods cube bag. If all cubes on a city are taken and delivered, an empty city marker is placed on the city. Players can still deliver to the city but the city has nothing on offer to take. The game ends when the last ’empty city’ marker has been placed on a city. ‘Empty City’ markers differ with the number of players, but it’s common once one goes, it can start to spiral fast and a number of them can go in quick succession, especially later in the game.
Once the last ’empty city’ marker has been placed, players get to the end of the turn and a full turn after (which could be up to 6 actions, depending on when it is placed in the turn). This gives you time to plan ahead to make the last minute deliveries.

The game is scored by the players score on the score tracker minus the number of bonds they own. After that, players reveal their baron cards to see if they have completed it. If you have, you score the points on the card. If not, nothing happens and you stay where you are. The player who wins is the player furthest along the tracker.

Overall, all the games I’ve played so far have been really intense at times but also very enjoyable. Introducing this to a number of other gamers and non-gamers, they’ve enjoyed it and it’s one of those games which you say ‘play again?’ once you’ve finished. Of course, it takes a few hours to play, depending on number of players, however, I find it’s such an enthralling game to play, that it deserves the rating I’ve given it, with the enjoyment adding to the rating. With plenty of expansions too, the base game is good enough for me to want to invest in the expansions.
A top quality game and you’ll enjoy chugging along the tracks and so will your friends!

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Intermediate Reviewer
Gamer - Level 3
153 of 174 gamers found this helpful
“Moving Goods for Victory”

This is a game where carefully building a network of railroad links between cities is paramount. The object of the game is to move goods from one city to a target city (based on the color of the city/good). Players do this by linking the cities together with railroad tracks. Players only get 3 actions each turn, thus giving the player some tension in deciding the optimal play for the turn. For each link traversed in the delivery of a good the player whose link was used gains a point on the income track. After everyone has taken their three actions there is an income phase. Players have to issue bonds when they need money, and they pay back each bond each turn, so gaining independent income is rather important. Players do not start the game with money, so debt is inevitable, but controlling how much debt one incurs is part of the game.

The game has a good depth of strategy, and no two sessions will play out the same since the goods are randomized each game. There is a good balance between upgrading engines, building tracks, and delivering goods, combined with the income track which increases in value until the midpoint, and then decreases. The income track doubles as the victory point board, so one does want to increase to win the game, but increasing too fast too soon will deprive you of money.

The game is not too deep as to prevent people from playing it, yet it is by no means light. A good strategy will be clearly rewarded. The game is somewhat unforgiving for bad play, but there is room and time to recover and put up a good fight.

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I play blue
El Dorado
Guardian Angel
43 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“All Aboard!”

Railways of the World (RotW) takes place in the 19th century during the golden age of the railroads. Players take on the role of rail barons who are trying to build a rail empire. Players take out bonds to build track and upgrade locomotive engines in order to deliver goods and obtain income. The theme is well represented in the game. The object of the game is to score the most victory points (VPs) by delivering goods, constructing major rail lines and achieving a Railroad Baron objective. RotW is for 2 to 6 players ages 12 and up and plays in about 2 hours.

The components are excellent, hats off to Eagle Games. I cannot rave enough about the components. There are two different mounted beautiful boards. The Railways of Mexico board accommodates 2 or 3 players and the Railways of the Eastern US board is used for 4 to 6 players. There are thick cardboard tokens, hard and soft plastic playing pieces, wood cubes, a cloth bag, well detailed paper money, and fairly durable cards. There are separate Railroad Operations and Railroad Baron decks for each board. The artwork on the cards is below average but does set the theme. The rulebook is only 5 pages and well written and organized. The rulebook also has some examples of play.

Set-up for RotW is easy but takes a moment. Each player receives their playing pieces and is dealt two Railroad Baron cards. The Railroad Baron cards have a secret objective that the player can obtain for VPs. Each player chooses one Railroad Baron card and discards the other. Each city on the board is seeded with the indicated number of goods cubes, the indicated number of empty city markers are set aside and the Railroad Operations deck is shuffled and the indicated number of cards drawn and placed face up near the board. The youngest or most inexperienced player becomes the first player.

RotW is played in a series of turns consisting of the following three phases:

1. Auction for First Player
2. Player Actions
3. Income & Dividends

The current First Player starts the auction and bidding proceeds in clockwise order. Each player must outbid the previous bidder or pass. Bids are made in $1,000 increments. The player who made the highest bid pays the amount he bid to the bank and becomes the First Player, receiving the First Player card.

This phase is the heart of the game. There are three rounds of player actions in which each player performs one action. The actions a player can perform consist of the following:

Build Track: Build up to four track tiles to create ‘links’ between cities. The cost to build each track tile depends on the terrain in the hex where the tile will be built. The player places one of his playing pieces on the link to claim ownership.

Urbanize: Place a New City tile and two random goods cubes in any gray city. It costs $10,000 to urbanize.

Upgrade Engine: Increase the engine level of your locomotives. The higher the engine level, the more links a goods cube can be moved.

Deliver One Goods Cube: Move one goods cube from up to your current engine level from one city to another city. The goods cube must be delivered to a city that is the same color as the cube. The active player as well as inactive players can gain income depending on which links were used to deliver the goods cube.

Take Railroad Operations Card: The player can select one available Railroad Operations card. The Railroad Operations card give bonus VPs, discounts on building rail tiles, give additional actions and grant free urbanizations to name many.

All players receive their income and must pay $1,000 interest on each bond they have. Incomplete links are removed, the round marker returns to the ‘1’ space and a new Railroad Operations card is drawn. The players are ready for the next turn.

When the last empty cities marker is placed on a city without cubes, then the current turn is finished and one more full turn is played. At the end of that turn VPs are tallied and the player with the most is the winner.

Railways of the World is an easy game to learn and play. It is a step up in complexity from Ticket to Ride, but not as complex as the 18XX games. In my opinion, it is a medium weight game with enough depth to keep veteran gamers interested yet not too much for a casual gamer to handle.

There is a good amount of player interaction in RotW. Outside of the first player auction, players race to build major lines, use other players’ rail links, grab a Railroad Operations card before you can, or deliver a goods cube you had your eye on.

RotW has high replay value. The initial goods cube seeding of the cities can change the feel of the game and make some areas of the board more attractive than other areas. You’ll probably have a different Railroad Baron secret objective every game and there is no telling what Railroad operations cards will be drawn during the game. I’d also like to point out that there are several expansion boards available to keep the game fresh.

This game is a lot of fun and a big hit with my gaming group. The two hour game time always seems short, and I find myself hoping that the end game will not be triggered. Railways of the World is a great game and would be an excellent addition to your collection.

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I play yellow
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Smash Up: Pirate Faction Fan
153 of 180 gamers found this helpful
“My New #1 Game System! Go buy this! Now! We'll wait.”

Railways quickly jumped to my Favorite Game spot. After first few plays (on Western US map), I realized that I had discovered a game system that I enjoyed immensely, regardless of how well I did. It was the Process that I enjoyed, the Gameplay. Not simple, but not complex either, Railways takes Pick Up & Delivery and Route-Building to the next level from Gateway games like T2R. Once players know the game, it can be played quite quickly too! The goods distribution and card draw order keep each game different from the last. I can’t recommend this game system enough to those ready for the Next Step!

My group have now played all of the expansions –
* Eastern USA (comes w Base Game) – 10. NE is a battle! Great map with 4-5P.
* Western USA – 10. Excellent map for 5-6P! VAriety of geography make it new each time! (Use the rotors w/ all maps once you get this one!)
* Mexico (also in Base Game) – 7. Good Starter Map for 2-3P. 2P is good, 3P is brutal & combative. Not my favorite.
* Europe – 10. Tricky due to geography, but our favorite. Gets a bit nasty w/ 5P. Best w 4P. 3P is ok, but ends too quickly! There’s also a fan-made Military History Event Deck that we find really enjoyable.
* England/Wales – 9. Very balanced, good for beginners. Good 3-5P. Geography makes it less confrontational.
* Australia (fan variant) – 8. Ok w 4, best w 5. Very fun, “donut-shaped” map (5P forces people to leave the coast and go into the center.
* Railways Through Time – 7. Neat twist on the game, lets players jump from board to board, each board representing a diff time period!
* North America (Canada) – 8. Nice new map, mines are a good addition, ferries haven’t been a huge hit w us yet.
* North America (Trans-Continental) – 5. A disappointment. Our resident Game Designer re-did it (as a Team Game on E.US & W.US simultaneous!) and we like his version a whole lot better. 9.
* California Gold Rush (fan variant) – 9. Very fun, with interesting Gold Rush mechanic. A new favorite map!

EVENT DECK – 10. Essential addition. Adds some randomness, but all thematic and you can customize the deck for your group’s taste. We don’t play w/o anymore.

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I play red
123 of 183 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Very interesting and competative game”

The most interesting aspect of this game is the way that you compete with each other in more ways then in some other games. Players bid for turn position at the start of each groups 3 rounds, can sabotage potential routes other players were going to build via environment cards, and can exploit the fact that others need to go through a specific city by buying a hotel there that gives them bonuses.

It’s the system of laying out the tracks, trying to beat your opponent to the punch, and planning far in advance of your turn that makes this a very strategic game.

For a first play, I had quite a bit of fun and it kept building from there until the end. In a group of 6, I came in second to last but I didn’t mind a bit. It was just simple fun.


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