If you like Board Games that involve Trains, I am sure you will enjoy playing a game called Railways Of The World by Eagle/Gryphon Games.
Components: 1 – 30″ x 36″ mounted map of Eastern U.S., 1 – 14.75″x24.5″ mounted map of Mexico, 12 Railroad Baron Cards, 1 Start Player Card, 37 Railroad Operation Cards, 3 Rulebooks (1 Explaining the play of the game, 1 For US specific Rules, and 1 for Mexico Specific Rules), 1 Score Track, 150 Plastic trains in 6 colors, 24 empty city markers (4 types), 125 good cubes (5 colors), Bond Certificates (54 notes in 3 denominations), Money (3 denominations), 217 Track Tiles, 12 New City Tiles (3 x yellow, 3 x black, 3 x blue and 3 x purple), 2 Golden Spike tiles, Drawstring Bag
A Little Bit About The Components: The first thing I have to say about the components is that there are a LOT of them! Also, the Eastern US Board that comes with the game is gigantic. You will need a big table to play this on or at least a minimum of two card tables side by side. The Empty City Markers are different shapes, but that does not mean they represent different rules or anything. It’s just a matter of making the components look good. I like these empty city markers a lot They could have been used when I was a child playing with Matchbox cars and electronic Toy Trains for some of the buildings and signs along the way near the tracks. “Ahh…The Old Childhood Memories of Playing with those Trains and little Cars…”
High Level Overview Of The Game: Railways Of The World has Three Turns (or Phases). In the First Turn players are going to bid for the right to be the First Player for the start of the each round. After that they are going to do the following for 3 rounds: Perform one action from the following for each round: Lay Track (Maximum 4 track per action), Urbanize (I’ll talk more about that in a moment), Draw a Railroad Operations Card (More about that in a moment), Transport one Good from one city to another, or Upgrade their Engine. Then the last thing that gets done is the third phase which is to issue Income and pay Dividends.
In order to have money for Track costs and Bidding you can earn it through gaining points in the game, but you have another option of taking a BOND card. For each bond, you receive $5,000. But at the end of the third phase you have to pay back a dividend of $1,000 for the each bond you hold. Bonds can not go away and you also receive -1 points for each bond you have at the end of the game for final scoring.
Urbanize: Players can Urbanize a gray colored city by doing the following: Pay a Cost of $10,000, then take a new city tile and place it on a gray city. If the city has an empty city marker on it (All Goods have been delivered out of that city), then place the marker back into the available empty city marker pool and add two random cubes to the city. The new city can have cubes delivered to it based on the color chosen for the new city.
Draw a Railroad Operations Card: During their each round a player has the option of drawing a Railroad Operations Card. These cards give additional bonuses to the score track for that player if the text on the card is fulfilled. Note: some of the cards are not additional scores, but allow you to do things like lay longer track lines per turn, etc.
Upgrade Your Engine: Why would you want to do this, you may ask? Well, if you pay the price to upgrade your engine, then you can transfer a good across multiple tracks giving you potentially more points in the long run for each good you deliver. Of course the higher the upgrade the more links (between cities) you can transfer across.
How to win the game: Be the player who has the most points at the end of the game. Pretty simple. So, keep track of how many bonds you are getting, bid wisely and use your track management wisely and you should have no problem.
What I liked about the game: I really liked the components that are in the box as far as the trains, empty city markers, and bonds go. The color cubes representing the goods were also good.
What I was not a fan of: I really didn’t care for the huge size of the Eastern US Game board, although I will still play the game, I think it could have been smaller (Maybe the train track hexes could have been smaller to compensate and thus making the board itself smaller). I also was not a big fan of Paper Money (although it looked authentic). I would have prefered some other way of keeping track of the money such as gems or poker chips. But that would not be a showstopper either for me.
Something Interesting: I received a 1st edition printing of this game, which meant some of the colors were slightly off on the game board and cubes. This was a little annoying but again it was not a showstopper. It is to my understanding that the 2nd edition printing fixes that issue. Also the 1st edition did not come with Mexico Baron Cards and Railroad Operations Cards. This was also added in the 2nd edition printing. It does not mean the game is necessarily broke when you play the Mexican board, it just means that it plays a little differently.
My First Impressions: At a suggested retail cost of $74.99, this game is well worth the money for what you get in the box. It does play about 2 hours in length, so if you are not a fan of that kind of time limit in a game, this may not be for you. I did like the components, a LOT! They are pretty solid and nicely done. I would, however, like to trade out the board some day for a 2nd edition printing and also would like to get the Mexican Cards to enhance the play on that game board too. Overall, if you are a fan of train games, this one just may be for you!
I would like to thank Eagle Games for sending me this review copy. Also, thank you to EndersGame for some of the images used in this posting: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/EndersGame