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User Rating Comment Status
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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10
Jan 2011
This is really two separate games---with and without Mexico---but I love both of them (and I own three slightly different games all called "Empire Builder".)
2011-06-05
Owned
Mike Schumacher
United States
San Diego
California
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10
Sep 2003*
Absolutely love this game. I can get people to play this for hours back in college.
2003-09-03*
Owned
Mike Mayer
United States
Arcadia
California
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designer
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10
Feb 2004*
Fun game that happily accepts variants. We sometimes play that you can buy a second train. Not sure I'd like it with more than 3 players unless they were very fast players.
2004-02-18*
Owned
Sky Sternberg
United States
Seattle
Washington
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10
Dec 2005*
One of the best railroad games out there as well as an excellent three player game.
2005-12-27*
Owned
Michael Z
United States
South East
Pennsylvania
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10
Mar 2006*
Due to the time it takes to play, it is really for serious gamers, but it's never the same game twice. I love train games and this is the best and easiest to learn.
2006-03-16*
Owned
Stephen Smith
United States
Jackson
MS
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10
Jun 2006*
First played this in 2002 and was immediately hooked. I love the whole route-building and delivery system. I wish it could be shorter with more than 3 players, but since I rarely play with more than 2 (at 2 hours) that is not really a problem. My wife likes the fact that I cannot interfere very much with what she is doing. At any rate, this is my favorite of the series. She prefers Australian. As for the luck of the draw element--it's kind of like Acquire to me, I don't get it, but the same couple of people always seem to win. I think it is the same with Empire Builder, the good players always seem to get good cards just like the good Acquire players always seem to have the tiles they need. At any rate, this is one that I'll be playing for a long time
2010-01-24
Owned
Tim Lewis
United States
Nottingham
Maryland
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10
Aug 2006*
Will play anytime, anywhere...just so much fun. Great one nighter!!
2006-08-02*
Owned
Ann Hamon (annhamon@aol.com)
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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10
Sep 2008*
2-6 players. Keep 2011.
2011-07-04
Owned
Michael "Tie-Dyed-Eyes"
United States
Rapid City
South Dakota
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10
Jul 2010
I own the original version of this (USA/Canada only) I got it at a yard sale for 50 cents (Score!). It was missing many pieces, and the rules, but I managed to create my own replacements, and we've played this game at least 20 times. I thought I would want to get the expanded version with Central America, and all the original pieces someday, but I think I'd rather get a different Rails game instead.
2010-08-05
Owned
Mike Krause
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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BOOOOM!!!
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BOOOOM!!!
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10
Mar 2008*
Favorite. Game. Ever.
2008-03-24*
Owned
Society of Watchers
United States
Killbuck
Ohio
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10
Aug 2008*
This game is easy to learn (and to teach). Also, it is fun drawing with crayons. While there is a random aspect of the game in the cards, after that it is simply a matter of planning and optimizing routes, building rails and running the trains in the most optimal way. This is one of the games that I almost always win.

This is one I would never sell unless I was truly desperate.
Owned
Michael Hovan
United States
Elkhart
Indiana
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10
Jun 2011
Have nearly worn this game out. Have worn out more than one set of crayons with it. Developed a great 2 player game that uses all of the card. The wife loves the base game for 2 players. The multi player game is very different from the 2 player one in how it plays. This is them mark of a good game to me.
2009-12-05
Owned
Allen Carter
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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10
Aug 2010
This is the one that turned me into a true boardgame geek. I'll forever be grateful...but I'm sure my wallet will not.
2010-07-22
Owned
Aaron
United States
Huntington Beach
California
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10
Oct 2011
One of my favorite games . I will never refuse to play it. Oldie but a goodie.
2010-08-22
Owned
Kent Seidler
United States
Fair Lawn
New Jersey
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10
Oct 2010
Trains and crayons, nothing bad can happen. Three players I think makes for the best game.
2010-09-29
Owned
Dawn Hunt
United States
Hudson
New York
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10
Jan 2011
It had me at "Hello".
2011-01-13
Owned
Jim Magnanti
United States
Michigan
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10
Jun 2013
A timeless classic. One of my favorites.
2013-06-05
Owned
Darryl Ferster
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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10
Jan 2015
Bought it used but unplayed from Comic Readers on Albert St. in Regina in 2013 for $30. I had played lots of Eurorails previously, and this was the original game that Eurorails was based on. I have played it once, using the Circus variant - I will play it without the Circus next time.
2015-01-16
Owned
Andrew Dillman
United States
Washington
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9.5
Dec 2007*
One of the newest additions to the collection, but already one of the favorites.
2007-12-27*
Owned
Justin Hietala
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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9.5
Apr 2008*
I'm a fan of train games, and this one is my favorite. The freedom of being able to lay track on a fine grid really appeals to me, as does the constant stress of building long-term vs. short-term infrastructure. The game can feel long, so I'd keep the number of players low (4 or less), plan your turn during other players' turns, and use the speedy train option. This is my family's favorite game.
2008-04-05*
Owned
Dale King
United States
Cranston
Rhode Island
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9.5
Mar 2011
I own several versions of this and many other of the rail games from the series. I find it best with two players as the game will go quicker. I am amazed at how often I can play this game with a friend of mine and either he or I will miss winning the game by one turn. It makes you see how important each decision in the game will shape your future. I'm also amazed at how one person can be so far ahead of the other and then all of a sudden the other person can catch up. It is a very balanced game. Sometimes we like to play without the random hazards for an even more strategic game. If you play it for the first time you might not like it but it can certainly grow on you and has a nice relaxing pace. I find that the enjoyment is also increased greatly by buying the laminated map of the game and using wet erase markers for drawing the lines. Crayons are so frustrating to use and a pain to wipe off. To speed up turns we also made up a rule that a person only gets to draw track or move, but not both in a single turn.
2011-03-26
Owned
Allan Brussolo
United States
West Chester
Pennsylvania
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9.5
Aug 2013
Played SO many times in the 80's. This and Cosmic Encounter were our staples then. I'll play any time. I'm surprised at how long some of the times are that people talk about here - maybe we just played it so often, we did not have to over analyze. I agree that it's not a short game. Funniest thing is watching a newbie strand themselves immediately, after a detailed explanation of how and why not to..."start again".
2013-08-11
Owned
Bonnie Delaney
United States
Guilderland
New York
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9
Nov 2001*
Not much player interaction, but it doesn't matter! I didn't think I'd like a "crayon railroad" game, but I do! It's great fun! Works really well with 2 or 3.
2001-11-26*
Owned
Thomas Lariviere
United States
Galena
Ohio
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9
May 2003*
I love this game. I like all the crayon rail games I have played. The more players the better. But it can get long. Figure about an hour per player.
2003-05-21*
Owned
On Monday mornings, I'm dedicated to the proposition that All Men are created jerks.
United States
Stratford
Connecticut
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9
Jul 2003*
Playing with crayons!
2003-07-11*
Owned
Kyle Johnstone
United States
Lewisville
Texas
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9
Jun 2004*
One of the best train games I've played.
2004-06-01*
Owned
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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9
Sep 2006*
This is the kind of game that makes me want to play it as soon as I'm done with a game. Highly enjoyable. Rating is both for the map, and the entire system.
2006-09-07*
| Scott Kinzie |
United States
Denver
Colorado
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9
Feb 2008*
I love the crayon rails system. Excellent pick-up-and-delivery simulation. This was my "gateway" game into the realm of serious boardgames. This is the 2009 version.
2009-07-10
Owned
United States
Saint Paul
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9
May 2006*
This one takes a while, so don't take it off the shelf if you don't have four hours. But you get to play with crayons, and it's actually got quite a bit of planning involved which keeps people engaged in the game. It's also almost entirely non-competative, so if you're playing with an aggressive gamer it would take some of the stress off.
2006-05-23*
Owned
David Anderson
United States
Annandale
New Jersey
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9
Jan 2013
2 players only
2014-02-27
Owned
Buck Lum
Canada
Surrey
British Columbia
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9
Jul 2006*
First time you can play can be very intimidating, especially when you play with an experience player. After a few plays (knowing where the cities are, the strategies, etc.) it is an absolutely great game. One of the first resource management games I ever played. You try to make the best with what you've got. And playing with crayons is always fun. However many people won't like it because there are hardly any interaction between the players. But if you are in the mood of playing a building game, then this is the game for you. Best with 2, 3, or 4 players but anymore can make the game really long.
2006-07-03*
Owned
J J

Washington
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9
Sep 2006*
The other one besides Eurorails that is almost British Rails.

To USA folk, easier to place locations, but lots of space, and fewer surprises than Eurorails.

I curiously have both the original and the Mexico version.

Portland to Portland, what fun.
2006-09-22*
Owned
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Games, games and more games!
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9
Oct 2011
Excellent game - my favourite of the crayon rails. And doesn't take us anything like the 180 mins listed - more like an hour with 2 or 3 players.
2015-02-19
Owned
Hermus
United States
Tallahassee
Florida
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9
Jan 2007*
The quintessential train game. The most straightforward simulation of real railroading I've played. It's actually a fairly simple game, just a step up in complexity from Ticket to Ride, but feels like a much more realistic game. I haven't played any of the 18xx games yet, but I'm guessing most of their added complexity comes in the investment portion--the railroad simulation probably isn't much deeper than this.

I recommend the public-locking variant, it makes the game more competitive, mitigates the randomness of the demand card draws, and in my opinion adds realism. We also start with $60 million and 3 build rounds, and use 12/16 trains.

The main problem with this game is downtime, especially with 4 or more players. Everyone should do as much advance planning as possible, but even so route building can be tedious, and every time a new card comes up it requires some consideration. So far I haven't found any variants that really address this, and haven't come up with anything myself. Still a great game though, so worth spending some effort to continue tweaking.
2007-01-29*
Owned
Rick Goudeau
United States
Moody
Alabama
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laissez les bon temps rouler
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9
Jun 2007*
The crayon game series I find interesting as a resource management puzzle. What's an optimal layout based on the cards as I'm dealt. Besides my wife is always ready to play this one.
2007-06-10*
Owned
Alan Winterrowd
United States
Bluffton
Indiana
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9
Feb 2007*
My rating is a probably higher than it should be, but this game is a classic. It is still my favorite crayon game with 3 or 4 players. I prefer Eurorails or Iron Dragon with more than 4.
2007-02-17*
Owned
Ammon Livingston
United States
Georgia
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9
Feb 2007*
Maybe it's my affection for geography or the freedom to do so much, or maybe even the crayons help, but I really enjoy playing this. Because the games tend to be rather long (about 3 hours) and perhaps because it's a train game, I don't get to play it as often as I would like.
2007-02-20*
Owned
Rich Shipley
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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the liberal unsavory type
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9
Feb 2012
Good logistics game where you race with the others players, but don't conflict much.
2007-02-25*
Owned
Kimberly Tolson
United States
Lewiston
Idaho
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9
Mar 2007*
I love rail games!
2007-03-14*
Owned
E C
United States
Santa Rosa
California
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9
Apr 2007*
I love this game.
2007-04-13*
Owned
Richard Hedke
United States
Gibraltar
Michigan
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"If you seek a blathering idiot, look about you"
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9
Jan 2010*
Rating based on one play and I loved the game. My gaming partners liked it very much as well but we all determined that it took so long to play (even with every shortcut suggested in the manual as well as BGG user suggestions) that it most likely will not see the table at my house again.

Edit A year later I got the wife and oldest kid to play with me a few times and once you get over the curve the game flows MUCH faster. I love this game even more.
2010-01-12
Owned
RJD
United States
Quad-Cities
Illinois
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9
Jun 2008*
I really enjoy Empire Builder, but I've played it two or three times and still have not yet finished a game of it. Not through any fault of its own. No, every single, blasted time we've sat down to play this, I fall in love with it and start to build my vast rail empire, and then... and then everything comes to a crashing halt as something or other always seems to interrupt. Someone has to leave in the middle of the game, or someone who wasn't going to show up at all suddenly walks in the door and we end up starting a different game, etc.

I'm starting to get a little disheartened.
2011-04-15
Daniel Szukalow
Canada
Burnaby
British Columbia
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9
Jul 2007*
7/30/07 - acquired through trade with canucklehead. This is the original version (one I was looking for). Love this game - it is a great pick up and deliver game for 2ers.
2007-07-30*
Owned
Dan Eisenhut
United States
Wisconsin
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9
Oct 2007*
I'm a fan of the Empire Builder series of train games, so of course I like the original.
2007-10-22*
Owned
Dan Crawford
United States
Washington
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9
Oct 2007*
Classic crayon rails game.
2015-06-15
Owned
Thomas Stevens
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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9
Dec 2007*
I own two copies. Older edition and new.
2007-12-14*
Owned
Skip Waisner
United States
Texas
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9
Feb 2008*
Great game. First introduction into "Train Games"
2008-02-25*
Owned
David Wilcox
United States
Boulder
Colorado
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9
Feb 2008*
Great train fun for up to 6.
2008-02-27*
Owned
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
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9
Oct 2010
My first and still favorite crayon-RR game. Usually play with two, sometimes three players, and always with the quick start variant. We've played this game so many times through the years (since the early 80s) that there are actual grooves in our board for the most common and effective routes. Also have and enjoy Eurorails (8) and Nippon Rails (7).
2014-06-17
Owned
CM Amidon
United States
International Falls
Minnesota
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GO CRAWL IN A CAVE! When not playing games.
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9
Jun 2009*
Pick up and delivery, crayon drawing, route finding game. My wife and I enjoy these games. With a few house rules, you can speed up gameplay. We prefer these with 2, as we can play them faster. Never quite the same game twice with the different resources and routes the change with the dealt cards. Definitely some luck involved, but generally good strategy wins out most of the time.
2011-11-20
Owned

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