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Subject: [Review] Empire Builder (short) rss

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Tom Vasel
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I'm assuming the reader has read my review of Russian Rails - in which I give the mechanics of this game.

I've finally got my hands on the original game in the Empire Builder series, Empire Builder (Mayfair Games, 1999 - Darwin Bromley and Bill Fawcett). So far, I've played Russian Rails and Australian Rails and have enjoyed both of them tremendously. Of course, as an American, I was eager to play this design that was first published in 1980, as the map was that of North America.

As with the others that I've played, I extremely enjoyed this crayon-rail game. I'm starting to get the hang of these games now and can explain and play them much more quickly than before. I've now come to the conclusion that I enjoy Empire Builder games most with two or three players; because even though interaction is less, downtime is much smaller, and everything works well.

It's impressive how the game has aged well and still is this good after over twenty years. The original game didn't have Mexico on the map, but I'm certainly glad that it was added; it adds more room and more options. I was the most comfortable on this map, since I already knew where the majority of the cities were and didn't have to refer to the charts nearly as much (although I figure I'll have to look at them every game I play for the rest of my life).

Other than that, I don't have much to say about the game - it's very similar to the others, except it has my home stomping grounds - America. That makes it enjoyable to me and also makes me think that for an American, this would be the best introduction to the series. If you're a fan of the series, you probably already have this game, but if not - why? And if you're looking to introduce yourself to crayon rails, then this is an excellent choice.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"
www.tomvasel.com
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