Recommend
38 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Russian Railroads: Mini-Expansion» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Quick Review of the Mini-Expansion rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Rob Frey
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As the current name implies, the Russian Railroads: Mini-Expansion is a mini-expansion for Russian Railroads (and also Stone Age). At a cost of about $5 it's what would be classified as a promo.

For a five dollar promo, you get a lot of stuff. Four new engineers, a new bonus circle that can be turned into five different bonuses, and two tiles for Stone Age (having never played Stone Age, I can't comment on these tiles). Compared to other game promos, that's a lot of stuff for the money. I can easily see the new bonus tiles by themselves, or any two of the engineers, easily fetching $5 from fans of the game, and even more from diehard players.

What do the engineers add to the game? Dimitrij is a late game engineer that lets you move the grey track up to the black track, potentially making a huge track move with a single action. There's some versatility in how he can be used, but the main difference is that he makes going for the grey double strategy on the second track a much more viable option.

Ludmilla is an early engineer that brings the starting bonus cards back into play for all players whenever she is used. She can potentially add 7 more coins and doublers into a game, and even more if a repeater is used, while at the same time pushing forward the track and factory moves. She can have a huge impact on the game's economy and she makes strategies that hinge on coins and doublers more secure and allows more players to simultaneously play these strategies.

Pjotr can do three black track movements for a coin, which opens up some alternate coin strategies. He sort of works like an anti-Ludmilla since he makes coins more scarce in the game's economy. Olga was designed for a two player games, and she lets a player use the other player's engineer, adding a new attack mechanic into the game.

When the new bonus circles are played they let the player pick from a set of 5 available bonuses. These work like the bonus cards, in that once one is picked no other player can pick it.

In the standard game there are two really good bonus cards, and one pretty good one, and two that aren't so great. So in a four player game the early turns are generally dominated by a race to be one of the first players to get a bonus circle, since there's such a huge advantage to being one the first two to get the circle, and such a huge disadvantage to being the last player to get the circle. For the first three players who get their first bonus circle, they're always going to choose the same bonus.

With the new bonus circle and the powerful bonuses that are available, being last to get the first bonus circle isn't as detrimental as it is in the standard game. Depending on a player's strategy, the race for the circle may not be as important as it is in the standard game, and there is a second good option for a player to use their first bonus on.

The new bonuses also strengthen the factory track, which helps to balance the game. In the standard game, if one player goes all in factories and is unopposed, that player will almost always win. If two players go all in, they will almost certainly lose.

This means that other players have to go half in on factories in order to block the strategy. However if a player goes half in on factories, it will usually weaken their game against an all in player (especially against weaker players who won't diversify once the strategy is clearly a losing one). This is fine if all players go half in, but usually only one player has to go half in for the block. This creates a situation where a player may have to decide to weaken their own position giving an advantage to two other players in order to stop a third from beating everyone.

The new bonuses open the factory tracks up a lot more. It's now viable for two players to go all in on factories at the same time, and there's more incentive to go half in as it can lead to a much stronger position.

All in all this expansion does everything an expansion is supposed to do. It opens up a lot of new strategies in the game, and adds more variability to parts of the game which were pretty much solved and telegraphed. It causes new game situations to sometimes occur which completely changes the structure of the game giving the base game more replayability. It also fixes some of the balance issues with the original game.

And it does all this without making any sweeping changes to the game. Even with the expansion, the game still feels like Russian Railroads, and it still plays like Russian Railroads. I don't feel like I'm playing something different, or that the expansion has taken something away from the original game.

Also this is approximately $5 USD (plus shipping of course) right now, which is a huge value considering everything it adds to an already great game.
48 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Brocker
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
flag msg tools
Omnigamer and Devourer of Games
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great Review. I was on the fence about this one, but I'm probably going to pick up a copy.

Can you tell me where is this available for $5? I see that it is available from the publisher, but that's for around $10 for those in the US.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Frey
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
All told I paid about $11 dollars, and I believe shipping from Germany cost a bit more than the expansion. The actual cost of everything was in Euros, so I'm not sure exactly what I paid for what. I followed the links from the comments here and navigated a German website I was led to in order to order it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clay Berry
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent overview. I will even say it does more than stated - it rocks!
The engineers are interesting (and the grey mover also allows the bottom rail strategy easier as well), but it's really the bonus chips.

For the industry track players, the chip that then puts a special factory out which then collects 2 more chips is great.

The chip that allows you to go in the box and grab an engineer is great as well. This can help your specific strategy, but also plays havoc on the engineer race.

The coal car chip is interesting too. If gotten in decent time (say turn 4), that means you get 4 double moves of anything (before scoring). This is generally better than smokey joe (move any vs black, though only on that one track) or the standard engineer (no cost, though doesn't count towards engineer race). The down side here is no end game bonus card.

The point is that these open up a wider variety of options, and allows people to play differently - which gives more fun and also makes things harder to predict.



3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.