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Subject: Railroad Tycoon: A down-to-earth review rss

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Roberto Arbelaez
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Here's my review... I hope you find it useful.

1) Playtime: It's not 2 hours as stated in the box. More like 3 to 4 hours, with some sessions taking a little over 5 hours!

2) Complexity: Rules are simple. It's easy to learn and easy to teach. Non-gamers will be able to enjoy it after a couple of turns. If playing with newbies, you might want to play the first game without cards (it'll be just as fun!). However, it's a game that involves complex decision making, lots of strategy as well as tactics, so it'll be fun for experienced gamers too.

3) Strategy/Tactics: It's a deeply strategic game, with lots of tactical decisions to be made each round. Later turns involve complex decisions, based on lots of information. I love that the game isn't reduced to finding the "optimal" move every time, and you always have to make choices and/or prioritize between different but equally beneficial moves (Build? Upgrade Engine? Transport a cube? Select a Card?). Participating in auctions, and selling (or not selling) stock just adds some more decision-making instances to the game. So people who tend to be overwhealmed with many different choices, and over-analyzers should stay away from this game (or they'll make it a torture for the rest of the group).

4) Confrontation level: It is a highly confrontational game, as players will have to fight for limited resources, try to exert domain over important routes and cities, transport cubes before someone else does, compete on auctions, and finally, try to end the game while winning (with the rest of the players trying to avoid it). The game is good with 2 players, great with 4 players, but it really shines with 6 players competing for resources and outbidding each other in auctions. By the way - you should decide in advance if you'll allow blocking other players unfinished tracks (and be sure to let EVERYONE know if it's allowed or not). I don't recommend allowing it, as this will be perceived as open agression by some players in an already confrontational game (This is specially true if playing with your wife & inlaws. Take my word for it ).

5) Randomness/Luck factor: There's almost no luck involved in this game (except for Tycoon card selection at the beginning of the game - and this has a minimal impact on the game). Also, one operations card is randomly drawn at the end of each turn but this has almost no impact on the game, as all players have the chance to get a card they want by means of participating in the auction to determine who will be the first player in the next turn.

6) Downtime: There shouldn't be much downtime, as you should be closely watching what your opponents are doing, analyzing the board (specially at later turns when there's so much going on at the same time), and planning accordingly. People who tend to be overwhealmed with choices might slow things down a bit and they should be encouraged to plan their move while other players are moving. RRT is not an intrinsecally slow game but it can be if you allow it.

7) Components: They're above average. The board is beautiful but HUGE, and a medium sized oval or rectangular table for 6 will barely hold it, without leaving much space for putting your cards, trains, not to mention food & drinks. Also, the board tends to warp (much has been posted on this subject - along with some solutions). You'll probably have to stand up to check parts of the board that are far away from your seat (this is specially true if you're seating close to the southwest, and you want to check out the northeast, a very dense section of the board!).

8) Fun factor: It's a great game. Exciting, interesting, engaging. It's a rush. It can be fast or slow, depending on your gaming group.

9) Replayability: High, as you can try different strategies, begin building on different parts of the country, aim for different operations goals...

10) Overall: Highly recommended!
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rarbelaez wrote:
1) Playtime: It's not 2 hours as stated in the box. More like 3 to 4 hours, with some sessions taking a little over 5 hours!

This is totally dependent on the group. My group does finish 2 hours. I taught 4 new players in a 6 player game and we still finished in 3 hours.
 
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Bill Heaton
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Yep, I taught 2 new people on Sat with a 5 player game and it took 2 hours as well, although the more you play it the more rounds there usually are, but you get quicker at making your moves so i find it takes about 2 hours ususally
 
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Roberto Arbelaez
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I guess it all depends on the group...
 
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Christopher Dickinson
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I played this for the first time (4 player game / 2 new players) a couple of nights ago and it was so refreshing to actually play a game that is completed in around the time stated on the box. A thoroughly good game.
 
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