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I think Ben Baldanza is being kind in his preview of this game. I found the process of tracing out routes (which has to be done TWICE each turn) to be time-consuming and tiresome. The game is also extremely fiddly. Even though the map designer did a good job of identifying the different railroads by color, they are still hard to find (some of them are tiny). Plus, the use of markers to identify who owns the rails (as well as which ones are closed) makes the board even harder to follow.

As Ben says, the small return for routes makes the auctions barely worthwhile (particularly for the later players). One rule he didn't mention is that at various points of the game, all the railroads from a particular state will disappear even if they haven't already been scavenged. Thus, these rails are even less valuable. No doubt this is historically accurate, but that doesn't mean it adds to the playing enjoyment.

The biggest problem with Rebel Rails is that the skillful portion of the game (deciding what to bid for railroads) only lasts a few seconds, while the part of the game that takes a long while (tracing the routes) is much more a measure of tenacity than skill. I agree with Ben; properly programmed, this would make a fine computer game, as the basic idea of a shrinking rail line system is a good foundation for a game. But the board game is way too much hard work.
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