Recommend
10 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Australian Rails» Forums » Reviews

Subject: [Review] Australian Rails rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tom Vasel
United States
Homestead
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Love Games, Love 'Em!!!
badge
Check out DiceTower.com!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Russian Rails was my first foray into the world of "crayon railway" games, and I enjoyed it enough that I picked up some miniature trains from Mayfair to run on my tracks. When I got Australian Rails (Mayfair Games, 2005 - Larry Roznai), I was once again pleased to be playing on a continent that I was unfamiliar with, because it's more interesting to me and a bit educational, too.

Australian Rails (AR) wasn't as interesting to me as Russian Rails - simply because the "Fall of Communism" made the latter game so fascinating. However, I did enjoy the map quite a bit. All of my comments from my Russian Rails review (http://www.thedicetower.com/reviews/russianrails.htm) apply to AR, with the following comments added…

1.) Australia: Perhaps not so exotic for native Australians, but to the rest of the world, or perhaps just Tom Vasel - Australia is a pretty neat place. The map is quite interesting, with the majority of the cities scattered around the edges, and players will compete to build routes that run from one side to the other. I confess to knowing little to none about the Australian map before playing this game - now I can tell you where most of the main cities are. That's education for ya!

2.) Desert: The middle of Australia is filled with large deserts. It's quite possible for a Sand Storm cards to be drawn from the event deck, which wipes out all tracks in a certain desert. All players should be notified about this possibility before the game begins, so that they aren't surprised. If a player's tracks are destroyed in the desert, it should be because they took a knowing risk, and it didn't end well. Building in the desert isn't THAT expensive, but a player still thinks twice about it!

3.) Demand Cards: I think I'll follow Shannon Appelcline's advice in one of his blog columns and write the coordinate numbers on each demand card. Because of my initial unfamiliarity with the Australian terrain, a lot of time in my first couple games was in staring at the board, searching for each city. On the other hand, I didn't think it was overly difficult to deliver goods - it seemed more obvious what to deliver to where. In Russia, there were often several choices for each good. In Australia, the choices are a little more obvious.

4.) Players: AR plays quite well as a "Honeymoon" game - or one in which there is only two players. The rules include a way to make this a little more challenging, but for some reason it just really worked well with two players. Three and four also were great, because there's a bit of jockeying for position to get to many of the critical cities on the coast. (I don't know about five; I won't play a crayon rails game with more than four - it takes too long).

5.) Dry Rivers: There are many "dry" lakes and rivers scattered around the board; all of which can be built over for no additional cost. A "Rainy Season" card will fill all of them with water for the remainder of the game. So often AR is a race as players struggle to get tracks over these areas before they fill up with water and double in price.

I'm not sure how many games of the "Empire Builder" series one needs. Some fanatics will need every one, while others may be satisfied with just one. For me, one is not interesting enough, as I like the variety of maps. Australian Rails really was an enjoyable game for me; and although it's only my second game of the series, I look forward with interest to playing more.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"
www.tomvasel.com
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Crazy Bob
Philippines
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I might change that to say "a sandstorm is going to happen, most likely more than once."

I have always wanted to try this with the full complement of 6 players, for then you get the maximum amount of people getting in each other's way. The possible downtime scares me though.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Catherine Raymond
United States
Malvern
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review! I'm just looking at it now because, after years of having it sit in my stash, my husband and I have been playing Australian Rails again.

It's not true, however, that you can build over dry lakes and rivers "at no extra cost". The rules say that each dry river/lake space you cross is +1, unlike ordinary rivers which are +2.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Catherine Raymond
United States
Malvern
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I really like Australian Rails, but I think you're right about the down time issue because the game would be crazy hard with 6 players because:

1) There are a limited number of reasonably affordable paths up the northeastern coast where some of the most valuable loads in the game are:

2) Because it's necessary to be connected to Perth to win, a 6-player game would force some people to go through the desert, putting them at risk of massive track destruction from the Western Desert sandstorm card. Moreover, because more cards would be drawn in a 6-player game, the sandstorm would be much more likely to turn up.

The ability to start from Darwin (a medium-sized city in the center of the northern coast, from which the game rules permit a starting build, largely for real-world historical reasons) might ameliorate this effect somewhat if artifacts were a more valuable load. There are only two areas that can be effectively reached from Darwin: the northeastern coast, and Alice Springs (source of artifact loads). You'd need a lot of lucky card drawing to be competitive with that kind of star.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Bacher
United States
Greenwood
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Okami
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TomVasel wrote:
All of my comments from my Russian Rails review (http://www.thedicetower.com/reviews/russianrails.htm) apply to AR, with the following comments added…


That URL doesn't work anymore.
 
 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.