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Subject: Eurorails or Empire Builder rss

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Mike Sherwood
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Hello,

We just finished our first game of Nippon Rails, and I'd like to dive into the series with either Empire Builder or Eurorails.

I'm familiar with the geography of Empire Builder, but Eurorails seems to be the favorite in the series. Why is this? Why would one choose one over the other aside from familiarity with the geography?

Mike
 
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Chris Shaffer
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Why do you think Eurorails is the favorite? I think more people have bought and played Eurorails and Empire Builder because they've been out longest and have familiar geography. Personally, my favorites are Nippon and the 2005 edition of Australian Rails. I'm not sure there's consensus among experienced crayon rails gamers about which is best.

In a face-to-face competition, I'd choose Eurorails over Empire Builder because it has more interesting geography and thus more choices. It has alpines and ferries and lake crossings, which Empire Builder is lacking. Empire Builder has to contend with huge stretches of dead space in the west. Eurorails has more "uniuqe" commodities - fruit and cork in Spain, tobacco and marble in Italy, pigs in Poland... this offers more opportunities for early track investments to pay off later in the game. That said, I like them both and will play either.
 
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Mark Casiglio
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I've played both Empire Builder and Eurorails quite a bit (but not the others). I agree with everything Chris says about Eurorails ... but I'd add this caution: As a US player, unless you're fairly familiar with Europe your gaming group is likely going to draw cards and spend a lot of time wondering where Wroclaw, Szczecin and Goteborg are (etc). It took me a while to get my friends comfortable with playing this game because of the "search" factor.

On the other hand, you say you've already been playing Nippon Rails, so perhaps you've already overcome this problems once. If so, Eurorails is fun in that it adds the extra challenges as Chris stated.
 
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Eric Brosius
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I'd make the decision based on your experience with Nippon Rails.

If you felt the game dragged at spots and took a little longer than you wanted it to, choose Empire Builder as your next game. It's simpler, people know where the cities are and where the commodities are (mostly*) and this will make it go faster.

On the other hand, if you moved quickly and were still eager for more at the end, choose Eurorails. There are more options. You can ignore Spain or ignore Italy or ignore England (depending on the demand cards you draw) and build a successful line. In Empire Builder you pretty much have to connect to Kansas City, Chicago, Atlanta and (most likely) New York. Most often the decision is which West Coast city to ignore.

* I played a game of Empire Builder at WBC a few years ago with a woman who had helped with the design of Lunar Rails. She was preparing for the tournament and wanted to get used to the Empire Builder map. It felt strange playing with a person who know where to get beer on the moon but didn't know that steel comes from Pittsburgh!
 
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David Turner
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Eric Brosius wrote:
I'd make the decision based on your experience with Nippon Rails.

If you felt the game dragged at spots and took a little longer than you wanted it to, choose Empire Builder as your next game. It's simpler, people know where the cities are and where the commodities are (mostly*) and this will make it go faster.

On the other hand, if you moved quickly and were still eager for more at the end, choose Eurorails. There are more options. You can ignore Spain or ignore Italy or ignore England (depending on the demand cards you draw) and build a successful line. In Empire Builder you pretty much have to connect to Kansas City, Chicago, Atlanta and (most likely) New York. Most often the decision is which West Coast city to ignore.


This was very good advice. I enjoyed them both.
 
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Mike Sherwood
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Thanks everyone for the responses. This information was immensely useful.

Mike
 
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Amy O'Neal
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Both are good games... Probably the person who said it depends upon how Nippon Rails went is which you should go with next... Both have fairly familiar geographies... I would definitely say, that of the two, EuroRails is definitely my favorite, being a little heavier than Empire Builder... Plus it was the first of the crayon rails titles that I ever played... Iron Dragon is my absolute favorite of all of them, but is also the most difficult...
 
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Ann Hamon (annhamon@aol.com)
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We have played all the crayon games and consistently come back to Eurorails as one of our favorites. It has more alternative ways to build tracks. But Russian rails has fast become one of our favorites. Nippon and British Rails are not as versatile and Lunar is very hard to play because of the lack of knowing the terrain as well as the grey on grey board. Australia rails is good but sometimes hard to get cards to start with. Empire Builder is good and easy to start with if you know American geography.

Good gaming!
 
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Chris Shaffer
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annhamon wrote:
We have played all the crayon games and consistently come back to Eurorails as one of our favorites. It has more alternative ways to build tracks. But Russian rails has fast become one of our favorites. Nippon and British Rails are not as versatile and Lunar is very hard to play because of the lack of knowing the terrain as well as the grey on grey board. Australia rails is good but sometimes hard to get cards to start with. Empire Builder is good and easy to start with if you know American geography.

Good gaming!


Nippon may not be as "versatile" but it's a real race and there's actual competition for routes. It feels less like multiplayer solitaire than the others. It's also the shortest of the crayon rail games.

Note that the 2005 edition of Australia is much better with a new demand card deck and the option to start building your track from Darwin in the north.
 
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Jamie McQuinn
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FWIW, I'll put in a pitch for Russian Rails.

The hardest part is probably the geography. Players spend a lot of time trying to figure out where the unfamilar cities are. But then, if you played Nippon Rails, you probably aren't phased by that.

The unique gimmick of RR is "the fall of communism". At some point during the game (not sure when) several elements change.

Not too much dead space to deal with (though of course things spread out near the arctic...).
 
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Chris Shaffer
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The big problem with Russian Rails is analysis paralysis. In my opinion, the gimmick for Russian Rails isn't the fall of communism - it's the new event cards that act as temporary shared demand cards and stay on the table until fulfulled. Thus, an event that says something like "take iron and atomics to Murmansk for $25." Each time one of these events occurs or is completed, all players need to rethink their plans. It also adds another layer of complexity each time players get new cards, as they have to consider all the extant events.

So, my warning is don't even consider playing Russian Rails with people who have a hard time making decisions.
 
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Christian Becker
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Jamie wrote:

The hardest part is probably the geography. Players spend a lot of time trying to figure out where the unfamilar cities are.

I think the cities in India Rails are even worse...gulp

My favourite is Iron Dragon, even though it is easily the longest game
(okay, Lunar Rails may be longer).
 
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Mark Christopher
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This could be from having played Eurorails before I played Empire Builder, but I prefer the more varied geography in Eurorails. Makes for more interesting track networks. That said, both are fun and you probably won't go wrong either way.
 
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Scott Borton
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TheCat wrote:
In my opinion, the gimmick for Russian Rails isn't the fall of communism - it's the new event cards that act as temporary shared demand cards and stay on the table until fulfulled.

In my (limited) experience, the temporary demand cards have rarely been worth the extra effort it takes to satisfy them. Because of that, I view them as little more than a bonus for people who have already built to or near the destinations.
 
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