Russian Railroads Review

Russian Railroads

  • Fun factor – 9/10
  • Replay value – 7/10
  • Components – 8/10
  • Learning Curve – 6/10

This weekend we got two games in so I am putting up two reviews this week. My group has played this game once before and we really liked it the first time we played and have been really excited to get another session in with this one. After finishing Tzul’kin a little early we decided to go for it. 

Fun Factor: This game is one of my favorite euros because it’s just purely an engine builder. You start the game getting a very small number of points per turn (5-20ish) and by the last turn of the game get numbers around 150 if you did well. Last night my last two turns were 154 points followed by 167 points. It was awesome, I love this kind of thing in games. That slow build to a grand finale. I also really like that while I have found the strategy I enjoy using to attempt to win there are several other ways to go about getting the points needed to win games. There are 3 different railroads to build up and an engineering track you can build up. Any two of these I feel will work to get you a victory if you are playing smart. There are of course a couple things that I think would make some areas a little more appealing, like the engineering track just never appeals to me while I am playing. It does not seem to offer quite enough bang for my meeple as building up your roads. However, one of the people in my group thinks he can make it work to win so next game he is going to try it out. 

Replay Value: This game is like many other euros in that the replay value comes from getting better and better at the game and building a better and better engine with each play through. Every time I finish a game of this I find myself going “man next game I need to try doing X instead of Y and I bet I would do even better”. If that does not appeal to you as replay value than I doubt this game would have much of a score here for you but for me I love it! I would love to see some expansions for the game so that I could get even more out of it but honestly I don’t know how they would do that without just adding little things. Possibly new player boards with new “routes” on them to change up the game would be loads of fun. 

Components: Not too much to say here. The parts are great but Z-Man games always does good components. If you have a game from this company on your shelf you know what to expect here. High quality thick game pieces and nothing flimsy. Nothing really extra awesome though either. There are a couple of pieces that have some odd art on the back, namely there is a set of upgrades that you can choose from as you pass certain parts of different rails but the first time we played we thought you had to randomly select them based on the backing that these have. Which is a question mark. Why would you put the question mark there and then make it just something you get to choose. Don’t get me wrong here I really like that you get to choose these things and that its not random but it’s a bit of an odd art choice. 

Learning Curve: So this game is definitely a heavy euro game. The game really clicks nicely once you get going but going through the rules for the first time can be time consuming and even after learning the rules I found that we still had the rule book out and in pretty constant use on the second run through of the game. However, compared to some other games in the same “class” as this one it’s rules are pretty good. 

All in all I really like this game. It’s easy to keep organized and plays quite well in about 2-3 hours. It’s one of the best games I have played this year and I am excited to play again. 

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