I’ve always loved business simulations and the kid version of me loves trains. Even though I have both of those things in me, I just didn’t like the thought of a railroad tycoon type of game even if it is from the great Sid Meier.
After playing it though, its an enjoyable little game with a competitive element (if you chose). You chose the era to start and era to end the game. The game basically consists of you connecting resources, supply and demand. Resources get generated, such as oil, grapes, crops, livestock, minerals and so on. Then you connect them to towns that need them. A town will have one of three things demanding these resources. You setup the tracks, then make a train route to bring them in. It is just that simple. The towns will grow into cities. When they take the resources, based on what buildings they have, such as livestock and crops will turn into food. Minerals will turn into gold and so on. Then you export them to other towns that need them. The towns will grow into cities and get more buildings and need more resources for you to bring them. New towns will generate too.
The real twist here is a competitive element (if you have AI opponents). Even in single player, you can have up to 3 AI opponents (or no competition). A game of Monopoly really. You can buy stock in the other companies. You can sell your own stock for money. You don’t just get money doing routes. You also get money buying facilities in towns and cities. However, when you try to buy them, you’ll end up bidding against the AI competition if you have any. You can also construct facilities yourself for a flat fee if there are any available lots in a town or city.
This means, you can play Monopoly and never actually build a railroad. There’s a buzz buying out your competition, but I never really felt all that threatened by them, even with all of their tracks around me. The twist of having stock and buying buildings makes the game a lot of fun in a game that wouldn’t warrant replays. It is always the same map, BUT there is an option to randomize the land and cities which is very nice.
With all of that said, its a fun, relaxing, yet competitive game (if you have AI or do multi-player), but the only downside is, there’s not much variety here. Once you’ve played one full game, you’ve played it all. There are victory conditions, but they’re not front and center, so there’s no focus on it. At $10, if you’re into Monopoly style games, or railroading in general, give it a go. Otherwise, wait for a sale.