“Dear passengers, the Hypetrain from Russian Railroads is now traveling to the board game paradise without stopping due to operational disruptions. We ask for your understanding."  The board game novelty Russian Railroads is undoubtedly worth a detailed blog post, after all, the hymns of praise are melodious and the game won 1st place in the award of the German Game Prize. Good prerequisites not only to arrive at the board game juries, but also to conquer the hearts of the true experts, namely you recreational board game players. In this blog post I would like to explain to you whether the hype about Russian Railroads is justified and whether the railway board game also appeals to the general public. Enjoy!


More railroad, please

Hans im Glück basically stands for high quality when it comes to laying board games. And with Russian Railroads, too, another great success could have been achieved. The idea of ​​game authors Helmut Ohley and Leonhard Orgler sounds good at first: Railway construction in the light of industrialization, and that in the 19th century, without any supporting computer technology as a planning aid. 2-4 interested board players come at the right time to start planning, procuring materials and building new railway lines in Russia. The Trans-Siberian Railway was a highlight in the history of Russian industrial development. at Russian Railroads the other players write history.

What sounds like a great game for railroad fans turns out to be a classic point hunt in railroad guise on closer inspection. Instead of the railroad theme, one could just as easily take trucks, ships or planes. The game background is interchangeable and would not affect the game concept. Real railway fans will be overwhelmed by the Hypetrain if they are not careful and lower their expectations a bit. However, if you approach Russian Railroads without much hope of railroad romance, you will get a top-class board game. Despite the interchangeable background theme, this board game is a guarantee of fun that guarantees long board game evenings - assuming a little training time.

First of all: The rules of the game are complex and some preparatory work is necessary before the first round can start. The great game instructions are helpful, which are noticeable due to their good structure and explain the rules in detail, but always easy to understand. So when “1 detailed rule” is mentioned on the back of the packaging, it sounds like a threat. And in fact, the rules require the players to have a lot of sit-down meat before the coals are hot enough to let the train roll into motion. Experienced board players know that preparation is part of every new board game and is almost celebrated as a ritual in its own right. Beginners simply have to survive this phase, which is easily possible given the high quality of the instructions. Great presentation, great language - here Russian Railroads impresses with a well thought-out concept.

Full equipment in 1st class

The box is filled to the brim with all kinds of boards, plates, figurines and rail parts. Here you can tell the publisher's many years of experience, because the high-quality workmanship of the game material is simply wonderful. As the game progresses, the kitchen table becomes a colorful illustration of the Russian transport system in the 19th century. This not only looks great, but also suggests a long shelf life when choosing the materials. Russian Railroads is probably a game for the ages, as long as the pot of borscht doesn't tip over the board on board game evening. Even as a spectator, it is fun to watch the hustle and bustle on the board game table (I experienced it myself at this year's game fair in Essen). But it is better to intervene directly in the game and secure a place as a railroad planner.

Even if in the end only the points decide about the victory, this happens at such a high level that any criticism on the shallow background topic is quickly forgotten. Russian Railroads unfolds its full potential in the course of the game evening and shows why it deserved first place in the awarding of the German Game Prize.

So that the construction is not too easy, events determine what happens in the game. On the different routes, the players always have to struggle with new difficulties. And the bigger the problem, the more valuable the route is. This element brings a good deal of strategic planning into play, which increases the tension factor enormously. Whether a construction plan will work is not clear from the start. Victory points are collected in three areas: the expansion of routes and trains, the development of industry and victory condition cards.

So it makes sense to come up with a basic strategy and then implement it on the board as efficiently as possible. The more skillfully the players act, the more difficult it becomes to implement your own plans. The level of difficulty of the game increases with the quality of the game round, which provides motivation in the long term and makes Russian Railroads a long-runner. Hindering and blocking players is just as much a part of the game as the wise planning of the next moves. Russian Railroads is a competitive gaming experience of the highest quality: Action spaces, for example, can only be occupied once per round, so a fight for the best places breaks out among the competitors.

Infobox

Number of players: 2 to 4 players
Age: from 12 years
Playing time: 90 to 120 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: medium

Published by Hans im Glück
Author: Helmut Ohley, Leonhard Orgler
Year of publication: 2013 
Language: German
Cost: 42 Euro

Summary

So it makes sense to come up with a basic strategy and then implement it on the board as efficiently as possible. The more skillfully the players act, the more difficult it becomes to implement your own plans. The level of difficulty of the game increases with the quality of the game round, which provides motivation in the long term and makes Russian Railroads a long-runner. Hindering and blocking players is just as much a part of the game as the wise planning of the next moves. Russian Railroads is a competitive gaming experience of the highest quality: Action spaces, for example, can only be occupied once per round, so a fight for the best places breaks out among the competitors.




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