Rails to the North is an expansion for Alexander Pfister’s hit title, Great Western Trail. GWT, as it is affectionately known, is set in the old American West. It’s part-deck building, part-hand management, and part-point-to-point movement. Two to four players compete to travel along the trail, herding cattle cards to Kansas. Like Great Western Trail, Rails to the North is also published by Pegasus Spiele and eggertspiele.
This superb expansion provides a board overlay, which replaces the railroads. Where do they head? Northwards, of course! In the base game, the track travels left to right, from Kansas to New San Francisco. But here, the track heads left to right from Kansas to New York City. Also, every location beyond Kansas has track heading north, to a whole host of other locations. Some of the benefits for reaching these northern rails are modular. (You place random reward tokens on destinations during set-up.) Some are first-come first served, too. This ratchets up the replay-ability factor even more!
These northern tracks are a major game-changer. The excellent ‘Trail’ part of the board remains the same. You’re still aiming to manipulate your hand of cattle to be the most profitable by the time you reach the trail’s end. When you reach Kansas, you’ll send your cattle off on the train to a location to far-flung locations. Only now you have a choice to make: will you head east, or north?
The tracks branch off in different directions, and you can pay to place ‘branchlets’ down, along the way. Branchlets are further markers that you get to remove from your player board. The more you place, the more bonus abilities you unlock for your next trek along the trail.
Think you know Great Western Trail? Think again! The Rails to the North is a wonderful addition – but you will need the base game to play this expansion.
Player Count: 2-4 players
Time: 75-150 minutes