Railroad Rivals is a tile drafting, tile laying game where players build a railroad empire stretching across America. Players connect cities using one of the 12 great railroads across America and use these railroads to perform delivers and increase the price of a player’s stocks. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter in April 2018.
Railroad Rivals Gameplay
Each turn plays will draft, in turn order, one city tile and one railroad stock tile. The city tile is then laid next to an already existing city tile to create a link between them. The tile can only be laid if the matching edges have the same railroad on them.
Each new city laid receives one or more randomly drawn coloured cube representing a “deliverable good.” After all players have laid their city tile players can perform a delivery. Players can deliver one good using one of the city's railroad links. This delivery gives a player points and increases the value of that railroad stock used for the delivery by one.
Extra content was unlocked as part of the Railroad Rivals campaign's stretch goals which allow players to place hotels, which add +1 income when delivering goods to a city containing a hotel. Players also receive one wooden water tower that they can play on any city tile not already containing a water tower. Whenever a player makes a delivery to a city tile with a water tower they can continue to deliver to another adjacent city. Both railroads used in the deliver have their stocks increased by one. These two extra components add some extra strategic decisions to make when placing tiles and making deliveries.
Final scoring is based on the points received from delivers, and the value of all of a player’s stocks.
Initial Thoughts on Railroad Rivals
The gameplay for Railroad Rivals looks nice and streamlined, and turns are quick with minimal downtime. The component quality looks good (especially the premium wooden version) and the artwork looks nice. The game is somewhat abstract in its nature as players are laying down tiles as a representation of a railroad network. But it is nice to see that they have used real names for the railroad networks.
Railroad Rivals looks to be a nice and quick game that is relatively simple to teach and play. It is due to be delivered to backers any time now and copies of the game have been available at recent conventions. I am looking forward to seeing how this one is received and hopefully picking up a copy in the future.