Russian Railroads (Deutscher Spielepreis 2014) – Brettspiel Test – Board Game Review #18
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Russian Railroads (Deutscher Spielepreis 2014) – Brettspiel Test – Board Game Review #18

August 14, 2019

Hello friends of analog entertainment and welcome to another episode of Hunter & Cron. Today, with Russian Railroads. 2-4 persons, 120 minutes of playing time, so quite a bit. And you should be about 12 years old, also true, because it’s a bit complex. It’s got a 24-page manual, I have not seen this from Hans im Glück in a long time. But you read through it like butter! We are located in Russia and have to bring the industrialization up to speed. And how do you do that? By building railways! There are three very concrete
routes that need to be tackled, Namely Moscow-Vladivostok, the Transib so to speak and Moscow-Saint Petersburg and Moscow-Kiev. Down here is an industrialization bar and 1 million special functions, which can be reached by doing various things. Pure worker placement, I would say. We have a board with nothing else on it than worker placement fields. And the mandatory scoring track. A relatively large area where it’s all about the track construction, so we can build the routes. Then here we have the order of play, that we may also influence with workers. Over here is the area where I can build either locomotives or factories. Here you move forward with the industrialization or industrialization and track construction. Yes and then there are three special fields, either two temporary workers for one round, or 2 gold and here a double-up tile for the route Moscow-Vladivostok. Do not forget down here there are special engineers who are different in each game. So a little bit of variance comes into play. And it is a very nice system. The lie here in a row, from what we also recognize how many rounds are still to play. Because in each round they slip forward like this. And only the rightmost engineer can be bought in this round for 1 gold. If you have acquired an engineer, then this field is exclusively available for you for the rest of the game. Whereas the two coming engineers with their other side on top here meaning in this round you can use his ability as a normal action field. Some player would have bought this one now and in the next round they all would slip one step over. So now a new field of action comes into play here. Each player has such a beautiful tableau here. At the routes we have these black markers for the tracks. And when we acquire track steps, then we can go ahead with these tracks, and so expanding our route. Then there are a great many fields on the tableau. We can already see when we get on the track Vladivostok with the black track on field no. 2. Then we automatically get here our gray tracks. These are enabled, so to speak, and from now on you could go ahead with the gray tracks behind the black tracks. I can never overtake the black track with a gray track, I can only refine an existing black route slowly. In addition, a route is only valued as far as it is reached by a locomotive. The locomotives come in different numerical values​​, and are applied to the routes. At Vladivostok, I have the opportunity to build two locomotives, whose values will be added. 5 + 1 makes 6, so I would theoretically reach field 1-6. First the 2th locomotives will be bought, then the 3rd locomotives, then the 4th locomotives etc. And because no one needs as many locomotives, there is an alternative, what you can do with the locomotives. Down here in the industrialization bar you see: there are holes. In order to move from this field to that field, I need to continue building the bar and for that I need factories. Each locomotive is on the backside a factory and that fits here perfectly into the gap. And now you can see already, the way continues to be built here. The 5 question mark fields, that can be reached , should also be mentioned, These are really very strong special tiels that give you a wide variety of things. I can for example get me a point upgrader for the route Moscow-Vladivostok. And here 5 steps on the industrialization bar in one blow. Or who is totally dedicated to the industrialization, could bring a second industrialization markers into play and start walking around with that one well. Russian Railroads is really a great worker placement strategy game with a lot of depth. Really great balance. Offers an incredible number of strategic options, motivates for a long time. This time I’m going entirely for industry! No, this time I forget that whole track upgrading and just try to reach these special fields here as quickly as possible. To get as many worker as possible or to concentrate on these special tiles. Every game is different and brings up new thrills. Will I make it to Vladivostok this time? Or will everything work out, what I’ve devised? Or not. You ponder while it’s the others turn, you ponder until it’s your turn. And when it’s finnaly your turn, you realize “Oops” The worker field that I desperately need for my
strategy was just blocked by somebody. And then you start to ponder again. When you take on action on your turn, what the others are up to. Can Hunter use gray track movements right now? Or is his gray track just blocked? And so I can be fairly sure that the gray track action field is still hanging around the next turn. And maybe I should prefer to build a cheap locomotive or hire the engineer? And whatever you do, when the next player’s turn is coming, you think: Oooh, I should have done the same. You have to do a lot of calculating, or counting. After each round there is a scoring phase. But this scoring is a lot of fun! Because when you see how your routes generate more and more points. This works exponentially. First I get only ten points in one round, suddenly 30, suddenly 50, 60, 100 points in a single round. This brings joy. I think it’s great. I can only agree. I have to say, I am not a railway guy at all. But I’ve heard so much good stuff about Russian Railroads, that I got myself a copy and just played it. And it has convinced me completely. It’s really a great game. It is abstract. It is not “thematic”, but rather very abstract. But it’s incredibly fun to get into it, which you can do pretty quickly. Because of the great manual. I especially liked the two player variant. The two is not only on the package because it is just possible, but because you have your own 2 player game board, I think it’s super balanced. Play it with 2 players, or if you always play with 2 players, this is one cool worker placement strategy game, that really works.


  • Reply Jens Weber June 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Tolle Rezension. Ihr habt mich überzeugt und das Spiel wird demnächst auf unserem Spieletisch landen 🙂

  • Reply Nai meau January 25, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Habe dieses etwas ältere Video nun auch mal angesehen, Interesse hat Hunters Solo-Let's-Play geweckt 😉

    Kannte das Spiel natürlich schon, aaaber es hat mich nie weiter interessiert weil es auch nicht unbedingt mein Thema ist.
    Allerdings hat Eure Review wirklich Spaß gemacht!
    Besonders gefällt mir, dass es gut balanciert sein und in allen Konstellationen funktionieren soll. Das ist ja leider nicht immer der Fall wenn 'für 2-4 Spieler' draufsteht.
    Für mich ist 'Russian Railroads' nun auf jeden Fall doch einen zweiten Blick wert, vielen Dank fürs schmackhaft machen xD

  • Reply Yatsura2 December 23, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Schön kurzes und knackiges Video, alles erklärt und verstanden und Vor- und Nachteile erörtert, trotz Voreingenommenheit. Sehr gute Rezension, vielen Dank!

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