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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Worker Placement Game That Doesn't Disappoint!, January 2, 2014
By 
Cody Carlson (Salt Lake City, UT United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
When I first unboxed my copy of Z-Man Games' "Russian Railroads" I was a little overwhelmed. I made the mistake of expecting something a little lighter, like Days of Wonder's "Ticket to Ride." The game comes with busy, unusual looking player boards, mountains of chits and pieces, and a fairly dense rulebook. The first time I read the rules things became clearer, though I was still afraid that my friends and I wouldn't "get" this game. Man, was I wrong!

"Russian Railroads" is a magnificent worker placement game that is surprisingly easy to learn and play. There is a lot going on in this game, to be sure, but once you dive into the game everything comes together. The game "Russian Railroads" most resembles is perhaps Wizards of the Coasts' "Lords of Waterdeep," an absolutely brilliant worker placement game. Each turn two to four players attempt to build their three railroad lines to Kiev, St. Petersburg, and Vladivostok. Players also try to build up their industry. Each round players will take turns placing their workers on different spaces on the main game board, which give players the tools they need to do their jobs. Players may move their railroad tracks along the line, they may buy locomotives and factories, and they may also buy and use engineers. At the end of each round players score their player boards and at the end of the game the player with the most victory points wins, (again, much like "Lords of Waterdeep").

Unusual and fun, "Russian Railroads" is a kinetic, tense, fast-paced game to build the best railroads in Russia. I highly recommend this game!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A big hit with my game group., April 18, 2014
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This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
Russian Railroads is a medium weight worker placement euro game with a railroad theme. Players have their own personal boards with 3 rail lines and an industry track to develop for scoring. This is achieved by placing 1 or more workers onto action spaces on the shared main board. Although players are competing for the same actions, there will be several ways to get things done, with some spaces being more efficient than others. No single strategy seems too dominant and each game plays differently, thanks to the random selection of engineer tiles available each game.

The rules are well written and easy to follow, making the game simple to learn. The last few pages of the rule book contain helpful descriptions of all the cards, tiles, tokens and engineer abilities for easy reference. The board has 2 sides, one for 3-4 players and the other for 2 players, letting the game scale well for any count. For a medium weight game, the play time is pretty quick, averaging about 90 minutes for our usually slow group. The component quality is top notch and setup/teardown is fast.

Russian Railroads has been a hit with my group from our 1st game and is getting even more popular with each successive play. It’s unusual for everyone in the group to like a game this much, but when it happens, the game gets lots of playtime. So far Russian Railroads has been up to the task of delivering a fun and competitive experience each and every game and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this type of game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun number crunching euro, October 20, 2014
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This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
This game won't be for everyone as the theme is almost non existent and the game requires some serious number crunching in the last few turns. At its heart this is a worker placement involving building train lines to score points. The thing I really like about this game is that there is more than one way to victory. You get to choose how to play and this also allows you to react to what the other players are doing on their turns. The interaction is somewhat minimal, but you are racing to score more points than your opponents, so the interaction comes from choosing the best action before your opponents take it. If you like worker placement euro style games then check this out. If you don't like the idea of calculating scores in relation to your actions, then give it a miss. Winning scores tend to be between 350-450.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game, February 9, 2014
By 
M. B. Greene "Avid Reader" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
The game is great. I own a lot of railroad games, and this game is as good as any of them. There are tons of decisions to make each turn with loads of options...but you can't always get everything you want. You have many paths to victory and you have to choose which of those roads to travel. Not a lot of fiddly bits to deal with, no money, just a victory point track to get you to victory. Go out and buy it... you won't go wrong.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Russian Worker Placement aka harsh work in Siberia, August 27, 2014
This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
Which path to victory shall I take? Shall I build out the rail line to Vladivostok? Shall strengthen the train with our Ukranian brothers in Kiev? Or should I build up industry to add to the great Russian engine?! Everything you do is for Mother Russia and every one of them a valid way to win the game. This is a worker placement game and one of the best ones to come around in a while. There are lot of paths to victory and almost everything you do gives you a point. Build a railroad, gain points. Build industry gain points. I love the constant feedback system in this game.

However, I will say that with all different options to winning, this game can confuse people. There are a lot of different actions a player can take and there definite synergies on what actions you take in the same turn. For me, the fun of this game is finding out those synergies to optimize your points.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Choo, Choo, June 28, 2014
This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
I like to describe this as worker placement game with an 18XX theme. There's not stock round, but the building and running tracks feels authentic. One of the best euro games from 2013.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brain burning worker placement game with many paths to victory., October 23, 2014
This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
I actually really liked this game up until about halfway through it. Loved it, even. I'm a huge worker placement fan and loved the mechanics of this game. It seemed well designed with a lot of options, interesting player interaction, and thinky ways to play.

The friend who introduced this game to us even described it as a game where instead of someone screwing you over with a selection they really just divert you but you still have a decent option available to you. Boy howdy was he wrong!

About halfway through I already started to see the mold on this game's design. That being that it had a serious runaway leader problem. I was even the beneficiary of this design mistake but I don't like feeling like I've run away with a game halfway through. The tension is gone in those situations and the game becomes less exciting. I was able to "min-max" my board and by ignoring certain tracks and actions was outscoring my opponents by 30-50 points a turn. By the final turn I was 80 points ahead of my next closest opponent and "lapped" both of the other two players (scored over 100 points more than them).

The final turn is what really soured the game on me though. During this game a player accumulated 6 out of 7 of the engineers in the game. These engineers are powerful enough, they give the player who acquires them an action that only they can use. However, without acquiring these I was still able to make optimal action selections and outscore my opponents every turn. My whole mentality was that acquiring these engineers wasn't overwhelmingly beneficial to this player because a. he was still limited by his worker total and b. not all of the engineers provided optimal action spaces and many went unused for several turns. I repeat, boy howdy was I wrong!

Well, not necessarily wrong, I just didn't know about one particular piece in the game that would gift-wrap the win for this player after a 2-3 hour mental exercise. There are four available factories in the game that let you score 9-16 points for each of your engineers. With 6 engineers and two of these factories the player was able to score 114 points in the middle of a round when our end-of-round scoring capped out at 90-100. This is insane. Sure, we were punished for allowing him to accumulate so many engineers but the punishment did not fit the crime. Nobody wants to spend 2-3 hours playing a game where even with a comfortable lead they can be buried by one turn, to me that is a huge design problem.

I have to admit (begrudgingly) I did enjoy most of the rest of the game and knowing now about this quirk I would play it again taking care to make everyone at the table aware. But I would also be remiss without criticizing this game for what I think is just a bad design element. Maybe games like this exist for players that like the ability to take advantage of broken hidden mechanics like this, but I'm not one of those players.

Lately this game is getting a lot of press and every time I see it I think about how much I enjoyed (loved, really) the parts of the game that weren't the broken points-for-engineers tiles. I definitely want to play this game again (and may even purchase a copy) but never again will I let it go unknown how important not letting one player accumulate the majority of engineers is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is definitely on my list of top favorite games. There is a lot of point calculating ..., September 9, 2014
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This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
This is definitely on my list of top favorite games. There is a lot of point calculating each round but the game has a lot of interesting choices. I played this thinking it would be similar to ticket to ride but this is not the same at all. It is more of a euro style game.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Successful gift with good replay-ability!, July 17, 2014
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This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
Got it as a gift for a friend after playing it once. He seems to like it and I've enjoyed it every time I've played it since! I think it has good replay-ability since you can mix and match strategies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, October 6, 2014
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This review is from: Russian Railroads Game (Toy)
My wife and I absolutely love this game! It's definitely a favorite in our massive board game collection.
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Russian Railroads Game
Russian Railroads Game by Z-Man Games
$59.99 $46.97
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