Gameday First Play – Russian Railroads

A train game that isn’t a train game but has trains.

I think…

In Russian Railroads, players compete in an exciting race to build the largest and most advanced railway network. In order to do so, the players appoint their workers to various important tasks.

This is a worker placement game where 300+ points is needed…

You have some workers and players take turns playing them and when you can’t or don’t want to take actions you pass and you gain points depending on your player order. It’s that kind of game 🙂

What do your workers do?

Well, this is the main board…

Russian Railroads Game Board

You can build rails. This moves rails up the track on your player board. (More on that on that in a bit)

You can change turn order by choosing to go first or second next round, pushing everyone else back in order. When you pass, the lower down player order you are, the more points you get but ‘good’ spaces to use on the board are tight.

You can get a train or a factory or move up the Industry track or add a doubler token. (All this is on your player board and again, I’ll explain this later)

You can take 2 gold (Gold can be used in place of a worker) or 2 temporary workers that must be used this turn.

You can spend a gold to buy an Engineer, these go in your play area and give you options to place workers that only you can use. There is only one for sale each round and they go quickly. There are also 2 face up workers which give 2 different actions each round.

Russian Railroads Play Area

This is the player area and it’s hard to see but your board has 3 tracks that work in the same way but have a slightly different effect.

The top track is the longest and uses 5 types of track. Black is worthless but it’s the first one you play down. When you move the Black track you push it along the rail. You assign trains to those tracks the value of the trains shows you how far down that track you can score. Silver track comes next and is worth 1 point per space, then Brown, Cream and White… each worth an increasing large amount of points per space.

But, not only can you only score up the space equal to the value of your trains, you can’t move each track piece beyond the previous one so if you want to get that Brown track to space 3 on Track 1 (this gives you an extra worker) you need to move the black to at least space 6 (to unlock brown rails) and the silver to at least space 5 and have trains totalling at least 6 on that track.

Very tough especially when everyone is fighting over the same spaces.

The middle track gives you ability tokens and the bottom track bonus points (and an extra worker).

The purple Industry track at the bottom is where you push your token around the track to get more end of round scoring, but you need to ‘fill in the gaps’ with factories to advance it to the end. Fortunately, these factory spots give you something when you land on them.

Then you have your Engineers which are fantastic. Spaces no one else can take? Awesome!

End of round scoring is fun (not for me but for other players) as you get points from lots of things and in rounds 1-2 you’ll get 10-20 points but rounds 6-7 you get 100+ I was getting about 50 which tells you how well I did 🙂

So yeah I took the wrong strategy but it’s a fun game. I ignored the rails because with spaces being limited and 3 players fighting over them I would just go for Industry and Engineers and pick at the rails when I could.

It COULD work as a strategy if done right and I may try it again one day.

So yeah, I’ll play this one again… maybe not soon, but I will.

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