By now, it should be no secret that I’m a big fan of trains as a theme for a game. I just find that, as a theme, there is so much to explore there, be it from the track laying point of view, the engine and economic engine point of view, the moving of goods point of view or from the corporation and those who run them point of view. I’ve yet to see a game that combines all of these points of view (the 18XX family comes close, but doesn’t cover the actual transport of goods), but one can dream. It is such a strong, rich theme that a lot can be done with it.
It is not often however that a game takes the trains theme and doesn’t include building tracks on a map. That is exactly the angle that Russian Railroads takes, casting the players in the roles of rail barons who try to build railroads out of Moscow towards other Russian cities, but without having a map of Russia involved, and opting for worker placement as its central mechanic. How is it? Great (it is, after all, on my 10X10in2014 challenge list)! Why? let’s find out, shall we?