Thursday, September 19, 2013

Riding the Rails Again- BOXCARS

Players who are familiar with Avalon Hill's "Rail Baron" may be delighted that it is back in print. Well, sort of, anyway. Rio Grande Games has released the game under its original title "Boxcars." The game is essentially the same game with only 1 or 2 minor rules changes. Perhaps best described as Railroad monopoly with rail movement, this classic game inspired many nights of pleasure in our home, in fact, I think my copy is pretty much worn out.. Not even certain where it is.. so I'll be upgrading. The goal of the game is to move to destinations and then purchase railroads. As players reach destination they are paid for their trip. However, they must pay $1,000 per turn on a railroad line that they don't own. If they own the line, costs are reduced to nothing.

Boxcars features one major change, a double-sided board that allows players to choose between playing in the United Kingdom or the United States (I prefer the United States version).

The components are really quite nice, with some exceptions. I like the deed cards, which are mounted on a board instead of being flimsy cardstock. However, on the map the specific logos could have had the distinctive track pattern printed below them for ease of reference. The destination and payoff charts will cause the player to go blind trying to read the tiny font. However, there is already a smartphone ap for choosing homes and/or destinations and it when it is used it also gives the expect payoff a player will receive when he reaches that destination. The ap is really nice, but does not excuse the poorly designed destination charts. Also, Rio Grande should have printed those charts on the back of the rulebook or at least printed extra charts so every player could easily access these.

Boxcars is a real taste of nostalgia, but brings Rail gaming back for a new generation. An excellent game, easily played and enjoyed by young gamers as well as older. I highly recommend this title.

1 comment:

  1. The copy I viewed and played with was a pre-release copy-- I can't think that they will change anything before printing, but the game has not quite yet been released.