Tag Archives: Eagle Games

Bombtrack – Railways of the World review

RotW Cover

The Judge returns once again, this time not to check out something brand new, but to look to one of Eagle Games’ biggest sellers instead! Fancy some old-school networking? Time to pick up a copy of Railways of the World – if your back can handle it!

Gamers, as a breed, are always being swept along in the continual, unending, irresistible Cult of the New. Myself included, by the way. I’m not only a registered, card carrying member – I also have a commemorative t-shirt and have started the fan club. I love new games, as do my gaming groups, so I don’t get as many opportunities to revisit some of my favourites as perhaps I would like.

There are exceptions. Terra Mystica is an evergreen and so is the subject of today’s review – Railways of the World.

When discussing this classic “pick up and deliver game” it’s almost a cliché to begin comparing this with Age of Steam and Steam – they’re all from to the same original Martin Wallace design, after all. However, I haven’t played either of those, so in a refreshing break from tradition, they shan’t be mentioned again!

What I do know is that Railways of the World is my second favourite logistics game. (Roads and Boats is best. Review to come…) Simply put, players take turns constructing track to connect cities together and deliver goods cubes from their random starting location towards a destination city. There are a few interesting wrinkles – you have to pay money to build anything and you begin with zero cash. Until you start scoring points, your income each round is also zero, and to gain points you have to deliver goods on your track. You see the problem?

Fortunately, debt is your friend. Loans (or bonds), can be taken to provide a cash influx to get you started – but may never be totally paid off. Once you take this cash (bestowed upon you by an Age of Steam-era payday loans company) [You said you wouldn’t mention it! – Michael] you are indebted to pay £1 per bond after every round of play. That millstone around your neck may have been an attractive charm to begin with, but by the end of the game, you’re lugging around a significant chunk of Stonehenge.

Does this sound stressful? Good, because it is – the positive kind of stressful though. You could play slowly and build up your infrastructure in a fiscally conscientious manner – were it not for the competition of your other players. Acting like gold hungry ’49ers, players will be scrambling to be the first player to deliver the limited number of cubes, identify profitable network routes, and hoping they can get it done before someone gets in the way.

RotW Play

This is all great fun, satisfying, challenging and a giant, ever-changing puzzle. It also looks gorgeous. Railways has been over-produced within an inch of its life. Rail links are marked with brightly coloured, detailed, plastic trains. The timer for the game is the number of cities that have been emptied of cubes. How should we mark these? A cardboard chit? Or a giant plastic water tower? Yep! It’s the latter. The boards also deserve special mention as they are attractive, graphically clear and HUGE. Currently available are Europe, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico and the East and Western US. You can also choose to play a transcontinental variant by putting the East and West maps together, though for this you will need to hire a small village hall or community centre (not included.)

Any negatives? Well, the random card draws of “cool stuff” or specific, point giving tasks are deliberately overpowered and can give you a huge boost – particularly at the start of the game. That said, the auction for turn order at the start of each round deals with most of those problems. “Taking that card would be great, but how much is it worth for me?” is a question that often comes up. Bidding the right amount at the right time to claim these is another key part of the race to victory.

The game claims it plays up to six, depending on the map. Ordinarily, games that say this are dirty, little liars and force players into lengthy, painful experiences. Railways, because of its micro-turns, is actually very good about preventing downtime and is great (though quite different) with all numbers of players. Play Europe with five or six and you have a super tight, cutthroat, knife fight in a phone box. Play The Western US with two and you could conceivably never meet each other.

I love Railways of the World. It is challenging, highly competitive and most importantly a whole heap of fun. A few steps up from Ticket to Ride, not as long or complex as the 18xx series – Railways hits the sweet spot for me, and guarantees a place on my collection, not least as an immovable object standing in the way of the irresistible force of the cult of the new.

Railways of the World is currently published by Eagle Games. Designed by Martin Wallace and Glenn Drover, it was originally released back in 2005. Between two and six players can get around the table, but be sure that it’s a bloody big one! Thanks to The Judge for his write-up, and be sure to follow him on Twitter today!

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Episode 36 – A Few Good (Mad) Men

So here it is, the first Little Metal Dog Show of 2012, and my oh my, it’s a doozy.

I’m joined by three upstanding gentlemen to discuss the gaming year that was 2011, talking about our favourite games that we’ve played as well as a few of the terrible ones. Steve, Ben, Campfire and myself also look to the future (well, this year) and reveal some of the titles that we’re looking forward to getting to try out in the coming months. Oh, and I’m also joined by a certain Rich Sommer. “Who he?” I hear you ask, “His name sounds familiar!” Well it bloody should, for he plays Harry Crane in the rather splendid TV show Mad Men as well as acting as gaming evangelist-in-residence on US network G4. Enjoy!

This episode’s links are here – hoorah!

Direct download: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/3gafhh/LMD_Episode36.mp3

Summoner Wars from Plaid Hat Games: http://www.plaidhatgames.com/sum_home.html

Caveman Curling from Eagle Games – Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/167427101/caveman-curling-a-game-of-stones?ref=live

Rich Sommer’s rather splendid games blog: http://games.richsommer.com/

Rich on G4TV: http://www.g4tv.com/videos/55658/game-night-with-rich-sommer/

Rich’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/richsommer

Campfire’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/campfireburning

Steve’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/moosegrinder

Ben’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/JoyrexJ9

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Episode 21 now available – Design Time

A confession: this episode was due to have two interviews. The first, with Mark Thomas (who designed House of Spirits for Lock ‘n Load Publishing which you can read the review of here) is splendid and sounded great! We talk about what it’s like to get your first game from a simple idea in your brain through to seeing it sold in stores – very useful for aspiring designers, myself included. The second interview, with archaeologist Elke Rogersdotter, was sadly eaten by my computer. I think enough will be salvageable to put together a written piece though, so keep an eye out for a piece on gaming on the ancient site of Mohenjo-daro!

I’m pleased to say that this episode is brought to you in association with the lovely folks over at eaglegames.net – makers of fine games like Defenders of the Realm, Railways of the World and Through The Ages amongst many others. If you pick up anything direct from their website and put the coupon code ‘LittleMetalDog’ in at the checkout, you’ll get 20% off your purchases – pretty sweet. Also, if you’re in the continental United States, you’ll get free shipping if you spend over $30! Have a look over at Eagle Games by clicking on the button below and tell them that Little Metal Dog sent you…

As always, thank you for listening – if you want to get in touch with the show, drop us an email on show@littlemetaldog.com and we’ll answer anything you can throw at us. Well, we’ll try to at least…  The show is available directly from here or, as always, from iTunes. Feel free to drop a review if you’re in the mood!

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One Year On

Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us, Happy Biiiiirthday LittleMetalDogShooooooow (deep breath)… Happy Birthday to uuuuuuuusssss!

Yes! We made it to our first birthday with relatively little casualties.There have been a few losses (mainly One-Legged Tex from Homesteaders and a missing copy of Zombies!!! that I posted out) but after a year, we’re looking in pretty good shape. LMDS has put out 20 episodes of a podcast that is gaining listeners on a daily basis to add to the thousands who already check out each episode. We put up regular reviews of some of the finest (and occasionally not so fine – Doctor Who, I’m looking at you) games out there, along with interviewing brilliant folks from the industry. We’ve expanded from just me to a team of great people who love to play and talk about games. There’s a swishy looking site (well, it’s quite pretty) and we’re looking forward to our second year of doing more of the same for our readers and listeners.

This is just a quick post to say thank you to everyone who’s listened, read, emailed, twittered, whatever, to anything we’ve put out. Without you lot we’d just be shouting into the wind – awesomely, we actually get people shouting back. To all the people we’ve spoken to and interviewed, we couldn’t do the show without you. To all the other great sites and podcasts out there (in particular the splendid ladies and gentlemen of the UK Gaming Media Network) – cheers! To all the companies large and small who support us by flinging the odd review copy our way, my wife is incredibly grateful that we can actually pay our rent without me saying “I just need to pick up a copy of…” – our bank manager appreciates it greatly.

To celebrate the first birthday then, we’ve teamed up with the good people at Eagle and Gryphon Games to give away a few titles from their catalogue – copies of Swat, Yin Yang and Cornucopia are up for grabs (and a little package called Railways Through Time that you may have seen and possibly salivated over). Additionally, they’ve been signed by the game artist, which is pretty aces! Wherever you are in the world, you’re eligible to enter to win one of these fine games… but how do you do so?

Well, you can get up to three entries. First up, just post a comment under this very post saying one thing you enjoyed about the show or site this year. Easy! Second, if you’re on Twitter, post something game related using the hashtag #littlemetaldog – even easier! Finally, you can visit the LMDS Facebook page and leave a birthday greeting. Become a fan if you like, but you know… no pressure. Much.

Now, even though you’re allowed up to three entries, you can only win one prize – it’s nice to share, after all. I’ll be drawing the victors randomly tomorrow morning (10am BST) using my faithful online randomizing site of choice. So get entering! Oh, and the competition is open to EVERYONE, not just UK residents. We have a worldwide listenership – to exclude people would be impolite.

Thank you again for all your support. Chris, Campfire, myself and the writers appreciate it. We hope we’ll do even bigger and better things in our next year. And now: CAKE.

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