Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Australian Rails

Subject: Geography
Category: World
Ages: 10 and up
# of players: 2 - 6
Time to play: approximately 2 hours
Mechanics/Game Type: Crayon Rail System

Ratings (1 to 5)

Educational Value: 5
Gaming value: 4
Aesthetic value: 5
Price value: 4
Ease of play: 3

My comments: What started out as a potential never-to-be-used game has quickly become a family favorite. It is certainly not something you can just pick up and start playing right away if you are new to crayon rail games put out by Mayfair Games. It has an extensive instruction booklet and requires extra set up time the first time you use it so that you can put the stickers on all the load chips. Plan plenty of time to learn how to play this game. Better yet, pay a neighbor kid to learn how to play the game and then come over and teach you and the kids:)

That said, once you have played it one time you will get the hang of it and I hope, find it quite enjoyable as we have. The idea is to build a rail system across Australia and ship goods from city to city. What makes this game exciting is this: Strategy is involved in that you want to get your railroad built without spending too much money building across rivers and mountains and be able to start shipping the most valuable goods as soon as possible. When playing with several people it becomes more challenging because only a certain number of tracks can be built into and out of the smaller cities. Lastly there is the disaster element that can happen randomly, like rain season, dust storms and floods causing tracks to be destroyed and shipments to be delayed.

I purchased this game to help my daughter with her geography so I was very particular about how accurate and detailed the map/gameboard was. I am impressed with this one. The board shows the location of many cities and geographic attributes of Australia. From a gaming perspective, I find it very helpful to have the goal and building costs listed right on the board. I will most definitely be purchasing more of the crayon rail games to use in the future!

BoardGameGeek.com link to this game:

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