Train game

Train game

A Train game or Railroad game is a game that represents the construction and operation of railroads. Train games tend to be highly involved hobby board games that usually take several hours to play. Like wargames, train games represent a relatively small niche in the games market.

Not every game with a train in it is a "train game." For example, the domino game, "Mexican Train" and Alan Moon's, "Ticket to Ride" are not usually considered train games because they do not represent railroad operations. Martin Wallace's "Age of Steam" is a train game, though it also includes Euro design elements. Train games always focus on railroad operations, and they invariably include money as a central feature of the game.


Classic train games fall into two broad categories, 18XX games and crayon rail games:

#18XX games originated in 1974 with the publication of Francis Tresham's "1829" and continued with such titles as "1830", "1856", and "1870". These games involve buying and selling stock in railroad companies, laying track, and running locomotives to generate a profit. They are hex map games in which cardboard tiles are laid to build sequences of railroad track. 18XX games can be further divided into "1829 style games," which emphasize company development, and "1830 style games," which emphasize robber baron stock market manipulation. [ [ Boardgamegeek page on 18XX games] ]
#Crayon rail games are more streamlined and do not contain a stock market component. They focus on laying track, delivering goods, and making profits. Instead of the hex map system found in 18XX games, railroad tracks are drawn with crayons on a dry erase board. The first crayon style game was Darwin Bromley and Bill Fawcett's "Empire Builder" which was released in 1980 by Mayfair Games. [ [ Boardgamegeek "Empire Builder" page] ] Other games in this series include "British Rails", "Eurorails", "India Rails", and "North American Rails", to name a few. Some of these are even set in a fantasy or science fiction world, such as "Iron Dragon" and "Lunar Rails". Another variant is "Silverton", a Mayfair game that uses wooden blocks instead of crayons, but otherwise similar game mechanics.

The mechanics in Friedemann Friese's "Power Grid" were taken from crayon rail games. Its predecessor, "Funkenschlag" even used crayons to denote power lines. In this sense, "Power Grid" is more of a "train game" than such train themed games as "Ticket to Ride", "Union Pacific", and "TransAmerica".


Several competitions for train gamers are held at major game conventions by the Train Gamers Association. Their largest event is the Puffing Billy Tournament, but other competitions include Iron Man, the 18XX Championship, and the Empire Builder International. [ [ Train Gamers Association] ] The Puffing Billy Tournament was named in honor of the world's oldest surviving steam locomotive, Puffing Billy, which was built in 1814.

Another important event for train gamers is the Chattanooga Rail Gaming Challenge, which has been held in Chattanooga, Tennessee since 1997. In 2007, the competition grew to over 60 participants. [ [ Chattanooga Rail Gaming Challenge] ]

ee also

*Board game
*List of 18XX games
*Origins Game Fair
*Simulation game
*Tabletop game


External links

* [ Railroad Game Links]
* [ Train Games and 18XX Information Page]
* [ Train Gamers Association]

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