I have finally played Railroad Ink. As someone who is into Roll and Write games, multi-player solitaires and railway games, it’s been a game I’ve been itching to try since I first saw it lol
(I learned and played it via the app but I don’t rule out getting a physical copy. Although which one? Lol) And at some point, I will actually write about just Railroad Ink but, as I learned it, I found myself thinking about 30 Rails.
Okay, let’s be honest. There’s a lot of railroad-themed connection games out there. And there are plenty of connection-based Roll and Write games. But, for me, 30 Rails is one of the quintessential ones.
30 Rails is an exercise in minimalism. Two dice. A pencil. A grid. A chart. If you didn’t have access to a printer, you could easily make a copy by hand. But within those simple elements is a solid game with some real choices and even a smidgeon of theme.
My initial premise, when I originally started working on this blog entry, was that in a vacuum, Railroad Ink was better than 30 Rails but being free and _very_ easy to construct adds a lot of value to 30 Rails. Heck, having 30 Rails made me not bother to try and mock up a copy of Railroad Ink.
And I think that Railroad Ink, by virtue of having more content, does win in a vacuum. Two different types of paths, bonus faces and a bunch of expansions is a lot extra content.
But 30 Rails with a different set of placement restrictions, offers different kinds of choices. 30 Rails hasn’t lost its own challenges. It has solid value outside of being free. It hasn’t stopped being a good game.
I know I will get a lot of play out of Railroad Ink but I am going to still play 30 Rails. I might even play it more because I’ll be in a train game state of mind.