Neat freaks with dry erase markers
Pave paradise, leaving no room for parking lots
“I have a lot to say. First of all, my room is so messy!!”
“Meanwhile Railroad Ink is a straightforward, yet challenging logic game about putting a bunch of roads and railroads into a limited space. I almost beat everyone in my family, but the path to my near-victory was not as smooth as I had hoped. The first few rounds were easy and encouraging*. I was connecting roads and railroads left and right, finishing special missions, and helping the citizens of our imaginary community by giving them beautiful interconnected travel landscapes. But as time went on, and my board began to fill, my confidence began to shrink. Now I had to incorporate roads that didn’t fit anymore, creating plan-ruining chaos. I ended up having some dead-end roads in the last round, which was frustrating.”
“I would say the key is knowing what to prioritize. Completing the missions will gain you lots of points, and they’re more important than having no unconnected roads.”
“In conclusion: Buy this game! Now I need to clean my room."
* Foreshadowing. That is the sign of a good writer
“I know I’m not supposed to allow my own particular prowess at a game to color my review of it. But sometimes, a game tests just exactly the set of skills you personally wish it wouldn’t. Railroad Ink is a simple game to learn. It’s portable, and its concepts are clean. But somehow, the gameplay manages to be dastardly and disheartening to someone like me, whose spatial relations skills leave something to be desired.”
“In Railroad Ink, you roll 6 dice that each have a variety of roads and railroads on them. The roads and railroads turn in different directions, and your job is to draw -- with your handy dandy erasable marker on your handy dandy erasable game board--configurations that make them connect with each other. You get points based on how long your roads and railroad lines are, how big a network you can create, and how many different special boxes you can tick along the way. And in order to do that, you first have to do some serious spatial relations work in your head. Perhaps, like some folks, the stars align, and you find the pieces falling right into place. You draw your roads and railroads, connect some lines, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Or perhaps, like me, you spend 10 minutes staring at the dice, drawing things, then erasing them, then drawing them again, only to eventually remind yourself that what you’ve drawn the second time was the same configuration you’d previously decided didn’t work. But now you’ve spent 10 embarrassing minutes of your tablemates’ valuable time, and their patience is running out. So you go with it, and create a meaningless spaghetti of uselessness, drooling at the beautiful feats of engineering that everyone else manages to put out.”
“Railroad Ink wants you to think hard. It encourages creative line-drawing and rewards cool ideas. Being bad at the game isn’t the game’s fault, it’s mine. Everyone else in my family seemed to really enjoy this game, so you should probably listen to whatever they have to say about it.”
“If I have one actual criticism of Railroad Ink, it’s that the game makes it pretty hard to police each other’s work. Everyone is in charge of their own drawn (and redrawn) game board, and your creations are largely yours to judge. Thus, although my family is absolutely above reproach, it may tempt a frustrated player with fewer scruples to, ahem, amend a few things. They probably wouldn’t get caught.
Other adult review:
“You have a problem with spatial relations? Is that why I'm the one who loads the dishwasher?”