Beyond the Box Cover Table Top

Beyond the Box Cover: Railroad Ink

I’ve gotten a new board game, Railroad Ink, to the table over this past week, and that was me diving into one of my favorite solo genres, the roll and write game. While I love big games, and campaign games, I find that playing them solo can often be a lot to keep track of. Instead, I find that I like pulling out a roll and write or a small game that can be played solo to knock out a few plays in an hour or half an hour.

Recently games like Deadly Doodles, Ganz Schon Clever, and MetroX hit the table for those solo plays. Railroad Ink is a new game that is in the mix. I sat down and learned how to play and played several games in one evening. However, I need to play it more because I only played the base version.

The Game

Railroad Ink, as I said, is a roll and write game. In it you try to connect rail and road routes together to create an interconnected network. That doesn’t seem like it’s too hard. You, however, can’t transition between road and rail at random. And, of course, the dice rolls are random as well. This makes it a whole lot more of a puzzle. Like Deadly Doodles you track your rounds as well, so there is always more that you want to get done than you can get done.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Game Play

In the base game, it is a very simple game. You roll dice, and you put them on the board. The main tricks come in when you are trying to build long routes to score more points in both road and rail, and you are trying to keep as few open connection as possible so you don’t lose more points at the end of the game.

Now, I think diving into the mini expansions, which just add some small dice, would be easy enough to do from the start. But I wanted to learn it at it’s simplest first, and it was late at night. But I like that you can keep it so simple, that means that it is very accessible for new gamers or people who maybe don’t want that added complexity to the game.

The Components

This game has really nice components. Even the box it self is very nice as it’s a flip open box with a magnetic latch. It doesn’t have sheets of paper you use, instead it’s dry erase out of the box, which I really like. I wish that all roll and write games did that, but the ones, like Welcome To… which can scale infinitely, I get why they don’t do that. The markers seem good as well, so no complaints at all about the components. Even the dice, which sometimes are overlooked as an upgrade in a roll and write game are really nice.

Comparisons

So when looking at other roll and write games, I think that Railroad Ink stacks up quite well. The game play is fast, and everyone is always doing something. Turn based roll and writes generally are going to hit the table less for me. Now, some make it matter like the Clever line of games, you use one die per turn, but there still are turns. Games like Railroad Ink, MetroX, Deadly Doodles, Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade, Second Chance all keep you playing at the same time. With adding in the expansion dice, I expect that Railroad Ink will continue to be a pretty simple game but offer a few more choices as well.

Initial Thoughts

I like Railroad Ink. No real surprise there, I like most roll and write games that I’ve played. But Railroad Ink is more accessible than some, and while it won’t be the game for everyone, especially just out of the box, I think that a roll and write fan will like it quite well. I also like that I knocked out three games of it in half an hour or maybe forty-five minutes, and that included learning the game. It seems like a fast teach, so one that I can get to the table easily whenever I want.

Have you played Railroad Ink? How does it compare to other roll and write games for you?

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