The Day in Gaming, September 2, 2019: Railroad Ink

I’m posting about a game every day in September! Here’s a link to yesterday’s post.

Railroad Ink was an instant hit with my main gaming group. We’re all fans of roll-and-writes, some more than others, but for the most part everyone is willing to play them. I like them because they’re usually easy to teach and take a short amount of time to play. And thanks to the recent explosion of roll-and-write games, these can be more engaging and strategic than older roll-and-writes like Yahtzee.

In Railroad Ink you roll four dice with various rails and/or roads depicted on them. It’s up to you to write them anywhere in your city grid. That’s it!

Of course, it’s not that easy. To score points you’ll try to connect your network(s) of rails and/or roads to the exits along the edges of your map. The more exits your network(s) connect to, the more points you score. You’ll also score points for any part of your network that is drawn in the center of your grid. Finally, you’ll score your longest rail route and your longest road route. Rails and roads are not required to connect to each other, but for every missing connection you’ll lose a point.

Railroad Ink is much more puzzly than I expected and it’s a fun solo challenge as well. Tonight I dusted off my copy for a quick game and after the first turn I remembered why I enjoy this game so much. The basic game play is so easy to learn: roll dice, then write down what you see. But it goes so much deeper than that, as you try to plan your perfect network of connected routes. It’s a great feeling when you roll that rail or road piece that you needed to complete a long route.