Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Alban Viard

Giant Roc

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

9 cards, 9 wooden dice, and 9 wooden markers: these are the criteria of the so-called Nano9Games series. This series was invented by mathematics teacher Alban Viard from France. Railways is one of the six games in the series, a solo game that can only be played alone.

With so little material, it is clear that much of it is used in various different ways. For example the cards: one side of the cards displays a railway network, while the other side shows actions available to the player. The dice are used to indicate the number of passengers traveling from one area to another and the number of available railroad workers for track construction. Another die represents the round counter. Finally, the wooden markers are used to track success, air pollution, and available capital on the progress card as well as marking finished, built rails.

At the beginning of the game, four cards are drawn and laid out side by side with the railway side up, creating a small rail plan. Initially, one die with one or two passengers is placed on one area on each card, more passengers can be added during the game.


Click on image to enlarge!

The remaining four cards are available for actions, with three of the cards usable in each turn. Two actions are possible per round, but many of the actions require multiple action symbols, which are found on the action spaces on the cards. When multiple action spaces from the same card are used for an action, air pollution increases, which is not conducive to the final scoring and should be reduced, therefore.

Once the rails between the areas on the cards have been built through matching actions, passengers can be transported from one area to another. Depending on the destination area, this can reduce air pollution, recruit new railroad workers, or generate capital and victory points. And the longer the journey is for a passenger, the more victory points can be generated. So you must plan your route, built the rails, add the passengers and finally sent them on their journey. The game ends after the 12th round, which typically takes about 15 minutes.


Click on image to enlarge!

So far, so good. Once the rules are understood, the game finds no trouble and I overall quite enjoyed the game. However, it took me some time to warm up to the game. On one hand, this was because the rulebook leaves some questions unanswered, making the initial learning curve a bit challenging. On the other hand, the game involves much more puzzle-solving than I initially expected. You have to do a bit of mathematics to optimize your moves.


Click on image to enlarge!

You can feel and tell that the author is a mathematics teacher with this game. To like the game, you have to appreciate that aspect and be in the mood for it. If you just want to jump in and roll some dice, this is not the right game for you. Since you're playing against yourself, you need to aim to improve a bit each time. Besides victory points, there are additional challenges, such as transporting all passengers on the game board by the end. But still I missed a good measuring stick, because much depends on the map you create at the set-up. Rails can already be perfectly prepared, so you just have to connect the areas. But sometimes they are not and then you need more time to build up your connections. So, comparisons are hard to make. A good game for railway fans with a preference for mathematic problems. For the rest a much better choice than gambling on your smartphone.

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer

Copyright © 2023 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany