The Best Train Themed Board Games, Ranked
It’s hard to not have a friend into playing board games these days. They’re an amazing way to get together with friends and enjoy a little fun together at a much more economical price than many other hobbies.
One of the more popular genres for board games over the years involves trains. The idea of managing a railroad is particularly appealing and playing tabletop games allows players to have it without the expense of trying to buy into miniature railroads. Some games are complicated, others are simple, but the best train games out there are sure to draw in almost any player.
While the game was originally released as Wabash Cannonball, many more players know this game by its far more famous name of Chicago Express. The game takes place over eight rounds with players auctioning shares of railroad companies, expanding rail systems, and developing places on the board. It’s a fun game that looks at the rivalry between the four major railroad companies back in the day.
Railroad Ink comes in several editions, with the blue one being slightly favorite by fans. The fact that it can integrate with all of the other editions for gameplay just makes it all that more exciting! It can be players as a solo experience or with up to six players and has players trying to draw lines to be able to connect all of the routes on the board more efficiently than their opponents.
1846: The Race for the Midwest is a game that’s only for the most hardcore train game fans. It’s what is called an 18xx game, which is a game designed to portray the entire history of the railroad industry in the United States. Games are immensely long, and not for the faint of heart, but deep train history enthusiasts will find it’s the perfect game for them to sink their teeth into.
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Not all train games are just about building railroads, some focus on the intense railroad robberies that used to take place! Colt Express is one of these games and puts players into the shoes (or cowboy boots) of the bandits trying to rob the train. Everyone wants to have the biggest haul in the end resulting in some seriously marvelous chaos on the board.
There’s even a version called Colt Super Express that keeps the feel of the original game while streamlining the rules for those who want a simpler and faster experience.
1830: Railways & Robber Barons was released all the way back in 1986 and still has a fervent fanbase to this day. This speaks to the quality of what might be the most famous 18xx game of all time. It’s incredibly complex with crunchy mechanics, but anyone who wants to most accurate simulation of the history of the American railroad system should make sure this is on their shelf.
No, this isn’t the platform people buy games on! Steam the board game has players building routes while trying to deliver the goods they need to the various stations in the game. It’s not as complex and difficult as a full 18xx game, but it’s a bit heavy than most other train games out there. Steam might be the perfect sweet spot for players looking for something in the middle.
This game was originally listed as Railroad Tycoon back in 2005 but got a reimplemented version of the game released in 2009 dubbed Railways of the World. The newer version featured loads of improvements that made it worth purchasing this fine railroad game. It’s more of a medium-weight train game than something in the 18xx side of things for those who want a slightly easier train game.