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Sid Meier's Railroads!

Sid Meier's Railroads! / PC
editor score 8.1
user score 8.1
Release Date








Firaxis Games


1C Company


Sid Meier's Railroads! is a sequel to Railroad Tycoon 3.  It is the first game in the series since the 1990 original that Sid Meier directly helped to develop, and is the first since then to have his name in the title.  Railroads! is a recreation and modern adaptation of its predecessor.


Railroads! is the first is its franchise to be fully 3D, and has been turned into more of a RTS than earlier entries in the series.  Terrain plays a greater role in Railroads! than ever before as it can strongly affect the cost of building new rails and the effort required by trains moving on slopes.

The core gameplay of Railroads! centers around the economic transactions between industries, via your railroad system.  By building your railroads strategically, you can increase the prosperity of your industries, and defeat your opponent economically.  Railroads! has more of an emphasis on the logistics of your trains and tracks than previous installments, while seemingly downplaying some of the other business management aspects.  Unlike previous games, unless you are deliberately driving your company into the ground it is virtually impossible for your company to not at least be profitable.  It is a widely held belief that the strategic elements of Railroads! have been "dumbed down" in comparison to Railroad Tycoon 3.  Despite this, Railroads! still encourages players to think tactically in order to win.  The gameplay has been modified so that it is less of a plodding micromanagement-filled simulation game (which can be a great form of gameplay) and is more of a fast-paced RTS with tycoon roots.  There is always a rush to expand the rails, develop industries and lock down monopolies before your opponent can.  This can be quite exhilarating, especially at 2x speed.

Railroads! offers several historical scenarios, loosely based on 15 different railroad tycoons of the past.  Many of these scenarios are also in different geographical regions such as East, West, North and South USA, the British Isles, southern Europe and Australia.

Additionally, Railroads! offers both LAN and internet multiplayer.

Vertical Monopolies

The surest way to success  in Railroads! is a tactic employed by many of the great early railroad entrepreneurs.  It is a monopoly, but the legal kind.

The idea of a vertical monopoly is to own every aspect of a certain industrial process.  For instance, in the game, one could be taking the wool from a sheep farm, taking it to a clothing maker which they own, selling the clothes, then taking the nitrates from the sheep farm, and then taking them to an owned pharmaceutical factory.  Thus they own the source, transportation, manufacturing process, and distribution.  Money is made at every step, maximizing profits.