The definitive ranked list of the best train board games. Trains are one of the great modern marvels, they represent a time of innovation and growth. They served a key purpose back in the 19th century to build empires, but they still hold major significance today, still ingrained in all countries’ infrastructures, still moving people and goods. And then there are the modern marvels like the bullet trains and things we can’t even dream of that use magnets and the like. It is a very interesting category that has a passionate following for a reason. These are the top 10 best train board games.
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#10 | Station Master
Station Master makes the list of the best train board games because it is a fantastic depiction of you running a station, getting trains in the yard ready and loading them up with passengers before they take off to make room for a new one. This is a light and easy to get to the table game this is filled with iconic train art and will have you constructing a variety of locomotives from freight to executive class. It has plenty for any train enthusiast.
Players are managers of a train yard. Three locomotive cards sit and on a player’s turn they may either play a card from their hand to add a train car to an exiting train, to alter its point value, or add a passenger token, to try and take advantage of that trains value. Trains have numbers in the corner to represent how many cars it can hold, when it is filled it leaves and a new one takes its place. When all the trains have departed, your job is over. Use your passengers and ability to change train values to make the best speculations towards big points. For 2 – 6 players, games run 30 – 50 minutes.
FOR MORE: Station Master Page | Station Master Review | How To Play Station Master | Games Like Station Master | Buy Station Master on Amazon
#09 | Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition
Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition makes the list of the best train board games because it takes the great roll-n-write mechanic and packages it nicely as a railroad route building experience. This very interesting title is ingenious in how it makes you build routes and avoid obstacles and pitfalls. Railroad Ink, both this version and the Red version, is an overall fantastic execution within the Train category.
In the multiplayer puzzle game Railroad Ink, your goal is to connect as many exits on your board as possible. Each round, a set of dice are rolled in the middle of the table, determining which kind of road and railway routes are available to all players. You have to draw these routes on your erasable boards to create transport lines and connect your exits, trying to optimize the available symbols better than your opponents. For 1 – 6 players, games last about 20 – 30 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Railroad Ink: Blue Edition on Amazon
#08 | Chicago Express
Chicago Express makes the list of the best train board games because this brings you into an exciting time in the field and is driven by how well you can extend your routes. You will need to build track and buy stock to get the most money in this railroad race to Chicago. Gameplay is very rich and will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout this entire race.
In the game the main railroads drive from the East Coast across the growing eastern US to Chicago. Smaller, more aggressive railroads like the Wabash spring up to further expand America’s extensive railroads. Over a series of rounds you can either auctioning a share of one of the railroad companies, expanding the rail system of one of the railroad companies or develop a piece of land. You are an executive trying to build the biggest network and amass the most wealth. For 2 – 6 players, games last about 1 hour.
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#07 | Trains
Trains makes the list of the best train board games because it is the entire title and it is a great game. This is a deck builder that has you buying the right mix of cards to build track to and lay stations in the biggest cities across the board. This is set in the modern times, with bullet trains, freight trains and more.
Players are capitalists during the modern age of railways, managing private railways companies and striving to become bigger and better than the competition. You will start with a small set of cards, but by building a more effective deck throughout the game, you will be able to place stations and lay rails over the maps of Osaka, Tokyo or other locations. The trick is to purchase the cards you want to use, then use them as effectively as possible. For 2 – 4 players, games run approximately 45 minutes.
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#06 | First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express
First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express makes the list of the best train board games because this is a well built title that has players draft to run the most luxurious rail line and solve murders. You try to score as many fame points as possible by building a rich network of rails, by building luxurious train cars, or by serving well-paying passengers.
Guide your lines from humble beginnings into rivals of the fabled Orient Express itself as you carry out actions each round. Add cars to your trains, upgrade those cars to attract wealthier clientele, extend your lines towards Constantinople, and more. A limited number of action cards is available each round, so pick your actions carefully and choose a path for your rail lines. There are many ways to score points, but only a true railroad baron will accumulate the most points and win the game. For 2 – 4 players, games go for 40 – 80 minutes.
#05 | 1830: Railways & Robber Barons
1830: Railways & Robber Barons makes the list of the best train board games because even though it came out years ago, it is still held up today as one of the best 18XX titles ever made. 18XX is the generic term for a series of board games that, with a few exceptions, recreate the building of railroad corporations during the 19th century. This one does it and it does it well.
Players are seeking to make the most money by buying and selling stock in various share companies located on eastern United States map. This game features private rail companies and an extremely vicious, ‘robber baron’ oriented stock market. A game is finished when the bank runs out of money or one player is forced to declare bankruptcy, and the player with the greatest personal holdings wins. For 2 – 7 players, games run 3 – 6 hours.
#04 | Russian Railroads
Russian Railroads makes the list of the best train board games because this is a great title in the category within the worker placement genre. You have to make tough decisions on how to expand your railroad empire you are building across Russia. Here you will need to Acquire locomotives & industry, build track and hire the best engineers.
Players compete in an exciting race to build the largest and most advanced railway network. In order to do so, the players appoint their workers to various important tasks. The development of simple tracks will quickly bring the players to important places, while the modernization of their railway network will improve the efficiency of their machinery. Newer locomotives cover greater distances and factories churn out improved technology. For 2 – 4 players, games go for about 90 – 120 minutes.
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#03 | Age of Steam
Age of Steam makes the list of the best train board games because this is a very intense and satisfying title that dives into the cut throat world of train tycoonery. You will need to outperform your railroad rivals with buying shares, winning auctions, building track, and make deliveries. If you are looking for a deep dive into this kind of management, this is a top of class title that is worth your time.
Steam-belching iron horses roar across the wild plains, this game relives the era when pioneering U.S. railroads built the tracks that transformed America’s economy. The cut-throat action is centered on the industrial powerhouses of the growing nation: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, and beyond. make decisions about how and when to grow your network. For 1 – 6 players, games last about 2 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy Age of Steam on Amazon
#02 | Colt Express
Colt Express makes the list of the best train board games because it is an award winning title that utilizes a train in a very innovative way that is unlike anything else. the Union Pacific Express has left Folsom, New Mexico, with 47 passengers on board and it is about to get robbed. Using a sectioned 3D train, you need to move around and outwit your opponents.
In Colt Express, you play a bandit robbing a train at the same time as other bandits, and your goal is to become the richest outlaw of the Old West. The game consists of five rounds, and each round has two phases: Schemin and Stealin. Move along the train and get into what you need to get into in this hand management and memory board game. For 2 – 6 players, games run 30 – 40 minutes.
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#01 | Ticket To Ride
Ticket To Ride takes the top spot on the list of the best train board games because it is the train game. It originally came out in 2004, has released a ton of different versions since, and is one of the top overall board games, not just of trains but of everything, of all time. The initial game was the American map but there are several different maps depending on your preference.
You are a train tycoon with your sites set on building a great rail system across the United States. Players sit around a board of the US, with many empty possible routes connecting cities across the country. Each game everyone has a secret route they need to complete and only you know what you need to do. Each turn you can either take different colored train cards or build routes using them. Complete more goals and build more impressive routes for victory. For 2 – 5 players, games last 30 – 60 minutes.