Apr 052019
 

Railroad Ink is a game for one to seven players. Each player gets a blank board and a dry-erase marker. Someone rolls dice, and the dice have different railroad tracks and highway shapes on them. The players have to draw on their map, using only what is on the dice. Their goal is to create long stretches of roads and tracks that all link together, but when you can only use the shapes that have been rolled on the dice, your system will look like it has been designed by a very drunk architect. You play for seven rounds and then grade your map according to several criteria. The highest score wins.

That is the whole game. You roll dice and draw tracks and highways. if you play the blue box of Railroad Ink, you also draw lakes and rivers. If you play the red box, you draw volcanoes and meteors. You could probably play with both sets and draw a really weird map with rivers, highways, train tracks and volcanoes.

If you are talented, and use your own collection of markers like my wife, you might end up with a map like this.

I will never make a map this prett

What surprises me about Railroad Ink is how relaxing it is. There is something soothing about drawing, even if it is just little pieces of highway. The game can be challenging but never stressful. It gives me a similar satisfaction to what I get from coloring, but engages my brain just a little more.

Now, nothing in the rules says that when you roll the dice, you shout “ALL ABOARD!” but I think it helps. I also advise shouting “CHOO CHOO MOTHERFUCKER!” when you get a bad roll of the dice. The game is simple enough that you could play it while watching television, but to get the ultimate experience, I suggest putting this on your TV and letting it be your soundtrack.

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