Railroad Ink is the first roll & write I have played and I have to say, I am hooked. Not just on this game, but now I want to play more roll and writes! I love the mix of chance and strategy.
For those not familiar with the term, a “roll and write” is exactly what it sounds like – you roll some dice and then you need to write something down based on that dice roll.
In Railroad Ink, you are creating a system of railroads and roads across your page. The base game is for 1-6 players, but the game booklet includes a link to printable versions of the game board so you could really play with however many friends you have around at the time.
Each round, someone rolls the set of dice, each with different railroad and road patterns on them, then players must draw those designs on their game board, starting from one of the marked exits around the edge or continuing from a previously drawn path. Don’t worry, you can rotate the pattern to make it fit your desired route. There are also 6 patterns across the top of your game board – 4-way intersections of roads, tracks and a combination – that can be used ONCE each game.
After seven rounds, players count up how many routes they created from one exit to another, who has the longest tracks and roadway, plus any routes that went into the bonus center spaces, then subtract how many dead ends you ended up with to find the final score.
This is a great, chill game for just hanging out and simple enough to teach in a matter of moments, yet plenty of strategy to keep even veteran players engaged. You play simultaneously, which helps keep everyone involved at at the table, though it is easy enough to still carry on a conversation while waiting for the rest of the players to complete their drawings. It small package and reusable game boards mean you can easily take this with you on any kind of trip and have a game up and running as soon as you can open the box.
I played the Deep Blue Edition, which comes with the “rivers and lakes” expansion dice, which I have not played with yet, but add these water features to your map. While typing this up, I went to game publisher Horrible Guild’s website and found out that there are several expansions for the game available, all adding new elements and strategy, keeping it fresh by piling on the dice.
Also, crazy random happenstance, but they just announced yesterday that a digital version of Railroad Ink Challenge is coming to Steam this summer!
The Blue and Red Editions were difficult to find for awhile and I snatched them up during a sale on Miniature Market. There is a whole lot of gameplay in one box and it costs less than $20! Add any edition of Railroad Ink to your collection and you won’t be disappointed.