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How Do You Play Railways of the World? (5 Minute Guide)

How Do You Play Railways of the World? (5 Minute Guide)


Railways of the World is a newer version of the original game called Railroad Tycoon, which was published in the mid-2000s. Designed for up to 6 players, the game takes place in the time period when locomotive trains were first built. Players try to connect New York to Chicago, building an empire across the country and earning more money than their opponents.

If you don’t own Railways of the World already, check it out here on Amazon.



To begin, distribute goods cubes to all cities by placing them on the board. Each player will choose a color and collect the corresponding trains as well as one train tile. Players will start the game with no money. Next, set the empty city markers to the side and deal 2 Baron cards to each player. They will keep one of these cards and discard the other. Finally, place the 3 start RR Operations cards face up on the table with additional cards equal to 2 times the amount of players.


The object of the game is to place tile tracks on the game board and connect routes to gain the most points at the end of the final round.

Player Actions


Railways of the World is played out in three rounds. After each player has taken their turn in each of them, the round marker will be moved down by 1 space. During their turns, players are allowed to take bonds and will receive $5000 each. This can only be done if the player cannot afford the purchase without it and does not count as an action.

The turn order for all three rounds of the game is determined by whoever bids the highest at the beginning of the first round. The turn cycle will move clockwise starting with this player.

During each turn, players have the option to complete one of the following actions:

Build a track:

Players can lay down a maximum of 4 tracks on the board and place one train on the track. This track has to complete a link by the end of the game or the track will be discarded and the player will take their train back. Only 1 of these links may be created per turn and the cost to build it will be displayed on the player aid cards.

Urbanize a gray city:

The number displayed on the player’s engine will indicate how many cities or links they can move a goods cube on their turn. The cost of this action will be located on the train card and only one level of improvement can be purchased per turn.

Deliver one goods cube:

Delivery of a goods cube must start on that player’s link and will accumulate one point for every city the cube travels. If it goes through another player’s link, they will get those points instead. Once a cube is delivered, it will be placed back into the bag, and an empty city marker goes on a city when there are no more cubes left on it. The cube can only be moved the number of links on the engine card.

Take one RR Operations card:

Players can choose to draw and fulfill a RR Operations card, and may use multiple of these cards in the same turn. The fulfillment of a card with a green dot will not count as an action. Some of these cards will allow the player to place cubes on a city of their choice, including empty ones. It is also important to remember that cards with a purple diamond can only be used once per round.

At the end of the third round, players will collect money as indicated by their placement on the score track and subtract $1000 for every bond they have. One RR Operations card will be drawn and placed on the table facing up. Finally, discard all track tiles that have not been completed and return the corresponding trains to the players.

How to End the Game

The game ends when the last empty city marker is placed on the game board. After this happens, that turn will be completed and the game will be over after one additional turn.

How to Score the Game

To calculate the final score, each player’s points on the score track and completed Baron card points will be added up and each bond owned will be a loss of one point. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

How the Game Changes Depending on the Number of Players

The setup process for Railways of the World slightly changes depending on the number of players. The empty city markers set to the side at the beginning of the game are as follows:

10 for 2 players, 12 for 3 players, 14 for 4 players, 16 for 5 players, and 18 for 6 players. Other than that, all rules are the same for any size game.

Variations of the Game

Variations of Railways of the World include multiple printings of English, German, Spanish, and Italian Editions.


A good strategy for beginners to follow is to bid high on the first turn. This is one of the most important moves in the game and you shouldn’t be scared to go for it. Additionally, it is relatively easy to start your routes in New York if possible, because there are very few connecting points in that area.



Time to play: 120 minutes

Alternative titles of the game: Railroad Tycoon: The Boardgame, Railroad Tycoon: el judge de mesa

Manufacturer suggested player age: 10+

Community suggested player age: 12+

List of expansions: Railways of Portugal, Railways of Antarctica, Railways of Great Britain, Railways of North America

Community rating: 7.7/10

Popularity: Rank 101

Difficulty: Moderate

Designer Credits: Glenn Drover, Martin Wallace

Published year: 2005

Awards: 2006 Juego del Ano Finalist, 2006 International Gamers Awards – General Strategy; Multi-player Nominee

If you like railroad games you’ll also like:

Railroad Ink, Ticket To Ride, Ticket To Ride: Europe, Rail Baron

If you don’t like this game, you should try:

Risk, Battleship, Pit!