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Rail Baron
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Store:  Family Games
Series:  Rail Baron
Theme:  Train
Genre:  Rail & Network
Format:  Board Games

Rail Baron

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 180-240 minutes 3-6

Publisher(s): Avalon Hill

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Product Description

Only in America! You are living in the heyday of the locomotive. You are Jay Gould. And you have just added another railroad to your vast railroad empire. Flushed with success, you now retire to the sartorial splendor of your very own Pullman Palace Car. The dream ends. You awaken to reality with the thought... "just another fantasy." Ah, but for the grace of Avalon Hill your dream continues.

Here--in Rail Baron--you become a latter day Gould, or a Cornelius Vanderbilt, or any of those menacingly infamous moguls whose wizardry and acumen established the criteria for which business success was to be judged in decades to come.

Rail Baron is played on a large board of the United States RR network. In fact, it comes in three separate boards. Laid end to end, it spells out America and portrays the 28 major rail lines and major cities they connected during the halcyon of railroading.

You start with $20,000--and a train. You make money on trips from city to city. Pretty soon you've got enough money to build up your empire (you can buy the B&O and C&O for just $44,000). More holdings bring more money your way (track rental) from your opponents.

With many new nuances of strategy, it becomes a game where fortunes see-saw until the last rail baron is bankrupt--or has accumulated the $200,000 needed to win.

Product Information

  • Publisher(s): Avalon Hill

  • Year: 1977

  • Players: 3 - 6

  • Time: 180 - 240 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 920 grams

Rail Baron has the following expansions available:

U.S. Rails Out of Stock

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.3 in 17 reviews

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Best Ever!
March 31, 2006

Rail Baron was invented by a pair of brothers who originally sold it under the name Boxcars. After several years, they sold the rights and the game company modified it slightly and renamed it Rail Baron. This company was acquired by Hasbro about 30 years ago and despite pleas of many serious gamers, they've yet to rerelease it. The game sells for over $100 on e-bay where it is much sought after. In its original form it takes 3-5 hours. By issuing Super Chiefs to everyone at the start of the game it speeds up. There is also freeware available to do the chart lookups on a lap top that cut another 30 to 40 minutes off the game time. (see Rail Baron Fanatics on the internet). Much valuable info is at this website. I especially recommend Rail Baron Honeymoon for 2 players when those frequent occasions arise and you can't find a third. The game was intended for 3-6 players. Don't pass this game up. Enjoy!!!!

Fascinating and educational, but long
May 06, 2004

Rail Baron is a fascinating game. It is a believable simulation of the actual rail network that existed in the U.S.A. during the first half of the 20th century. If this were a Milton-Bradley game, you would be just as likely to have to travel to Pocatello as to New York City. But this is Avalon Hill, and so it is culturally realistic, with the most crucial destinations being on the East and West coasts. Even the payoffs are weighted to reflect the regional economic realities of our culture at that time. Because the game is highly quantifiable, it is possible to go several layers deep into the mechanics of the game, and watch winning strategies emerge like a photo in a dark room. Victory hinges almost entirely on making the most judicious possible purchases. You can only make these purchases at the end of a trip, which may take several turns or only one, depending on how far across the country you have to go. The trade-offs between efficiency, opportunism, and raw speed are subtle but vital. Luck plays only about a 10% role. The game is basically a protracted and excruciating race, usually lasting upwards of 4 hours. The length of the game is its main drawback, but also part of what makes it such a great re-creation of the rail empire building experience. Overlooked in the other reviews are the educational aspects of the game. These are the real railroads, principally as they existed just a few years ago. With a well-scaled and printed game board representing 70 cities in the U.S., and 27 major railroads with the actual logos printed on the deeds, the game is a geography lesson, and many sights you've seen all your life take on a whole new meaning. Sitting at a railroad crossing or hearing a train song will never be the same again, after you've played this game. It is a fabulous piece of Americana, highly recommended.

by Mattz
Fun game I highly recommend!
February 12, 2004

That pretty much says it all other than its a little based on the monopoly concept. You have destinations to go to and you have to use certain tracks to get there. If you use any of your opponents tracks you have to pay them. When you reach your destination thought you get a chunk of change and can then buy tracks for yourself.

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