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Empire Builder
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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Empire Builder
Series:  Empire Builder
Theme:  Train
Genre:  Rail & Network
Format:  Board Games

Empire Builder

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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 180 minutes 2-6

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Product Description

Rediscover a modern American classic that celebrates one of America's greatest loves: railroads. Use your initial investment to build track, pick up commodities where they are grown, mined, or manufactured and deliver them where there's a demand. When you complete a delivery, you make the money you need to buy larger, faster trains and expand your railroad empire. Win the game by building the most effective railroad empire!

With over a million variations, Empire Builder never grows old. Capure the entrepreneurial spirit of America and learn to build an empire.

Whether you share Empire Builder as an evening with friends or as a rainy day activity with your family, you'll always find it entertaining!

After enjoying this game, you can discover one of the sequels, including the award-winning Eurorails and Australian Rails.

Product Information

Empire Builder has the following expansions available:
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.2 in 15 reviews

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by foil_lone_wolf
Top game in my collection
December 01, 2007

Empire Builder was one of the first Eurogames I was introduced to. I have played 100s since but Empire Builder is still the first one I turn to when I want some fun. It has enough luck to make it exciting and enough strategy to make it challenging.

My wife and I both love this game. On occasion, when we've played it too recently we turn to one of the related games. We own Euro Rails, British Rails, Australian Rails, Russian Rails, Lunar Rails, Iron Dragon, and the new version of Empire Builder with Mexico.

I recommend to try this game to everyone that wants to find fun and strategy. The light strategy, makes for a level of game available to everyone.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
For a quicker version...
December 09, 2006

This is one of our favorite games. However, one of the sticking points for this game (as mentioned below) is the multiple hours it takes. By combining some of the suggestions in the rule book with some ideas of our own, my wife and I have played numerous 1.5-ish hour games (perfect for an evening after the kids are in bed) that keeps the flavor of the original.

#1 - The most significant time saver is actually to deal each player 4 cards instead of 3. You don't get "stuck" as often having to build somewhere you don't really want to. I also adds to the enjoyment of "serious" route-planning.

#2 - Use the "fast" train option--slow trains are 12, fast trains are 16.

#3 - Start with $50,000. It lets you start a good route without running out of money.

#4 - Decide where victory is. We almost always play to $200,000. Less doesn't let the game develop. For a little longer game, we go to $250,000

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Empire Builder series excellent for two players
December 17, 2005
An excellent series of games - I play with 4 or 5 with my brother- in-law and his sons and also with just my wife as a 2 person game. It is also not bad just as solitaire - play 2 or 3 different "players" and see how well you can manage each players' challenges.

The two person or "honeymoon" rules for this game series are excellent. The two major differences:
- Only one person may build into the smallest cities
- One of each of the commodity chips is removed - for many commodities this leaves only 2.
These two rules add more potential conflicts between the two players.

Although the game does take a while to play (2-4 hours), we find that the somewhat "solitaire" nature of the game makes it easy to "walk away" for a while. In fact, when my wife and I play, we often get the initial rail building done, take a few turns and then go do chores around the house while we are playing additional turns - we use a marker to indicate whose turn it is.

If one of us has a long pick-up delivery that looks to have little potential conflict with the other player, we may just leave instructions for the other player like: "to SF (San Francisco), pick up 2 sugar, to KC (Kansas City)". The other player executes these turns while taking their turns.

We have also used this method with the 4 or 5 person game - we'll play for a while then go play in the pool - play some turns as we dry off, play some turns while we are each fixing our lunch, etc. The game stays out all day but we only spend a few hours actually playing it and probably only an hour or so with everyone actually at the same table.

If you really want an intense session of empire builder series games - try playing two at once, different versions like Russian and Austrailian. It won't take much longer than a single game and will really test your ability to switch gears in a hurry (this will also dramatically show who is the slowest player) - ... or try a speed game - maximum of 30-90 seconds for a turn - no "banking" of unused time.

All the alternate rules are worth trying and change the game significantly: fast movement, open contracts, warehousing are all interesting.

I have played original Empire Builder, new edition Empire Builder (with Mexico), Austrailian Rails, Eurorails, British Rails, India Rails, and Russian Rails. The new Edition Empire Builder is probably the best, the Russian and Austrailian seem to be the most "challenge" (tough to get high payouts), but they are all very good - British is probably best for 2 or 3 as there is a key corridor up the middle that you almost MUST have to win, India seems to be the fastest.

Other comments:
- Definitely get a piece of plexiglass to cover and protect the game board and use dry-erase markers on the plexiglass
- I also have use a piece of foam board under the game so I can move it easily - thin plywood would also work - I put on raised edges so the game board and plexiglass fit tightly into one corner.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Show all 15 reviews >

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