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Nippon rails gives the experienced player the challenging opportunity to play in and learn the geography of the Land of the Rising Sun. Complete game requiring no other game materials, Nippon Rails uses the same award winning system as Empire Builder, Eurorails, and British Rails; this new format is the first in a series of new country games based on Empire Builder set in exotic locales. Earn billions of yen and build a rail network linking the major cities of America's commercial rival. For 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up.
Pros: It's about Japan, never a bad thing!
Good for learning geography.
The game is challenging (lots of geographical challenges plus wide range of loads). The challenges make it interesting enough to keep playing, warts and all.
There are a few knacks, but not to the point where everybody quickly learns how to win the game in two turns.
Cons: Difficult to play with 2 players -- Japan's complex geography, and the way that demands and supplies are separated by the length of an archipelago make it hard for 2 players to lay enough rail. We increased initial funds to cover fewer players.
Pieces and cards are merely adequate in quality.
Errors and sloppy writing in the Japanese on the cards are either irritating or funny, depending on your mood!
Our family were interested enough to consider more railroad games after playing this, and it gets its fair share of playing time, but maybe this was not a wise first choice - a bit long to fit into a weekday night, and you may want to add cooperative rules such as subcontracting loads if you have a very young player.