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Prairie Railroads: Kansas 1870 - 1880
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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Prairie Railroads
Theme:  Train
Genre:  Rail & Network
Format:  Board Games

Prairie Railroads: Kansas 1870 - 1880

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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-120 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Martin Wallace

Manufacturer(s): Winsome Games

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Product Description

Prairie Railroads is set in Kansas from 1870-1880 and includes these railroads:

  • Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad
  • Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad
  • Saint Louis & San Francisco Railroad
  • Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad
  • Missouri Pacific Railroad
  • Kansas Pacific Railroad (Please note that the Kansas Pacific RR, which built all the way to Denver, was later bought by the Union Pacific. This is why you can't find it on a current map.)

This game has a similarity to the Agentine Ferrocarriles Pampas and the South African Veld Spoorweg, but not many. Building flatland railroads was a different experience in each of these countries. Some elements of this latest game:

  1. Each player is given a number of Construct Track, Offer Stock and Pay Dividend chips, the remainder are put in a common Draw cup. Players may play one of their own personal chips or draw a random one from the Draw cup. This reflects the greater autonomy offered to settlers of the American frontier.
  2. Every section of track is an Easy $5. This game takes place in Kansas and Kansas is as flat as a billiard table. The earlier games included a few Hills and Mountains.
  3. The game ends when either the 8th Pay Dividends chip is played, OR when a player can't play a chip due to having played all their personal chips and having no chips left in the common Draw cup.
  4. When a railroad's stock is purchased, the money paid goes into the railroad's Treasury. Only this money may be used to build track. Only the majority stockholder(s) may build the railroad's track. This historical fact has made us eliminate the "Consortium Bidding" concept. The game cosequently takes less time to play than either FP or VS.
  5. Cities and Towns experience growth during the game; there are no hidden interests in them. The perspective is that of the Railroads, not the landed aristocracy of Argentina or South Africa. This reflects some critical differences between those cultures and the American frontier.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Martin Wallace

  • Manufacturer(s): Winsome Games

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 60 - 120 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 185 grams

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 1 review

An excellent railroad game
November 15, 1999

This game is a gem -- a railroad building game that bears some similarity to the various other games on the market, but has enough original twists that it's fun to play.

And, it can be completed in a very reasonable amount of time -- 2 - 2.5 hours, in my experience.

You have the opportunity to invest in six different railroads as they attempt to build their tracks across Kansas. As a majority shareholder in these railroads, you need to make decisions about which tracks to build -- whether to build tracks through well-developed cities, or to forge westward in search of the lucrative Westward Expansion tracks. Semi-random Dividend Rounds supplement your operating capital, and the money you spend on stock is then used by the various railroads to construct track...

We really enjoyed playing this one -- it was well-balanced and enjoyable, and the final outcome wasn't clear until the money was counted up. Nevertheless, there's considerably less randomness in the game than you might think.

I didn't give it five stars because, in spite of the game's great points, the system for calculating railroad income is a little cumbersome. Some of my compatriots felt the amount of (admittedly simple) arithmetic involved was a detriment.

Still, though -- a great game.

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