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Pampas Railroads
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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Prairie Railroads
Theme:  Train
Genre:  Rail & Network
Format:  Board Games

Pampas Railroads

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Product Awards:  
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2002

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 120 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): Martin Wallace

Manufacturer(s): Winsome Games

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Product Description

The young republic of Argentina starts developing its fertile farmland, huge ranches, and rich mines. Six railroads tame the land. Play starts with auctions for the initial track laying for each of 5 railroads. On a player's turn, they can construct track, develop settlements, and/or offer stock as constrained by the Action Deck. When the Action Deck reaches a certain limit, the railroads pay dividends and the deck is reshuffled. After the ninth payment of dividends, the game ends and there is a final payoff from each railroad. The player with the most money wins.

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2002

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Martin Wallace

  • Manufacturer(s): Winsome Games

  • Year: 2001

  • Players: 3 - 6

  • Time: 120 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 224 grams

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.5 in 2 reviews

A Tight Tense Game of Subtlety and Sophistication
May 24, 2001

Wow! This game is destined to be a classic.

You buy stock in railroads. You build track. You sell stock.

Stock purchases are paid to the railroad, not the game bank. This money is used by the railroad to construct track.

You develop cities, towns, mines. As they're developed, the rail line becomes more valuable.

The game turn mechanism is composed of 12 action cards: 5 construct track cards, 4 development cards, and 3 offer stock cards. When only one type of card is left, there is a dividend payment for all rail lines.

You pick one action card, perform the action, and discard the action card. You then pass the cards to the next person. You can see, that some actions will not be there when you want them. Game requires a delicate balance. Too many things to do, not enough actions to do them. And even if you could do them all, no one move will make you a runaway winner.

Great strategy. Great tactics.

This is a crayon game. My first. There's a satisfaction to building track and blocking off your opponent. There's a joy to developing your trains connecting points, turning them into valuable destinations, increasing the worth of your train line.

The final reckoning on the 9th and final dividend payment is where we find out who wins. Thers a lot at stake on this final scoring.

Final scoring is a measure of how many stocks you own in a line, the value of the line (how many track links) and you never know where you'll fall in the standings till it's all scored.

This is MUST BUY!

A refreshing RR game design.
July 27, 2003

The review by Stuart Dagger (above) very adequately describes Pampas Railroads.

What I found most interesting in this Wallace design was the relationship between the auction of company stock shares and the cash available for that company to build track. All the proceeds for the stock sale become capital for building track. This means that that stock that sells for a high price translates to more resources to build; conversely, a share that sells low generates little cash for the company to build with. This direct link between stock sales and company resources really makes this different from other RR games I have played.

Another important factor in the game is that all but one of the RRs begin in the same city, forcing tough competition between them right from the beginning, as they reach toward the center of the board and beyond to gold mines and other payoffs.

If there's any negative side to the design, it would be that once a player falls behind the leaders, it seems nearly impossible to get back in the competition. Players reaping big dividends from the more successful RR companies early on, can take over control of smaller companies and demoninate the poorer players. The players who jump out into the lead early are tough to catch, and there're not likely to be any surprises when it comes to determining the winner when the 9th (and Final) dividend is paid. Others who have played this game (and similar Wallace designs) have pointed this out as well.

Does this make it less than an excellent game? Not at all. There may be little or no margin for error in Pampas Railroads, but the game is still very competitive and enjoyable, with lots of replay value.

It's more challenging than most RR games on the market, without getting overly complex. I highly recommend it for gamers who want a well-designed RR game that can be played in a bout 2 hours.

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