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from 15 customer reviews
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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!
Players: 2 - 6
Time: 180 - 240 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Est. time to learn: 30+ minutes
Weight: 1,298 grams
Language Requirements: This is a domestic item. Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
- 1 puzzle-cut gameboard
- 95 load chips
- 1 sheet of load labels
- 2 decks of cards:
- 136 demand cards
- 20 event cards
- 12 double-sided locomotive cards
- 6 wipe-off crayons
- 6 pawns
- 1 pack of money
- 1 rulebook
Average Rating: 4.2 in 15 reviews
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.
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.
- 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.
This is for those of you who have and play the game often...I don't know if anyone else does this, but our family bought a piece of plexiglass for $5 that fits the board and use the wet erase vis-a-vis markers to draw track and not the crayons provided. We played with crayons for a while, but it gets to be a hassle and the plexiglass keeps the game lasting much, much longer. Hope it helps.
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