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Crazy Taxi meets wild west railways in dexterity board game Railroad Madness

“Ding! Ding!”

Build a railway tycoon in the old west by flicking trains across their tracks in the board game Railroad Madness.

A real-time dexterity and train board game, Railroad Madness has players competing against one another to construct and run the most successful railway business possible. Taking place in the US during the 19th century, Railroad Madness has players taking advantage of the gold rush gripping the pioneers looking to make their fortunes. As the owners of budding railway businesses, players will need to transport their customers to new frontiers, with speed being the most important factor.

Similar to video games such as the classic arcade title Crazy Taxi – which has players racing their cars across a city in order to drop their passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible – Railroad Madness challenges the players to get their train cars as far along their tracks as fast as they can. Players begin their turns in the dexterity game by building a section of track after randomly drawing a rail card, expanding their network out north, south, east or west.

A photo of a prototype for the Railroad Madness board game.
This photo is of a prototype version of Railroad Madness.

Once the player has built a new piece of track, they will then have to move their train along the railway. Each player starts the game with one station matching their colour, alongside a 3D plastic train model that can move along the game’s tracks. Players will have exactly 15 seconds to push or flick their trains across the tracks, picking up any passengers waiting at train stations on that line as they go. Passengers are placed on top of trains, with players needing to pick up any fallen passengers and place them back onto their trains before they can continue. Upturned trains will also need to be righted up.

During these 15 seconds, another player will take the role of the controller and ensure that the current player actually stops when their time is over. Should the active player end their turn on an empty section of railroad, then they’ll be able to build a train station there and unload any passengers left on their train, scoring an appropriate amount of points. More passengers will then spawn at the newly constructed stations, ready for the next journey.

Should another player pass their train by an opponent’s station, then that opponent will need to yell ‘Ding! Ding!’ and can put a coin into their safety deposit box, which can then be used to improve train stations to spawn more passengers and generate more money. Once all of the rail cards have been drawn, the game ends and the scores are tallied – with players also gaining points by having the most stations in particular sections of the network. Whichever player has the most points by the end is named the winner.

Wheels lists some of the best dexterity board games.

Railroad Madness was co-created by Olivier Grégoire - the co-designer of pirate board game Piratoons and the creator of the Dreams game - and Geoffroy Simon, who also created the Frogger-like board game Potomac.

Holy Grail Games is the studio responsible for releasing Railroad Madness, having previously published the racing board game Rallyman: GT and the set collection game Museum.

A crowdfunding Kickstarter for Railroad Madness is set to be launched in 2023, with pledge amounts yet to be confirmed.


About the Author

Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Staff Writer, Dicebreaker

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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