467th played so far


Genre: Management Simulation
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: PopTop Software
Publisher: Gathering of Developers

An early extra management sim, after Dwarf Fortress – we felt like playing another. I’m somewhat fascinated by the railways – there is something interesting about the regulated lines and systems.

Railroad Tycoon 3, then, looks like it will be a fun game. Part of the tycoon series of management simulations, here you build your own railroad company and railway lines, running services between them.

Our Thoughts

That really was a lot of fun – we’ve been playing this on and off for a week or two now, and it’s always enough to make us stay up later than planned, and it seems like only a Civilization IV retread is getting us out of it.

The concept is simple, really. Build railway lines between cities and run trains between them, as well as at intermediate good stops. Manage supply and demand. Stay profitable and prosper. The levels have different objectives – some ask you to connect two cities, others to move a certain amount of goods, and one eschews track building altogether and instead are a puzzle to make sure all goods arrive at two harbours at the right time. There are three different options to finish in as well (bronze, silver and gold), which not only increase the numbers of objectives, but add to them as well.

It’s incredibly engaging and addictive, usually with a slow start, but mesmerizing when it’s set up and your trains are running all over the place.  You soon start trying to figure out how to relieve your busiest lines and try to balance avoiding inclines with the detours you would need to take (although luckily often there are paths on the map that are better to go for).

There’s a few things I’d like to have seen simulated further – for example, there’s no option beyond double tracking, which is not enough for really busy sections, and creating an adjoining track running a very similar route is incredibly difficult – but for a lot of these limitations, that’s a good thing, adding to what makes the game interesting and challenging.

Final Thoughts

The game is quite focused on what it does, which means it does it well. It has some decent fixes compared to the earlier game (which we tried a bit to get an idea of how it changed and to find more to play…) making it a bit easier and more fun.

We’ll be playing this for a few more months to come…

  1. […] just one clear candidate here. We started playing Railroad Tycoon 3, we continued playing Railroad Tycoon 3, and even now we have a level in progress. Some of the more […]