Railroad Ink Challenge (Kickstarter)

Last summer, I reviewed Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition, by Horrible Guild (formerly Horrible Games). It was an amazing game for 1 to 5 players that introduced me to the phrases “Roll and Write” and “Multiplayer Solitaire”. An odd cross between Ticket to Ride and Yahtzee, the game has you choosing highway and railway routes from thrown dice to try to get from one edge off your game board to another, while dealing with complications from the coloured bonus dice (red for Blazing Red edition, blue for Deep Blue edition). Sadly, I haven’t played this game very much since then, and I couldn’t even tell you why. That’s why I was pleased to get a reminder and an update at the same time.

Horrible Guild is making two new versions of Railroad Ink, Lush Green and Shining Yellow, and they need our help to do it. But this is far more than just a change in theme. There are some major upgrades planned here. I haven’t learned anything yet about the differences between the Green and Yellow editions, other than the themes, which are Forest and Desert. Since Blazing Red involved Lava and Meteors, and Deep Blue had Rivers and Lakes, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming up next. But the theme isn’t the only change coming. There will be new dice; new route and station options. The board will have new features (universities, villages and factories) that will give you bonus effects if you can get a station close to them.

But in case you haven’t noticed it already, this isn’t just another Railroad Ink game. This is Railroad Ink Challenge. The game designers responded to all the “playing solitaire in a group” complaints by creating a whole new interactive aspect: in game goals. These will be specific goals to try to achieve in addition to connecting your entrances and exits. And the faster you get them, the more bonus points you will get. So for the first time, what is happening on your opponent’s board will be just as important as what you are doing on your own board.

The Kickstarter campaign has 4 pledge levels, starting with Basic for €18 (EUR) which gets you one copy of either Lush Green or Shining Yellow, one Solo board, one Teleport die, and all earned stretch goals. Standard, for €34 offers a copy of both Lush Green and Shining Yellow, the Solo board, Teleport die and stretch goals. Go deluxe with the Urban Planner for €55, and get both games, 4 extra large “Epic Boards”, 4 extra standard player boards, 4 colored dry erase markers, and a Giant Box storage box that is able to store everything available in the new campaign, plus the 2 original games. Finally, for the Big Spenders, there is the Collector pledge level at €75, with everything above, and multiple expansions, including Future, Electricity, Sky and Engineer.

You can also create the exact game package that you want, because many of the features from the higher level pledge levels are available on their own as Add-Ons. So, if you want the Epic Board, or the Giant Box, or any or all of the extra expansions, you can do it. If you need new dry erase markers, you can get 8 of them for a mere 5 Euros.  You can even get the original Deep Blue or Blazing Red games as add ons, or a digital game on Steam.

The campaign also has Stretch Goals, but the first ones aren’t money based. They are “social media goals”, achieved by getting a certain number of Facebook shares, Retweets, or Boardgame Geek likes. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but it is an interesting idea, and does spread the word about the Kickstarter campaign.

Finally, let’s talk about Shipping. It seems to be a trend now to have shipping estimates instead of specific named shipping rates. Horrible Guild states that the number of locations from which they will be shipping will vary depending on how many pledges they may get from different parts of the world. Currently, the estimated shipping cost to Canada is $11 – $17, which is pretty decent.

I would like to add that this campaign was completely funded in the one hour it took me to write this article. You can pledge on this campaign until June 3rd, 2020.

You can find Horrible games online at www.horribleguild.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/pg/HorribleGames.

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