Rolling with Benny: 30 Rails….and 5 Mountains…. and 1 MineApril 4, 2019
In this edition of Rolling with Benny, he takes a look at a free to print, roll and write in 30 Rails.
Welcome in, friends! Today we are taking a ride out to the scenic mountains and possibly to a mine! Let’s grab a couple of dice, make sure they’re different colors, a pen, and a sense of wonder!
Our adventure begins, as adventures often do, with a roll of the dice. In this adventure, we are setting out to connect 4 stations to each other via railways that will be drawn on the grid. Each side of the board will have 1 of the stations numbered 1-4. The numbers are related to scoring. Your goal in this game is quite easy, connect the stations to each other with as much distance as possible between them or connect them to the mine.
Here’s the tricky bit: you have to use one of the dice rolled to determine which column or row and then the other die is used to determine which rail type is placed there such as 2 curves, 1 straight track, a straight track plus a curve off of it, 2 rails that pass over one another but do not actually connect, 1 curve, and a straight track that splits in the middle into two directions. The dice are specific to each of these things, such as a blue die determines possible location and a black die determines which rail is being drawn in.
Early on in the game, you will have plenty of options as the board is a 6 by 6 grid. As you fill in rails and try to connect them to each other this gets increasingly difficult. So much so that if you are unable to utilize a specific number for row or column such as a 5 as you have filled in every row and column space for the 5’s you will be able to use that number as any other number you want. Really smart move by the designer, Julian Anstey!
For being a print and play game, 30 Rails is well playtested and has clearly had a lot of love from its designer. Players also have 2 “Overrides” one for each die that can be used to change that die into any other value the player needs. Really need that 6 value rail so you can connect up a track and branch it off to connect 3 stations? Then use that override! Need a 4 and have a 3 for placement? Hit the override!!
Scoring is well thought out as well. Did you connect the Station to a Mine? Have a number points equal to the spaces between the Station and the Mine! Managed to connect the 3 and 4 Stations? That’s 5 points plus however many spaces are between them! This could be a lot potentially. Also, you are able to make a “Target” space at the beginning, each Station that connects to a mine or another Station can earn an extra 2 points!
The designer also included an advanced game where the player buys Shares of a specific row, but also has to X out a space that will not have any rails traveling through it. Scoring is based off of the lower of the 2 numbers either Shares or the scoring in the basic game where the player is connecting Stations to Stations and/or to Mines.
In all, 30 Rails is a really fun game! I highly recommend printing this one out and giving it a play. It plays well solo and also multiplayer! Bonus! Time to get out that engineer’s cap and Choo! Choo!
30 Rails can be downloaded here: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/200551/30-rails Rules are a separate document from the Player sheet.
About the Reviewer: Benny is the game designer behind Yakitori and Bones of the Caribbean. Lover of roll and write games, husband, and father of three. When Benny isn’t playing or designing roll and writes, he can be found gardening in his fruit and vegetable garden. Benny Sperling can be found on Twitter at @benny275.