Sid Meier's RailRoads!
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is no objectionable content in this educational game. However, parents should also be aware that the game has an online mode -- Common Sense doesn't recommend online play for anyone under 12.
What's it about?
SID MEIER'S RAILROADS! boasts more than 45 historic and realistic engines; the ability to lay intricate tracks with crossovers, tunnels, and bridges; and maps with plenty of cities and topography. A railroad empire is built on tracks, but solid knowledge of economics is required to succeed in this cutthroat business. Players need to constantly monitor their trains to make sure they're running the right routes at the right speeds, and with the right cargo to beat out competitors.
Once cities are connected, players purchase engines to deliver cargo and make a profit. It's the stock market, however, that separates the barons from the beggars: To make a quick buck, players can unload some shares, or they can buy opponents' stock to gain control of competitor companies. The final score is determined by the player's net worth and the completion of the objectives specific to the map selected at the beginning of the scenario.
Is it any good?
RailRoads is much more than a train simulator -- it's a challenging strategy game that has players battling wits and business sense against some of the most renowned railroad barons of all time. The only thing that keeps it from a five-star rating is the glitches. The game has some pretty intense graphic needs, and even players on systems that meet the minimum requirements experience random lockups, as well as some odd in-game behavior (like trains floating off tracks, etc.). After adjusting and lowering the video settings the game should be playable, but players may still have occasional problems.
An entertaining and educational success, RailRoads deserves a spot on any armchair conductor's computer.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how games like this one successfully mix entertainment with education. Do you feel like you know more about how railroads influenced the economy? What happened to a city when you didn't connect it to your railroad network?