The 10th Anniversary Edition of Railways of the World



The Reprint of the Europe Expansion

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Railways of the World and its expansions, and have been for many years already. If you're not familiar with this series, check my overview of the entire series in this list [GeekList link] and see my massive pictorial article [review link] which will tell you all you need to know about the base game. It's a delightful mid-weight game with a wonderful theme, eye-catching visuals, high quality components, and excellent game-play in which you are building and managing your own railroad network on a massive board, delivering goods between cities in order to earn points.

The game first appeared on the scene as Railroad Tycoon in 2005, underwent a name change in 2009, and somewhat belatedly a 10th anniversary edition of Railways of the World appeared not that long ago. This new version was a massive undertaking that aimed to revise and upgrade the game, mostly by making countless cosmetic changes to wording on the cards and in the rulebook, as well as improvements to the components. The essential gameplay hasn't changed, but the new edition was easily the most polished printing of the game that has ever appeared - for complete coverage of this newest version and how the components compare with previous versions, see my pictorial review here [review link].

Because it is such an excellent game, a number of expansion maps have been released for Railways of the World over the years, which bring this wonderful game to different parts of the world, resulting in a whole new experience. Along with the 10th Anniversary Edition of the base game, the publisher has also produced new versions of these expansions, to bring these into line with the latest version of the game, and ensure that every aspect of the game is fully compatible with this version. After all, having a brand new game with an old expansion is like fitting a round peg into a square hole!



I have already reviewed the original version of this expansion, Railways of Europe at length previously [review link], which was first released in 2008, and then received a few tweaks in a later printing when the name was also changed from Rails of Europe to Railways of Europe. Several new rules appeared in the Europe for the first time, such as permanent major lines, more choice for Railroad Baron cards, new Railroad Operation cards, clearer hex classification and costs, and improved component quality, and most of these changes and improvements were taken over when Railroad Tycoon was reimplemented as Railways of the World, and became the new base game for the series.

The Europe map is particularly ideal for 3-4 players, although it can be played just fine with only 2 players as well. It is an excellent alternative to the Eastern U.S. map, and if you are looking for a change of pace, adding this expansion to the base game will give more variety, balance, scalability, and challenge. The layout of the cities and terrain is more symmetrical, and because the cities are more sparse and building track is more costly, it offers a tighter and tougher game that proves very rewarding and fun to play.



In this follow-up review, I'll be focusing specifically on what the 10th anniversary reprint of this expansion is like, and how exactly it compares with the previous version.

Game Box

To begin with, the new box has had a change in artwork. The previous version actually depicted an American scene - hardly appropriate for Europe! So now we have a scene from a famous painting that depicts a French railway station.



Rick Soued from Eagle Gyphon Games had this to say about this, in response to a comment on Kickstarter from a backer who was less than enthusiastic about the change:

"I actually changed the art for this cover (and the back of the cards) nearly three years ago (in 2015) from an American scene (the old cover which was used for the 2007 and 2010 printings of ROE) to Claude Monet's famous "Le Gare de St.Lazarre" which is a painting by a famous European artist and one of the best known pieces of art featuring a European (in this case French) railway station. We just never got around to re-printing this game until 2018. Sorry it is not to your taste but I do hope that others enjoy both the piece itself and the sentiment behind the choice."



The back of the box depicts the redrawn map and components of the new version - which immediately have a quite different look than the previous version.

The new box is also deeper than the old one, and has had approximately a 50% increase in height for more storage space.



Europe map

The components of the 10th anniversary expansion map have basically just had a complete graphical and cosmetic makeover, so you don't get more or less components as such. The biggest difference, of course, is the overall look of the board. Like the maps that come with the base game of the 10th anniversary edition, this map has had a complete revision, and for the most part it has had the benefit of exactly the same kinds of changes that were applied to those maps. In summary, the artwork has been redone and adjusted to make it far more functional. Perhaps most importantly, the colours of the cities are an exact match to those of the base game of the 10th anniversary edition, so that these are completely compatible with the goods cubes and new city markers from that edition. So let's just recap the changes with this map, which in most cases will repeat the changes already noted about the map in my review of the 10th anniversary base game.

● Same dimensions: Firstly what hasn't changed: the dimensions. The map is exactly the same size.



● Revised artwork: The artwork overall has more of a digitized and less of a more hand-painted look. While the previous version's artwork looks quite realistic, it is less functional, and I do think that while I find the previous version is artistically nicer, the new version is definitely more functional. Perhaps the most noticeable and obvious difference is that the colour of the ocean is now a light blue instead of dark blue. What I like about this light blue is that it helps make the blue and purple cities more distinct - as lovely as it was to have a deep blue sea surrounding Europe, it did have the effect of confusing the mind and making the blue and purple cities look quite similar.



● New water hex icons: The previous version had mountain areas noted with a white dot, but the new version goes one better by marking hexes affected by water with a water drop in the center of the hex. This is a huge plus - if you trawl through the forums, you'll find countless threads about whether or not certain hexes are affected by water or not, and undoubtedly this has led to many debates over gaming tables. All of that is solved with this very sensible addition of marking the water hexes, so there is no ambiguity about which hexes this applies to.



● Revised Major Lines listed on the board: The previous version already had a chart listing the major lines on the map itself, but this has had a complete graphical makeover.



● Major Lines labelled on the cities: Another cosmetic upgrade is that the Major Lines are marked on the map with matching letters (e.g. A, B, C) in the center of each city pair that is part of a Major Line; these alphabetic letters are also listed on the Major Lines chart.

● Clearer city names: Cosmetic improvement is also evident in the fact that all the names of the cities have white borders around them, to make them easier to read. Now all cities of the same colour also have matching artwork - I'd not previously noticed that this was inconsistent, but now that I noticed it, making this change seems to be an obvious one. There is an unfortunate mispelling of St Petersburg (missing the letter B) that has crept in, however.

● Improved turn tracks: The phases of a turn have been indicated more clearly as well, with visual reminders of different aspects of a turn such as the auction that happens before each round.



● Adjusted colours: There's one major thing to mention: the colour of the blue and purple cities. These have different colour hues from the previous version, and match the colours of the base game exactly, so there is internal consistency between all the components of the 10th anniversary edition. The previous Europe expansion was perhaps one of the worst of the expansion maps as far as this was concerned, and so I think this is a definite improvement, and of course having a map that has colours compatible with the base game components (i.e. goods cubes and new city markers are identical in colour to the cities on the expansion map).



Of course these city colours will be incompatible with the colours of the goods cubes and new city markers from older versions of the base game; at least they won't be an exact match. This could present an issue if you own the previous edition of the base game, but have this new 10th anniversary expansion map. Aside from buying the 10th anniversary edition of the base game, one possible solution is to consider sourcing goods cubes and new city markers corresponding to the 10th anniversary colours (some of these are available separately from the publisher) which you can use with this new expansion map, and then there should be no colour matching issue whatsoever.

● Revised income and score-track: Just like the base game, the score-track has had a makeover in terms of graphic design. It still runs along the edge of the board, although now along just two instead of three sides. The artwork of the previous score-track had a more realistic look, whereas the new score-track has a more digital look. But the new version is far more functional, and the numbers are larger and clearer, and definitely easier to read across to the table. As far as I can tell, no numerical values have been changed.



Rail Baron Cards

There were no actual changes of substance to any of the cards that I noticed - in fact exactly the same number are included as the previous version of this expansion. But all the cards in the game have had a complete graphical makeover, including icons that indicate which map they belong to (note the EU icon). In some instances there are clarifications in wording that help avoid misunderstandings.



Railroad Operation Cards

An immediately noticeable change here is the artwork on the back of the cards - the previous version cards had artwork that matched the old cover, and the 10th anniversary edition expansion cards now have new artwork on the back to match the new box cover. As part of the graphic design overhaul, I especially like the fact that the names of the service bounties and hotels are listed on the top of the card - since this is vitally important to game-play, and it makes them much easier to read across the table. It also means that to save space you can stack the cards on top of each other with just the names showing, and given how the game as a whole is a space-hog, this is another good improvement.



Player Reference Cards

The player reference cards that show the major lines and summarize the actions available on player's turns have also had a makeover, including the fact that each city pair that is part of a Major Line is associated with a letter (A, B, C etc). The reverse side of these has always listed the available actions and tracking-building costs, but now also includes mention of the number of empty city markers that trigger the game end.



Rule Book

The previous version had a small rulebook that just covered the changes implemented by this expansion. Now the rules for all the expansion are included in the rule-book that comes with the base game. This is a large and comprehensive "Rule Book Compendium", a 24 page booklet that covers everything about the game, and can be downloaded right here: Official Railways of the World Rule Book Compendium

But since it can't be assumed that everyone will have the latest version of the base game, a separate rule-book has still been included, although not the entire Compendium, but only the three pages of rules relevant for several expansions (Western US, Great Britain, North America, and Europe), as excerpted from the Compendium (pages 11, 12 and 15). No rules specific to this map have changed.



Component Changes

All of the changes implemented with this expansion correspond to the changes made in the base game of the 10th anniversary edition, and ensure that expansions maps compatible with this new edition of the base game are available. The compatibility across versions mainly has to do with the colour matching of the cities with the goods cubes and new city markers of whatever edition of the game you happen to be using. I'm pleased to say that the colours of the 10th anniversary base game and the 10th anniversary reprints of the expansions are all a perfect match. But if you have an older version of Railways of the World, then its goods cubes and new city markers won't be exact match for the city colours on these reprinted expansion maps, and you may have problems. Besides upgrading to the 10th anniversary edition of the base game (which is a fantastic upgrade in many ways!), one possible solution is to try to get hold of the new city tiles and the goods cubes from the 10th anniversary edition (link), and then you'll be fine with the new map. To summarize:
Mismatched colours:
● older version cubes + 10th anniversary expansion map
● 10th anniversary edition cubes + older version expansion map
Matched colours:
● older version cubes + older version expansion map
● 10th anniversary edition cubes + 10th anniversary expansion map

But the 10th anniversary expansion map is about much more than slightly adjusted colours. To summarize the component changes, let's just briefly recap the things that have changed from the previous printings of this expansion:
● Revised box: A deeper box, with thumb tabs to facilitate removing the lid, and new artwork that depicts Europe rather than America.
● Revised maps: All new artwork with clearer text and more functional colours.
● Revised colour-matching for cities: The colours of the cities have been altered from the previous version, to match the cities, goods cubes, and new city markers of the 10th anniversary base game.
● New water hex icons: All hexes that require an extra cost due to water are clearly marked with a water droplet icon, similar to how mountain hexes were marked with white dots.
● Improved Major Lines: Not only is there a clearer major line chart on all maps (sorted in order of point value), but the start and end point of major lines are marked on the cities themselves with matching alphabet letters (e.g. A, B, C etc).
● Revised Round & Turn Order tracks: The tracks on the board for keeping track of turn order and rounds have been upgraded and improved.
● Revised score track: The score track has clearer numbers and figures.
● Revised game cards: Some revisions have been made to the Railroad Operation/Barons cards, mostly with added clarifications to avoid misunderstandings by players. These also have new artwork on the back, to match to new box cover.
● Improved city name on top of Hotel and Service Bounty cards: The city name of these cards is part of the title, making these cards stackable and easier to read.
● Revised player reference cards: These cards have been redone and improved, with major lines on one side and player actions on the other.
● Revised rulebook: This 3 page book only covers the rules specific to the expansion maps, and is an excerpt of selected pages from the Compendium.



Recommendation

The 10th anniversary expansion reprint of Railways of Europe is a complete upgrade in which every aspect of the map and cards has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb by a dedicated team of fans of the game, all committed to making this game the very best that it can possibly be. And in my view, what we have here has achieved that aim - as long as you have the 10th anniversary of the base game, or at least the goods cubes and new city markers of that edition. The graphic design of this 10th anniversary expansion map is much more functional, and a lot of love has been poured into this new version of the expansion, with lots of little improvements that can just make the game experience easier and more enjoyable.

Are there substantial changes? Not really. If you already have a previous version of this expansion map, you can continue to play it happily - as long as you have goods cubes and new city markers that are compatible with it. Of course if you are a dedicated fan of the game, and play it often enough and enjoy it immensely, you may just find it hard to resist picking up the new 10th anniversary editions of the base game and expansions, simply due to the extra layers of polish these have - naturally passing on or selling your copy of the previous version for another gamer to enjoy. And if you do only have the base game and are enjoying it immensely, then getting one of the expansions is a no-brainer. Just be aware that if you have an older copy of the base game, you should try to get the previous version of this expansion map to avoid any colour matching issues. Alternatively, get this 10th anniversary expansion map, and either upgrade to the 10th anniversary edition of the base game, or try to get separately the goods cubes and new city markers of the 10th anniversary edition base so you can use them with the new expansion, because then you won't have any issues with compatibility.

The revised expansion is the result of the efforts of a large team of people who put a huge amount of work into a project that they love, and it is obvious that the quality of the final product has benefited from the involvement and input of these fans and experienced players. Certainly players who are just discovering Railways of the World for the first time courtesy of the 10th anniversary edition, can buy this 10th anniversary expansion map with confidence, knowing that they are getting a version that is completely compatible with what they have, and will allow them to go full steam ahead with their gaming adventures into exciting new territory.

The Europe map continues to be one of my favourites with smaller groups, because it is competitive and requires good management of your economy, making it especially ideal for 3-4 player games with experienced players, and it's a fine addition to a wonderful series!



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Louis Brenton
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Great review. Europe is probably my least favorite map expansion for this game, but your article has gotten me excited about playIng it. Well done.
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Stephen Sanders
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DNA results:English, Dutch, Irish, German, French, Iberian Peninsula = 100% American!
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Oh those controversial water hexes - now cleared up! This is one of the greatest expansions of a very good game, and this is good news!
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Joe Kong
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I have to disagree.

The original map is attractive in my opinion. The new one, on the contrary, is just boring.

Why people love to play with a gamer who argue heatedly if a tiny bit of water is a water hex, I have no idea.

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J. @kinson
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I guess I'm one of the unlucky ones. I got Railways of the World base game a couple of years ago with plans to eventually get Railways of Europe. Now, I'm conflicted. I really don't like the idea of plunking down money again just to "upgrade" the base game so I can play the expansion. How does one just get the cubes upgraded? And is it really that big of a deal?
 
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jgatkinsn wrote:
I guess I'm one of the unlucky ones. I got Railways of the World base game a couple of years ago with plans to eventually get Railways of Europe. Now, I'm conflicted. I really don't like the idea of plunking down money again just to "upgrade" the base game so I can play the expansion. How does one just get the cubes upgraded? And is it really that big of a deal?

Fortunately you can purchase separately from the publisher the upgraded goods cubes that match the 10th anniversary printing.

So if you have a previous version of the base game, and do pick up the Europe expansion reprint, using these goods cubes will be a perfect match for the new map.

http://www.eaglegames.net/product-p/102018.htm



That way you'll also have the goods cubes you'd need if you do end up getting any of the other new expansions. You can just use them as an alternate set of goods cubes, and use them with your other base game components whenever you play with any of the 10th anniversary expansion maps.

Unfortunately the publisher doesn't seem to have new city tiles matching the new version available separately, but only ones matching the old version (link). But having the right coloured goods cubes is certainly the biggest concern that you can solve in that way.
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Michel Wermelinger
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Thanks for the informative review. Some comments:

- I don't understand why the Baron cards have EU on the front, when they already have 'Railways of Europe' on the back.
- The protrusion around Gibraltar doesn't look nice nor realistic.

Some questions:

- I assume this expansion can be played with the Nippon base game, correct?
- Does the map fit into the Nippon box?
- I've read of some card misprints in other games of the series, like wrong letters for major lines and missing yellow S in the start cards. How about the cards in this edition of ROE?

Thanks in advance for the clarifications.
 
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Prof. Plum wrote:
Some questions:
- I assume this expansion can be played with the Nippon base game, correct?
- Does the map fit into the Nippon box?
- I've read of some card misprints in other games of the series, like wrong letters for major lines and missing yellow S in the start cards. How about the cards in this edition of ROE?

1. About Nippon + Europe: The Nippon box is jam packed, so you won't fit extra maps like this in it. But you can certainly play the Europe expansion with the Nippon base game. The only down side is that Nippon base game has components for 2-4 player games, so if you really wanted to play a 5 player game on the Europe map you'd need some extra components. Check my comprehensive pictorial review of the Nippon base game for full details about that and more (link).

2. About card misprints in the Europe expansion: the above is a comprehensive review, so if there were any issues like that with the cards or map with this expansion, I'd have mentioned it. In other words, no, that's all fine here.
 
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