So, you want to play a railroad building game, but you don't want to have to buy a Ticket. What are you to do? Well, you could check out the different Railways games, two of which are up on Kickstarter now. Whether you want to head to the frozen land of Siberia in 1861: Railways of the Russian Empire or the frozen land of Canada in 1867: Railways of Canada, or both, you can head there now.
From the campaign:
It is the middle of the nineteenth century and the age of steam is well underway. The Russian and Canadian governments, eager to capitalize on the new rail technology to bring together their vast countries, are sponsoring entrepreneurs to help build their railway networks. You are an investor, seeking to take advantage of their generous offer to make your fortune. However, your governments are not as benevolent as you first thought. They have begun to absorb fledgling rail companies, taking them away from those who worked so hard to build them by regulating impossible standards for new technology. You will have to remain diligent to ensure you are not next.
1861 and 1867 are perfect as weeknight games as they can usually be played by 3 - 6 experienced players in 3 hours. The games are staples at 18xx gaming conventions often as a palate cleanser after playing a longer title. What makes 1861/1867 in particular great entry points into the 18xx system is that the two games introduce the different game mechanics in phases. The beginning of a game only has Minor Companies running relatively simple operations and as the game progresses, new mechanisms like Merger Rounds and the National Railway are introduced. They are great games to learn, have a steady but ever increasing trajectory and speed, and pack enough of a wallop to keep players returning to them time and time again.
The campaign is more than 2x funded with 27 days left to go.