Sheldon Cooper isn’t the only one who’s crazy about trains. And we get it. From the first steam engine to the bullet trains we see today, locomotive transportation has made some impressive advancements.
🏆 Our Top Picks for Best Train Board Games
In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.
Best Worker Placement
#1. Railways of the World
Take a step back in time to the beginning of the Age of Steam and become a transportation tycoon as you create vastly expansive railway networks.
In this game, you will create and expand railroad lines to connect cities. Growing cities equals more goods, equals more money. But not all routes are created equally. Upgrade your locomotives to deliver goods long-distance, reaping greater profits for yourself. Outwit your opponents to become the wealthiest baron of them all!
Don’t be deceived by the charmingly designed board and miniature train and water tower pieces; this is a strategy game and you’ll need more than luck to come out victorious. There are a variety of maps to choose from to keep the game fresh and exciting.
#2. Ticket to Ride
Players earn points as they fulfill their Destination Cards and claim routes between cities. The longer the route — the more points you will earn. One lucky player will collect a bonus for completing the longest route at the end of the game. Watch the geography of the gameboard light up with colorful plastic trains as players acquire routes.
This is a cherished game played by locomotive lovers of all ages, with many diverse destinations to choose from. It’s easy to teach, but competitive enough to keep even veterans captivated.
#3. Imperial Steam
With the rumble of the Industrial Revolution, goods are being produced and transported like never before. It is your job to keep the supply chain running smoothly. This game is a bit more complex than other train games, as you’ll need to think about aspects other than simply creating railway lines.
Imperial Steam is a great game for any strategists, economists and of course, train enthusiasts! You will be in charge of designing and expanding optimal train routes, drafting contracts, and finding workers to employ for your trains, factories, and delivery services. You will need to make crucial decisions as you strive to keep your business competitive while maximizing your bottom line.
This game is very well made, with colorful game pieces, money, and cards. The artwork of the mountainous board is delicately detailed. A fun, entrepreneurial twist on a train game that will have you feeling like a true business person when this game is finished. It is a must-have for any rail buff.
- Plan, build, and expand your railway network
- Hire and train workers, build factories, produce and delivergoods
- Upgrade your locomotives to carry more goods and passengers
#4. 1830: Railways and Robber Barons
Playing time: 180-360 mins
In 1830, the first railroad track opened in the United States, causing quite a bit of excitement. A railway meant profits. In this ruthless market, you will play the part of a deep-pocketed railway manager.
Everyone will be acting in their own self interests in the race to fill their own pocketbooks. You will grow your business by building railways and train stations, as well as trading stocks. Devious competition in the stock market will have you questioning the ethics of those you’re playing with. Dodgy tactics will be used to help you come out ahead as you purposefully sabotage your competition. The game is won when a player declares bankruptcy, or the bank is depleted of money.
All bets are off in this vicious game and you’ll need a group of forgiving friends to play with. If that sounds like your crowd, enjoy a few hours of bitter entertainment.
- 3rd edition of this classic game of railroad development and...
- Players build railroad track, buy & operation trains, compete for...
- This version is largely a reprint of Mayfair's (2nd) edition, tho...
#5. Trans-Siberian Railroad
Playing time: 45-90 mins
The Trans-Siberian Railway is an expansive railway network, built in the 19th century to connect Russia’s east and west. In this game, you and your opponents will compete to build the furthest east-reaching line in the country.
Compete against your rival entrepreneurs to construct railways. Sounds easy, right? Well, you’ll need to avoid succumbing to nationalism while maximizing income and attempting to create the furthest east reaching railway. Players will take turns investing in stocks and expanding links. At the end of the game, the player with the most money and stocks will win.
This game brings the drama! And all actions will have costs. Who will be able to keep the Tsar happy with their innovative railway network and who will be run off the rails?
- For 3-5 Players. 60 minute playing time. Ages 14+
- The players in the game are competing to start railroads, build...
- Players must be careful that they keep the government happy or...
Playing time: 45 mins
With railway technology rapidly spreading throughout the world in the 19th century, it was only a matter of time before profit-bearing private railway systems made their way to Japan. Supersede your competition as you construct the finest railway in Japan.
Begin the game with a limited deck of cards, which you can strengthen in future turns by purchasing additional cards from the Supply. On your turn, choose to buy additional cards, play a card to earn money or perform an action, or lay rail. Collect points by building train stations and laying railways throughout Japan. Purchase and use cards efficiently to work towards building the most impressive railway in the country. Play is finished when all cards are gone, all stations have been placed, or a player depletes their track supply.
If you like the deck-building game Dominion, you will enjoy Trains, which is a bit more strategic in the sense that you will utilize your deck. With a quicker playtime than some of the other 18xx games, Trains is more accessible than other train-themed games. Think of it as a great medium between Ticket to Ride and Trans-Siberian Railway.
- 2012 Meeples Choice Nominee
- A game for 2 to 4 players with a 45 minute playtime
- A big game with a 2 - sided board
#7. Colt Express
Playing time: 40 mins
Welcome to the lawless Wild West — where anything goes! This town ain’t big enough for multiple bandits and you’ll battle to earn your place as the wealthiest outlaw in the West.
Your journey begins atop a Union Pacific train, where you — alongside other merciless bandits — wait quietly to ambush and rob the unexpecting passengers in the train below. The game consists of 5 rounds with 2 phases each in which players will utilize their Action cards. Use your cards to move about the train, shoot other bandits, loot passengers or move toward the Marshall, who protects the travelers.
At the end of the game, the player who shot their gun the most wins $1,000 and is awarded the title “gunslinger.” The player with the most loot wins bragging rights as the richest outlaw in the Wild West.
What’s particularly noteworthy about this gameboard is that the train itself is 3D and players have miniature wooden robbers that are moved from one carriage to the next. This game is fast-paced, action-packed, and will keep you on your toes.
#8. First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express
Playing time: 40-80 mins
The name probably rings a bell. Whether it’s from James Bond, Agatha Christie, or the infamous world-renowned line itself, this train has certainly made a name for itself.
During the era when railway travel was the favored method of transportation, the most esteemed people journeyed luxuriously in first class. In this lavish twist on a rail-building game, you will market to an affluent crowd to create a posh line that likens the infamous Orient Express.
Depending on which interchangeable deck of cards you use, each game will create vastly different outcomes. Choose to expand your train and routes, or upgrade your cars to better suit your high-class travelers’ standards. You never know what will come your way! Will your train be shocked by a murder mystery? Or will your goal be enticing celebrities aboard?
This game adds a glamorous twist to traditional rail-building games. It’s great because you only use two of the five decks, so no two games are the same. If you like Russian Railroads, give Orient Express a try to mix things up!
- An exciting game of building railroad lines for two to four...
- Modules add their own unique theme to each game, from...
- Captures the mystique and mystery of the era of luxury train...
#9. Russian Railroads
Playing time: 90-120 mins
Take a step back in time, to the late 1800s, and place yourself in Imperial Russia. The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway has begun, and you’ll need to help employ workers to encourage industrialization.
Unlike many other games on this list, the focus in this game is worker placement. Place workers, buy new trains, enhance routes, and build factories to modernize the country. There are many ways to achieve victory, so decide which strategy you will use to defeat your opponents and keep an eye on their moves. Choosing to utilize engineers may help lead to your victory. Or will focusing on the lucrative Moscow-Vladivostok line work in your favor?
Because Russian Railroads is a Euro board game, it differs from other train-themed games. The focus of worker placement gives it a unique twist that train enthusiasts and Euro board games lovers are sure to appreciate.
#10. Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition
Playing time: 20-30 mins
In this competitive roll and write route building game, the roll of the dice will determine which routes you’re able to build. Use the route configurations shown on the dice to draw as many exits as possible and utilize the dice better than your opponents.
Will you be cautious and start a new route? Or will you press your luck and inch towards an exit? Keep in mind, while more routes will earn you points, unfinished routes will cost you in the end.
This game is quick and easy to learn. Plus, the mix of dice rolling and puzzle creation adds a bit of creative and strategic pizzazz compared to other train-themed games.
- for 1-6 players. 30-45 minute playing time. ages 8+
- the two editions can be combined, allowing up to 12-player games!
- Number of players: 1 to 6
#11. Steam: Rails to Riches
Playing time: 90 mins
Steam is a challenging tile-placement game in which players will compete to build the most efficient network of railroads.
These lines will be constantly changing as players build tracks, deliver goods, upgrade their locomotives and improve cities. Everyone will be striving to acquire the most profitable deliveries, so seek out the cities whose demand matches the goods you carry. Competition is fierce as players strive to each earn the most money and victory points.
This game has high replay value due to the double-sided board, countless strategies used by players, and the number of expansions available. You’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the locomotive lifestyle with this game. A perfect final stop off on our list to best train games.
- TRAIN NETWORK BUILDING GAME: In Steam, rival railways compete to...
- STRATEGY BOARD GAME: Build the tracks, upgrade towns, improve...
- BEAUTIFUL TWO-SIDED BOARD: The map on each side depicts terrain,...
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best train board games! Have you tried any of the games on this list? Did we miss any of your favorite train-themed games? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.
Like Train games? Check out our best Ticket to Ride Games