08 June 2019
Railroad Ink
A Board Game Review

“I’ve been working on the railroad All the live long day; I’ve been working on the railroad Just to pass the time away”. This beloved tune has been stuck in my head ever since my first play of Railroad Ink a roll and write game for 1-6 players designed by Halmar Hach & Lorenzo Silva, published by CMON games.


Railroad Ink is a quick and easy to learn roll and write game that plays in under 30 minutes. For those not familiar with the genre, the main mechanic involves rolling dice and writing the results of the rolls on a piece of paper attempting to achieve a shared objective. Railroad Ink takes this very simple mechanic and adds flavour by having different types of railroad and highway routes printed on each side of the die faces. After rolling all 4 die the players must draw each rolled route onto a 7 by 7 grid attempting to connect different exits on the edges of your gameboard via a highway or railroad. This process continues for 7 rounds with the winner being the person who has scored the most points by having the most connected exits, creating the longest routes and filling the centre 9 squares with tracks or roads, but be careful if you leave any dead ends on your board you’ll lose points.






Railroad Ink packs away nicely into a small 15 by 15 cm box, it comes with 4 route dice, 6 boards and 6 washable markers. Also included in the base game is a small expansion that is different depending on which version of the game you purchase. In the blazing red edition, you are given 2 Volcano dice and 2 Meteor dice whilst in the Deep Blue edition you receive 2 Lake dice and 2 River dice. In terms of the components the dice are larger than your standard die measuring 2 by 2 cm with the different routes nicely engraved on to each of the six faces. Each black marker comes with a small whiteboard eraser that makes it easy to erase mistakes or redraw routes and means you are not waiting for another player to finish with an eraser before you can use it. What I also love is each player board has a different picture that when connected forms one large picture. It is the little things like this that I believe makes this small game really stand out.




Railroad Ink is a very enjoyable game and would be a great filler for any game night. The fact it is so easy to teach and simple to setup makes it a great option to pull out when you only have a spare 30 minutes to fill. As with all roll and writes Railroad Ink is a very solitary game, with each player immersed in their own gameboard designing a network of railroads and highways. The dice mechanic does add a little randomness that will mean that every best laid plan can come unstuck with an unlucky roll but at the same time the randomness that the dice brings adds to the re-playability of the game with every game feeling different. So, for me Railroad Ink is a strong recommend that will appeal to anyone who loves a puzzle styled game and for those that have never played a roll and write, this is a great game to introduce you to the genre.