29 March 2019
A new series of train games is emerging from a partnership formed between tabletop publishers Capstone Games and Winsome Games.
The first instalment in the Iron Rail series will be this year’s Irish Gauge, which is due to puff out of the station in August.
Designed by Tom Russell and illustrated by prolific artist Ian O’Toole, Irish Gauge is an hour-long game of developing railroads and investing in train companies in 19th-century Ireland. (If you’re curious, its name refers to the unconventional track gauge adopted in Ireland that was a good deal wider than the standard gauge used widely elsewhere.)
Like the rest of the Iron Rail series, Irish Gauge has a relatively reasonable play time (Capstone and Winsome promise other games will come in between half an hour and 90 minutes) and involves elements of route-building, stock investments and a good dose of interaction between its three to five players.
Players can buy shares in rail companies, construct track across the hex-map board, upgrade towns to cities or request dividends, affecting the cash available to collect in future rounds. The most money and stock by the end of the game – which can vary in length depending on players’ actions and is triggered by a specific condition – wins.
Future entries in the Iron Rail series will apparently be focused on other regional areas of the world during the mid-1800s period of intense iron and steam-powered rail development, and will be similarly straightforward to learn and play.