Railroad Tycoon 3: Reviews

Here’s a spot to post links to reviews and give your own. Here’s my impression:

I’ve been playing RRT3 since I picked it up on Friday and I’m quite impressed. The way the 3D engine handles everything from the “over the shoulder” train view to the fully zoomed out view is pretty amazing. This engine should immediately be put to use in real time and turn based strategy games. Imagine MTW with this engine instead of a 2D map!

Track laying is a real blast now too. Generally I find it much easier to get the track to where I want to go than I did before. I have seen a couple of issues though. Previously it was possible to overlay single track wood bridges with double track stone bridges in seconds. Now it seems that you have to manually demolish the bridge and then recreate it.

I love the trade off of fewer station upgrades vs. player buildable industries. Constantly having to babysite stations to put in new structures when they were required was annoying. Being able to construct a new factory right where you want it is “priceless.” I do miss being greeted by “Gushing Cash” when I click on industry buildings though. :)

The train automanage function is fantastic. It frees you from having to constantly monitor boring trains and frees up time to let you micro-manage the interesting spots. But make no mistake, this system changes the game dramatically. RRT2 was a game in which micromanagement was a fundamental game feature. I have a feeling that micromanaging your trains in RRT3 too much would probably be a good way to lose. At the very least you would have to rethink micromanagement strategies since local industries will actually ship their cargoes over land if the station is not too far away.

This change eventually really affected the way I approached the game. Instead of having to have at least a basic idea of what cargoes were available in and around each city I became essentially ignorant of this information. As long as you have the right volume of trains to and from your cities it seems like you’ll get the same effect as you would have in RRT2 by micromanaging cargoes.

I think the thing that will be interesting is to see whether the ultra-hardcore fans of the series are pleased. I read through about 300 suggestions for RRT3 that somebody had collected in a wishlist a few years ago and the concensus seemed to be that those people wanted a game that involved MORE micromanagement and detail. There were suggestions for double-headed trains, realistic numbers of cars (not 4 or 8, but 50 and 100), railyards…you name it. The people that made those suggestions are going to have to adjust I guess because Phil did not make that game.

The game that Phil did make is a blast and should really have a much wider appeal than RRT2 while still giving longtime fans a great experience.

Here’s the link on GameRankings…no “official” ranking yet of course but plenty of other stuff.


I, for one, am happy that I don’t have to queue up and mange 100 cars and worry about all that other over-detailed crap that’s killed flight sims, for example

I agree. The autoconsist stuff is great.

One thing which I find has required a change in playing habits is the tower/barn thing. Before, I could put one back/tower at one station (B), and then run trains to other stations (A and C).

A ----------- B -------------- C

So the trains would get all fixed up when the stopped at B. Now though, I can’t put the barn or tower at B itself, so I’ve got to put barns and towers between AB and BC or modify the train route to explicity stop by the barn.

And then on the routing screen, its really hard to click on barn/towers right next to a station, because I didn’t see a button to zoom the minimap.

But I love the 3d – track laying is a hell of a lot easier now, IMHO.

You can zoom in on the minimap in the routing screen but it gets a bit blurry as you zoom in…it’s not the best spot in the game.

Also, you used to be able to insert new station stops in between two others. Now it seems that you can only add to the bottom of the list.


Speaking of RT3 did the site get hacked??

Going here:

Is taking me to some nyc cable access show (Hardcore tv) site

It appears that Take 2 was doing web change stuff today and screwed it up - I think that site is somehow affiliated with Rockstar. Should be fixed again reasonably soon (hopefully). www.gathering.com has been down all morning, too - doh!

Man, Take 2 can’t get a press release out and now they’re fumbling around with their websites? What’s going on with those guys?

I for one hope that Phil will go ballistic and then harbour a grudge for Take 2 for the rest of his days.

I wonder if he’ll claim they ripped out the original train routing algorithm and replaced it with the “Chase” engine, then get pissed and beat up a coke machine when they throw him out of the office.

The more I’ve been playing the game the more I realize what a different experience it really is. I was talking to a friend at work that also picked the game up on Friday and he was getting a bit confused by the new system. For instance, he was attempting to create small stations right next to certain resources and create trains that picked up those resources and delivered them to the nearest city.

He found that this wasn’t working and I mentioned to him about the fact that (if I understand correctly) these commodities may get shipped to the closest city, thus circumventing his attempts to micromanage.

Although it’s kind of cool that you no longer have to worry about that level of detail, it’s a bit of a shock for longtime fans. I’m starting to really worry that there’s going to be a backlash from those guys. :(

I went over to the official forums and there certainly doesn’t seem to be much in the way of backlash. A couple of people seemed to be questioning the economic model though.

It seems like I may be missing something. People over there are talking about the fact that the economic model is so detailed but I guess I just don’t know how to take advantage of that information to make more money.

Given that the old strategy was to carefully plan out sources and destinations for specific cargoes, I’m just not sure what replaces that process.

I have two questions for you all. 1) Those of you who have the game already, you all agree that the game rocks? 2) How come you people have it now, when it isn’t even listed on my local EB release calendar and Blues says it will be in stores by Halloween? Will it be in all stores by Halloween?

Wow. There are some amazing wallpapers on the RT3.com site. The only problem is deciding how to choose between them.

The way I see it is to create new markets. Your biggest competition is not the rival rail companies, but the existing transportation infrastructure.

Goods will flow from supply (red up arrow in global view) to demand (green down arrow) whether you want them to or not. Overland is slow at 8 economic cells a year. Water travel is much faster. As demand is not satisfied, price goes up (green background in global view) and as cargo stockpiles at the sources price goes down (red background).

So it would seem simple to build a rail line from red to green, sit back and make money. The problem is that the economy changes over time. As demand is satisifed the price will drop so if you have a iron mine right next to a steel mill, there is plenty of cargo going overland to satisfy the steel mill’s demand, thus a rail line won’t make any money. The trick is to find a demand that is isolated by distance or mountains, and provide the rail line to connect the two. Remember that cargo will travel on it’s own, so make sure the demand is within the radius of your station, but cargo will travel from the source to your station to be transported to the demand.

I think the problem occurrs when demand is met, but you could also satify the demand more efficiently? Does the steel mill realize that I can deliver the iron at a lower price than the overland cargo, even if at this point in time the demand for iron is 0? Also what happens when an overland route sends an excess of cargo to a demand. The demand might be satisfied, but there’s an excess of cargo at that point, is there any cost associated with that stockpile? Combine that with the efficient cargo manager that looks at pure profit and it’s no wonder a lot of people don’t see iron going to the steel mill.

The third thing to remember in RT3 is the industry game. Early on you want to build up your rail network, but also be sure that you buy up potentially profitable industries. Industries that are not making money can be bought at the base rate. Industries making a profit sell for 10x the yearly income. So a good strategy is to buy early before additional rail/overland cargo routes start making those industries profitable.

I’ve been going through the campaign, having gotten through the US maps and the first Europe map. So far its been easy going.

I did notice that rail lines next to rivers don’t make as much money as rail lines connecting cities on different rivers. The Germany map pointed this out.

Great game though. Lots of fun.

And I just bought the game err… not EB, the other store in the mall.

I had always loved the RRT concept, but never really enjoyed the games themselves. Third time, however, is the charm. The notion of building stations that serve as “goods magnets” is incredibly compelling, and moves the game towards such a more realistic and less arbitrary feel than it used to have. I’ve never seen a tycoon game where the cause and effect was so clear, yet the challenge remained.

Great job, phil and team. Probably my PC game of the year to date.

I’m getting a bit frustrated.

Although I found it ultra-simple to beat the first few scenarios of the campaign game, I just started a custom scenario on the Northeast US map on normal difficulty starting in 1860 and I’m finding that no matter what cities I connect there is simply NO Demand for any cargoes to be transferred from anywhere to anywhere.



If you’re referring to East Coast, USA, that scenario is particularly tricky. It was in fact created as a scenario fairly barren of industry, where you have to build your own. Not very representative of most stand-alone (or campaign) scenarios.

For stand-alone, I like New Beginnings, Italy, Southeast Australia, and Southeast USA.

Thanks Phil…after trying a few more things I finally hit on the idea of connecting Philly to NYC and going from there…that finally generated enough income.

I also reread the briefing and noticed that it mentions there being few industries.


The changes that you’ve made mean that you can’t simply ace every scenario even if you were a whiz at RRT2…which is good. Otherwise it wouldn’t be challenging!