Railroad Tycoon II is still one of the best strategy games

I used to play this a lot but ended up getting RRT3 and falling for the graphical upgrade. That became my default RRT game the last few years. But I was jonesing for some different maps and have rediscovered how good RRT2 really was. With the expansion and gold edition there are a ton of great maps, plus plenty of campaign fun to be had.

It all makes me sad about Sid Meier’s Railroads! and how that could have been the rebirth of the railroad strategy games.

Oh man, memories … that and Civ
spent so much time playing these games when younger

they were so complex without being complicated and IMHO, the graphics for RRT2 have not aged all that badly

time to see if I can find RRT2 now. damn you
It’s on steam for not much money … I should not but really tempted to buy it

Railroad Tycoon II has been the best game in that series for me. Despite its “graphics upgrade,” I did not care for RRT3 and I had problems with Railroads!. The only shortcoming I can recall RRT2 having is its lacking the ability to build tunnels.

I still like the original Railroad Tycoon best.
Yes, I probably couldn’t go back to it, but I loved the simple mechanics and the rewarding expansion not only of your own railroad empire but also of the towns and cities themselves.
RRT2 had that in a much more limited fashion, plus I thought it didn’t work quite as good on a truly large scale.
Another of those games where it’s too bad no fanmade remake ever got far.


I’ve played RRT2 recently thanks to the 2k Games pack deal on Steam. RRT2 was the first game of the pack that I installed and played around with. I had more fun than I was expecting to have as I’m a bit of a graphics whore. The game play (and nostalgia) is just very strong in RRT2.


The best maps for RRT 2 came from a guy named Sirian. His maps impressed me that much that I still remember his name.

Hmm I still have that CD around here someplace…

It’s on Steam for just E5,00.

Haven’t played this in ages, but thanks to this thread I was spurned to snag it for about $4 on Steam. :)

There’s more to RRT3 than the graphical upgrade. The economic model is better in a lot of ways. Local supply and demand works substantially better, and since goods will move on their own to a certain extent, some otherwise low-volume cargoes are move viable.

The problem I have with RRT 1 and 2 is that the rewards for passenger service are too high, once you have a rail line of any length.

Railroads pretty much screwed the pooch by not abstracting sidings the way RRT1-3 did. If you’re playing with Hard routing, you’re pretty much forced to allow only 1 train per track, because no matter how clever you are with switches, the AI will invariably make a routing decision that results in deadlock, sooner or later.

  • Gus

Yeah, something about the gameplay mechanics in #2 were a lot more fun.

Eh, I disagree. Only because the economic model was really weak. I loved the graphical style of the game, the UI was good, and watching cities grow bigger due to your influence was nice. It crossed a line of unbelievability and sort of cheesiness when price was pretty much just a factor of distance of travel, so bringing in a resource from miles away to a producer, even if the producer had that resource right on his doorstep, was too lucrative. RRT3 fixed that.

I enjoyed both RRT 2 and 3, but 3 just seems like it ought to be the best with its more sophisticated economic model. A lot of any enjoyment I had was down to the map, I found the German unification scenario in RRT3 was particularly excellent and challenging.

right, ended up buying it on steam
any idea where I can find the manual though?

Look here:

RRT3 just doesn’t have as many good maps, and as cool as the “ride along” aspect is, it really drives home how abstract the game is. Plus putting in rail doesn’t deform the map in RRT3. So even though the economy is probably better and the graphics definately are, RRT2 seems to offer more gameplay.

They are both fun though. Way better then the mess Railroads! was. I still don’t get what they thought they were doing with that title - previews specifically promoted its lineage to the earlier games and yet when it was released I remember seeing a dev post (possibly here) where the dev acted like they were surprised people were expecting something closer to the RRT games.

Thank you

just realised I’m stupid. I used to play RRT1 to death and assumed RRT2 would provide the same ability to play on any given map in a sort of FFA session

instead it provides “scenarios”, some of which do not allow computer controlled players, like the central europe map or strictly limit the starting date etc

Any idea how to edit a scenario?
got it, It’s in the Editor, there’s a menu to edit the scenario parameters. Looks like it’s going to be all ok in the end :)

I can agree with the first half about abstraction, though I thought the ride-along view was really fun once you had a really long route. The size ratios in the game are a bit off though. No real majestic mountain vistas to be seen since the trains themselves are bigger than buildings.

But the “more gameplay” part I disagree with. All the train choices and the track choices are there, and you have a bit more freedom on orientation and position of stations. RRT3 requires much more careful consideration of the information given to you by the awesome overlay graphs. It’s no longer financially viable to cart some wool from a farm a couple miles from a textile mill, because soon your supply will outstrip demand and you will lose money (or the wool will be shipped via carts or by river by the populace).

I like that change because instead of focusing on small money-making routes, you build up your map’s economy with long routes where you’ve made well-designed shipping setups with your trains. Your control over what you carry and how far you carry it is also greater than in RRT2, or you can set it to automatic which takes care of some things pretty well.

RRT3 allows you to build your own factories too which was very sorely lacking from the previous games.

Yes, the economy was much better in Railroad Tycoon 3. It felt more “right.” Railroad Tycoon 2 only came halfway with it, which was entirely dependant on having the hardest economy setting toggled in game, which meant that, for instance, a steel mill would only accept X number of ore and coal, further shipments would be markedly devalued.

What annoyed me to no end in Railroad Tycoon 3 however, which hasn’t been mentioned yet, and I am suprised at this, is how water, oil and sand was done. Imagine this. You have a 3 truck shay trundling along a route, delivering coal from high in the mountains to the valley below. It is a good train for the job, handles gradients with ease at the expense of not having a very high speed or acceleration. In Railroad Tycoon 2, a train only had to pass a depot with the sand and water, and they would automatically be topped up. No stopping required. To prevent players from gaming the system too much, depots required maintenance every year (cost money from the operating expenses).

Railroad Tycoon 3, the train physically stops, on the tracks, for sand, and water. There is no multipurpose sand/water tower, it really is one physical stop for sand, one physical stop for water, and also one physical stop for oil. It isn’t fun watching a train start and stop in order to get the necessary water, sand and oil to run. So, from that perspective, RRT2 was much more superior.

Edit: Also, Mr Popov, you can build factories in the original Railroad Tycoon. You are limited to what could be built, and the game would decide where, but it could be done.