Empire Builder (board game)

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Empire Builder
Setup time5 minutes
Playing time60–240 minutes
Random chanceLow
Skill(s) requiredResource Allocation

Empire Builder is a railroad board game centered on the construction of railroad track and delivery of goods.[1] It was designed by Bill Fawcett and Darwin Bromley and released in 1982 by Mayfair Games.

The original game was set in the United States and Canada. This was replaced with a new version encompassing all of North America, including Mexico. A number of spin off games have been released since,[2] expanding the game's geography to other countries (British Rails, Australian Rails, Russian Rails, etc.)[3] and fantastic landscapes (Iron Dragon, Lunar Rails, Martian Rails). These games are collectively known as "the Empire Builder series".

Empire Builder games are sometimes called Crayon Rails games because players mark their tracks on the board with wax crayons (or with markers or other items).[2]

Most of the titles of the series are available in the Mayfair-authorized computer game Empire Builder Pronto (formerly EB Player).[citation needed]


The gameplay in Empire Builder begins on a map of North America. Players take turns to create their own railroad routes by drawing them on a laminated board with washable crayons,[2] then pick up and deliver commodities along them according to the "demand cards" they draw. They receive income based on delivered goods. Whoever is first to connect together six of the seven major cities on the map and get $250 million wins the game.[4]



  1. ^ Law, Keith. "The Boardgames of Toy Fair 2015". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  2. ^ a b c Woods, Stewart (2012). Eurogames: The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games. McFarland. pp. 42–43. ISBN 9780786467976.
  3. ^ Carter, Ian (2008). British Railway Enthusiasm, Studies in Popular Culture. Manchester University Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 9780719065668.
  4. ^ "Empire Builder". www.boardgamegeek.com. Retrieved 2016-11-18.

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