If I have a secondary complaint about Train Fever it is that anything you can do with a train, you can do more easily without one. Buses and trucks are oodles easier to scale, to run at a profit and mange the lines for.
The core issue is that a train car hauls less units of Passengers, Goods or Resources than the equivalent technology era truck or bus. When you get to the 1990’s and beyond in-game time, the “40 ton truck” — a tractor-trailer rig, will haul 20 units of cargo. The largest available train cargo rolling stock will haul 13 at twice the running cost.
There is no attempt at modelling multi-modal traffic, which is the primary development that has kept freight rail in the game in North America. However, obviously, the implication by it’s existence is that a single rail car should be hauling at least as much as the trailer on a 40-ton truck, given that real-world multi-modal allows a single rail car to move two such truck trailer containers.
The “fast cash” win is to spend the first 50 years of game time building bus routes and truck routes to generate 10 million cash, pay off your loan, and then use this stable income base to finance your rail empire.
I do not find this terribly satisfying. I bought Train Fever to build a rail empire, not to micro-manage bus stops and truck cargo transfer stations.
But Is It Any Good, Michel?
Yes. Yes, it is. In spite of the “Bus Fever” aspect of the game, once I understood how the economic meta-game model worked and was able to stop fighting with it — ”I just spend five million building this oil hauler route… why isn’t the oil field producing oil?” — it turned into an immensely enjoyable pastime.
If, like me, as a kid you loved watching trains traveling over the landscape of a model train set, then you will likely love Train Fever.
Thanks for dropping by the blog. I’d love to hear what you think.
If you’re playing Train Fever, and want to post a snap of your biggest town, or your favourite train, please do!