Rail Nation (RN) is an online game developed by Bright Future and operated by Travian Games. Launched in 2013, it is meant to work in any Flash-capable browser. Since 2017, limited functionality apps are available for Android and iOS. More detailed history of the game is available in the German Wikipedia.
I have been playing RN almost since it birth and keep visiting to check for changes, updates, now quests or competition elements. Of all online games I know, RN is at the very bottom of the Pay2Win ranking as money can directly buy neiher prestige, nor a city level-up.
IMHO Rail Nation is NOT ABOUT WINNING
The game has four main rankings, absolutely independent. Two rankings base on prestige collected by individual players and their associations. Two city rankings include one covering the 6 regular “eras” in each game round and another for the final endgame. Each era lasts 1 (express) or 2(classic) weeks, endgame takes 1-4 days.
Here is a draft, unedited text I once posted on an RN ingame message board:
Win while no $$$ spent? I played/explored a couple of online games, 8 or 9. Not a random sample, sure enough, but out of these, RN was, and seems to be today, the least [email protected] game, so Top1 from average player’s point of view, the one who will not point. $$$ count here less than anywhere else I know.
I won a round only once. Spent ca. Euro 120 over 12.5 weeks, only to save my time. The server was, well, weak, I pretty easily collected 1+M prest. Not my victory, not money – it might have added 5%… I was allowed to come 1st.
So, money, a tiny bit, your game knowledge, a bit. Luck? a small bit. Trolling? Not a penny. Dead end, you earn a bit in era 2, 3, then become the enemy No.1 of… everyone else.
Time and effort you need, pure mechanical clicking, setting/resetting schedules? YES! That’s second. Be online at least 4-6 x/day, 1-1.5 hrs each visit, keep checking all connected cities for easiest prestige. The only way to grow a lot. Most important check: 60 mins before reset.
Most important, close to ‘sine qua non’ – lack of serious competition. When U are the only, or one of 2, 3 really willing to race, your chances are significant. Among 30, 50, you are just buying a lottery ticket.
But instead of waiting for the draw, you must work hard, 4-6, even 8 hrs per day. A full time job, great for retired or millionaires. Still no guarantee of top5, top10,, only top100 is then hard to miss.
Did I say “great”? Just provoking you. And more with “8 hrs/day”, “full time job”. In a GAME. By definition – 4 FUN. Is it worth spending your life here? NO. But if so, you’ll never win…??? Never mind! RN is NOT REALLY ABOUT WINNiNG. Not the individual ranking. The association one, more. The city race, endgame, even closer. Yet still not close enough.
IMHO, I dare say, this game is about cooperation. And maths. Pretty hard maths when fast ciy growth is needed. 2x 1 hr/day online is enough in an asso well organized & a city led by someone strong enouh to withstand critics, yet wise enough to listen, moderate, issue just verdicts.
Weaker is stronger?
And when endgame comes, a city lvl 30 with 50 connected players can do far better than a 40 level one with 150 players. How? Well, to a certain extent, the requirements for each good are in proportion with the level and players number. So again to an extent only as RN algorithms limit it a bit, the percentage of players online is more important than the actual number. Add better organization, less trolling, good female caller, male majority of players less eager to put her decisions in doubt, and here you are, you do better than some of the giants!
There’s a bit of competition within assos, more between assos, but the main race is in the city ranking. To level up, work WITH others, WHEN it is needed. If a push is set for, say, first recalc after 7 p.m. every 2nd day, BE THERE, with 40, 50, better 60% connected players, or… fail.
He does not know U, U never heard of her, she does not like a few vulgar nicks, but all need to discuss and haul together. This is the real Rail Nation. Got bored & tired, yet still like it so much. Also because as a male, I liked the experience that girls are better city leaders here. This dates back to 1982, when, still almost a kid, I was released from jail and joined Tygodnik Mazowsze, Poland’s (and the world’s) largest clandestine newspaper. I was the first male, as in the first 5-6 months of the martial law, the girls thought it’s safer to be a female to conspire and avoid the communist secret police.
In 1989, Poland won back its freedom, long before the other Soviet satellites began to think about it, more than half a year before the Mauerfall which most of you now believe spelled the end of Communism. Jarosław Kaczyński made sure you would never know.
April 5, 1989, saw the Round Table Agreement, the last TM issue next week spelled the end of my work under female rule. I loved it. RN reminded me how it feels. The real BEAUTY of RN is in this mix of competition & cooperation.
Good game all!