String Railway is a unique, lightweight game for ages 8 and up. It requires a fairly large playing surface to spread out on, but takes only 20 minutes to play.
Despite its simplicity, there's a lot of game in this small, thin box. The ability to sneak your routes in between tiny spaces left between other strings and the need to eyeball distances and stretch your luck make the game more physical than most rail builders. The way the game changes dramatically on each round as more stations pop up lead to a distinct begin, middle and end game that will make you want to play a number of repeats to get your strategy down.
Designer Hisashi Hayashi originally self-published his game for the “dojin” – or ”amateur” – fan market in Japan. String Railway quickly picked up steam and was published in the US in late 2012. The game still has a hobbyist feel to it, from its simple components to the fact that the play area needed exactly fits Hayashi's own coffee table.
Kids will enjoy this as a real mental leap up from games like Battleship or Connect Four; a lot more strategy and varied gameplay is called for. Adults will enjoy it as a fun, surprising warm up to a more serious games night.