Railway Rivals

Game of the Year 1980: shortlist Game of the Year 1984 The Golden Pawns 1984: No. 2, 1985: 3rd place

Dampfross is a strategic board game that invented the English teacher David Watts to 1970. The game has sold over 300,000 copies.


Iron horse - a metaphor for steam locomotive - is a simple business simulation game that is played on a composite of hexagons map, each player takes on the role of a railway company and gradually a network of railway lines will appear on the map, on which the participants competitions own or toll foreign routes unsubscribe.

Game play

There are in the game a construction phase and the operational phase.

Construction phase

The building is at one of a uniform hexagonal network plated, washable game board by drawing lines of Sechseckmitte to Sechseckmitte. You try to draw an optimal rail network through a map and avoid going to cross "foreign" lines or to build parallel to them. The construction costs can increase to three to five times for certain types of terrain.

Operational phase

The operation of the railway lines will only begin when all stations are connected. In the operating phase, the railway companies come to revenue if they cover the distance between two cubes by certain cities fastest or if other companies use their tracks. The game ends when a society has reached a predefined score.


In addition to a stylized map of Germany there was at first only a map of France and a number of USA maps. Meanwhile, maps of many areas of the world are available: Spain, Austria northern and southern Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, India, China, several smaller districts of England, Cyprus, Bavaria, West Berlin, etc. Each card requires a change in strategy.

History and prices

First, the game appeared in Wales in self-publishing and distribution of the author David Watts, who had developed it around 1970 for the geography lesson. His goal was to convey with this simulation game information, knowledge and skills.

1973 appeared the game in the UK in Watts ' self-publishing Rostherne games as Railway Rivals. The German publisher Bütehorn brought it out in German-speaking first time in 1979. A year later it also appeared on the list for game of the year 1980. According to the bankruptcy of Bütehorn Schmidt acquired games the license and brought in 1983 a revised new version to market the Knut -Michael Wolf the instructions wrote and what the then 1984 game was named the year. This led at that time to some irritation in the gaming scene since actually only new publications are selected. But the new version of Schmidt was so innovative that the jury asserted itself with their vote eventually. After that, it was also well received in other countries and appeared under the German name Dampfross also in the home of the author. In 1985, Railway Rivals at Games Workshop. Approximately produced 1986 Schmidt Spiele a Dutch version chicks de Selecta Spel en Rails for hobby and a Swedish version of Rail for Alga. In 1992, a revised version of Dampfross at Laurin Publishing House, which Queen Games further moved after the takeover of Laurin 1993. From the Büthorn - edition 1000 games were sold. Through the Game of the Year Award Schmidt games could sell 300,000 copies of Dampfross 1 and 50,000 games of steam Ross 2. The Dutch edition sold 1,000 times, 6,000 times the Swedish version and the version of Games Workshop 11,000 times. Until 1994, Laurin / Queen Games could sell 5,000 copies.

Mathematical calculation of odds

For a single race within the operating phase, the probability of winning and the resulting profit expectations can be calculated by methods of probability theory. Approximations are possible with the help of the central limit theorem. This can also be estimated whether it makes sense to use the tracks of another player for brevity.