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A simulation of corporate empire-building and greed before the terms were co-opted by the savings and loan . institutions. Marginal graphics and some internal bugs detract from this otherwise fascinating picture of railroad building and finance in the latter half of the 19th Century. Lacking the graphic splendor and detailed train mechanics of Railroad Tycoon, its economic modeling is even more detailed and accurate.
RAILS WEST is an excellent game but it is not for everybody. It can be exciting, but only if the players understand the complex financial situation. You need to develop a sense of timing to know when to convert debt from loans to bonds, or when to raise dividend rates. It is difficult to recover from early mistakes. Thus it will take several games before you feel competitive with the easiest computer opponents and games are not short. It will take 20 to 30 minutes per turn at first, which means even the shortest five year scenario will run two to three hours. Much of your time will be spent pouring over a bewildering amount of data. (...) RAILS WEST has the high-quality components one expects from SSI. It is lots of fun when all of the players are humans, even if they're inexperienced. It would make an excellent classroom exercise in the hands of a competent teacher.
Happy Computer (Aug, 1984)
Die Anleitung enthält einige Vorschläge, wie mit verschiedenen Strategien diese Ziele erreicht werden können. Der Programmierer hat bei der Ausarbeitung von „Rails West“ sicher viel Mühe aufgewandt; die Kontrolle der Spielereingaben auf bewußte und unbewußte Fehleingaben ist dabei aber etwas zu kurz gekommen. Die Möglichkeit, durch ein „CTRL.-C“ oder versehentliches „BREAK“ als Spekulant sein Gesicht zu verlieren, ergibt für das ansonsten ausgezeichnete Spiel einen Minuspunkt.