Alright, this post is about an old board game called Rail Baron. If you’ve never heard of it, you need to try playing it at least once. It is amazingly fun. Problem is, they don’t sell it anymore, so you’ll have to look on Ebay (Where it’s become a bit of a collectors item) or hope to get lucky at a garage sale. Either way, I highly Recommend it.

Ok, the purpose for this post is to announce something that I have created for Rail Baron. It’s called the “Rail Baron Destinator.” One of the drawbacks to the game, is the repetitive and ultimately annoying process of acquiring a destination. It usually involves 3 dice, rolled twice each, and a full-page chart, just to see where you’re supposed to go. Well, this is where my little program comes into play. It basically does all this for you, taking out the annoying part of the board game, while leaving all the fun parts. The program is web-based, so you can’t really download it and use it unless you have a PHP server on your computer. But as long as you have an internet connection on a computer that is near where you’re playing the game, you can use my program as a supplement.

So there you have it. Check out the Rail Baron Destinator, and if you’re a programmer, you can E-mail me for the source code and I’ll gladly supply it (especially if you’re gonna make an offline version of the destinator). One thing to keep in mind is the probabilities. The Destinator is programmed with the same probabilities as the original game gets from the dice (ie: there is a 5 in 72 chance of rolling a 6-odd). The success of the game is based on these probabilities and it is therefore essential that they remain intact. And with no attempt at ending this post properly, I will simply stop typing.

Edit: The destinator now includes payoff charts. Just select the two cities from the drop-down lists and hit “GO!” and it’ll spit out the payoff. And if you’re in to tweaking rules, there is also a multiplier option so you could multiply all the payouts by, say, 1.5 (150%). Have fun!

4 Responses to “Destinator!”

  1. Brandon Says:

    Tried it out, works great! Thanks for all the work, it really cuts down game time. I love it.


  2. Stevish » Blog Archive » Links Galore! Says:

    […] And now my most recent development… remember my rail baron destinater? Well, I’ve upgraded it, and now it calculates payoff charts too! It’s called (appropriately) The Rail Baron Destinator and Payoff Chart. If you play Rail Baron, you know about the annoyances of “rolling for destination” and looking up your payoff on that huge chart. This program does it all for you. It even preserves the probabilities of each region/city being selected. It’s just like playing with the dice. Play around all you want with this program, and let me know if you find any errors. There was a lot of raw data to use in the files for it, and I had to add most of it by hand. In fact… that program was nearly entirely written by hand. […]

  3. Paolo Says:

    Hi! Love the destinator, and have used it often. But today, for some reason, the payoff multiplier is not working. It will only compute whole numbers and not numbers with decimals (1.5 for example). I hope you can fix this when you can. Thanks!

  4. Stevish Says:

    Thanks for the report, Paolo. I’ve corrected the problem, and you should now be able to use the 1.5 multiplier again.

    I recently cleaned up the code I wrote more than 10 years ago to make it run more smoothly and reliably, not rely on deprecated functions, and use RANDOM.ORG for random number generation. During that process I introduced the bug that Paolo found. But it’s fixed now!

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