Train Fever is a game about transportation services. You have tools at your disposal to set up train, tram, and bus lines for various cities on the map. It's a bit reminiscent of Rail Road Tycoon. You start by selecting a map type, small, medium or large, then how flat or hilly you want the area to be. Hilly maps force you to construct more expensive tunnels and bridges if you can't find a straight path to lay down track. Cities are randomly generated based on the seed you use, that is, a random string of characters the game uses to determine where things are. You can ether go with what the game gives you or enter your own string of text and numbers. It took me a few goes to get a map I really wanted to settle on. It didn't help my beginner mistakes were making me go broke way to fast, even on easy. The first couple of towns I tried to connect were so far away the track to connect them would cost nearly my whole starting amount. Whoops.
Creating a new line is simple. In the case of buses and trams, you can place your depot in the city you wish to get connected. The bus stops have no radius like other games, so you have to use your best judgement on how far apart to place them. As you put down a few stations, you can use the land data value view to see what types of buildings are where, which gives you ideas on where to strategically place stops for people to be transported from residential areas to others. Putting them near your train stations are also a good idea. I had a bit of trouble at first, as I was learning what I was doing. My bus lines would seemingly randomly go in convoluted circles. I finally figured out that I was accidentally putting stops on opposite sides of the road. What you want to do is place them in order on the side the bus would logically be driving on. Once I got that down, forming lines was easy.
Once the stops have been laid out, a line management tool lets you determine the order of stops to be visited. As mentioned before, you'll have to be careful to make sure stops are on the right side of the road for the direction the bus will be traveling, otherwise it may take a roundabout way to get there. I had that problem early on and it took me a bit to figure out what was going on. Once you have them all ready to go, select a vehicle from the Depot and set it on the route. Multiple stops can be used by multiple lines and the same line can have more than one vehicle on it. The game starts off sort of slow, as there is only a horse and carriage for passengers, and a horse and cart for freight. Once I got the hang of things, it was basically letting the game run and make money for me until new things started unlocking a couple of in game years later.
The process is similar for trains. Place a station somewhere on the outskirts of town, along with a line of track. Find a city you wish to connect and place a station, then connect the two with tracks. I found it better to slowly drag out my tracks. If I left it up to the game, it would often make it more expensive and not as efficient. As you lay your tracks, the landscape around will determine the cost, as the game tries to keep the track level as possible by building bridges and tunnels and cutting into hills. I found this a bit problematic, as it didn't seem to care whether the route was cost efficient or not. Often I would have to drag small pieces of track to get it to go where i wanted. On more than one occasion I also had the track segments not connect, forcing me to bulldoze a section and rebuild so the train would have a path.
As time goes on, you'll see the cities expand and change along with new transports becoming available. Older vehicles will be phased out and cannot be purchased. The little details as the decades goes buy are pretty nice. Traffic starts becoming an issue as more and more people have cars. Electric trains will cause you to need to update your rail system to accommodate them. Thankfully upgrading roads and rails is as simple as clicking on a tool and then the segment you want to update. You will have to make sure there is no train on the track, which you can send them back to the depot temporarily to do.
You can also build stations with longer platforms and up to five tracks if you plan on connecting a city to many others. Side passing areas and signals also come into play, as you have multipual trains running on a single line these work to prevent the line from coming to a halt as trains cant pass each other. As for buses roads can be upgraded with bus lanes and wider roads can be made. Watching the cities slowly expand, change, and upgrade to deal with increased traffic made for an interesting time.
The easier difficulties might be a bit too easy for some but I found hard to be a challenge. Like I said previously, the gamedoes start off a little slow. But if you give it time, you just may catch the fever.