A good railroad bussiness simulation into which you will have to invest lots of time and hard work
Otherwise railroad tycoon is an awesome game. It has many different, intricate world maps on which you can play either a scenario or a campaign. Your goal is to connect cities and transport the demanded units from city to city. Every city supplies different things and demands different things (and the amount of things) so you have to transport units accordingly to this. Different units also have different values. The ones that are harder to produce have a higher economic value. Buildings which produce or process units are randomly scattered across the map - and I mean truly randomly since starting the same scenario in campaign mode changes the location of buildings every time. If you build a station where a building is located and buy that building (mail and passengers are free since it would be silly to buy people's houses) you get it's produce.
It makes it interesting since most of the building need certain units to make other more valuable units, like you need logs to make lumber and the further you advance in age the more complex buildings are available (it becomes tricky to transport 3 different types of units from 3 different areas to make a certain expensive unit, but it certainly does pay off when you do that). You can buy different add ons in the station and each add on gives you a certain bonus.
You also get a lot of satisfaction from this game especially when you have to put a lot of effort into making it big.
A lot of different trains are used in the game, which are historically accurate and you have to pay close attention to statistical and economical information like speed, acceleration, yearly chance of breakdown, train costs, fuel costs, speed on different steep stages. All the micro tasking makes it enteresting and more realistic.
There is also an excelent bussiness model introduced in this game - stock manipulation, bonde sharing, company merger, bankrupcy are nothing unusual in this game. The computer is even smart enough to try and destroy your company through buying shares and trying to buy off your company and somehow make the shares less valuable. You can hire different managers with different abilities. It's all there.
Win conditions are various - connecting 2 cities, hauling a certain amount of cargo loads, making a certain amount of profit, making a personal amount of profit and so on. Variety really is the spice of this game.
Some extra features make this game even more fun to play. Elements like the genuine texas gold digger voice in campaign mode or an oldlike movie in the beggining of each scenario, which depicts occurances related to trains in a different era, to a yearly newspaper which posts articles like "record rainfall in desert gobi", which is just hilarious.
The graphics are very nice for 1998 and each train is a sight in itself.
Small glitches are found in the game, like awkward rail placement next to a bridge and "train can't reach station" when you got it fully connected and you don't understand why. Also I think in my opinion the game is a bit too hard. Easy mode should just be about light fun playing but it's not. Even easy mode campaign is hard to overcome and I miself didn't have the nerve to finish it, since I ran out of time in a scenario one too many times.
But the fact is that this game is very good. You might find it a bit too much at the beggining, but when you put a lot of "you" into "it", "you" will get twice more back :D