Sooooo... for my first thread ever I'm going with the wildly unpopular Sid Meier's Railroads!
"Railroads! is fully three-dimensional and geared more toward head to head real time strategy than the previous versions. The terrain is also more compressed in this game; there are few areas where players are allowed a long, straight run of track, meaning that parts, such as hills, mountains, rivers, and inlets, play a much more important role in the game."
Now, all of the default maps are too small, too quick and too simple. None (as far as I know) use the maximum amount of industries the engine allows, and many can be play in as little as 20-40 minutes. Ridiculous. However! Some mappers have created gorgeous, big maps which require real strategy and foresight to pull through. The landscapes are much better and more in line with the focuse of the game, which is track layout and industry chain planning.
Oh, and make sure you install the patch. It makes the game more stable, and eliminates many bugs.
First here's how to install SAMs (Stand Alone Map)
I'll list some of my favorite maps here:NAFTA Phase I
Covers N. America. Has a nice circular industry chain with random placement and lots of possibilities for tracks.Styx
Half the maps is hell and half the map, uh... isn't Fun, but difficult.Inauguration Special
I love this map. Many of the industries are diffirent population types and you get to focus on which one to get to D.C. in time for the inauguration. I've been able to do all except for the hippies. San Fransisco is so far away!Side to Side
Very difficult map in which all industries are in two corners with a narrow land bridge connecting the two. Also no passengers or mail!Chicago to the Rockies
The most professional, complete map I've played.
So here are the places I get my maps from:Hooked on Railroads map forumBobby's Railroads SAM/SAM2 listings
Now any of these map would be fun, with or without AI. And not every map will work with AI, though all of the above will.
DISCLAIMER: If you really want the more detailed economic options of Railroad Tycoon II & III, well you're shit out of luck.
DISCLAIMER 2: I fully expect the thread to go nowhere, but! if it gets a few people addicted then I will have done my duty.