I think most of the regular readers of this blog already know the following from Facebook and Twitter posts and the like, but since I've chronicled the development of this design here from the beginning, I feel that I should wrap things up here as well.
So here's the news: the Railways of the Western U.S. project (which started life as Hammer & Spike and which was known for a while as Rottweiler) is finally complete, and is available for purchase both online and at your favorite FLGS ("friendly local game store").
I received my copies about a week and a half ago; FRED very kindly sent them to me almost as soon as they had arrived from the printer. I am pleased to report that the production quality is excellent. The map neatly matches up with its Eastern U.S. counterpart. The City Rotor pieces are indeed very cool (see photos by my friend Marlin Deckert here and here). Everything's there that should be there, including the Fuel Depot bits that were missing from the Essen copies. And Helen got her urgent request satisfied: the player aid cards have an image of the Rotor Cities' "rainbow pie chart", so you can see the order of the colors.
My copies came before the product had appeared in stores, so I was surprised and gratified when Marlin showed up at game night a few days later with a copy he'd purchased at our own FLGS, Game Kastle in San Jose. This was, in a manner of speaking, the first copy we'd seen "in the wild". We stopped in there last Friday night ourselves, and sure enough, there were two copies sitting out on the Christmas gift suggestion display table.
I've been trying not to pollute this post with a lot of superfluous exclamation points, but they're here in spirit. It's been most gratifying to see the final product, see that people are buying it, and see the ratings going up on its BoardGameGeek page.
So what's next? I'm not sure. I have about a half-dozen half-baked ideas for new game designs, and there is an excellent chance of another expansion for Railways of the World. When I know, I'll let you know!