Here's what the game is about:
In Roads & Boats, each player builds a civilization over a long period of time, like in many other games. Unlike most games, however, the emphasis is not on warfare, population growth, city or statebuilding, but on logistics, or rather: on transport.
Each player starts the game with three donkeys, a pile of wooden boards, a number of stones and two geese. With these few resources, you try to build such diverse things as woodcutters, roads, boats, mines, a stock exchange... but beware! There is no concept of territory in this game: you cannot own land, nor buildings, so the things you build can be used by any other player...
The original game can be played by two to four players, but it can also be used as a one-person puzzle. Material for a fifth and a sixth player is available in the &Cetera expansion, which is included.
The basic game contains a rule and scenario book in English and German, a pile of hexagonal terrain tiles, 120 means of transportation from donkeys to steamers (wooden pieces), 75 walls (little woorden rods), 4 research boards, 28 discovery stones (glass), a wonder of the world with 193 wonder stones (cardboard), 18 mines + bags, 115 factories (cardboard), 600 goods (cardboard) and several other parts. &Cetera adds new buildings, new goods, new land types, new transporters, new ways to win and new strategies. It also includes 24 new scenarios and material to play with 5 or 6 players. & Cetera contains all the rules and material previously published as Planes & Trains, plus a lot more.
We particularly like this review of the game's impact: What is Roads & Boats?