Empire Builder, published in 1980 by Mayfair Games, was designed by Bill Fawcett, Darwin Bromley, and Peter Bromley.
Why Empire Builder is Part of the Games Timeline:
Empire Builder is the original "crayon" game; players build their railroad routes by writing on erasable maps with crayons.
Here are the other games I believe are the most culturally and historically significant games published since 1800.
More About Empire Builder:
Players compete to build an effective railroad network in Empire Builder, picking up commodities where they can be found and then delivering them to where the prices are good. By earning more money, you can improve your railroad -- then earn even more money. Numerous sequel games are available, including Eurorails, India Rails, British Rails, and the fantasy-themed game Iron Dragon.