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Subject: A vexing new year's eve rss

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Asa Swain
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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So here I was sitting around on New Year's Eve, thinking that my last minute gaming party was over after everyone left by 10 pm (cause bars clearly beat Coloretto), when I get surprised at 10:30 by a sudden influx of neighbors, complete with all kinds of food and a non-gamer relation. More than 4 players, and a newbie to the genre, clearly time to break out TransAmerica!

An hour and a half later, I mentioned that there was this expansion called Vexation, which made things more exciting. After beating them 3 times in a row (I was at 11 points when the game ended) they wanted some payback.

In this 4 player game (the newbie got tired) I started in memphis, along with another player in Jacksonville, and the other two players in the rockies. I quickly connected up to Winston, and then me and jacksonville both realized we had nowhere to go but west, so stopping each other wouldn't help much. Both of us put colored rails across the Mississippi, which later helped keep the westerns from roaring east. What was interesting was that the westerners had connected the midwest, and while they were stopping each other, I was able to go straight up near Denver. Using a colored rail to keep people from following me, I ran u[p to Helena, and by the time I was heading over to Medford, they realized I would easily win. The problem was that they foiled each other, but didn't really stop me, and the westerners helpfully built rails across the midwest, allowing me to jup from Oklahoma City to north of Denver.

In the second game we all started in the northwest, specifically Helena, Portland, Medford and Sacramento. That was an interesting game, because we were all headed in the same direction, and while people tried to foil each other early on in the rockies, it was easy to just loop around the obstructions. A more interesting development occurred when we each made different routes across the midwest, I went along the north to Duluth, green made a path from Omaha to Chicago, and Red and Blue made a path from Santa Fe to Memphis. My problem was that I had to get from Duluth to New York, with no one to help me. Then Green made a key move by abandoning her western rout at Chicago and instead bypassing blue's southern rail to use it instead. This allowed me to use the southern rail and with help we shot up the west side of the Appalachian mountains. I cut over to Washington D.C. and red cried that she'd won, until she realized that I had a laid my last white track. Blur actually won, leaving me one space before Washington, but it only dropped my overall score to 11, and I ended the night with a win. I managed to win both games partially due to luck, but I think also by foiling people at just the right time and still allowing others to do my hard work.

In the end it was a wonderful way to usher in the new year. I like the added strategy of Vexation, how the rail map can get quite convoluted as various branches extend out and people try to secure their own paths instead of everyone just joining up along the best route. The overall maps are much more spread out and twisty. Since clever placement of the colored rails can make a big difference in the development of the routes, especially if multiple people gang up on one player (which never really happened to me) , playing the rails becomes a lot less automatic. For those who think that the only deep thinking in TransAmerica is your start location, Vexation makes you think twice about how you're going to connect those cities.

P.S. It's funny how people will cut off their own route and then notice that with no one helping it goes much slower than the combined alternate route used by the other players. Knowing when to ride the momentum of several players all going in the same direction, and when to chop off your own section is one of the really interesting decisions of the game.

 
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Steve Oliver
United States
Alameda
California
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quartex wrote:
P.S. It's funny how people will cut off their own route and then notice that with no one helping it goes much slower than the combined alternate route used by the other players. Knowing when to ride the momentum of several players all going in the same direction, and when to chop off your own section is one of the really interesting decisions of the game.


How true!

and nice session report!
 
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