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Subject: Level 4 Engine, First Turn! rss

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Chris Trimmer
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Last night at the Dallas Games session we had a full compliment of six players for our pretty much now regular RRT game. In the opening card draw there were a couple of weak hotels, three major lines (NY-Chi, NY-KC w/wl, Blt-Tol), one railroad executive, service bounties for Raleigh and Toronto, and a couple of others. The cubes were set-up for a quick score on the Raleigh service bounty, so the auction winner would surely grab the executive and set-up to claim the Raleigh bounty.

One of our newer players claimed the winning bid of $29k. He then grabbed a government land grant and used it to build track from the north to Raleigh. Too bad that would be his last good move of the game.

For the rest of the players there were no other super-exciting plans to execute. Three players started in the northeast. I set-up around Louisville in case its service bounty should later rear its head. Oddly enough, no one started around Chicago.

The sixth player executed a strategy I had mentioned, but not yet tried. His first three actions were used to upgrade his locomotive from level 1 to level 4. This cost 5 stocks the first round, but it also claimed a nice service bounty. Enough to still make a profit after round 1. I was a little peeved he went with my idea this particular game since I had the Tycoon card for first player to a level 6 engine. In the second turn this player laid track and hooked up to another player’s line to later make the first three link delivery. It gave another player two points for using their links, but the service bounty made it worth it. So now my strategy was completely executed and it was going to be interesting to see where his game would go from here.

For the rest of the players there was just lots of track laying and short 2 to 3 link deliveries for a long time. The Blt-Tol major line was completed with a $20k mountain route. I closed down a lot of the typical paths for the NY-Chi major line, only to claim it myself much later in the game with some northern links made effective by a Perfect Engineering acquired along the way.

The early engine upgrader settled for building track in the SE, hoping that the Atl-Ral major line might show up (it never did). The early auction winner took a chance on the Toronto service bounty by creating a link and then using a New Industry card to drop two cubes in the connecting city. Neither were purple, so I was able to claim this bounty from a longer delivery later (plus I later delivered the cubes from the New Industry card).

The end game saw the most jumbled bunching of multiple lines connecting to the same cities that I have ever seen. Competition for cubes was fierce. Lots of longer deliveries used some track of other players, so points were traded left and right. I snuck in the first level 6 engine for my Tycoon, very relieved that a suspicious opponent didn’t block it (I did time it when he had no money so he would need 3 stocks to block it).

The final cubes were delivered all too quickly and when the dust settled I eked out a five point victory (eighteen shares of stock issued).
 
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Interesting strategy. I'd use the Level 4 1st turn myself if, and only if, I saw that there was an area where I could easily build/deliver and stay on top of the VP track.

Very nice session report. Thanks!
 
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Stephen Smith
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Interesting Session Report. I've only played a couple of games, both four player, and won them issuing 1 and 3 shares of stock. Is it common with more players or more experienced players to see such high levels of stock as the 18 issued in this game?
 
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Chris Trimmer
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Yeah, that's the drawback to this strategy. You get the "leftover" areas to develop. Or you can compete where someone else is, but now you're building more expensive routes for your links.

I think the strategy has more potential with fewer players since there will be more open areas once you start laying track.
 
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Chris Trimmer
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seppo21 wrote:
Interesting Session Report. I've only played a couple of games, both four player, and won them issuing 1 and 3 shares of stock. Is it common with more players or more experienced players to see such high levels of stock as the 18 issued in this game?


In general, the more players there are in a game, the more stock you will usually issue. That's because more players are competing for the "cheap" links.

They key is really to get good return for the shares you issue. Upgrading your engine early, wanting to build through mountains, and competing for major lines/service bounties can require a lot of shares early in the game too.

I've won and lost with one share. I've won and lost with twenty. I've only lost with forty-eight, but I still wasn't last. laugh

I do think players tend to issue shares more the more that they play, as the actual value of different successes in the game becomes more apparant.
 
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David Fair
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TrimChris wrote:
seppo21 wrote:
Interesting Session Report. I've only played a couple of games, both four player, and won them issuing 1 and 3 shares of stock. Is it common with more players or more experienced players to see such high levels of stock as the 18 issued in this game?


In general, the more players there are in a game, the more stock you will usually issue. That's because more players are competing for the "cheap" links.

That, and the first player auctions get much higher in games with more players.
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I've won and lost with one share. I've won and lost with twenty. I've only lost with forty-eight, but I still wasn't last. laugh

I've never issued more than 20, but i won with that number, and, like you, have lost with it. It really amounts to getting something for the money you spend, and making it last through the whole game.
Quote:

I do think players tend to issue shares more the more that they play, as the actual value of different successes in the game becomes more apparant.

I have noticed that the low shares at the table used to be 1 or 2, but now is more like 5 to 8.
 
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Quote:
I have noticed that the low shares at the table used to be 1 or 2, but now is more like 5 to 8.


Yep. the first few times we played the common knowledge was you'd never win easily beyond 7 or 8 shares.

HA!

RRT when played in groups of 4-6 experienced players is all about acting first, building first, getting a lead and keeping it. A player who assesses the situation correctly... the available cards and product distribution... can easily issue 5 or 6 shares (or more) on the first turn, win the auction and by turn two or three have a 15 point lead. If he/she is aggressive then the job is to empty cities quickly while scoring max points and driving the game towards the end game trigger.

Out of the 12 or so who I have regularly played RRT with there are two guys who utilize this philosophy in almost every game. They are the two with the highest number of wins also.

This is a great game...I might add.
 
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Jeff DeBoer
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Very interesting read. Thx for the great ideas and strategies guys.....I'll have to give some of these an idea....my group as been way too cautious in issuing shares, of course, I've been the lowest share guy in 6 out of my 7 games so far (what luck!!) and would just like to play the game a different way next time. This helped.

Cheersarrrh
 
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Kiri Naiman
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I have yet to see this juggernaut strategy in play and I'm a little hazy
on the details. Does the player who wins the first auction
automatically win the game if he plays competently? How crucial are the
Speed Record and New Train bonuses to the success of this strategy,
and is the outcome of the game usually decided by the time these bonuses
are awarded?

 
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Chris Trimmer
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Hold up. Read the report again. The strategy DID NOT win the game. The player decided to try it because he was LAST in the first round and there wasn't anything else exceptionally attractive.

It was interesting to see how the strategy played out. The player that executed it was 3rd out of 6 players in the end. He just ran out of cube deliveries too soon. But he was the leading player for most of the game.

So I think it can be a viable alternative strategy, and it certainly isn't either a slam dunk or losing proposition.
 
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Chris Trimmer
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Final scores can wildly vary based on major lines, service bounties, how fast players end the game, how aggressive the players are (more aggressive = more stock issued), and the tycoon cards claimed.

In this game I think first place was around 60, second near 55, and third was at 50 or just below. I don't recall fourth, fifth, and sixth.
 
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David Fair
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Yep, I have seen six player games with the high score in the 50's, and seen them where 4 players out of 6 were over 80 points. It varies wildly based on cubes, play style, groupthink, and what cards come out.
 
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