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Subject: Get in there and fight! rss

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Rick Holzgrafe
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There was a Railroad Executive, a Government Land Grant, and the Service Bounty for first delivery to Mobile in the first set of cards displayed. This triggered a hot battle to be the starting player, which Nat won with a bid of $11,000. It cost him three shares, but left him with $4,000 change. He used his double action to take the Land Grant and build a free link from Jackson to Mobile. He next delivered a cube to Mobile, winning 6 points in the first round (1 for the delivery itself, 1 for First Delivery, and 4 for the Service Bounty) and getting off to a flying start.

Rick was second, and having recently played competitive games for control of the Northeast, elected to try something different and start in the mid-West. Helen went to the Northeast, seeing lucrative deliveries of red cubes to New York. Chris was left with no easy entry into the major early-development areas, and settled for starting out in the Charleston area, the only place where he could win a few points in the first turn without taking out a ton of shares.

Nat soon found a flaw in his scheme: in the southwest, towns are far apart. After his initial success, it became expensive for him to create new links. But he had better income than the rest of us and continued to play aggressively, issuing more shares when necessary to stay ahead.

Helen was able to develop the Northeast quickly and cheaply because the cities are close together, and was able to subsist on numerous short deliveries for quite a while. She was usually the last to upgrade her engine to any given level. Chris kept pace with Helen and Rick for a while, but began to fall behind because there just weren't enough easy deliveries available in the Charleston area. Rick also began to lag behind Helen.

In the beginning our fledgling rail empires were widely separated, but this idyllic condition didn't last. Rick was headed for Chicago when both Helen and Chris jumped in ahead of him. Helen was already planning the New York-Chicago link, and knew she had to establish a line out of Chicago before she was blocked out. Because Chris got in ahead of her, she had to build some expensive parallel track to manage it, but she did it. Rick was the one who got blocked out, and instead had to build his lines up and down the western face of the mountains. He also found Nat encroaching on "his" turf from the South, and starting to leech away cubes.

There followed a busy, contentious battle for the region between Chicago and the mountains, as Helen tried to drive her line back to the East Coast and Rick tried to salvage what links and deliveries he could from the wreckage of his plans. Efforts were made to slow Helen down, but she could not be stopped and did eventually complete several Major Lines: Boston to Washington, and (for 16 points in one turn!) Baltimore to Toledo and New York to Chicago.

Chris laid rails from Chicago to Des Moine and established the Western Link there. At this point he knew he was not going to win, and was just looking for ways to pick up more points for himself. But it was a disaster for those of us still trying to rein in Helen, because the new cubes created by his Chicago deliveries were nearly all shipped to New York and thereabouts by Helen. We didn't keep close count, but we estimate she made over 30, perhaps 40 points from Chris's Western Link!

At the end of the game there was a wide point spread. Helen had turned the corner and finished with 109 points, followed by Nat, Rick, and Chris at wide intervals. Only Chris gained any points from his Tycoon card: 6 points for three links into Chicago. Nat and Helen couldn't manage fewest shares (although Helen tied Rick with only two), and Rick came a few thousand short of most money. But none of the Tycoon points, won or lost, would have made a difference in the win-place-show order.

We are all still new at Railroad Tycoon, and there were lessons learned. Some of them have already been discussed at BoardGameGeek and elsewhere, but now we've learned them from the school of hard knocks. For example, the midwest isn't a bad place to start out, but there are no Major Lines in that area; only a few Service Bounties. It's hard to come by the extra kick that a couple of Major Lines can give you. (I think it can still be worthwhile if you're careful not to be locked out of Chicago!) Remember that your Western Link can be of more benefit to other players than to you, if you don't control the Chicago area as well. And finally, the Northeast really is the best place to start out, and for that reason you can't ever let one player have it to herself. I think, in fact, that there's a wider point here: Railroad Tycoon is a contentious game, and to win you have to be willing to scrap hard with the other players. Invade their turf, steal their cubes, build links that they wanted for themselves, interfere with their attempts to build Major Lines! Otherwise you will become railway roadkill, as three of us did tonight.
 
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Mike Kuhnell
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Nice session report. One thing stood out that I think that you may have played incorrectly (and I want to clarify to make sure that we are playing correctly):

Quote:
There was a Railroad Executive, a Government Land Grant, and the Service Bounty for first delivery to Mobile in the first set of cards displayed. This triggered a hot battle to be the starting player, which Nat won with a bid of $11,000. It cost him three shares, but left him with $4,000 change. He used his double action to take the Land Grant and build a free link from Jackson to Mobile. He next delivered a cube to Mobile, winning 6 points in the first round (1 for the delivery itself, 1 for First Delivery, and 4 for the Service Bounty) and getting off to a flying start.


This sounds like Nat actually had four actions in the first round!

1) Took the Railroad executive card (Giving 2 Actions).
2) Took the Govt Land Grant
3) Built a link from Jackson to Mobile
4) Delivered a cube to Mobile.

i.e. The Govt Land Grant can only be used for a future (separate) Build Action. Taking it and using it are separate actions.

What does everyone else think?
 
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Todd Kaplan
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Altadena
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Masodon wrote:
Nice session report. One thing stood out that I think that you may have played incorrectly (and I want to clarify to make sure that we are playing correctly):

Quote:
There was a Railroad Executive, a Government Land Grant, and the Service Bounty for first delivery to Mobile in the first set of cards displayed. This triggered a hot battle to be the starting player, which Nat won with a bid of $11,000. It cost him three shares, but left him with $4,000 change. He used his double action to take the Land Grant and build a free link from Jackson to Mobile. He next delivered a cube to Mobile, winning 6 points in the first round (1 for the delivery itself, 1 for First Delivery, and 4 for the Service Bounty) and getting off to a flying start.


This sounds like Nat actually had four actions in the first round!

1) Took the Railroad executive card (Giving 2 Actions).
2) Took the Govt Land Grant
3) Built a link from Jackson to Mobile
4) Delivered a cube to Mobile.

i.e. The Govt Land Grant can only be used for a future (separate) Build Action. Taking it and using it are separate actions.

What does everyone else think?


You have it right. The two actions for the RRExec would have been Taking the Land Grant and building the free link. Then, on the 2nd round of the turn, he could deliver the cube.
 
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