After playing a partial game of Empire Builder last week with Dancin' Dan, we were reminded of how much we really enjoy this game. Of course as our collection grows it's hard to make sure that everything gets equal table time. So we decided it was about time to pull this old favourite out and give it a spin.
I had the edge in the beginning, getting an initial set of cards with deliveries from 2 locations very close in the midwest to locations on the east coast also very close to each other, allowing me to make three deliveries for basically one long stretch of track.
On the other side of the table, Marisue started out with a couple of decent cards, one with a decent payout for Tobacco. Unfortunately she miscalculated the cost of the track, and was unable to complete that delivery. This left her struggling in the beginning, having to use a couple of turns to replace her cards to get going again.
I managed to keep up my initial lead, getting deliveries around 20 to 25 million on a regular basis, allowing me to be the first to connect up all of the major cities needed for the win. Marisue struggled along with deliveries of 10-15 million, trying to keep up.
And then at a crucial leg of the game, she got some good cards that allowed for three huge deliveries to the same general location, netting her close to 100 million dollars total.
And then the race was on! A race won by Marisue, unfortunately for me. While in Mexico making a delivery, her next card had a delivery for Coffee to Chicago, which she was able to deliver to win the game.
At the time, I was 6 mileposts away from making a delivery tthat would have netted me 25 million dollars, and from there only two turns away from a delivery in Buffalo that would have secured the victory for me.
Close, very close.
I've played several games, and I've had several close ones. No amount of good planning can make up for a poor round with the cards, but I've won about half of the games I've played, and in some cases by rather large margins. There's definitely a luck factor, but if you already knew who was going to win every time you played, would everyone still want to play?