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Subject: Learning about the map and tourist trains. rss

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Norbert Chan
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
This was our second game playing the Tokyo map. The cards were model train (gain 1 gold per discarded card), tourist train (gain a VP when played), wagon factory (trash a blue train card and get one 3 higher), dump site, ironworks, holiday timetable, garage and landfill. Player order was Trevor, myself, Don and Greg. Trevor placed in Futakotamagu. Now having had a chance to study the map in more detail, I think this was a mistake. Trevor should have placed on or near the 3 station city in the SW or NW or the cluster of 4/3/2 VP cities in the NE. The 3 station cities will give 8 VPs when all 3 stations are filled - the 3rd station gives 4 VP which is 2 VP more than a normal station. So there are three good places. But where would the fourth player place in a 4 player game? Intuitively, I think between the 3 station cities might be an okay play. The plan would be to reach those two cities, but then that raises another question. If those 3 station cities get shared, would either owner play a station to give VPs to the other person? So there might be intersting dynamics. Anyways, that's all speculation. I was also expecting there to be some compensation for going 2nd through 4th.

Going second I placed between Yokohama (the 3 station city) and Kawasaki. Don placed in the NE region, leaving Greg to place in Machida and being able to claim the 3 station city two hexes north.

My opening hand was five trains, so with the $5, I bought a wagon factory. My plan was to upgrade to the $3 trains as soon as possible with a view to dominating in skyscrapers. They wouldn't know what hit them. I thought that the tourist train (get a VP) only applied at the end of the game. When Greg started taking VPs, there was a sudden rush for the tourist trains: Greg got 4 of them, I got 2, and I think Don and Trevor got 2 as well. Nonchantlantly, I used the wagon factory to trash one of my tourist trains to get a $3 limited edition train. Afterall, skyscrapers wait for no one.

Everyone got an extra station builder card, so the game was going to end on stations running out. But Greg had reeled off 19 pts using his tourist trains. The whole game, I could not get get $8 worth into my hand to buy a skyscraper, even though I had 5 limited edition trains. To add insult to injury, Don was able to buy a skyscraper, using the holiday timetable (one time use to get $3 then discard). I think Greg had gotten too many of the tourist trains for us to catch him; perhaps on my first play I should have grabbed one rather than the wagon factory.

Greg 41 (19 board, 22 stations),
Norbert 37 (5 board, 27 stations, 5 buildings),
Don 34 (7 board, 19 stations, 8 buildings),
Trevor 28 (4 board, 22 stations, 2 buildings).

Greg is red, I am yellow, Don is blue and Trevor is green.

We all liked this more than Dominion, and I'm looking forward to more plays. In particular, I wonder how the person going fourth would fare, now that we think we know all the important spots on the map.
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Nobody went for a purely deck development strategy. Those wagon factories make it possible to convert your original hand into high money cards from which to just purchase vp cards. It seems to break the game, but consistently provides the most vp of only one person takes that strategy.
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