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18OE: On the Rails of the Orient Express» Forums » General

Subject: green tile availability rss

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Bob Schroeder
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In the game I am currently in, we are out of basic green tiles. We have four nationals, it is currently OR4a, and the first five train will be bought with the fifth company to run.

Is this rare?

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Mark Frazier
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Amelia
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Hzark10 wrote:
In the game I am currently in, we are out of basic green tiles. We have four nationals, it is currently OR4a, and the first five train will be bought with the fifth company to run.

Is this rare?



I won't speak to my own experience with frequency - what the community sees may well change over time as players become more familiar with the game, and I'd like to hear from various groups about their own experiences!

However, I can give you some insight on how the levers and pulleys in 18OE's mechanics can affect what you're seeing:

* The average par price of Regionals, and whether the first Major floats during the ISR. This is one "lever" that will impact how many ORs elapse prior to the first level 5 train.

* The number of Nationals. The more Nationals that form, the slower new train purchases will go. More Nationals also means more track is rapidly placed, since Nationals have 9 tile points compared to 6 for Majors and 3 for Regionals and Minors.

* The number of Majors. Majors are the primary driver of new train purchases. This doesn't have as much of an effect on tile consumption, since the number of Minors that have merged is limited by the number of Majors in play.

* The aggression level of players on train purchases. It can be useful to count the "new train slot density" (yea, designers do wacky stuff like this to balance game systems) using this formula:

D = ((M * T) + ((m + r) * t)) / A

D is the density. M is the number of Majors in play. T is the number of trains each Major can hold in the current train phase (currently 3 in your game). m is the number of unmerged Minors, and r is the number of Regionals. t is the number of trains each Regional and Minor can hold in the current train phase (currently 1 in your game).

A is the total number of non-rusted trains in the game that have to be purchased to arrive at the desired train phase. In your case, the desired phase is Train Phase 5. The total number of non-rusted trains that have to be purchased is 30 (20 level 3 trains and 10 level 4 trains).

So, making a few assumptions for the sake of example - let's say you have 8 Majors, 6 Regionals, and 6 Minors in your game - the calculation looks like this:

D = ((8 * 3) + ((6 + 6) * 1)) / 30 = 1.2.

That means that most of the non-National RRs in your game only own one train. Looking at the far ends of this calculation, we can see how that density changes depending on the number of Majors, Minors, and Regionals. The "low" end would be no Majors (meaning that your four Nationals were the only Majors to form), and no merged Minors (since they have no Majors to merge into):

D = ((0 * 3) + ((14 + 12) * 1)) / 30 = .86.

If this were the case in your game, you'd have 6 RRs that don't own a train at all - extremely unlikely, but a useful exercise. On the high end of this calculation we'd see all Majors formed and no Minors (they have all been merged already):

D = ((14 * 3) + (0 + 0) * 1)) / 30 = 1.4.

That's still almost half of the Majors having only one train.

I'd venture the guess that you have a very non-aggressive train buying game in progress! An advantage to Nationals at this stage. You might also end up breaking the bank before the level 8 train is purchased, but that remains to be seen.

----------------------------

The more ORs that elapse before the first level 5 is purchased, the more green track gets placed. Eventually, you'll find yourself struggling to find useful track to place, or (as you're seeing), you'll simply run out of tiles altogether.

I actually saw the same phenomenon in the C2C: Continental Empires game that I ran at Origins this year. We ran out of many types of green track, and it was very useful to see while playtesting. Once I determined how many ORs we had run and how few RRs had more than one train, I had a good sense of whether those tile shortages were "working as designed".

-Mark
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