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Subject: Estimated time of play rss

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Bob Gibson
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Okay....I've been on the fencepost for a long time as to whether to purchase this game or not. The reviews appear to be good to great, and I continue to hear this game ranked toward the top of all lists. I only personal gripe is that I don't enjoy playing games that take over an hour to 1-1/2 hours. Does Railroad Tycoon really take 1 1/2 to 2 hours to play? Can it take longer?
 
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Dave Bullions
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It can sometimes take a little longer, particually with new players (2 1/2 hours - 3 hours). You can have shorter games if you have less players. However it is a very good game (often gets requested at my games club) and its worth trying out. Don't hang about if you are planning to buy it - it is out of print and not too likely to be reprinted soon.
 
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Matthew Jensen
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Hmmm.... The first few games or games with new player will take two hours at least. Once you have a group that has played a few times I would say two hours was a good benchmark. Sometimes faster if players empty cities quickly. Sometimes longer if players look to stall and build longer routes and go for bigger deliveries.

The one note I do have to make.... You can adjust the play time if you think the game is too long for your group. Change the number of empty cities that will mark the end of the game or even go with fewer good cubes per city and suddenly you have a much quicker game.

I'd jump in to this game if you have enjoyed the reviews and want a good railroad theme game that isn't all about cutthroat actions. Players generally have little to no down time and honestly I don't see 'analysis paralysis' being a probelm so even if it goes more than two hours most everyone is still in the game.

That's my 2 cents.
 
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Daniel Val
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In my experience, it has only taken us a little over two hours with six players and some of them new to the game.
With six experienced (one or two games played), it's always been less than two hours. With less than six players, an hour and a half.
 
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I've finished a 2 player game with one newbie in ~1.5 hours. My first game was with 4, all of us new, we took 2.5 hours to finish. (IIRC.) However, I saw one game that took ~5 hours with 6 newbies. I couldn't figure out how they did it, but they messed up a number of rules and just took a long time to make decisions. So with the wrong group, things can go bad, but in general it does play fairly quickly.
 
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Greg Low
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Wow, these guys play fast!

Our game night is a three hour slot, and we tend to use most of it for RRT. This week, for five players we took two and a half hours, but there was a good amount of urbanization and city growth delaying the end. Fewer players might be the diffierence, but with five, 2 hours would be an absolute minimum.

If you know Powergrid, I would say that it is the closest comparision for game length with my group.

Two items in RRT's defense. Firstly it never has run over our three hour slot, unlike Friedrich, Struggle of Empires, or A Game of Thrones. Secondly, it is a fully engaged 2 1/2 hours for what that's worth.

-Greg
 
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Rick Holzgrafe
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TrekkerMJ wrote:
The one note I do have to make.... You can adjust the play time if you think the game is too long for your group. Change the number of empty cities that will mark the end of the game or even go with fewer good cubes per city and suddenly you have a much quicker game.


TrekkerMJ is right, but I can't recommend cutting the game short. One of the joys of Railroad Tycoon is its "story arc," the way that the character of the game changes as the game progresses from early beginnings to vigorous expansion to maturity to finally milking your finished rail network for all it's worth. If you cut the game short, you're going to miss out on a lot of the good stuff.

RRT may not be the best choice if your preference is for games lasting less than 90 minutes. But I agree with everyone who said that it is an absorbing game, well worth the time spent.
 
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Whenever I play I prepare myself mentally for a 2 or 3 hour time block, but usually I'm quite surprised when the game wraps up in 90 minutes or so.
 
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Oliver Krick
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I would agree that the game takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours, most time played with six players. AND: it is well worth the time, a really great game!
 
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John Weber
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I would say play length is highly dependent on number of players, plus you will note the number of empty cities (the game-end condition) varies by number of players. I have played a 3-player game in about 1.5 hours, but I have seen 6-player games drag to close to 3 hours. Some I know think the game is artifically short and instead will end the game when the winner hits a certain number on the chart, not using the empty cities tokens at all. I think you could also adjust the end-game conditions downward if you want a shorter game.
 
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Donald Walsh
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I just played my first game (6 players, 5 noobs) and the game took over 3 hours. The last few turns, where everybody was shlepping boxes, were relatively quick. I was trying to hold onto a narrow lead, so the game could not end quickly enough for me. I loved it, I think everybody liked it, but I was a bit taken aback that it seemed that the "120 minutes" time frame on the main entry page was a total sham. Now that I've done some reading, it seems that 6 player games more often than not go over 2 hours, maybe 3 hours is more typical for a 6P game.
 
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Kim Milvang-Jensen
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It does take that long, and experience does not cut down time i find. I have played this with the same group for about 9 month, usualla session per month. We all very much want to win, and have found that the winning strategies tend to be the ones making long runs late in the game. As more people relise this, even fewer cities gets empties, and the games get longer. Also as you get better you get to a point, where you do not only consider your own move, but also possible counter moves your opponents might make, as well as counter moves you want to make agains opponents.

If you like fastpaced games, dont play RRT. RRT is more chess like in nature, in that the better you get, the more complex the game really becomes.
 
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Matthew Carlson
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Our group plays the game in 1:40 to 1:45 very consistently. We usually have 4 players but sometimes 5 or 6. We always play up to 18 empty cities no matter how many players which probably adds a few minutes to the game. With 2 people it is probably more like 1:30 but I have rarely played with only 2. With a new player we expect it to be 2:00.

Seems like we play it faster than most but this is mostly due to the fact that we have a "drill sergeant" namely me. (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/713 a must read--has to be the funniest most interesting geeklist that I've read) The "drill sergeant" (#16) must keep the "eye-glazer" (#25) in line.

It is not a rushed game. I just don't allow too many stalls. I give a couple minutes after setting up the game to analyze the board then I give everyone the time they need for the first couple turns (6 rounds). After that, they have a limited amount of "stalls" before I start reminding them that it is their turn. Stalling once in a while is understandable but if you are stalling every turn either you don't have a stategy or you are constantly changing it entirely or--very likely--you are not paying attention and only start thinking when it is your turn. If you have a stategy and some tactics you should pretty much know what your next 3 moves are. This means you only need a couple to a few seconds for your round. Once in a while you might take a minute due to a complicated situation or a highly revised strategy but if you are thinking while others are moving and think ahead you will not only play faster but you will also play better.

I have played quite a bit of chess and used to play quite slow. I would think over every strategy possible. You know how much time that can eat up! I had never played timed chess and never liked the idea because I figured you wouldn't be able to think about what you were going to do. What good would that be? Play a mindless game of chess? Doesn't it defeat the purpose? Well after I played a few games of timed chess I saw it was the opposite. At first it is difficult and you feel like you can't really think out all the stategies but what ends up happening is that your mind quickly starts formulating the best looking stategies and discarding very quickly the bad. Instead of mulling over 50 different stategies and never really knowing which one might be the best anyway, you spend a little time in the beginning picking out a few good stategies and then perfecting them. I find that not only can you play more games but you actually play better. This is why I have changed from a snail paced player to a "drill sergeant" -- more of a "drill sergeant lite" though.

Our group actually appreciates that I do it, partially because I try not to overdo it but mostly because none of them would tolerate it if it went on for 2 hours or more. Funny, I am the "drill sergeant" but i am probably the only one who would tolerate a 2+ hour game.

I don't think any of them would consider it rushed. It is just keeps flowing without too much down time.

Having said that, and if you are still with me after such a long winded reply, I would say this game is totally addicting--one of the best games ever invented. This is really the only game our group plays. Whenever I try and introduce something else it is never as good as the "train game" aka "tycoon". We never miss a week even if sometimes that means changing it to another day of the week due to scheduling conflicts. It never seems to get old because the board setup is random.

Chess is a much deeper game. This is a lot lighter and "funner" especially since it allows up to 6 people but at the same time there's a lot of stategy and tactics involved. There's a lot of balancing the need for: investing but not getting into debt, grabbing good territory but not expanding too fast, getting points but not going to slow on building your network connections etc, etc etc

In sum, it is a great game than can be played to its fullest in about 1:40 minutes. It is worth every minute. If you have a slow group or even an average group that won't appreciate a "drill sergeant" then you can expect a good 2 to 3 hours. Still very fun though!
 
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