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Subject: 5 or 6 player game rss

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Juhan Voolaid
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CE is an interesting game. Rules are simple, but player interaction is so deep, that it is hard to understand who is the real enemy, especially for new players.

Another interesting aspect of this game is that it players well with 3 and 4 players, but is considered to play not so great with 5 or 6.

I think that is due to the fact, that only 4 players are able to get a share of a company on the initial auction round and so the other players are automatically in disadvantage. But as I have not played enough with 5 or 6 players, our group may have just made poor beginner choices where we gave a victory to certain player too easily. May be there is a good game in here for 5 and 6, but I just don't know it? Or is it really meant for no more but 4 players?

So I would like to study a bit, why 5-6 player game is different?
Are there any beginner mistakes, people tend to do?
Is there a common scenario that helps the ones with weaker share portfolio to coma back into the game?
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Roel van der Hoorn
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Jux_ wrote:
Another interesting aspect of this game is that it players well with 3 and 4 players, but is considered to play not so great with 5 or 6.

It is a more difficult game with 5 or 6 players, but not necessarily a less great game. In general, the more people you play with in a positional game, the less influence you have on the total state of the game. And thus it is more difficult to play well. I would not recommend Chicago Express with 5+ players if it's one of your first games.

Jux_ wrote:
I think that is due to the fact, that only 4 players are able to get a share of a company on the initial auction round and so the other players are automatically in disadvantage.

That really depends on the price the initial shares went for and the position you are in compared to the owner of the PRR share.

Jux_ wrote:
So I would like to study a bit, why 5-6 player game is different?

Note that there are 3 auction actions and 5 expansion actions, totaling 8. Let's say in a 4 player game, the first 3 players take the 3 auction actions, then all 4 players take an expansion action. Meaning there is 1 expansion action left, but taking it will end the round. Now the 4th player has a choice: he can take the last (attractive) expansion action, ending the round, but it means he will (again) not get an auction action next round. If he takes a development action, the next player has this choice.

Ensuring you get an auction action the next round is way more difficult in a 5 or 6 player game, because you have less overall influence.
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Billy McBoatface
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RvdH83 wrote:
Jux_ wrote:
Another interesting aspect of this game is that it players well with 3 and 4 players, but is considered to play not so great with 5 or 6.

It is a more difficult game with 5 or 6 players, but not necessarily a less great game. In general, the more people you play with in a positional game, the less influence you have on the total state of the game. And thus it is more difficult to play well. I would not recommend Chicago Express with 5+ players if it's one of your first games.

When you get to take an action less often, the game becomes more chaotic. Let's say that a good CE player can predict the actions of other good players 80% of the time. Then in a 3 player game, you can predict the course of the game from one of your turns to the next 64% of the time, so you can plan for the future fairly well. In a 5 player game, the game will go the way you expect only 20% of the time, and in a 6 player game it drops to about 16% of the time. When it becomes that hard to predict what will happen before your next turn, planning becomes less helpful, and luck plays a bigger role.
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Garcian Smith
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Echoing on what everyone else has said, 5-6 players change the game because you have less control on how the game develops. If you are a skilled player, you want to play games where you have as much control as possible. If you are a weaker player, a game where you have less control might be preferable as it leaves the results more to luck, which can increase the chance of that player to win.

Some people don't like this. I happen to be a part of the opinion that I'm okay with it.
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Juhan Voolaid
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I am no expert by any means, but one particular situation I see is that it actually comes down to one moment where a player has the choice of giving a major lead to certain players.

I am talking about the first auction round after the setup, when the player is buying his first share. He does have to pick a company that already has ownership. He probably is able to acquire another share as well, picking again one company with one share. So this punishes players the most who's company he shares he picks.

I think in that case the first round will end so, that one or two players will be the only shareholders of their companies - giving them major income boost.

It seems it is better not to bid very much on the first set-up auctioning round.
 
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Gary Heidenreich
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I dunno. I think a five player game is pretty frickin awesome. Six is a very quick game. Five, to me, seems like the sweet spot. Then again, I use the Erie and short rail expansion. With five or six, if I'm remembering, timing is important. That, and paying the right price (or making others pay it).
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