George I.
Switzerland
Lausanne
Vaud
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Emil had not gotten out of the box since last year, so I decided today to take him out for a quick walk and a long game! I've thrown in both expansions, the German boards and the Coal module, so here we go!

All 5 engineers were track-oriented, with some little industry support, so I decided to go towards Hamburg. However, I didn't aggressively hunt all engineers, as they weren't that super-useful for me. Eventually, I got all of them barring one, which Emil stole under my nose and I really wanted him (#13).

I got my first mb token in Round 2; I was split between the black worker and the #1 engineer, finally choosing the latter. Subsequently, I found the 6 VP/engineer end-game card, so I took engineers more seriously. After that, I abandoned the Dresden track.

I had left out some track extensions (variant), making the game a bit challenging to me. I therefore got for the first time an income token, this from the Nürnberg track, to move tracks easier.

Eventually, I finished the München-Hamburg track, with the help of the 4x wild mb bonus. I ended with the white track at space #4 on the München track, with 4 Doubler tokens above. This track netted me 64 VP at the end of the game.

I earned 294 VP, which is a pretty mediocre score, though better than my last solo game. Apparently, reaching 300 VP is not an easy task in solo games.

Game Setup

Engineers

1) A nr. #7: black movement + 3 VPs
2) A nr. #5: wild movement + 3 VPs
3) B nr. #10: black + industry movement
4) B nr. #13: gray + brown movement
5) B nr. #11: black + wild movement

Available track extensions

I played with the following variant: discard 3 random extensions of each type, so as to make the gameplay more tight and interesting and simulate the potential unavailability of your favorite extensions when you need them during multiplayer.

Dresden, 3-track:
a) Space #7: Gain Loco/Factory; req: Black + Loco. Space #9: 10 VP + income token.
b) Space #7: +5 VP per round; req: Black + Loco. Space #8: gain Loco/Factory; req: Black. Space #9: 10 VP
c) Space #7: 1x Industry movement Space #8: bonus industry marker. Space #9: 10 VP. All spaces require only the black track.

Nürnberg, 4-track:
a) Space #4: Gain Loco/Factory. Space #5: Income token. All spaces require Black track + Loco.
b) Space #4: Worker. Space #6: mb. All spaces require Gray track + Loco.
c) Space #5: Worker. Space #7: Line doubler. All spaces reuire Black track + Loco.

Nürnberg, 2-track:
a) Space #8: Gain Loco/Factory at #8; req: Black. Space #9: 10 VP.
b) Space #8: 1x Industry movement; req: Black. Space #9: 10 VP + wildcard movement
c) Space #8: +5 VP per round; req: Black + Loco. Space #9: 1x Coin.

fMy player board

Starting with 6 coins (due to coal expansion), 6 workers and 1 coal.

Starting Foundries

F1: 2x Coins
F2: 1x Black movement + 1x Industry movement + 1x doubler




Round 1

Emil: Foundry
Picon: 3x Black movement: Dresden #3, Nürnberg #2.
Emil: Public Engineer #5.
Picon: Take Loco #2a, placed on Nürnberg track.
Emil: Locomotive + Factory: locos #2b and #3a discarded.
Picon: Hire Engineer #7.
Emil: Doubler token.
Picon: 1x Industry movement: 1 VP space.
Emil: Passes.
Picon: Private Engineer #7, 3 VP + 1 Black movement: München #2. Unlock Gray tracks.
Picon: 1x Grey movement: Munchen #1.

Scoring
München: 1 VP
Nürnberg: 5 VP
Industry: 1 VP

Current score: 10 VP




Round 2

Emil: 2x Industry movement
Picon: Take Foundry F2 + 1x coal.

New Foundry F3: take 2 coins.

Emil: 2x Wild movement.
Picon: Take loco #3b, placed on Dresden track.
Use foundry F2: 1x Black movement (Dresden #4), 1x Industry movement (2 VP space), 1x Doubler token.
Close foundry F2, attach at loco #3b (Dresden).
Activate mb token at Dresden #4; take cards token.
Receive Engineer #1.
Look at end-game cards; discarded cards: extra engineer, score all locos.
Take end-game card: 6 VP / engineer.

Emil: Doubler token.
Picon: Public Engineer #10; 1x industry movement (4 VP space); 1x Black movement: München #3.
Emil: 3x Grey movement.
Picon: 3x Black movement: München #6. Unlock Brown tracks.
Emil: Passes.
Picon: Private Engineer #1: 1x Grey movement (#2) + 1x Brown movement (#1) at München.
Picon: Hire Engineer #7.
Picon: 1x Industry movement (5VP space).

Scoring
Munchen: 4 VP
Nürnberg: 5 VP
Industry: 5 VP

This round: 14 VP
Current score: 24 VP




Round 3

Emil: 3x Black movement.
Picon: Hire Engineer #10.
Emil: 1x Industry (note: he had to skip it, as I couldn't perform the action, but he wouldn't eventually block me).
Picon: Take Foundry F3 + 1x coal.

New Foundry F4: copy an action with 1 or 2 workers.

Emil: Public Engineer #13.
Picon: Take loco #4a, placed on Nürnberg track; loco #2a dispaced to München track.
Emil: Doubler token.
Picon: Private Engineer #7: 3 VP + 1x Black movement: Nürnberg #3.
Emil: 2x Wild movement.
Picon: Private Engineer #10: 1x Black movement + 1x Industry movement.

- First: Black track at Nürnberg space #4; take extension (a); activate power of space #4 and take Factory #4b.
- Second: Industry moves on Factory #4b; take 2 Doubler tokens.

Emil: Passes.
Picon: 3x Gray movement: München #5
Picon: Private Engineer #1: 2x Brown movement: München #3

Scoring
München: 12 VP
Nürnberg: 5 VP
Industry: 5 VP

This round: 25 VP
Current score: 49 VP


Round 4

Emil: Hire Engineer #13.
Picon: 3x Black movement: München #9, Hamburg track.
Emil: Take loco #5a.
Picon: 1x Coal.
Emil: 2x Wild movement.
Picon: Public Engineer #11: 1x Black movement (München #10, unlock Natural tracks), 1x Wild movement (Natural track: München #1).

Emil: Locomotive + Factory: locos #5b and #6a discarded.
Picon: Private Engineer #10, 1x Black movement (Nürnberg #5), 1x Industry movement (10 VP space).
Emil: Doubler token.
Picon: Use foundry F3, take 2 coins.
Close foundry F3, attach at loco #4a (Nürnberg).
Activate power of space #5 at Nürnberg, take "1x Gray + 1x Brown movement" income token.
Use income token: Grey at München #6, Brown at München #4.
Action: 1x Grey movement, München #7. Unlock Worker.

Emil: Passes.
Picon: Private Engineer #1, 2x Natural movement: München #3.
Picon: (coin) Private Engineer #7. 3 VP + 1 Black movement: München #11.

Picon reaches 52 VP, Emil gets a new toy (worker), but has already passed.

Picon: Private Engineer #5: 3 VP + 1x Wild movement: Black at München #12.

Scoring
München: 24 VP
Nürnberg: 5 VP
Industry: 5 VP

This round: 39 VP
Current score: 88 VP




Round 5

Emil: 3x Black movement.
Picon: Locomotive + Factory.
- Take loco #6b, replaces loco #1 at München. Loco #1 is retired as Factory.
- Take factory #1.

Emil: 1x Industry movement.
Picon: Take loco #7a, replaces #2a at München. Loco #2 is retired as Factory.
Emil: 2x Wild movement.
Picon: Hire Engineer #11.
Emil: 1x Brown movement.
Picon: Use income: 1x Grey + 1x Brown movement on München track (#8/#5, respectively). Action: take Doubler token.
Emil: 2x Industry movement.

Picon: Private Engineer #10: 1x Black + 1x Industry movement.
- 1x Industry movement: activate factory #1, earn 34 VP.
- 1x Black movement: München #13.

- Activate mb at München: take 4x Wild movement, all on München: 1x Brown movement (#6), 1x Natural movement (#4), 2x Black movement (#15).
- Take 10 VP, unlock White track, immediately move to München #2.

Emil: 1x White movement.
Picon: Private Engineer #1, 2x Wild movement.
- 1x Natural movement: München #5
- 1x White movement: München #3

Emil: Passes.
Picon: (coin) Private Engineer #5: 3 VP + 1x Wild movement; 1x White movement, München #4.

Scoring
München: 64 VP
Nürnberg: 5 VP
Industry: 10 VP

This round: 136 VP
Current score: 224 VP




End-game scoring
Engineer majority: 40 VP
End-game card: 6 VP / Enginner x 5 Engineers = 30 VP

Final score: 294 VP

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Pasta Batman
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Great write up. I just got the expansion, was thinking of playing solo to get familiar with it. How would you rate the solo game, overall? How long did it take?
 
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George I.
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pastabatman wrote:
Great write up. I just got the expansion, was thinking of playing solo to get familiar with it. How would you rate the solo game, overall? How long did it take?
That's a good idea, I started solo, as well, to get the hang of it. I guess it took about 2 hours, but including setup time (I take my time with it) and that I was logging everything, including the cards Emil was skipping. You can play a solo game even in 60 minutes once you get familiar with it.

The solo game is really unpredictable, but that's what makes the experience unique. Sometimes Emil will just leave the Engineer there lying. Sometimes, Emil will take very stupid decisions, like opening with a 2x industry. But, usually, he'll quickly take something that will frustrate you, happened to me at least twice or thrice in that game, forcing me to change my plans. Other times, Emil might block you from getting a loco when you really need it, or even worse not drain the locomotive supply when you're really waiting for the higher ones to become available. Overall, you have to go for what you really want, as you never know if Emil will block you or not.

Both expansion modules are great, the German boards and the Coal module. If you're not intimidated, just throw in both in your first solo game. Since getting the expansion, I've never played without the Coal module; foundries are so fun!
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Bradley Shadrix
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Colbert
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Thanks for the write up. I enjoy the game in solo mode. I got a 366 and 403 on my first two plays. I'm not sure what I did, it's been about a month. I know I pushed the middle train line on both occasions with doublers I received from a coal foundry. Normally, I do not like going out of my way to get doublers.
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Dave
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Nice write-up and good game. Thanks for this.

I like you variant limiting the extensions to choose from. My son and I do something similar when we play two-player games – we only make half the doublers available, half the foundries (randomly), and we remove six end game bonus cards instead of two. Like you say, this better simulates potential unavailability in games with more players. It's worked really well for us, keeping the game more competitive on more levels.

We hadn't tried limiting the extensions, but we've talked about it. I've wondered as well about limiting the income tokens. Maybe at some point we'll try that.
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George I.
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dlewis2 wrote:
I've wondered as well about limiting the income tokens. Maybe at some point we'll try that.
Well, there are 8 income tokens, you could play with 5 of them, removing the three ones that come in two copies. So you would use: the two tracks (black-gray, gray-brown), the industry, the wild track and the coin.
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