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Subject: Am I missing something? rss

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Chad Edmunds
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Played German Railways with my play group (wife and son) last night. Seemed like the game was over before it started.

My son talked up how "useless" black was pre-game, for some reason. This got my wife to pass early and my son thought he "stuck me" with Black by letting it go for $6 to me.

It was also obvious that my son was sitting on his cash to buy Purple and Green. I used this to my advantage and got my wife to spend all her money buying Yellow, Orange and Brown.

I managed to get Blue and Red, to go along with my Black, for cheap...I had $11 left for the game.

My son, against my advice, paid $28 for Purple and $12 for green.

I was ahead on the income track, but got lucky and drew my marker in both of the first 2 rounds. I auctioned Purple for $1, and put some money into Red's coffers by buying Red for $8. Since my wife and son were broke at the time, I was able to pull this off.

So, after 2 rounds, I have shares in Red (2), Purple, Black, and Blue. My son has Purple and Green. And my wife Yellow, Orange and Brown.

I was ahead on the income track and after my son made a couple connections with Purple, ahead in money.

I felt like after just 2 rounds, I was in a position where I could not lose. I even let shares go in auctions - that I could have taken to completely end the game - just to continue the game and give some "false" hope.

Was I that far ahead? Was there any way for my son or my wife to get back into this game? No doubt the opening auction was a disaster for my opponents. But was it game ending?

Thanks in advance for the feedback!
 
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Robert Hahn
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It's very difficult to say. Based in what you say here I think the game was over for your son but I wouldn't have counted your wife out yet. It sounds like she could have been in a position to catch up.

German Rsilways isn't like most games where you can be competent on your first play. And I think you know that. So to see this game shine you might need to get it to the table a few more times.
 
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Chad Edmunds
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roberthahn wrote:
It's very difficult to say. Based in what you say here I think the game was over for your son but I wouldn't have counted your wife out yet. It sounds like she could have been in a position to catch up.

German Railways isn't like most games where you can be competent on your first play. And I think you know that. So to see this game shine you might need to get it to the table a few more times.


I agree 100%. I spend time learning how to play a game so I can teach it to my family. I learn tips and tricks along the way that I am also sure to pass along while teaching the game. Games are most fun when they are competitive and not one side clobbering the other. For that, everyone should have comparable understanding of not only the rules but the winning tactics and strategies.

I really like this game and I hope I can show the nuances to my family so they can also enjoy it. Might be hard for my son at 11 years old, and for my wife as this is not necessarily her kind of thing.

But I will try.

 
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Mikko Saari
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My son is 10 and an experienced gamer (he's played over 300 different games so far), yet I wouldn't expect him to be able to play German Railways (or any other share auctioning railroad game) competitively.

So maybe wait a while?
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Chad Edmunds
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msaari wrote:
My son is 10 and an experienced gamer (he's played over 300 different games so far), yet I wouldn't expect him to be able to play German Railways (or any other share auctioning railroad game) competitively.

So maybe wait a while?


I hear ya, and largely agree. However, my son continues to impress me with his gaming ability:

- I have yet to beat him at Race for the Galaxy. And RftG is the type of game I excel at, although I do admit still being overwhelmed by the game's depth.
- He already gets GR better than my wife.
- But most impressively is how very good he is at Dice Masters. At this year's Canadian Nationals in a match against the reigning Canadian National Champion - and just recently crowned US National Champion, and with a great chance to have been crowned World Champion, had he played - my son simply killed it, winning the game in just 4 turns and 4 minutes. Also, in that Qualifier Tournament he went 9-0 before losing in the finals 2-1 against the person who held the top of the World Rankings at that time. The same person also knocked him out of the National event in the Top 8 before he continued on to finish 2nd in the event.

All to say, for 11 years old, my son is an impressive gamer. Which only explains why I thought he could get GR. Truth told, I am more inclined to subscribe to your thought that a game like GR involves more - or rather, different - game than he can understand.

 
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Chad Edmunds
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msaari wrote:
My son is 10 and an experienced gamer (he's played over 300 different games so far), yet I wouldn't expect him to be able to play German Railways (or any other share auctioning railroad game) competitively.

So maybe wait a while?


Well, my son won our last game. My wife is still struggling to get the game, but as is often the case, my son sees a path to victory before others do.

The game was extremely tight until the very end, with me maintaining a slight cash lead all game while staying 2nd on the income track most turns. I thought, solid positioning.

With only Black left to make 2 connections, the income was actually neck and neck. I was ahead on cash by a bit, but also by enough that I miscalculated. My son auctioned the 3rd Black share, having already the other 2 in hand. I ran him up on the 2nd Black, which is the reason I had the cash lead. I ran him up again on the 3rd Black. The total he paid for the last 2 Black shares was nearly $100.

Immediately after getting the share, my son proclaims, "Thanks Dad, I just won the game." And he was correct. Although I was more than $100 ahead in cash, and he was only $13 ahead in income, he controlled the game end. By the time he makes his 2 connections, he runs Black's income up to $12 and triggers doubles on 3 shares twice. The sum of the additional cash he pulled down just before ending the game was $114. Enough to win the game.

I was so impressed by my son's victory. Equally as disappointed in missing this calculation myself, but still so proud of him.

I was in a tough spot. Let the share go less than a crazy price like $80 and I lose to my son. Pay $80 for the share and I lose to either my wife or my son.

It opened up some very, very interesting aspects of this awesome game. I have some studying to do.
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Mikko Saari
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Looks like you've figured out why I think this is one of the best board games ever. We had a rather splendid game today, where I was first sure to lose to a colluding pair of opponents, then took a huge lead and managed to get enough control over the end game in order to make sure I win. What a clever game, and an early lead can be overcome, if the leader doesn't play sharp.

There's quite a bit of luck in the turn order, but it's far from obvious where it is.
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Chad Edmunds
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msaari wrote:
Looks like you've figured out why I think this is one of the best board games ever. We had a rather splendid game today, where I was first sure to lose to a colluding pair of opponents, then took a huge lead and managed to get enough control over the end game in order to make sure I win. What a clever game, and an early lead can be overcome, if the leader doesn't play sharp.

There's quite a bit of luck in the turn order, but it's far from obvious where it is.


I agree. I think this is a great game. I still can't believe I managed to get this game for just $10.

I don't mind the turn order mechanic at all. Getting turns, or getting no turns, will determine tactics. Getting others working for you is so necessary. And when done correctly, the turn order - and ever possible lack of turns - does not mean a losing position.

Really, really love this game!
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Dana Luther

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AJEddy wrote:
Getting turns, or getting no turns, will determine tactics. Getting others working for you is so necessary. And when done correctly, the turn order - and ever possible lack of turns - does not mean a losing position.


After my play of this last night I beg to differ. Having people work for you can work in your favor short term while your incomes are comparable.

Maybe I am wrong in viewing the turn order mechanic as a catch-up mechanic meant to redistribute turns to players lacking wealth. Instead it's more gimmick that seems neat but just doesn't pan out to anything more then pure luck. You can mitigate luck to the best of your ability but in the end it still luck. You can plan to have fewer turns, buying shares lower income people have, knowing their turns will eventually be used to earn you money. Eventually though, a third share will be auctioned. If you buy it, the person pushing your trains has no reason to work for a third of the pie. If they buy it, their turns are spent creating an amazing railway that obliterates everything you love. As their railway gets better you might drop down the income order and get a few more tokens in the bag but that doesn't guarantee you'll ever get a turn. Heck, if you are horribly unlucky on epic proportions you could "play" this game while never getting a turn.


My last play (which made me a jilted lover to this game) included; Me last in income in a three player game and I ended up with two turns in a combined six round stretch. Two of a possible 18 turns while having at worst 50% chance of drawing everytime(my two drawn were the 2nd and 3rd of the same round so it was 3/5 and back to 2/4.) By the time I actually got to play I was eliminated from the game and had spent a grouchy 45 minutes at the table in which I did the unthinkable and started playing on my phone. After that long stretch the game then taunted me giving me all three turns in the second to last round, after basically every train had been taped of all connections except the last game ending train. It pretty much gave me a knife and a Polaroid of my wrists with the words "DO IT" sharped on the bottom while flipping me a cardboard middle finger. Including that round I had 5 of the last 27 turns.

Sure statistical anomaly can be claimed, but every play I've been in has had someone be the victim of some such anomaly.


I do love these style of train games, so if you are reading this while on the fence about taking a plunge on these type of games, go for it... although I would recommend you take a closer look at Chicago Express or Kansas Pacific.
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J C Lawrence
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Bobdole04126623 wrote:
Sure statistical anomaly can be claimed, but every play I've been in has had someone be the victim of some such anomaly.


I recall a game in which I got a sum total of one turn...on the penultimate round of the game (and wished devoutly I could pass on that turn instead of having to act). and won by a little under 5%.
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Dana Luther

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clearclaw wrote:
(and wished devoutly I could pass on that turn instead of having to act)

According to my rule book your turn options are;
Pass
Offer one share for auction
Build track


The difficulty of the game is really set by the skill of the players, so it is possible for you to win while taking no actions... but that would require some people to either be oblivious to other players at the table and/or be willing to work for their new overlord. I hope you were a benevolent ruler to your people.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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clearclaw wrote:
Bobdole04126623 wrote:
Sure statistical anomaly can be claimed, but every play I've been in has had someone be the victim of some such anomaly.

I recall a game in which I got a sum total of one turn...on the penultimate round of the game (and wished devoutly I could pass on that turn instead of having to act). and won by a little under 5%.

In order for that to work, though, you had to be high on the income track (where you expect to have rounds without turns). When your income is the lowest but you're not getting turns, you're just a victim: the other players' moves are creating payouts which benefit them instead of you.

I hate to see this game retired* here, because I think my win ratio is an unbelievable 60%!!, but I have to agree that someone has a not-fun time almost every time we play this because they get hosed by the sustained statistical anomalies Dana's talking about.

In the 3-player game in which Dana suffered the permanent emotional damage hinted at above, in the early-to-mid-game I was lowest on the income track, and had several rounds in a row where my tokens were never drawn (which should be a 5% chance, happening maybe once per game!). The other two guys, whose portfolios overlapped better with each other's than with mine, were making each other richer while I was falling farther & farther behind. I was having a bad time, and lacked the strength of character to keep that to myself.

But then, curiously, immediately after a change in the personnel responsible for drawing tokens from the bag, I got three turns in a row, and was able to make a comeback. I think I continued to get all of my tokens drawn from the bag almost every round, until the second-to-last round when it no longer mattered. I won by a margin large enough to establish this as the finest game ever designed, a subtle blend of strategy & tactics, etc. etc.

A variant which one player suggested--which I like better than anything else I saw in the Variants forum--is to stock the bag normally, but draw until you've got at least one token from each player. (The goal is to guarantee that people at the bottom of the track get turns; it has the unfortunate side effect of guaranteeing that people at the top of the track get turns too.)



* To be clear, "retired" is a euphemism for being thrown out in the street & run over repeatedly by Dana's truck. It was an uncomfortable scene for everyone involved, especially the neighbors who were awoken & drawn out of their homes by Dana's unrestrained weeping. When one of us explained to the police officer that Dana was running over German Railways, the officer rolled his eyes, snapped his notebook shut, and muttered, "we don't need to get involved for anything less than 1830."
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J C Lawrence
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kuhrusty wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Bobdole04126623 wrote:
Sure statistical anomaly can be claimed, but every play I've been in has had someone be the victim of some such anomaly.


I recall a game in which I got a sum total of one turn...on the penultimate round of the game (and wished devoutly I could pass on that turn instead of having to act). and won by a little under 5%.


In order for that to work, though, you had to be high on the income track (where you expect to have rounds without turns).


IIRC I started with a middling income, 3rd or so, and slowly climbed the order from there.
 
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Gillum the Stoor
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clearclaw wrote:
IIRC I started with a middling income, 3rd or so, and slowly climbed the order from there.

But did you really get a turn in the penultimate round and not pass despite wanting to?

Or did you perhaps mean that you might have preferred for another player to have a turn instead?
 
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