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Subject: More clarifications and strategy ramifications rss

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Peter Hazlewood
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Hi folks. I played my second game of this on Saturday, a 3p game on the Eastern US map. I've since read that this map isn't fantastic for players and I think we found we agree with that. It took a long time and a lot of the central locations just weren't connected because the cube rewards were too small to justify the outlay.

The major lines were a bit of an issue in this game. I'm in no way suggesting after one play that there is a problem with the major line scoring, but in this game it was pretty clear from early in the game that one player was going to get so far ahead by completing the New York - Chicago major line (the operations card for the same route was also out from right near the start) that the result would be a foregone conclusion. Jon was going to receive a 40-point jump; while it would leave him strapped for cash for a while until he passed the 100-point mark he'd have a massive lead in points that would be really tough to overhaul. Peter and I set about trying to stop him gaining the points, or at least delay him and this effectively ended my game.



As you'll see in the image above, we tried really hard to block Jon (purple) out but eventually had to admit defeat. The thing is, it spoiled Jon's game for a while because he felt we were colluding to stop him and it spoiled my game because I ruined any chance of doing well to try and keep the scores closer. Is this something that has happened to other people? What's the solution?

On a related topic, have people found a good way to mark the locations on the map for the major lines? It's such a big map and there are so many routes that it's hard to keep track of the lines.

Another source of frustration for Jon was the lack of 'fork' track pieces. This is obviously a deliberate choice by the designers but what's the justification?

When all is said and done though, we had a great time. I think I'll just need to get other maps for 3-4p.

 
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Originally, the game had operations cards that scored the major lines once they were drawn from the deck. Then they updated the game to make all the major lines available from the beginning of the game. This avoided situations such as people knowing the deck (and the major lines) ahead of the game, building for them before the card became available, as well as avoided a situation where a card came out, and more than one person had that line completed. With that said, if you're playing with the major lines available from the beginning, than you should not also be using the operations cards for them (effectively scoring double points for a major line if it shows up). The cards were included for people that wanted to play the old way.

As for keeping track of the major lines, I just give each player a reference card that has them all listed.

There are no fork pieces to make players have to deal with tougher decisions. Each city has a limited number of entry points, which is something to consider when connecting to cities. The first player gets to choose the best entry point, and other players have to decide whether to pay more to reach a less optimal entry point, or build elsewhere. If there were fork pieces, the number of entry points and their locations wouldn't mean anything.

The Eastern US map is definitely better for 5-6 players, as it crowds the up the eastern coast more, and makes the open area a little more desirable to get away from the clogging. And of course, initial cube colors can be a huge factor of where people want to build. For 3-4 players, you're better off on the Europe, Great Britain, or Canada (North America) map.
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Eric Sokolowsky
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Here's a tip for marking major lines: get pairs of dice the same color and put them on each end of major lines (so you'll need 6 pairs of different-colored dice). You can even move the number on each die to be the points for the line if you want.

You can play with the optional rule of having "fork" pieces that come out of a city. They are called "track switchers" and Eagle makes multi-colored plastic pieces that mark such switches. But no, there are no track tiles that are switches.
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/137537/railways-world-sw...
https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1909437/railways-north-ameri...


I personally love the England/Wales/UK map for any number of players since city distribution is much more even than the Eastern U.S.
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Peter Hazlewood
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DoomTurtle wrote:
Originally, the game had operations cards that scored the major lines once they were drawn from the deck. Then they updated the game to make all the major lines available from the beginning of the game.


Ah! That makes a lot more sense, but curious that I didn't see any reference to these 2 ways of playing. It's a fairly major error that we gave Jon 40 points instead of 20. Everything else you've said makes sense as well, thanks for the reply.

*Edit, I now see where it talks about this in the rules.
 
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Peter Hazlewood
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esok wrote:
Here's a tip for marking major lines: get pairs of dice the same color and put them on each end of major lines (so you'll need 6 pairs of different-colored dice). You can even move the number on each die to be the points for the line if you want.


This is the kind of solution I was looking for. Of course all players had a reference card which states the major lines but it doesn't make it easy to see on the board so differently coloured dice is a nice touch.
 
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Alex Drazen
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sneakypete21 wrote:
DoomTurtle wrote:
Originally, the game had operations cards that scored the major lines once they were drawn from the deck. Then they updated the game to make all the major lines available from the beginning of the game.


Ah! That makes a lot more sense, but curious that I didn't see any reference to these 2 ways of playing. It's a fairly major error that we gave Jon 40 points instead of 20. Everything else you've said makes sense as well, thanks for the reply.


Isn't NY/Chicago only 10? Did you mean NY/KC, which I think is the one that's 20?
 
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Peter Hazlewood
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alexdrazen wrote:
sneakypete21 wrote:
DoomTurtle wrote:
Originally, the game had operations cards that scored the major lines once they were drawn from the deck. Then they updated the game to make all the major lines available from the beginning of the game.


Ah! That makes a lot more sense, but curious that I didn't see any reference to these 2 ways of playing. It's a fairly major error that we gave Jon 40 points instead of 20. Everything else you've said makes sense as well, thanks for the reply.


Isn't NY/Chicago only 10? Did you mean NY/KC, which I think is the one that's 20?


Yes, I just checked and NY-Chicago is 10 while NY-KC is 20. Anyhoo, he got both so we gave 60 points rather than 30!
 
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Jon G
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There comes a point where blocking NY-Chi-KC gets unfortunately gamey. If a player manages to connect NY-Chi-Rock Island, the only way to block is for multiple players to build lots of expensive, useless track, taking themselves out of the game. Yes, if all other players collude it may be affordable, but I think that's rather unfun.

The time to block the NY-KC player is when he wants to connect to NY and Chicago (often twice). If someone does so early, block their Midwest or Buffalo connections; if someone builds west from NY, grab the east & SE entries to Chicago. All of the above are way more useful links than building around St. Louis.

Against good competition, a NY-KC strategy requires building critical links before you can really afford them, finding the right balance of debt and bootstrapping your income, and setting up to profit from the Western Link. It's great fun to try, but it's not an every game strategy, and it requires cubes and opponents in the right places to be worth doing.

Side note: Just planning NY-Chicago alone is often more viable than NY-Chi-KC. Any red cubes in NY or Chi are reserved for you, you clean up if anyone else builds a Western Link, and you can siphon off cubes, points, and good connections from almost everyone. If the game is running long and you can still get to KC, then do that for the points, but don't consider it essential to your strategy.
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Chris Hillery
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alexdrazen wrote:
Isn't NY/Chicago only 10? Did you mean NY/KC, which I think is the one that's 20?

Don't forget that the 20-point Major Line is NY -> KC plus building the Western Link out of KC.
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Henry Allen
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A lot of good replies here. I'll add that I've never found building in someone's way helpful towards winning (unless it's a build I want anyways or maybe if I'm desperate and a single build will do the trick). Much better is poaching cubes you know they were building towards if you can get there first and make decent points on them.

I also wonder what level train you guys had built and how long of deliveries you were doing? 30 points is huge but it takes a lot of time and effort to do it. If you're making large deliveries and getting major lines of your own, there should be ways to compete without having to make blocking builds.

That said, I don't think I've tried this map with 3. Every map has different dynamics with different player counts and I could imagine NY-CHI-KC-WL being stronger or more reliable with less players or a longer game.

And of course, not doubling the payout will help!
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Chris Hillery
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On Eastern US, most players should probably get to engine level 6 and be able to make at least a few six-link deliveries. With only three players, I could even believe one player making it to level 7. It's hard to imagine level 8 being a sound move though since it's so expensive.

And yes, I agree. It's rare in this game where the best choice is to do something only to block another player. You should always at least gain some direct benefit for yourself. Of course, if you can do both....
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Chris Halaska
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sneakypete21 wrote:
esok wrote:
Here's a tip for marking major lines: get pairs of dice the same color and put them on each end of major lines (so you'll need 6 pairs of different-colored dice). You can even move the number on each die to be the points for the line if you want.

This is the kind of solution I was looking for. Of course all players had a reference card which states the major lines but it doesn't make it easy to see on the board so differently coloured dice is a nice touch.

Similarly, we use differently colored beads to mark the major routes. I raided the kids' craft supplies to find 6 colors that were different from the ones already in the game, but still reasonably visible.

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Jimmy Hensel
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x2fer wrote:

sneakypete21 wrote:
esok wrote:
Here's a tip for marking major lines: get pairs of dice the same color and put them on each end of major lines (so you'll need 6 pairs of different-colored dice). You can even move the number on each die to be the points for the line if you want.

This is the kind of solution I was looking for. Of course all players had a reference card which states the major lines but it doesn't make it easy to see on the board so differently coloured dice is a nice touch.

Similarly, we use differently colored beads to mark the major routes. I raided the kids' craft supplies to find 6 colors that were different from the ones already in the game, but still reasonably visible.



On another thread I saw a recommendation for this:
https://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/game-pieces... a plastic pennant flag with base. I obtained 18, 3 each in 6 different colors. I place one at each of the line and one on the key for that line. I've used them in two games so far and they really help.

In a similar vein, I use a mini spool with piece of dowel rod to mark cities with delivery bounties.
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Don Lynch
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Just to pile on, I believe there is a Baron card that gives a bonus for the NY to Chicago connection. Probably 5 points. (Don't have the game with me at the moment, but easily checkable.)
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Don Lynch
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esok wrote:

I personally love the England/Wales/UK map for any number of players since city distribution is much more even than the Eastern U.S.


Totally agree.

Railways of England and Wales is slightly different from Railways of Great Britain. That being said, I have not played on GB. Thus, from my plays, Railways of England and Wales is the best of all the available maps for any number of players. Not only is the city distribution good, but the distances and build costs are low too. Have played with up to 6 players on this map, and mostly with 4-6 players on RWotW in general. 6 players on this map turned out to be a great time, but you only get to deal one baron card per player (10 total).

A creative way around that would be to give the 1st player 3 barons, choose one and shuffle two back in to the deck. Then give the second player 3 barons, et cetera. (Could work with giving 2 also). Possible not all the barons will be seen, and also good rejects will go back for someone else to possibly choose. Note that 'good' here would mean good for the style of a given player.

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Don Lynch
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More piling on.

From another thread, "My personal gripes with Railways of the World" (no I didn't start it!), I think the following pertinent yet opinionated information might apply to this thread. I wrote,

"My personal Board Rankings are:
1. England
2. Eastern US
3. Mexico
4. North America (Canada)
5. Europe
6. Western US

These are flavor rankings, mostly due to fun factors which include most of the players being in contention at both the beginning and end of the game. England plays well with 3 to 6 players, the more the merrier. While the Eastern US map has some problems, they are well known at this point and should not be a surprise to anyone. In fact, just played back to back 6 player games with these maps. England (added 2 to number of vacant cities due to 5 player set up limit) went to a tie breaker of most links. And Eastern US ended up tied before counting barons. One of the leader players made baron to win, while 2 points separated second through fourth. (No one else made baron in this game.) Curiously the three one track links connecting New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington were each owned by different players very early in the second round of the first turn. And the Hotel NY was owned too, what with a red cube on each of those cities, and 2 more in Providence.

Have only played Mexico with 2 or 3 players, but it was always a lot of fun. Have been blessed to usually having 4 to 6 players available to play this game. But Mexico works fine with less. Got the operation cards that were printed in the far east. Probable that those cards are the ones that are now packaged with the game. Have only played Canada 2 or 3 times so far, so the rating is a bit provisional. But all those games were contested and fun. Have played Europe with 4 or 5 players. Board would play better with a few more cities. Only gets played for sake of variety at this point. Western US does not produce close games as a rule (4 to 6 players). For that and other reasons, it is my least favorite map. One of those issues is that the vacant city numbers seem too low, even if you add 2 to the given number."

A quick addendum to the referenced Eastern U.S. NE start where 3 players each had a piece of NY to Washington 2 point builds. The player who bid first took a RW executive and made a first turn build/run in the Charleston area. Truly was a Best Friend of Charleston. Although a bounty to Jacksonville had a lot to do with it. I played second and took the hotel NY. 3d player built Phil-Bal. 4th player took a land grant. 5th and 6th players built out west. On round two, 1st player ran in Charleston again, I built NY-Phil, 3d player ran Balt-Phil, 4th player built Balt-Wash, and wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the baron? Having lost the previous England game on a tie breaker, I found myself tied with the same player again. And would have lost the tie-breaker again. My baron was for 1st '6' train and was already faced before end of game. 3 other players all had barons that scored with something like most links, longest links, and most cities, and ended up screwing each other over. Sublime.
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Jon G
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Contrary voice just because.

d10-1 Eastern US is my favorite map because it's imbalanced. The imbalance makes it interesting, and forces more difficult strategic decisions, rather than just being an initial calculation of best starting area and tactical play thereafter
d10-2 Europe is my next favorite, because the economics and competition is treacherous as hell
d10-3 Canada & Mexico: Both decent maps, I appreciate the smaller maps for fewer players. Canada is more satisfying, richer, and cheaper, Mexico more challenging.
d10-4 Western US feels like a mixed bag. The west coast is a win if one plays there, brutal if two. Similarly the east edge of the Rockies. And the plains are just so marginal...
d10-5 England & Wales... blech. Worst of all worlds. Too many cheap links, everything is just flat. It's an exercise in calculating your final score in round 1. Or it's so unforgiving for new players that they never experience the pressure of issuing shares you can't afford to open an opportunity.

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Henry Allen
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I'll add my vote:

Europe with 4 is my absolute favorite. It's very balanced and having the only two red cities centrally located ensures everyone mixes it up at some point. With three or five players I prefer other maps.

I like all the other maps too though. All of this talk of England and Wales with 6 has me curious to try that!
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Peter Hazlewood
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Aha! I knew there was another clarification needed that I'd forgotten until we played again earlier...

Is it acceptable to add cubes to an empty city? I know it's kosher to urbanise a previously empty unindustrialised location but how about adding new cubes to a city that cannot be urbanised?
 
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Don Lynch
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KlydeFrog wrote:
I'll add my vote:

Europe with 4 is my absolute favorite. It's very balanced and having the only two red cities centrally located ensures everyone mixes it up at some point. With three or five players I prefer other maps.

I like all the other maps too though. All of this talk of England and Wales with 6 has me curious to try that!


One of the features of a very over-crowded England and Wales is that nearly everything is contested. For me this is a very positive feature.

Did come close to a 7 player Eastern U.S. game, but the chance didn't work out. I have an extra set of dark blue trains courtesy of "Age of Steam" and also a set of white trains of unknown origin.
 
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Jimmy Hensel
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sneakypete21 wrote:
Aha! I knew there was another clarification needed that I'd forgotten until we played again earlier...

Is it acceptable to add cubes to an empty city? I know it's kosher to urbanise a previously empty unindustrialised location but how about adding new cubes to a city that cannot be urbanised?


I believe so with an action card that says something to the effect of "add two cubes to the city of your choice."
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Henry Allen
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pawnpusher wrote:
sneakypete21 wrote:
Aha! I knew there was another clarification needed that I'd forgotten until we played again earlier...

Is it acceptable to add cubes to an empty city? I know it's kosher to urbanise a previously empty unindustrialised location but how about adding new cubes to a city that cannot be urbanised?


I believe so with an action card that says something to the effect of "add two cubes to the city of your choice."


The 'City Growth' card lets you add cubes to any city, no restrictions.

The Urbanize action and 'New Industry' card can only be used on gray cities. They let you set the color of any gray city and add two cubes.

Neither has restrictions regarding the number of cubes already in the city.
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Jeroen Paardekooper
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sneakypete21 wrote:
Aha! I knew there was another clarification needed that I'd forgotten until we played again earlier...

Is it acceptable to add cubes to an empty city? I know it's kosher to urbanise a previously empty unindustrialised location but how about adding new cubes to a city that cannot be urbanised?


This game is not supposed to be played kosher devil

Edit: unless we are talking about what kinds of snacks to go with it...
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Pas L
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pawnpusher wrote:
x2fer wrote:

sneakypete21 wrote:
esok wrote:
Here's a tip for marking major lines: get pairs of dice the same color and put them on each end of major lines (so you'll need 6 pairs of different-colored dice). You can even move the number on each die to be the points for the line if you want.

This is the kind of solution I was looking for. Of course all players had a reference card which states the major lines but it doesn't make it easy to see on the board so differently coloured dice is a nice touch.

Similarly, we use differently colored beads to mark the major routes. I raided the kids' craft supplies to find 6 colors that were different from the ones already in the game, but still reasonably visible.



On another thread I saw a recommendation for this:
https://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/game-pieces... a plastic pennant flag with base. I obtained 18, 3 each in 6 different colors. I place one at each of the line and one on the key for that line. I've used them in two games so far and they really help.

In a similar vein, I use a mini spool with piece of dowel rod to mark cities with delivery bounties.


I do this and it's terrific.

I also have wooden houses for hotels in player colours (and a neutral hotel), so players can keep track of what hotel is what on the board, and what is available.
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dr.mrow wrote:
Contrary voice just because.

d10-1 Eastern US is my favorite map because it's imbalanced. The imbalance makes it interesting, and forces more difficult strategic decisions, rather than just being an initial calculation of best starting area and tactical play thereafter
d10-2 Europe is my next favorite, because the economics and competition is treacherous as hell
d10-3 Canada & Mexico: Both decent maps, I appreciate the smaller maps for fewer players. Canada is more satisfying, richer, and cheaper, Mexico more challenging.
d10-4 Western US feels like a mixed bag. The west coast is a win if one plays there, brutal if two. Similarly the east edge of the Rockies. And the plains are just so marginal...
d10-5 England & Wales... blech. Worst of all worlds. Too many cheap links, everything is just flat. It's an exercise in calculating your final score in round 1. Or it's so unforgiving for new players that they never experience the pressure of issuing shares you can't afford to open an opportunity.



Also this. Except I dislike Mexico as it's pretty patterned.
 
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