At last I got the game printed and played a few games. While I thought the game is great in that it's a train game with delivery and all without getting overcomplicated, I came across a few questions/problems.
1. what happens if a player has all his load cubes on stations without towns? Is there any way that he can get his load cubes back to continue making deliveries? Of course, other players could deliver goods from those stations to get those cubes back into play, but else it seems that that player is reduced to hoping for help by other players.
remember you can always pick a load up (at a station) and remove a load cube there. houses (towns) are special and allow you to remove a load cube from both stations involved.
look at the example in the rules.. the black player is delivering ore to the steel siding at the top. if there were load cubes on the supply station (the sheep station). the cube (1 cube) covering the lowest number on the sheep station would be removed.
which brings me to..
2. I assume that with deliveries the load cube occupying the lowest numbered square is removed, no matter whom the cube belongs to?
exactly. note that although all players start with a pool of cubes in front of them, they do not belong to any one player. so pick your deliveries wisely.
3. More about removal of load cubes back to player's supplies: it seems that a player will really want to get his cubes back if he wants to move people, as profits from carrying people are very low if not both the stations of the delivery are controlled by the delivering player. If the other side of a 2 town people transport for instance is controlled by an opponent with a steel mill, that opponent will make more money out of the transport than the transporting player (3 for opponent, 1 for transporting player)
yes. so build more houses around the steel siding (or the other station) to offset the loss. but getting 2 cubes back to your supply in mid game is probably worth it. i'm actually thinking of revising station taxes down (steel = $2, sheep and wood = $1). you may like to try this and see what you think. i'm not convinced it's a good idea yet. there are not many mines tiles in the deck so steel siding revenue will not be that high.
4. An explicit list of which goods are brought to which type of station would be good for the rules. It is pretty straightforward, but technically it's to the players to decide/find out. Also it might be worth writing down in the game components list, that you need '5 load cubes of each colour' instead of '20 loads'
no, load cubes do not belong to any player. the loads should all be the same colour (neutral). so it is possible for a player to monopolize many of the loads if they are clever (and don't mind having no friends).
5. Something that comes up with a smaller amount of players is that when the three managers are placed, it's still possible to play additional stations when the conditions are met for playing additional stations. Can already placed managers be moved to a new station from the board or will the new stations remain without a manager? Maybe a different tile mix would work for a smaller amount of players?
No. you may not place a station if you have no manager. you may not move a manager either. we are a bit divided as to whether the station stack should be face up or face down. face up sort of implies exploration knowledge. or face down for mystery.
6. The rule of an immediate game end in case of no legal tile placements is a bit confusing. Can this happen if a player draws a 'wrong' tile, i.e. a country tile when there are no stations where to put the tile next to? Or a station which can not be placed as there is no track between an existing station and the station which is to be placed? A track which can't fit into the network (although this last bit should not be possible given the rule in 2.1 where you would take a new tile, seems to happen with the dead end tiles.)
great point but we've never had it happen. i'll edit the rules to say you may not opt out of tile placement if one is possible. so the sudden end only occurs if you can not place ANY of the tiles
I really hope these comments will help you in the development of the game and I hope you'll consider them when writing up the next version of the rues. As the game seems to be in development still, I won't write a review on the forums yet.
they help loads.. thanks for taking the time to put together such a lengthy post.