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Subject: First Turn Service Bounties? rss

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Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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I was playing RRT the other day, and one of my opponents for his very first move built from Minneapolis to Duluth just to claim the service bounty right away. He didn't link up that track to the rest of his network for the entire game, and from the looks of things, he never intended to.

While the player in question didn't come anywhere close to winning, I wonder if this kind of opening play is a beneficial strategy. Basically, you're wasting a turn building a link that you probably won't use later, and putting yourself last in deciding what area of the board you're going to truly base your operations in, but getting that quick service bounty gets you over that initial income hump in a way that just getting one point (which is what I see most people do on turn one) doesn't do.

Thoughts?
 
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Rik Van Horn
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Livonia
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One turn shouldn't make or break you in deciding your future strategy.
I don't have the game in front of me, how many actions did he use of his 3 to make the link? And how many shares did he issue versus the VP's he got?
 
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Doug Faust
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Rokkr wrote:
One turn shouldn't make or break you in deciding your future strategy.
I don't have the game in front of me, how many actions did he use of his 3 to make the link? And how many shares did he issue versus the VP's he got?

He spent one action to build three open-plains track tiles ($6,000). That would require 2 shares. He claimed the service bounty to Duluth card for 4, plus 1 for delivering a good one link away.
 
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Konwacht
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"He didn't link up that track to the rest of his network for the entire game"

Hum? You can´t build a link on another place of the map without linking with your network... all links of your railroad have to be connected with your network. So - he can for sure build a link to get this service bounty but then he is forced to expand from there - he can´t build another railroad on another place of the map... or am I totally wrong? I´m pretty sure there have been some discussions about that in the past. That is, you can´t build Chicago - Minneapolis first and the build New York - Baltimore... each track has to be in the same network... ?
 
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Rik Van Horn
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Konwacht wrote:
"He didn't link up that track to the rest of his network for the entire game"

Hum? You can´t build a link on another place of the map without linking with your network... all links of your railroad have to be connected with your network. So - he can for sure build a link to get this service bounty but then he is forced to expand from there - he can´t build another railroad on another place of the map... or am I totally wrong? I´m pretty sure there have been some discussions about that in the past. That is, you can´t build Chicago - Minneapolis first and the build New York - Baltimore... each track has to be in the same network... ?
Maybe in some other train game. In RRT, you can build your links anywhere; as long as they're finished in one turn.
 
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John Weber
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Some play RRT with a house rule that you can't have the RR Executive card or more than one RR Executive out on the first turn. Others play without the service bounties. Regardless, if there is one particularly attractive card available, such as RR Executive, it is up to the other players to make the start player pay a hefty price for the privilege of going first.
 
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Konwacht
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Rokkr wrote:
Konwacht wrote:
"He didn't link up that track to the rest of his network for the entire game"

Hum? You can´t build a link on another place of the map without linking with your network... all links of your railroad have to be connected with your network. So - he can for sure build a link to get this service bounty but then he is forced to expand from there - he can´t build another railroad on another place of the map... or am I totally wrong? I´m pretty sure there have been some discussions about that in the past. That is, you can´t build Chicago - Minneapolis first and the build New York - Baltimore... each track has to be in the same network... ?
Maybe in some other train game. In RRT, you can build your links anywhere; as long as they're finished in one turn.

Uh, that suckz, but you are right. I just tried to find the old discussion and there have been more than five threads reagarding this topic and in each there have been very different opinions - but at the end it seems that is really that way you said. But we always played it the other way - and it worked VERY well, so we never felt wrong in it ^.^ It just adds some spice because you really have to plan WHERE to start and how to build to enter in a specific region. That´s much more exiting. Well, I believe, we will stay with this as a house rules
 
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Chris Trimmer
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I think that would be a horrible house rule. The reason being that service bounties that come out later might only be redeemable by one or two players. These players then get something for nothing w/o having to worry about several players bidding for a potential bounty.

The other problem is that a couple of players could collude to really block someone from ever being to able to set-up a long-term network w/o ridculous cost.

With the rule as written, you can at times have a nice split chain where you use the link of another player in between your links.
 
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Kevin Brown
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Macon
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I would say it's generally inadvisable to do a one-off for a Service Bounty. It isn't the worst thing in the world, but you're better off connecting a network to make longer deliveries.
 
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Greg Low
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Mansfield
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Getting a first turn service bounty has many factors. Number of players, cube distribution, which service bounty, and out-of-the-way-ish-ness are among the factors.

If the cubes are good in the Cinci-Lex-Lou triangle, and the service bounty to Louisville comes out, it can be the easiest decision of any game, especially if Chicago and Nashville offer expansion for later.

Duluth is rarely so attractive.

I'd compare it to a first turn hotel draw. It can work, especially with the fewest share tycoon and cooperative cube distributions, but you will suffer later for your slower network development.

So, yea, there are times when it is worth it to build track just for one go. It's all about the competing opportunities.

-Greg
 
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Konwacht
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TrimChris wrote:
I think that would be a horrible house rule. The reason being that service bounties that come out later might only be redeemable by one or two players. These players then get something for nothing w/o having to worry about several players bidding for a potential bounty.

The other problem is that a couple of players could collude to really block someone from ever being to able to set-up a long-term network w/o ridculous cost.

With the rule as written, you can at times have a nice split chain where you use the link of another player in between your links.

Hm, we never had such problems - and this in about 30 games in our gaming group community here... (about 10 where a participated). It simply feels more... intense and realistic to expand an existing network - and adds some more thinking about where to place your network and how to build the tracks. But such kind of problems we did not have had...
 
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Harald Torvatn
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Konwacht wrote:
TrimChris wrote:
I think that would be a horrible house rule. The reason being that service bounties that come out later might only be redeemable by one or two players. These players then get something for nothing w/o having to worry about several players bidding for a potential bounty.

The other problem is that a couple of players could collude to really block someone from ever being to able to set-up a long-term network w/o ridculous cost.

With the rule as written, you can at times have a nice split chain where you use the link of another player in between your links.

Hm, we never had such problems - and this in about 30 games in our gaming group community here... (about 10 where a participated). It simply feels more... intense and realistic to expand an existing network - and adds some more thinking about where to place your network and how to build the tracks. But such kind of problems we did not have had...

In my group, we have to build the bottlenecks first if we are to build anything into contested territory. If we build from our network towards the bottlenecks, the bottlenecks WILL be blocked when we reach them. Therefore, we frequently build track not connected to our network, even though we fully intend to make it a part of our network later. Building New York-Chicago, for example, would be impossible fron one end to the other, but is possible (just expensive) if you first get a link out of new york and then out of chicago. Thus the ability to build unconnected tracks makes some otherwise impossible long term strategies possible.

 
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Konwacht
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Uhm, we DID have some of these strategies before... ^.^ NY-CH well, it´s very rare, but it happens...
 
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Harald Torvatn
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Konwacht wrote:
Uhm, we DID have some of these strategies before... ^.^ NY-CH well, it´s very rare, but it happens...

The question is:

Does players in your group build out from New York, planning to find an unused opening into Chicago when they reach it,

or

does it just happen that somone exteds their net out from New York and reach Chicago?

Only the first of these is really a long term strategy.


(I take it for granted that no one builds from Chicago and reach New York before all openings there have been filled up?)
 
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Konwacht
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Taht´s right, only the first thing will more likely happen - but I saw some other strategies before, too. One time we had a player building around Atlanta - he extended to Chicago and then within three phases/rounds (not game turns) from Richmond to NY, that was fun. Ok, that won´t happen in a 6-player-game and not really often in a 5-player-game. But in 3- oder 4-player-games you don´t have more than two players competing in the north east (when the cubes are distributed in a fair way around the map) - and then there can be the option to expand into NY later in the game. It´s like always: Experienced players will know that and try to block by building "dumb" links out of NY to hold the other player away from NY, but not every player is such a gamegeek and not always it seems needful to do that when you don´t realize that the third or forth player could expand into NY with a sudden rush... (especially with an action card).
 
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Randy Brown
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This strategy can work in some cases. The Jacksonville or Mobile bounties are better, since there's a greater chance of getting something out of them down the stretch. Still, IF you can build there, and grab a $2K link w/ your next move, then build another $2K next to your first as you open the 2nd turn...well then you'd be in pretty good shape. The trouble is getting those two $2K builds so late in the opening rounds. If you could do it, you'd be able to do this:

Turn 1 ends with 5pts, 2 shares, $7K.
Turn 2 ends with 7pts, 2 shares, $7K, and you'd have your level 2 train.
This puts you in a good position to threaten for the speed record and new train bonuses despite burning the two of your first three actions for the 5 points. Even if you don't get those bonuses, you'll be pushing someone else to soak shares that you won't need to take. So it could be good. I've never done it as an open, but I have done it during the midgame to prevent an opponent from closing the deal.
 
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Kim Milvang-Jensen
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The Duluth bounty is different from most other, in that the track is virtually useless.

I kinda like the strategy. It gives you s ignificant cash flow. This allows you to play a strategy that takes some time to develop, without worrying too much about income. I especially like it if ther is a land grant, or hotel out you can grab. I have found that getting position is not all that important. It is far moroe important to no be cut off from fital links. Ín round 2, where your opponents are likely wirried about making points, you can then build 3 links, and a strategy, that others are not likely to interfere with, since you know where they have already comitted their resources.
 
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Ward Stolk
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If there is one bounty out, you'll probably end up bidding for first turn with someone (or at least you should try and get first turn to be sure of the bounty). Added advantage is that you will also get the additional 1 point for first movement of goods cube, which is not taken into account in this discussion.
 
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Bob Melkus
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Duluth bounty is sweeter if you can do it as the very first move, but you are not the first player (not having payed anything go go first). You take 2 shares you build Dul-Min, next round you build something for up to the $4 that you have left over from the previous build (something that you need). And as your final round you deliver to Duluth.

This gives you an income of $7 and only 2 shares. You are making $5 on the second turn. That is worth making a single link that you won't need.

The biggest problem is that this setup almost never happens. Even if the Duluth bounty is opened at the start, most often there are no yellow cubes in Minneapolis. So if you spot a chance like this, and the first player didn't take it. Go ahead and do it.
 
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