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Russian Railroads: American Railroads» Forums » Variants

Subject: American Engineer Ideas rss

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Mike Young
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I was a little disappointed to see that there were no new Engineers for American Railroads, so I brainstormed a few. I haven't tested these or anything, but I'd like some thoughts on these.

John Henry - B (3) - Advance one track of your choice two spaces.
Commentary and notes: This is less powerful than the (1) Engineer from the base game which gives you two track advancements, but it is still pretty powerful, hence the low scoring value. If the black worker is used to activate this Engineer to advance a black track two spaces, you get an extra black track advancement that does not have to be the same track.

Casey Jones - A (16) - Immediately score 5 points.
Commentary and notes: Strictly speaking weaker than many other engineers, but worth it if you can get the #1 Factory.

Cornelius Vanderbuilt - A (10) - Take 1 rouble from supply and immediately gain 3 points.
Commentary and notes: An engineer that provides 2 coins is too powerful and one that provides only 1 coin isn't powerful enough.

Jay Gould - A (7) - Immediately take a personal stock payout.
Commentary and notes: I am really unsure about this one. Early game he will be weak; mid game he will be about as powerful as other engineers, but late in the game he could become really powerful. I'm hoping that would be balancing, because you have to take him early in the game which will then drive your strategy. I'd love to hear suggestions and ideas if you feel he is too powerful.

Nikola Tesla - B (2) - *Requires placing a worker and a rouble* - Gain any available factory of a type you do not already own. Factories built this way start from your rightmost open space and build toward your left.
Commentary: Tesla lets you build factories of much higher numbers than would otherwise be available. I'm hoping the "no duplicates" rule would be balancing, but am unsure. If all your factories are built, you can replace as normal.

Thomas Edison - B (-5) - *Requires placing two workers OR a rouble* - Immediately use the ability of one of your opponent's factories as though you owned it and had just moved your industry marker there. Your industry marker must be on or past the factory's space on your own track.
Commentary: That is, in order to activate an opponent's factory, it needs to be on a place on their board where you could have already activated it if it were on your board. Might be too confusing, but I'm worried allowing for any factory to be activated would be too powerful, especially with Tesla on the board. Like the twins from German Railroads, Edison is worth -5 points, but will never generate negative points when scoring Engineers.

That's it. Thanks for reading. One last request. People play games for different reasons and have different ways of getting fun from the games. I enjoy tinkering with games for fun. I'm not saying that your way of playing the game is wrong, or that the game *absolutely requires* changing. Please don't harsh on my way of having fun; I just like tinkering and coming up with ideas. Thanks!
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Daniel King
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These are really cool ideas. I don't have the expansion yet, but I appreciate the effort and creativity that went into creating these.
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Robin David
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Nice Ideas! I've found that the stock payout is a really powerful move, so any engineers that allow for that should probably be avoided.

I was playing this yesterday and my plan was to to rush up the stock market - it worked wonders, netting me over 400 points by the end.

It stikes me that the American board requires players to diversify much more than previous boards, so maybe Engineers that reward that could be interesting. How about:

Take a doubler and an industry advancement.

One industry advancement on each industry track.

One black rail advancement on each rail.

Take a factory and one black rail advancement.

Take a locomotive and one industry advancement.
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Mike Young
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Good thoughts. I like the diversity ideas, although I think some of yours might be too powerful. Not sure yet. I've only played a few times and haven't had enough plays to really gauge the power of the stock market.

What would you think of making it so that you can take two rewards from the Stock Market instead of a full payout?

Mike

robindavid wrote:
Nice Ideas! I've found that the stock payout is a really powerful move, so any engineers that allow for that should probably be avoided.

I was playing this yesterday and my plan was to to rush up the stock market - it worked wonders, netting me over 400 points by the end.

It stikes me that the American board requires players to diversify much more than previous boards, so maybe Engineers that reward that could be interesting. How about:

Take a doubler and an industry advancement.

One industry advancement on each industry track.

One black rail advancement on each rail.

Take a factory and one black rail advancement.

Take a locomotive and one industry advancement.
 
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Robin David
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Buggy wrote:
What would you think of making it so that you can take two rewards from the Stock Market instead of a full payout?


I think the biggest issue with this is it gives you a lot of choice, and that in itself is powerful. It means the engineer is always going to be awesome, no matter what situation you later find yourself in. Maybe it would be ok if the cost was a ruble or two workers.
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Richard Irving
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Buggy wrote:
I was a little disappointed to see that there were no new Engineers for American Railroads, so I brainstormed a few. I haven't tested these or anything, but I'd like some thoughts on these.

John Henry - B (3) - Advance one track of your choice two spaces.
Commentary and notes: This is less powerful than the (1) Engineer from the base game which gives you two track advancements, but it is still pretty powerful, hence the low scoring value. If the black worker is used to activate this Engineer to advance a black track two spaces, you get an extra black track advancement that does not have to be the same track.


One track or one track marker. IOW, can a player advance the black and gray markers on the same track? Or must he advance one track marker 2 spaces?
Quote:

Casey Jones - A (16) - Immediately score 5 points.
Commentary and notes: Strictly speaking weaker than many other engineers, but worth it if you can get the #1 Factory.


Since 3 points is the standard point award, with something extra, this doesn't seem too strong.
Quote:

Cornelius Vanderbuilt - A (10) - Take 1 rouble from supply and immediately gain 3 points.
Commentary and notes: An engineer that provides 2 coins is too powerful and one that provides only 1 coin isn't powerful enough.


Every engineer is at least as powerful as the matching 1 meeple space (if any), and there already is a 2 dollar (This a AMERICAN Rails!!!!) space.

Quote:
Jay Gould - A (7) - Immediately take a personal stock payout.
Commentary and notes: I am really unsure about this one. Early game he will be weak; mid game he will be about as powerful as other engineers, but late in the game he could become really powerful. I'm hoping that would be balancing, because you have to take him early in the game which will then drive your strategy. I'd love to hear suggestions and ideas if you feel he is too powerful.


I haven't played American Rails yet, but this seems way too powerful since a stock payout can earn several items. Maybe make it a B engineer (thus limiting it to late game.) or make it a dollar to use.
Quote:

Nikola Tesla - B (2) - *Requires placing a worker and a rouble* - Gain any available factory of a type you do not already own. Factories built this way start from your rightmost open space and build toward your left.
Commentary: Tesla lets you build factories of much higher numbers than would otherwise be available. I'm hoping the "no duplicates" rule would be balancing, but am unsure. If all your factories are built, you can replace as normal.


There already is a train/factory engineer--what this does opens powerful scoring factories earlier in the game. But meeple and a dollar seems way too high--that essentially 2 actions.

Quote:
Thomas Edison - B (-5) - *Requires placing two workers OR a rouble* - Immediately use the ability of one of your opponent's factories as though you owned it and had just moved your industry marker there. Your industry marker must be on or past the factory's space on your own track.
Commentary: That is, in order to activate an opponent's factory, it needs to be on a place on their board where you could have already activated it if it were on your board. Might be too confusing, but I'm worried allowing for any factory to be activated would be too powerful, especially with Tesla on the board. Like the twins from German Railroads, Edison is worth -5 points, but will never generate negative points when scoring Engineers.


2 meeples =/= 1 dollar. Generally the expensive engineers cost 1 ruble/mark/dollar now. But it's main problem is it makes the powerful strong used multiple times. (Never combine with 2 year plan from the Mini-expansion.)
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Mike Young
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rri1 wrote:
John Henry: One track or one track marker. IOW, can a player advance the black and gray markers on the same track? Or must he advance one track marker 2 spaces?

The latter. One track marker, two spaces.

Quote:
Thomas Edison - (Never combine with 2 year plan from the Mini-expansion.)


Yes. I forgot to mention that Edison cannot allow you to use that.

I'm about to reply with a ...session report... that will address the rest of your concerns.
 
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Mike Young
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OK, so my friend Greg and I just tried a two player game with my new engineers. I won, by a lot, but not outside the bounds of typical Russian Railroads scoring.

Here's how the Engineers played out:

John Henry (Advance one track marker of your choice two spaces). He got this and it bit him at least once since he wanted to move more than one marker, or didn't have room.

Casey Jones (Score 5 points). He got Casey, too. In fact the split ended up with him having 4 of the Engineers and me having 2. He also managed to get both #1 Factories and activated them a total of 3 times. He still lost, and we think there were two factors: Tesla and a problem with American Rails.

Vanderbilt (RoubleDollar and 3 points). I got him. He was about the right amount of power, but one trick I noticed was that I could always spend a coin to gain a coin and 3 points each turn. I'm not sure that 18 free points is a game changer each round but those coins helped a LOT with Edison. With me going second for most of the game, I was vacuuming up coins, and I think making Vanderbilt two coins would still be overpowered.

Jay Gould (Stock payout) - We both agreed that a full payout was too powerful, so we changed it to any two of the things you could get. This typically meant an industry and black track for Greg, although he eventually added an any track to his repertoire as well. Regardless, he was not more powerful than most other engineers.

Tesla (gain a factory at you don't have; place from right to left). He got Tesla and never used him. I used Tesla to get a 9 Factory while he was on the board. I totally played a Tesla strategy; get the 9 Factory and then use it as many times as you can (twice in American Railroads). This gave me a total of 3 bonus cards at the end of the game which solidified my win. But that was only half the strategy. More later. I'm on the fence with Tesla; he was very powerful and he may make the Factory strategy overwhelming, but it already is overwhelming in an AR game, so more research is needed.

Edison - Edison was my other Engineer. For the majority of the game, Greg only had one Factory, the one that lets you redo a single worker space, AND there already is an Engineer that does that, so Edison wasn't that overpowered, but he might be more powerful if Greg had invested in Factories earlier. Tough to say, but I totally played in a way that encouraged me to get all the Factory advancements and discourage Greg from getting them (except the #1 factories which were a great balance for him).

OK, my strategy. If you've played AR, then you may have noticed that it is pretty easy to get to the Industry circle early, much earlier than people can reach it with trains. If you can get a #2 Factory (gain an Engine/Factory) so much the better. Rush that circle and get the 9 Engine. Place it on the third track and start moving up black and grey to get your other two circles. Then see where things get you.

With Tesla and Edison, my second circle was a 5 factory move, which took me to the end of the top Industry track, netting me a second bonus card (due to Tesla) and then I was poised to be able to use any of Greg's factories due to Edison.

So I'm almost thinking that Edison and Tesla change the game so much they are kinda their own expansion. The work together exactly how I want them to. Tesla gives you the good Factories if you can get to them and Edison lets you steal their use, if you can get to them.

But putting them in the AR game with the already powerful Industry rush, may make them OP in a two player game.
 
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