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Subject: Another variant question: Gygax end-game rss

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Chris
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I've heard about an end-game variant that Gary Gygax of AD&D fame published in Dragon Magazine. Basically it does away with the rover play. After the last rail deed is sold, dice are thrown, and X number of rounds are played. Once the game ends, the players tally their money and real value of property and trains. Highest wins.

Seems straightforward to me, but I have no idea how many dice are used to determine the number of roulds played. Anyone know? Is the variant worthwhile?
 
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Steve Cates
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I haven't heard of the variant but I've played Rail Baron through about ten times. The weakness of the game is the middle game. Too many rounds of just rolling dice. The end game is pretty cool though race home and if you're tagged you lose $50,000.

I don't know if the variant will help with the middle game problem while losing the cool endgame. I'd say that 3-d6 would make the most sense at an average of 9-10 but 18 would drag and 3 wouldn't be interesting.

I'd probably say d6+6 at 7-12 turns and then the player with the most money has to make it home or lose 50,000. If they drop down in rank the next highest player has to get home, until only one person isn't left bankrupt or there's an outright winner.
 
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Charles A. Davis
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From Dragon Magazine #20
"Rail Baron A Short Course for Empire Builders" by Gary Gygax

Page 20
"After each player has moved once after the last line has been bought, roll an “average” die, counting 1 as 3, 6 as 4; the result being the total number of complete turns (movement around the board from first to the last moving player) which can take place. When these turns are completed, each player totals his or her cash, adds the face value of the railroads he or she owns, adds the value of EXPRESS or SUPERCHIEF ownership, if any, and"

HERE IS THE TRICKY PART BECAUSE YOU NEED THE REST OF THE ARTICLE TO HAVE THESE PERCENTAGES AND HOW HE COMES UP WITH THEM.

"finally adds in the percentage value of each and every city his or her network has a lock on, rounding decimals to the nearest 5, expresssing whole percentage points as thousands of dollars. A lock on Miami is
worth 1.8% or $2,000, Rapid City is worth 7% or $500. From these totals must be deducted $10,000 by each player who does not have a route into his or her home city. The highest final total is the winner, and a new game can be started!"

Definitely would make for a shorter game.
Thanks for bringing this up. I had never seen this article. It is pretty interesting and has a lot of details that most people would never know.

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Chris
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Thanks Charles! So it looks like there is a little more to the variant than I thought, i.e. locks on cities.

If I am understanding the "average" die correctly...

1 = 3
2 = 2
3 = 3
4 = 4
5 = 5
6 = 4

Or, put another way, 1/6 of getting a "2", 2/6 of "3", 2/6 of "4", 1/6 of "5".
 
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Togu Oppusunggu
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A BIG thank you, Charles. People had mentioned the Gygax variant in the past, but no-one mentioned anything about the lock-on scoring or about the no home-city route penalty. These should make the variant much more interesting.

...now we just need somebody to post what those city values are...
 
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John Burt
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There is a mention of it on the Games Cabinet

Fortunately, there is a variant that does away with it. It is the suggestion of Gary Gygax, of D&D fame, and was part of an article on Rail Baron that he wrote for The Dragon. With this you play as normal until the last rail company is bought. You then roll an average die and play that number of complete turns more, ending with the player who bought the last company. Then you tally up: cash plus companies and trains at cost. Richest player wins. He also added in small cash bonuses for locks on various cities, but for that you need copies of the tables in his article and they don't make enough difference to be worth the bother. Played this way you retain all the most interesting part of the game, but it is much shorter and you avoid the long, slow and dispiriting slide into bankruptcy that is otherwise the lot of those who aren't doing well.
 
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John Burt
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wkusau wrote:
From Dragon Magazine #20
"Rail Baron A Short Course for Empire Builders" by Gary Gygax


BTW, it is issue 21

wkusau wrote:
"finally adds in the percentage value of each and every city his or her network has a lock on, rounding decimals to the nearest 5, expresssing whole percentage points as thousands of dollars. A lock on Miami is
worth 1.8% or $2,000, Rapid City is worth 7% or $500. From these totals must be deducted $10,000 by each player who does not have a route into his or her home city. The highest final total is the winner, and a new game can be started!"


There is a mistake in the article. Rapid City should be 0.7 not 7%, otherwise it would be $7000, especially since Miami is 18% which is $2000.
 
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Jeremy Fridy
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Averaging dice are an old wargamer thing. They are 2,3,3,4,4,5. It takes the straight probability line of a d6 roll and bends it into a curve to increase average rolls.

toguopp wrote:
A BIG thank you, Charles. People had mentioned the Gygax variant in the past, but no-one mentioned anything about the lock-on scoring or about the no home-city route penalty. These should make the variant much more interesting.

...now we just need somebody to post what those city values are...
 
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