Having gotten warmed up, we unpacked the game Dave had brought with him...Railway Rivals. This was last played March of last year in our first playing and I suspect Dave has been trying to get it to the table again ever since. Tonight was the night. Lawrence immediately jumped on London in the Southeast as his start city, while Ben started at Hull in the Northeast. Dave started at Preston to cover the Northwest corner. Rich had a choice of going to the Southwest but opted for the Northwest attracted by the desire to build the tunnel.
As the initial tracks were built, Ben concentrated in the densely urbanized northeast making numerous city connections before sending a spur line south. Lawrence built up from London as well as crossing across the map at the bottom. Dave went into the few northern cities on his part of the map and then shot a trunkline down the map to help give him better positions for the upcoming races. Rich seemed to focus on an east-west crossing line in the top third of the map. When the building was all done:
And now the races began. The first two races were solitary affairs as Ben was the only participant from Shrewsbury to Shieffield (paying 7,000 to Rich to gain 20,000 for the race) and Lawrence the only participant from Bristol to London (all on his own track.) After building a bit more track, Lawrence again gains being the only participant in a race for the Southern Run to Gloucester. The first competition was in the next race and Ben and Lawrence formed a team to race Dave from London to Bursley. With some good die rolls, Ben and Lawrence win the race - but that means everyone gained 10,000 (except for Rich who had yet to participate in any of the races.) Rich did come in second behind Dave in a 2 person race from Liverpool to York. In a short sprint from Leeds to Manchester, we had 3 participants (only Lawrence abstained) with Ben rolling well again to win as Rich came in second while Dave was out of the money.
But after every two races, there is a chance to build additional track. Sometimes this can help such as when Lawrence connected to a town that was key to his participation in the next race. Sometimes it can hurt as when Rich saw that Doncaster had not been part of a race, so Rich started to build a line south to link up to that town. But during the next set of races, a London-Doncaster race was revealed. Lawrence had the only line between the two (Lawrence gains for that race); while Rich had wasted money building track that eventually would serve no purpose.
The races continued to favour the south (Lawrence's lines) and the east (Ben's lines), but fortunately each city must participate in a race at some point in the game. By the end of the game, the races were in the Northwest where Dave and Rich had their networks. When the racing was all done:
So via the good networks and timely racing, the middle of the pack after the first part of the game gains the most from the use of the networks to lead the rest of the pack. Dave gained 133,000 in the races, but not enough to overcome Ben's lead gained by connecting to numerous cities at the start of the game.
I certainly built to constrained of a network that didn't reach broadly across the board to at least be considered for some of the races. And the few times that my tracks were in a good position, others could pay a modest fee to race against me on the same tracks. Not a way to get ahead in funds. Dave and Ben seemed to get the best of both. Winning races as well as getting user fees from others trying to get a share of the prize money. Lawrence had a good start, but after a few races in the south, didn't really reach into the north to compete in other races. Now I wonder how long it will be before Dave gets this to the table once more....
Get up, get up, get up, get down, fall over.
Good session report which shows the swings and roundabouts of gameplay. A good early network build is key and it is no surprise that the players who came in first and second concentrated on combining taking control of a hilly area (that becomes costly for anyone else to enter) and getting in a good strong diagonal main line.
RR is a classic. I wonder how many of todays games will still be giving good gameplay after nearly 30 years.