Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Just played Railways through Time for the first time this weekend. Fantastic game, as always, and it felt very different than the other games in the series. But we did have some rules confusion, because to me, the new rules are not written as tightly as they could have been.

Railways Through Time rules state:

Quote:
Every round begins with an auction to decide the play order. The auction order always follows the order of the previous round. The first player who passes must pay half his bid (rounded down) and place a train at the end of the Turn Order chart on the score track. The next player to pass becomes the 2nd to last player on the Turn Order chart. This continues until all but the player with the highest bid passes. The winning player pays the bank his full bid and becomes the first player for this round.


Railways of the World rules state:

Quote:
First Player Auction Variant 2 - Bidding is the same as stated earlier [i.e., the winner pays and nobody else does, then you go clockwise], but the first player to pass goes last and pays half his bid rounded up. As players drop out of the bidding they pay half their bid rounded up which determines the turn order (in reverse direction of dropping out). The player who wins the bid pays the full amount and goes first.



It seems only the first player to drop out in Railways Through Time pays half the bid, and then the winner pays in full. But you basically have no incentive to drop out first and pay half, because the next two people will almost always drop out immediately afterwards to pay nothing - to go AHEAD of you!! This makes no mathematical sense... you pay a stiffer penalty to be in last place, than in, say, second or third place?

So it seems this would be at risk of getting into a weird perpetual cycle where, once the bidding gets high enough, nobody actually wants to pass and pay half their bid! The players would simply keep bidding forever. However, if everyone has to pay half, there is a cut-off point where people will start dropping out, because they had to pay to participate in the auction at all.

Yet that seems to be what the RTT rules say. Someone has to drop out of the auction, at cost, to go last, while others get a free ride. To each individual, it becomes a completely irrational individual decision to be the first player to drop out at literally any bid other than $0 or $1000. If the bids are $50K, $49K, $48K, and $47K ... are you going to drop out and pay a whopping $23K while the middle two bids pay $0 and go ahead of you, just so one guy pays $50K? That sounds crazy to me.

Is it truly intended that only the first dropout pays half, and goes last? It just seems wrong and deeply flawed to me, as I outlined above. If the first dropout paid half to go second, while others went after that in reverse pass order, that might make sense (in all but a two-player game).

Also, as a second question, one set of rules says to round down, but the other one rounds up! This seems inconsistent across versions as well. Personally, I'd argue for rounding up, which was both the original rule and a stiffer cost for jacking up the bidding when you're not really interested. In our game, a lot of people paid a mere $1000 to go second, which seemed too cheap. Any former First Player tended to bid $3000, so that the first player cost was at least $4000 but the drop-out cost was only $1000 to them if nobody else was willing to make that bid.

I don't know if the designer is still lurking to answer or address this point...

 
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United States
Redford
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Everyone who passes pays half. Winner pays full.
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Alex Drazen
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DoomTurtle wrote:
Everyone who passes pays half. Winner pays full.


This is what I argued and what we ultimately concluded, though the RTT rulebook, if you read the literal text, doesn't say that (then again, according to the designer in another thread, you aren't allowed to share links in it... but that isn't even in the rule book at all!).
 
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Arsen Shogenov
Russia
Nalchik-Russia
Kabardino-Balkarian Republic
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Railways Through Time rules state:

Quote:
Every round begins with an auction to decide the play order. The auction order always follows the order of the previous round. The first player who passes must pay half his bid (rounded down) and place a train at the end of the Turn Order chart on the score track. The next player to pass becomes the 2nd to last player on the Turn Order chart. This continues until all but the player with the highest bid passes. The winning player pays the bank his full bid and becomes the first player for this round.


Railways of the World rules state:

Quote:
First Player Auction Variant 2 - Bidding is the same as stated earlier [i.e., the winner pays and nobody else does, then you go clockwise], but the first player to pass goes last and pays half his bid rounded up. As players drop out of the bidding they pay half their bid rounded up which determines the turn order (in reverse direction of dropping out). The player who wins the bid pays the full amount and goes first.


It seems both versions of rules are identical. But in the first "rounded down" and in the second "rounded up"...

It is not an errata of rules?

And more:

In first version:
Round = Turn?

And that in the new version of rules 2018 from Railways of the World (10th Anniversary Edition) (ROTW_Rule_Book_Compendium_EGG_print-v3_low) it isn't corrected.

"Every turn begins with an auction to decide the play order. The
auction order always follows the order of the previous round."
 
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