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Subject: Balance? rss

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seth van orden
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So we've only played two games so far, but there seems to be seems to be a couple things that just give too many points. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything.

Note: We don't have the expansion.

First off there is the ? token that gives 20 points a turn for having a grey track on the 5th spot and a 5 or higher train. This has turned out to be easier than expected to get. Supplying like 80 points in total. Plus if you are getting it you'll also get the 5 points a turn at least for your grey track and another 10 a turn for your beginning grey track. Also once the extra 10 points a turn isn't too far away the 10 points for reaching the end of track is right there. This just seems like too many points, and if you don't get this you won't have much of a chance.

The second thing that appears to be out of balance after our first two plays are the engineers. Owning them in general seems to be worth it for the exclusive ability to use their powers, but on top of that there are huge payouts at the end of the game for them, and on top of that the level one factories for them seem crazy good. The player that won our last game used two of the level 1 factories on her last turn to give bonuses for 30+ points each! That's a huge bonus compared to the other higher numbered factories. Do you want a single coin factory bonus or 30+ points, hmm tough choice.

Don't get me wrong I really liked playing the game, but it is currently hard for me to see other strategies giving as many points. I can't imagine there can be that better of strategies as the two that played these strategies got over 450 points each on our second play. The 100's tokens only go up to +400. Please help me out. What am I missing? Or is there really one obviously way to play.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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sethvanorden wrote:
First off there is the ? token that gives 20 points a turn for having a grey track on the 5th spot and a 5 or higher train. This has turned out to be easier than expected to get. Supplying like 80 points in total. Plus if you are getting it you'll also get the 5 points a turn at least for your grey track and another 10 a turn for your beginning grey track. Also once the extra 10 points a turn isn't too far away the 10 points for reaching the end of track is right there. This just seems like too many points, and if you don't get this you won't have much of a chance.
It's a lot of points to be sure. But if you're doing this, you're not maxing out the Vladistok line, which if you get to the better track types and put out doublers will score you a ton of points. Although for much of the game it won't look like you're doing much as you'll be setting up for a massive scoring round on the last round or two of the game. The player who does this well can crush the other players at the end of the game.

sethvanorden wrote:
The second thing that appears to be out of balance after our first two plays are the engineers. Owning them in general seems to be worth it for the exclusive ability to use their powers, but on top of that there are huge payouts at the end of the game for them, and on top of that the level one factories for them seem crazy good. The player that won our last game used two of the level 1 factories on her last turn to give bonuses for 30+ points each! That's a huge bonus compared to the other higher numbered factories. Do you want a single coin factory bonus or 30+ points, hmm tough choice.
Sure... but if everyone goes for them, then it's hard to get many of them which balances it out a bit. And again, another player may ignore them entirely to pursue another strategy (like the one I mentioned above.)

Or maybe somone will rush to get the 9 Train and the scoring objective that gives you points for train values.

There's several powerful strategies in the game. It often comes down to how well you pull them off and how much competition you have for them. The plan to get Kiev and score 20 points per turn is hard to do if multiple people are fighting for black and silver track advancements. If you let someone have the stuff they need without making it hard for them, they'll do well. If even one person competes with them for the same goal that can be enough to keep their strategy in check.
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LudoH LudoH
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sethvanorden wrote:

First off there is the ? token that gives 20 points a turn for having a grey track on the 5th spot and a 5 or higher train. This has turned out to be easier than expected to get. Supplying like 80 points in total. Plus if you are getting it you'll also get the 5 points a turn at least for your grey track and another 10 a turn for your beginning grey track. Also once the extra 10 points a turn isn't too far away the 10 points for reaching the end of track is right there. This just seems like too many points, and if you don't get this you won't have much of a chance.

I believe that this is indeed one easy way to make points but to get the 5 train on the third turn (supposing you played at 4ppl) is difficult and means everybody rushed on the trains to take all the 2,3, an 4s. People that maximize this tend to take the 9 train I think but then you need 2 (?) and this is even more difficult.

So yes it is strong but definitely not broken I would say and making 80 points out of it is not easy (60 is quite easy) and 80 points for a total of 350 is not game breaking.

However, on the way you generally make one more wroker ... which is also helpful!

Quote:

The second thing that appears to be out of balance after our first two plays are the engineers. Owning them in general seems to be worth it for the exclusive ability to use their powers, but on top of that there are huge payouts at the end of the game for them, and on top of that the level one factories for them seem crazy good. The player that won our last game used two of the level 1 factories on her last turn to give bonuses for 30+ points each! That's a huge bonus compared to the other higher numbered factories. Do you want a single coin factory bonus or 30+ points, hmm tough choice.

Indeed this is also strong but incompatible with the previous track in general, it makes at least two good paths to victory...

Also getting many engineers should be difficult, exactly because engineers are strong: if one player gets all the engineers, it means the other(s) did not bother to prevent him/her from winning.

This is a game where there are many good strategy. Another one is maximizing double+the white tracks, you only pull it at the end but can reach 120-140 points on the last turn!

I believe that the spirit of the game is that it has unbalanced strategy if you want but as there are many of them and everybody can go for them, the game is not unbalanced anymore ;-)

I think that what might be disturbing with the game is that there are indeed very strong paths to victory and you try to make your paths and generally it means that you will take spots that prevent the other players from following their paths

... ninja'ed
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James Faulkner
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The 2 things you describe are strong point scoring approaches, but not dominant.

I rarely do the first of them and play and mostly beat players who do (often close). Certain engineers are strong and should be a focus for most players. The value 1 factory only being very strong if one player is allowed to get several of the high numbered engineers.

Not sure what my high score is (and anyway depends on opponents) but I know I've scored over 500 in a 4 player base game. My personal strategy rut will often see me advance the white track on the top line with several doublers and the increased track value bonus tile. If I'm playing against a player getting 20 point bonus for the grey track on the 3rd line then I'll typically fall behind on the score up until 2/3rds of the way through the game and then come storming back.
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seth van orden
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LudoH wrote:


So yes it is strong but definitely not broken I would say and making 80 points out of it is not easy (60 is quite easy) and 80 points for a total of 350 is not game breaking.



If you got it on the third turn wouldn't that give you 100 points and the 4th turn give you 80 points. Since there are 7 turns.

I think two us got it on our 4th turn. The third turn would be tough.

Thanks for the answers so far!
 
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LudoH LudoH
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sethvanorden wrote:
LudoH wrote:


So yes it is strong but definitely not broken I would say and making 80 points out of it is not easy (60 is quite easy) and 80 points for a total of 350 is not game breaking.



If you got it on the third turn wouldn't that give you 100 points and the 4th turn give you 80 points. Since there are 7 turns.

I think two us got it on our 4th turn. The third turn would be tough.

Thanks for the answers so far!

You are right, I did not have the board in front of me!

In fact what I find a bit unbalanced is the first engineer: the first player is picked randomly and has a chance to get the first engineer, if this one is very strong it could give a strong advantage. Fortunately I believe the strongest engineers are in the expansion, and you could always house-rule a list of too strong engineers that could not be in first position.
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David Baum
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Interesting, in our games most people don't go for that 20 point "?" bonus. Sure, you could get it in turn 4, but you likely had to focus on that track for the first 3.5 turns to get 5 black and 5 gray moves on it, plus getting enough black moves and locomotives to get the "?" bonus (I'm assuming you're doing this on St. Petersburg track?).

Most of the time, the first bonus taken is the one that lets you select your end-game bonus + another bonus (the black meeple, the 9-train, etc.). If you choose the Kiev medal early, the other players will have taken the good bonuses. And spending so much time on the Kiev track makes it very difficult to get doublers and move up Vladivostok. On the last scoring, if you get the white track, move them to spot 3, have those spots doubled, and have previously made the whites worth 10 points each, you can easily score 60 points just on those 3 white steps. I have found that to be the strongest strategy.

By the way, if you enjoy the game, German Railroads improves it substantially. It is a terrific expansion. So is American Railroads. My wife likes that one even more.
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Christopher Telcontar
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I've played RRR a lot over the past 3 years and I've gone from clueless beginner to seasoned winner, at least in person. Playing on board game arena I found that I got my head handed to me in quite short order.

But anyway... I've won without having any engineers, I've won with engineer bonus, I've won with the Kiev medal and without it. You have to adjust your goals to the player count, and you have to see what other players are denying you and tack in a different direction, many a time. It's not absolutely necessary to take the bonus cards for your first advantage token; advisable, but not necessary. There's a great way to use the 9 train and Black Otto and the #1 engineer with his bonus rouble, and even the immediate factory and 2 advances can be a great card in the right circumstances, but if you can get to the Kiev medal in round 3, why not do it?

The metagame doesn't present itself immediately; repeated plays are necessary, and you need to get beaten down hard sometimes to understand what you did wrong. This is easily my favorite point salad game, and I think strategy wise, it's phenomenal.


As for you original question of balance, I'd say no, it's not. Rarely will scores be close to one another; sometimes, the winner is out front by 120 points, and everyone else is struggling to reach 300. It's a wild ride, and bumpy, like a rollercoaster.


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