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For those who don't know: PNWR and ACPR are self-published by Gandy Dancer Games a small firm in Spokane WA. The games use similar components: a laminated roll up board (not really a map), stock cards for each company printed on business cards, the rules are printed like a newspaper with
fictional articles describing the game and advertisements for various Spokane businesses. (Eat the Spaghetti Station Restaurant on Francis Street!)

PNWR is kind of cross between Rail Baron and 18XX. The board has a track around the outside edge. Certain spaces represent towns and cities (which are marked in yellow), each of these towns are connected by track of various companies (marked with their logos) placed on the interior of the board. (The interior track is meant to simulate to the historic connections each company made and is balanced--more difficult/longer routes have more spaces between them.)

You buy stock in each company, the price of the stock varies: it goes up when shares are bought or when a route card is completed using that company, down when shares are sold. When the price reaches $100 per share, the stock splits giving each shareholder $50 per share and resetting the price at $50. (Basically the stock split is being settled in cash).

On your turn you move by any of these three methods: playing a movement card which allows you to move your train pawn that many spaces (each player gets a full set 1-6 to start and periodically will get resupplied through reshuffle spaces.), paying $1 per space (up to a maximum of $6) or rolling a die (which is free)

There are no limits to moving on the outside edge of the board, though once you pick a direction you must conitnue to move that direction (use the train from Union Pacific to mark which way you moved last) each turn unless you land on a switch back space.

The interior track owned is by various companies and can ONLY be traveled on if you at least one share of stock in that company.

There are a set of route cards which specify a start city and destination city and one or more companies whose track MUST be used to complete the route. At least 5 are shown face up at any one time. If you want to complete the route, you must move to the start city, move along company track (with the catch you MUST own shares in each company on the card to possibly run the route) to the destination. Once you finish the route, each of the shareholders in the specified companies gets paid based on the amount of that
company's track the route used and the player who completed the entire route also gets paid a bonus. (It is possible a race can develop to complete a route to claim the bonus, but it is reletively rare.)

In the route deck, there are also 20 year end tax cards requiring the players to pay an amount for each share they hold. The amount they pay per share is $1 per share for the first tax card, $2 per share for the second, etc. This can be VERY expensive once the taxes work their way up.

Here comes my main criticicism of the game: If you cannot pay your taxes with cash on hand, you MUST sell ALL shares of the company with the HIGHEST stock price either at auction to other players or at the company's original starting price to the bank, until you raise enough cash to pay the taxes.

This is an absolute game killer, for so many ways:
- If you are simply ONE STINKING DOLLAR short, you might have to sell several $100 worth of stock at a major loss.
- At times, you might be able to auction off the stock to others if they have cash (but often they won't because they paid their taxes) and if several players want the shares, so you MIGHT make more than the starting price. But more likely, you will be forced to sell to the bank at the low starting price.
- The problem is even if you hold a cash reserve you can still get screwed when several tax cards come up in quick succession, which usually does happen in the course of the game.

This penalty is just overly punishing, but through no planning of your own you might be saved if more than one player still has cash and both want to buy your stock or you get lucky and the most expensive stock you happen to own but one share of the most expensive stock (and it is enough to pay off the IRS).

I recommend changing the rule to something like allowing the players a choice on what shares to sell to raise the cash, but at a severe penalty (say 50% might not be enough, maybe 40% or even 20% of the value might work (All stock values are in increments of $5, so the 20% values are even cash amounts.))

The game ends when one player aquires $1500 in cash or 10 tax cards get revealed in the deck. It plays in about 3-4 hours, but it could be shortened by playing to 6 or 7 tax cards or a lower cash amount. Other than the caveat of what happens when you can't pay taxes, I can definitely recommend the game. A lot a very clever and unique mechanisms. A really well put together game.

PNWR is better than ACPR--though not without some problems, but I think they can be fixed. ACPR, I think has MAJOR problems and cannot recommend it.

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Stven Carlberg
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Re:User Review
Our reading of the rule was that if you owe money when a tax card comes out, you must auction ONE SHARE of stock at a time (starting with your most valuable share of stock) -- as opposed to ALL of one company's stock -- until you have raised enough money to pay the taxes. We felt this worked fine.
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Re:User Review
That's an incorrect reading of the rule, at least as far as my research has shown. Check the designer notes at Rick Heli's website, for more info, but the designer clarifies that you auction the shares singly, but you auction ALL shares in that line. It basically sucks, and I agree with Mr. Irving that it's a game killer. At least it is for me....
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Stven Carlberg
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Re:User Review
I checked the Q&A from the game author at Rick Heli's site, and you're right, he does say you're supposed to auction all of your holdings in the most valuable stock if you come up short at tax time. I'll have to try it this way to see if I dislike it as much as you do! If so, our (apparently creative) reading of the rule worked fine, and you might care to try our one-share-until-paid method as a "fix."
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