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Subject: Getting to appreciate this game rss

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Ron Olivier, Sr.
United States
North Smithfield
Rhode Island
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I really have a mixed bag of feelings about the crayon rail games, Eurorails being the version that we’ve been playing (though I’ve also played Australian Rails which is pretty much a different version with the same rule set). I was able to look past the unspectacular components, and learned to live with the fiddly nature of the system. I moderately enjoyed the game, but it seemed like we would never get a chance to finish a game.

But on a recent game night, that all changed. As luck would have it through a series of coincidences, my buddy arrived early and had this game in his car, on a night when there was only him, my son, and me to play. The game was set up and ready to go by 7:05. We would play by the normal rules with two exceptions: We’d begin with three building turns instead of two, and when multiple event cards would be drawn back-to-back, only the first one would take effect, ignoring the others. We’d use the standard 9/12 movement.

The game got off to a flying start for me. On my first turn, not only did I get two ham tokens at Warsaw, but I had enough left over from my initial builds to upgrade to a fast locomotive. Delivering the ham to Stockholm and Holland seemed to fly by, a short hop to Rohr to pick up steel that I could deliver to Milano, picking up Wine in Frankfurt. My trek would then veer from Milano to Torino to pick up cars, then north again to deliver the wine and cars. This was working out well.

My son was doing pretty well and upgraded to a fast locomotive, until poor planning threatened to wipe him out. We used the optional rule of letting him take a loan from the ‘bank’ (he only needed $1000, and would pay back $2000 from his next delivery). He bounced back quite nicely from that and continued to do well, and was soon the first (and only) player to upgrade to the Supertrain!

My buddy plodded along strategically, keeping the basic train for quite a while. It wasn’t until he expanded toward Spain that he upgraded. This helped him out immensely, and he secured three high-payoff routes over $40 million very quickly, including one for over $50 million.

Other than the route to Stockholm, I kept my building confined pretty much to the mainland. By mid-game, I had connected to all the major cities except Wein and London. I finally built a route from Paris to London (more out of needing to connect a 7th major city than to actually make a delivery). My buddy had seven cities already, and my son was lingering with five. We began our final push.

My son had the most cash, but was spending it like a drunken sailor to build track. He also did a couple of very long routes for handsome payouts. My buddy was building more conservatively, but was continuing to do some decent deliveries, slowed mostly by having to wait at ferry points. I had a giant $66 million payout for delivering pork to Seville (from Warsaw again), coupled with a smaller Bern-to-Marseille delivery simultaneously. But at that point, the cards began to dry up for me. My next three deliveries were for $8-, $12-, and $17-million. BADLY TIMED!!! We were all racing toward the prize money now, and whoever got the most lucrative payoffs would win. But who???

Finally, one of us stated that had the victory conditions. We tallied, and the results were:

My son: 7 cities, $266 million.
My Buddy: 8 cities, $150+ million.
Me: 7 cities: $133 million

Being the first time we actually finished the game, it was quite exhilarating to reach the end. The time was 3 hours and 40 minutes. We all agreed that the next time we played we would use the movement allowance of 12/16 for the ‘fast game’ rules. But this session really warmed me up to this game a lot. Unfortunately, we don’t often have 4 hours to spare. But we’ll try different things to speed this up, because the game IS worth the time and effort. Our goal is to get a four player game to take about 3 hours.

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Walt
United States
Orange County
California
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Very good review. You'll find that playing the fast rules doesn't change the tone of the game at all, but your 220 minute play time should drop dramatically. The start rule of drawing five cards and choosing three provides a more even start and a faster start. Playing with the fast rules, these games take only 1/2 hour per experienced player (1 hr per novice, Iron Dragon a little longer--based on many, many games). The only thing I don't like about the fast rules is a little thing: taxes go away.
 
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Andy Barrington
United States
California
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A couple of suggestions on play strategy based on your game descrition. First upgrade your train as early as you safely can; you stated your son was the only one who had the top train with both other players sitting on a decent rail net and 100+ in cash. Second when in Spain don't be afraid to toss all your cards. Count the turns it took you to deliver your three little cards and remember in Seville(where you had to be to get the 66 for Ham) there are both Cork and Oranges. You'll find the huge advantage of being able to carry three products either to Spain or from Spain is that you can carry an additional say Tourist to Spain so if you wind up tossing in Spain there are 4 cards that give you an immediate hit in Spain. When back in central Europe an extra Orange or Cork has even more liklihood to payoff.
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Walt
United States
Orange County
California
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bullfrog1953 wrote:
A couple of suggestions on play strategy...

Nice catch: I missed that. Usually you want to go for speed first, unless you have three paying loads. While you want to keep a reserve for river washouts (and building track if you are not carrying a high-paying load or your network is small so far), if you're playing with the tax card, you should make all the investments you know you'll need as soon as you can: get a super train so you can carry a safety/speculation load; connect the major cities you know you'll be connecting.
 
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Andy Barrington
United States
California
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Curious as to how many different decks there were for this. My deck has a Ham to Kopenhavn(Copenhagen) but no Ham to Stockholm. Have the original 1990 folding map version.
 
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Ronald Lew
United States
Sacramento
California
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What my game group does is take a digital camera and photo copy the entire map. Then, write the money, loads, train type, and load cards on a spreadsheet. This way, the long game of Eurorails can be played in multiple sessions should the game not finish.
 
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Ward Stolk
Netherlands
Amersfoort
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We don't even take photos. Just don't wipe it, the crayons will stick. Further, write down money and loads and put a circle in your colour at your trains location. Worked fine for us.
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