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Subject: Stalemate? rss

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David Grabiner
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It appears to me that a stalemate is possible, a situation in which no player has an incentive to do any productive building.

It is fairly common for players to start on the east and west sides of the map, connecting their cities on one side and sharing networks with others on the same side.

Suppose that both sides have connected all of their cities on each side, and there are two lays (or the Mississippi River) between the two sides, with no useful cities in the middle. No player can get any closer to connecting his cities until the east and west are joined. The first player to join brings all players two moves closer to connecting, and everyone else will get a productive move before he does.

I would expect this to be a common problem with two players; whoever connects the two networks first is effectively giving the other player the next move.

A possible solution is to say that the first player to connect the entire network gets one extra track lay, or at least that he gets this if all players pass.
 
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Eric Brosius
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Re:Stalemate?
David Grabiner (#46889),

I believe you MUST lay at least one track in your turn. If you keep stalling, eventually the track supply will be exhausted and the round will end.

We've never had this problem in the games I've played, but I can't deny it's possible.
 
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Richard Pardoe
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Re:Stalemate?
Eric Brosius wrote:
I believe you MUST lay at least one track in your turn. If you keep stalling, eventually the track supply will be exhausted and the round will end.


Confirming your belief by checking the rules in my Rio Grande Version of the game.

Under building rules (last bullet item):
Each player must lay at least one track each turn.

Under End of a round:
Extremely rare: The round also ends when all 84 tracks have been laid.

As the players will then score the minus points, I suspect someone will decide to cut their losses and forge the connection between the east/west networks in the original sample. Euphemistically, better to lose 1 or 2 points than 10 or 20 for missing out on several cities.

Personally, I believe this is part of the modest strategy in the game, forcing the tempo away from other players.
 
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Marshall P.
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Re:Stalemate?
David Grabiner (#46889),

One of the few strategies in this game is to force the other player to make the connection between networks (preferably across a river or mountain). If you solve this 'problem', as you suggest, I believe you'll actually be removing tactics from the game.

Furthermove, as pointed out above, you can't have a stalemate anyway as each player must lay at least one track each turn.



 
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David Grabiner
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Re:Stalemate?
It is possible to stall, laying single tracks that will clearly be useless to everyone.

However, since the game ends when all of the tracks run out, whichever player is farthest from completing his track will have an incentive to make the connection. (I assume that if everyone goes off the track in one round, either nobody wins or whoever goes off by the least is the winner.)


 
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