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Railways of the World» Forums » Rules

Subject: Operation Card bonuses for connecting cities rss

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Tony Cotterill
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Whitton
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Hi everybody,
This is my first post to BGG
Played this game for the first time last weekend and really liked some aspects but our games group thought it was spoiled by a few, apparently not very well thought through rules.

Mainly the bonuses for linking cities. Does this mean the first player to lay the last link gets the bonus or must it all be one person's track for them to claim it?
We thought the latter otherwise anyone can just jump in and build the last link to pip someone who's invested in the long track at the post, and claim an undeserved bonus. This leads to a disincentive for building towards a bonus in case it will get nicked at the last moment.
We thought it's better that a bonus is never claimed than for it to be given out in this somewhat random fashion.

The other thing was the imbalance in Railroad Personnel bonuses. Ending up with most money is automatically acheiveable if you can just take as many loans as needed, whereas the goal to be the lowest loan is pretty much totally out of your control - you just have to wait and hope all the other players take bigger loans. In the game we played everybody just had the one $5000 loan (except for the guy who wanted most money).
Our solition to this was not to use the Personnel cards. Seems a shame, but they are a bit random and seem to be a bolt-on mechanic.

What does anyone else think?

Tony
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Jason Cheng
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Nanki-Poo wrote:
Does this mean the first player to lay the last link gets the bonus or must it all be one person's track for them to claim it?


It's the latter. To claim the connection link one player must own all the tracks.

As for the personnel cards, it's pretty much a consensus that they are too random, so some people don't use them, or employ a variant. As for your specific example on the most money, you have to realize that each share/loan is a negative VP in the end, so there comes a point when it's no longer an advantage to take out more simply to claim that bonus. In regards to least share issued, well, if you aim for that then go for areas with shorter links (which means less money spent on building tracks), take out shares only when others do. It all depends on how you play.
 
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Joseph Betz
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I think he idea about the railroad tycoon role cards that are given to each player is that it is hidden points for the end of the game.You never really know the players final score until the end of the game when you find out if anyone got theres completed.It seems like a good idea but it usually does not seem to be that big of a factor.The only thing I don't like about them is some are pretty obvious and harder to achieve such as trying to build the most links out of chicago.If you start building out of chicago and no one stops you then the other players deserve to lose.
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LotB 2002
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with more experience, you will see people got more shares, because the investments are worth it. In your game with everyone having only one share, it seems impossible to have the least shares at the end of the game. But that will change in the next couple of games.

And I second that I like the secret points at the end, to be able get a somewhat suprising ranking.

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Tony Cotterill
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Thanks for all your swift answers.
Glad to have our suspicions about the operations bonuses confirmed - the rules are sketchy on this point.

Agreed the idea of a secret victory point goal is an interesting one, but when they are so obviously unbalanced it's just an annoying randomiser. I think we may just ignore them in future.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Nanki-Poo wrote:
Thanks for all your swift answers.
Glad to have our suspicions about the operations bonuses confirmed - the rules are sketchy on this point.

Agreed the idea of a secret victory point goal is an interesting one, but when they are so obviously unbalanced it's just an annoying randomiser. I think we may just ignore them in future.


The Tycoon cards are not "obviously unbalanced" as you will find with more experience. They only seemed imbalanced to you because there was probably some heavy groupthink going on.

From your description that everyone ended up with one share (except for the guy going for most cash in hand), it seems as if your group collectively concentrated on building many small links. You probably had no one who made a delivery of 8 the entire game. Your scores were probably relatively low and your playing time was possibly relatively short.

With experience, you will find that the game is all about efficiency. To put it in simple terms, you want to maximize your points per action. Running many short routes will not score as many points as building a route with longer deliveries.

Tycoon cards are one thing that factors into your efficiency equation. You have to decide whether pursuing the goal on the card is worth devoting time and effort to. They can be incorporated into a larger strategy and, in a sense, drive your game. Or, they can be ignored altogether if you decide that the reward is not worth what you would have to put into it and can make more points along a different path. Some of this will be determined by the board setup. The placement of the cubes prevents a single strategy from being dominant in the game and requires flexibility.
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Mike Mayer
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Agree with Paul. The Tycoon Cards are not unbalanced and they add to the fun of the game.
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Kevin Brown
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Tycoons are worth about the value of one good delivery. We usually play with a variant that allows players to use an action to trade in their Tycoon and draw a random one from those not in play. They're not that big of a deal and it's uncommon for games to be decided by made Tycoons.
 
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Greg Low
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There are times when ignoring your tycoon is the best decision. It isn't a big deal to ignore it.

Lowest shares IS the toughest one to play with IMHO, because it has the greatest limits on your other options. I'd also support only having one of them, as I've seen two players shooting for least shares sink each other more than once.

Despite that, I've found them to be an intersting challenge.

-Greg
 
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Richard Young
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The Tycoon cards are a bit of flavour from a couple of games that provided some additional inspiration for this edition outside its predecessor Age of Steam, namely Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon (computer game) and 1830 (six of the tycoons are the players' avatars). They do appear to be a bit of a thematic "bolt on" but operate in a similar way to the secret objectives in Twilight Imperium III, or the hidden "epoch bonuses" from the latest edition of History of the World. It is a technique for adding a bit of suspense and a hidden VP characteristic. Nothing much is lost from the game by not using them - it is a simple matter of personal preference.
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Darren Matthews
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I like the little extra that the tycoon cards add to the game. However, I do find the 5 vps for NY to Chicago a bit weak in a 5-6 player game. By the time you have the cash to connect the two cities, you'd be pretty lucky to not have all of the links out of both cities taken. Even if the connection is possible, it is really easy for other players to see what you are trying to do and you can be blocked pretty easily.

My regular group added in a variant which gives everyone 2 tycoon cards at the beginning to choose from after the starting railroad operation cards are displayed. This gives each player a chance to toss a card which they really don't like.
 
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