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Subject: An Unusual Victory rss

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Jon G
United States
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One of my old roommates (Purple, one previous play) and her boyfriend (Blue, first game) stayed over at our house and joined my wife (Yellow) and I (Red) for a session of RRT. They're both absurdly bright people, and caught on very quickly, making very few rookie mistakes; we did play without tycoons to simplify things a bit.

The only free points in the opening cards was the Louisville bounty; three hotels and two land grants were taken over the first few turns but didn't play a large role. Yellow paid $5k to outbid Blue and Red for first play, built to Louisville, then shipped. Purple opened with NY-Phil & Phil-Balt, Blue took a land grant & built Atlanta-Savannah. Noting cubes in the right places (yellow in DC, blue in Richmond), Red built DC-Richmond & DC-Balt, and shipped to Balt.

That gave me the inside line on the 3-train, and yellow eventually conceded the 4-train at the beginning of turn 3. While I was loading up the shares to get the 3 & 4-train bonues, Purple built up toward Boston, Yellow build to Chicago, Blue picked up the Atlanta & Charleston hotels and headed south to get red and blue cubes in Mobile & NO. With the rest of turn 4, I snatched the Chicago hotel out from under my wife, and built a direct Balt-NY line that would serve me incredibly well with three blue cubes stuck in NYC.

I was beginning to despair my mid-Atlantic network... I stretched from NY to Raleigh, but the Pit-Wheeling cubes were blue and yellow (no profitable destination in sight), I was hemmed in on the north and south, and the coastal cities are rarely played... But by this point, Blue's long builds in the south left him cash-poor and behind on points. He took a couple more land grants to build a loop through Montgomery, Talahassee, Jacksonville, and Savannah, and I used the spare time to sneak red into Charleston & Atlanta. This was the turning point for me: Blue and red cubes flowed south, and I comfortably upgraded to a 6-train and built across the Appalachians to Wheeling and Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, my opponents weren't cutting me any slack. Down south, blue was looping each cube for 5-6 points; purple built south to Richmond and upgraded to a 7-train; yellow was building clockwise around the midwest and closing in on Pitt. Yellow lagged behind, but clearly had 90 points waiting to be looped; purple and red shared the lead, with blue keeping up on kickbacks from my Atlanta & Charleston deliveries.

Then yellow got a little too ambitious. After taking Buffalo-Toronto to cut off purple, she tried to extend her loop around Lake Erie. With no Perfect Engr cards in play, this just took too long. With purple cut off from her last cache of cubes, and the game ending before yellow could ship enough cubes to catch up, red pulled away. On the last turn, yellow made three 8-point runs (and despaired the six other 8-pointers unplayed); purple added cubes to Boston (and might have won if she drew perfectly) but only got blue & red; Blue and Red coasted home with 4 and 5-point cubes.

Final Tally & Shares:
Red 99-9-90, Purple 83-2=81, Blue 84-5=79, Yellow 74-3=71.

It was an odd game; a couple of minor lines (Boston-DC, Balt-Toledo too late to matter), one bounty (plus Duluth, which doesn't count), no RR Execs, no Engineers. The game was basically decided by the cubes on the board, and they worked out very well for my mostly linear mid-Atlantic line. Purple played the NE very well, but was cut off from Toronto and unplayable cubes in Pitt/Wheeling. Blue gave me a little too much leeway, but had more points in the deep south than mid-Atlantic; his main error was taking 3 land grants, but his hotels paid off exceptionally well. Yellow got far to greedy in the midwest; with no opposition, I kept expecting her to run away with the game.

I've never seen the mid-Atlantic win before, and I think it needs a lot of breaks to make it work... and this time, I guess they did.
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