I've posted this question as a Journal entry and will cut and paste answers to it at a later date:
I am about to play the game for the first time.
Ok, I think that I may know intuitively what the answer to this question is, but I'll ask it anyway just to be 100%, and there is a subordinate question to go with it, anyway.
I understand that route may not be played if they are less than two cards long. I understand that routes have to reach a station to score and that each station has an exit and entry. The question is this:
Can you score by snaking a route out from a station and then return to that same station? For example, you start at the exit for station 1 and after 5 tiles plays, someone plays a tile to return that route back to the entrance for station 1. Does that score? My thoughts are that it doesn't because it has to be another station. However, having read the rules, all of the articles and some of the reviews here, it doesn't seem to be stated anywhere.
The subsidiary question is:
(assuming I'm right that the route above wouldn't score)is such a play legal anyway? - ie could you be ruthless and play that tile to stop the owner from scoring or is it an outlawed play? My guess here is that you could play it to block another player.
Thanks for your help.
I got some replies when I posted the same question as a Journal. Here they are:
Adam Smiles said:
First off, this is probably better placed in the Metro game page, so other will benefit from your questions.
As to the anser to your question:
The move that you described is legal, providing that the route be at least 2 track lengths long. It would score as normal (1 point for each track section). Also note that you count each track segment, not each tile. So the tile immediately next to the station would be counted at least twice (once for coming and once for going) possibly more depending on how many loops the route does.
Metro's a great game. One of my wife's favorites. I hope you enjoy it.
Paul Boos said:
In fact Admiral, use this looping strategy to your advantage. I have come from far behind by creating looping contracts that criss-cross as much as possible... Sometimes I try and coincide that with forcing someone else' line to end early ;-)
SH Wong said:
Putting a tile that link a route back into its own station is an illegal move, even if it consist of more than one tile. From the rules "The track tiles are so designed that by the end of the game each of a player’s stations will be linked to some other station. " This means that every station has to be link to SOME OTHER station.
However, an exception is allowed near the end game whereby, every place you put links the tracks back to its own station. That is the only time such a move is allowed.
So far, this makes for a better game as it makes it harder to sabotage other people's tracks.
...So I guess the jury's still out. Until I know for sure, I intend to play that it's illegal, since you wouldn't build a route that way and so the theme is partly defeated if you do.
The ratio of people to cake is too big.
Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler...
From the Sequence of Play section:
"The track tiles are so designed that by the end of the game each of a player’s stations will be linked to some other station. It can happen that routes are completed that are not linked to any station. These routes have no value in the game."
From the Calculation Of Victory Points section:
"As soon as a Metroline forms a direct connection from its starting station to any terminus station (regardless of whether this is one of its own stations or a competitior’s), the victory points for this line are calculated."
So basically my interpretation is:
1) It's possible for routes to form that touch no stations and that such routes would score no points. This is fairly obvious as such route wouldn't touch any player's trains.
2) The intention of the game design is that each route will go from one starting station to a different station, but if such a case occurs, you score it as you would any normal station to station connection.
3) The "no one tile routes" rule is still applicable, in that you couldn't send a train back to it's same starting terminus with a single tile, but could if the route were 2 or more tiles long.
I'm curious if the comment about the game design intention is an a direct translation or a translator's commentary?