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Subject: West Riding Session rss

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Eddie Mittelstedt
United States
Hampstead
Maryland
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The players:

Shelby, age 11
Sophia, age 10
Daddy, no comment

Length: 4 hours

I worried about the girls handling such a heavy game, but we just came off a session of Wabash Cannonball two days ago and figured they could handle it. After a brief explanation of the rules, and a couple of revisits to the fine points about city scoring we were off.

West Riding is termed the simplest of the Riding series. It is a crayon rail game about bidding for shares, and creating track to link cities.

There are shares for six basic companies and two Grouping companies. The Grouping companies are container companies that own three basic companies each. At the beginning of the game, all basic companies are randomly assigned to one of the two grouping companies.

On a player's turn she chooses an available share of one of the six rail companies and auctions it off. The winner must use the money bid to build track on the board to connect two cities.

Once two cities from the same Grouping company connect to a city, then that city is colored in with the color of the Grouping company.

Once all cities on the board are either owned by a Grouping company or can't possibly be labeled as such, the game is over.

Dividends are paid each turn based on shares in play. A calculation is performed each turn to see the value of each city based on how many connections are in that city. As more connections are made to a city, the value of the city decreases.

The logistics of the math required each turn was mitigated by an excellent suggestion from clearclaw; simply update in real time the value of each company as connections are made by writing in wet-marker above the stacks of shares for each company. This makes the distribution phase much quicker. Thanks clearclaw!

We played for two hours last evening, then called it quits, resuming again and finishing in the morning for a total play time of just under 4 hours.

The girls did an outstanding job playing such a difficult game. They knew the end game conditions and grasped the concept of what shares to purchase, and when, and even started getting dirty with the auction, intentionally bidding up a share that someone else wanted!



I ended up placing Xs on cities that we deemed available for grouping, as evidenced by the photo. I haven't reviewed the photo yet - perhaps I missed a few...

Some mistakes we made during the game due to being the first time played:

1. We didn't give the remainder of the distributions to the railroad treasury until half-way through the game.

2. The first few tracks laid were created with the intent of blocking and violated the rule of "cheapest track" as is evident in the photo with blue from Thorne to Wetherby. We quickly corrected this.

3. We did not complete the last turn once all cities were groups, instead going into the final payout as soon as the last city was grouped. We most likely missed out on some vital cash.

There were some occasions during the Acquisition Phase where we all had very little capital left. We figured none of use could use the funds to build required track, so called the end of the phase there instead of going through 3 more auctions where we would have to hide the bid underneath the turn card. Does anyone disagree with that shortcut?

This game is long and brain melty with all the math, but I couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards - despite the headache.

Final Score:
Daddy: 137
Shelby: 97
Sophia: 101
 
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J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
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BugLaden wrote:
There were some occasions during the Acquisition Phase where we all had very little capital left. We figured none of use could use the funds to build required track, so called the end of the phase there instead of going through 3 more auctions where we would have to hide the bid underneath the turn card. Does anyone disagree with that shortcut?


The auction phase ends as soon as any player has run out of cash (assuming that each player has already auctioned a share). There's no need to go through 3 more auctions as soon as one of the players has hit zero.
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Eddie Mittelstedt
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Hampstead
Maryland
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Sorry, I meant it was this type of situation:

Daddy: 4
Sophia: 4
Shelby: 5

While we could go through the motions and bid on another share, it wouldn't be enough to build track. So instead of three more auctions, we chose to end the phase right there.
 
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Costas
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Ontario
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You're a brave man. I have trouble getting this to the table with 'grownups' who have a lot of experience with 'mathy' games as well as other Winsome games. Well done.
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