Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
My reason for buying Chicago Express was a pretty poor one: I was buying a coke and a chocolate bar from my local game store and didn't have any change on me, so I needed something to bring up the total to minimum EFTPOS levels. Yes, I exceeded that minimum by a large amount. So?
I wasn't terribly impressed by Chicago Express when I first played it with Randy, but I recently become more interested in share games. I don't understand them, so I have to play more of them.
(I've also bought 1856; that will prove another challenge, I think!)
I'd played in a couple of Zendikar events - prerelease and side-draft - and upon revealing to Laurie that I'd bought Chicago Express, he became quite excited and insisted we play it. I hadn't realised he'd enjoyed it so much the first time we played it with Randy. So, I got out my copy, completed assembling it, and got one of the other Magic players who was still hanging around - Torin - to play the game with us.
Torin played an excellent game, I must say. He's very bright indeed, and picked up the rules very quickly and was soon completely frustrating me by bidding high on shares I wanted! For him, lots of yellow shares, and a red share as well. Laurie's early game was green and blue; my early game was green and red.
Off we went, expanding the rails. Our initial bids were quite generous and - as the game continued - our bids became more generous. None of the companies was in danger of running out of money any time soon - except for poor red, which stalled out quickly and no-one was interested in expanding further.
I bought a second green share, and then watched as the blue and yellow shares were bid on again, and again, and again. Actually, I started a lot of the bids, and watched them get way too high for my comfort level - and both Laurie and Torin made sure their initial investments were protected. Torin picked up a green share, giving him a 25% stake in that company. Red was shared 50-50 between me and Torin, Blue was entirely Laurie and Yellow as entirely Torin; with about 4 or 5 shares each in those companies by the end of the game!
Yellow and Green were the income leaders; Laurie and I got Green to Chicago first, and Laurie bought the first share of the Wabash line. When I attempted to get the second share, he blocked me and bought it himself. Hmm.
The dividends for blue and yellow were now quite impressive - in the 30s - and I concentrated on getting Red and Green to share cities so I could improve both with one upgrade. Torin and Laurie also helped increase the value of Green - along with their own lines, of course!
Endgame triggered with the placing of the last trains from the blue line, and now came the final dividend and counting of the money. I had three shares, Torin had six, Laurie had seven.
...and the winner was me!
My conservative strategy with the bidding had paid off; although I had wondered as I'd seen the vast dividends being paid to Torin and Laurie. (If they'd prolonged the game for a couple more rounds, they might have been closer). Bidding $30 for a company share late in the game proved to be their downfall, as the dividends weren't going to make up the shortfall. Torin was actually quite close to my final value - I had about $197. Laurie was quite a bit further off - the Wabash line had cost him dearly.
Yes, you need to play the game a few times to get the proper valuation of the shares. I don't think I've reached that point yet; but I had a better idea this game that my opponents!
I think the bigger part of the game is that the valuations on the shares depend heavily on the what the motivations of the other players are after you've bought them. Do you have an ally? An opponent? Someone who is now diluted enough to have no interest in a company doing well?
I think the joint motivation is possibly more savage and critical in WB/CE, but is actually easier to see evolving in Age of Scheme: Routes to Riches for some reason. Possibly the longer game gives you more opportunities to see the results.
The way you described the flow of shares makes me ask the question.
Why didn't the game end with 3 companies having no shares left?
Just curious that's all.