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Subject: Session Report rss

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Jeff Boes
United States
Saint Joseph
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This is a short session report, because none of us really knew how to play this game, so there's not much deep strategy to be gleaned from our session. I had just received this game for my birthday (yay, me, for being old!), and my poor suffering wife agreed to try it (though she really doesn't like the process of learning new games from me as I'm trying to learn it myself). Dave, visiting from KC, also joined us. We had a false start into the rules, backed up, and began again. From there on the rules weren't so much the problem as the vicious, devil budget-busting nature of this game. Each of us spent the first three turns trying desperately to stay in business. I had more trouble than most, as I chose my starting area poorly: I concentrated on the west edge of the board, connecting three cities but no towns.

That was my undoing, because it became apparent that I would not make much money from one- and two-hop trips between Des Moines, Kansas City, and St. Louis. soblue As the middle turns of the game wore on, my income fell to nearly zero: one more dollar of expenses anywhere in that stretch would have eliminated me from the game! zombie What also hurt was that I didn't realize how poor my goods selection was, once I delivered the obvious loads. The rest were yellow and black, and Dave scooped up the only yellow New City tile, dropping it on the East Coast. I had I think six yellow blocks in my "network" and nowhere to deliver them. Dave's plan proved prescient, as he eventually road those yellows to victory with a six-link train. I made a reasonable comeback to finish up near 25 points of income, but I was lagging the others who were up in the 40s. blush

Were I to try this game again with a table full of newbies, I might introduce it with "beginner's rules": perhaps reducing the expenses on stock to one-half per share rounded up. Sure, it's a different game that way, but I think any game rule which can eliminate a new player before they've had a chance to figure out how the game works is an unfortunate rule. cry

Once we made it through to the end, our esteem for the game rose from "holy crap, this is hard!" to "Well, that wasn't so bad once you got the hang of it." I am very mildly disappointed; I was hoping for a solid "8" or "9", but I'd give this a weak "7" shake pending another try.
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