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Railways of the Western U.S.» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 4-Player Western U.S. Map. rss

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Blake Rule
United States
Pleasant Grove
Utah
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This was each of our first game on the Western U.S. map. I loved the map. Here is a brief description of what happened:

1.) West Coast: Everyone ended up on the west coast by the middle of the game. I had taken a baron card that required me to have the fewest bonds, so I built my infrastructure going up and down the west coast. This strategy failed in the end (I took 2nd) because towards the end of the game there were absolutely no cubes on the West coast to deliver. I ended the game with only four bonds. The winner (my wife) ended with 11 (the 2nd fewest).

2.) The winner: My wife built a track first from Tacoma to Ogden (a major line), and then from Tacoma down to San Francisco. By the time I had made it to Tacoma (I started in San Fran and went to LA and Sacramento at the start), she had delivered most of the cubes in the Pacific Northwest. She won mostly because she had a decent balance of debt to infrastructure. I had too little debt and too little infrastructure. Bryce (who took 3rd) had too much debt (and the best infrastructure).

3.) Debt: You definitely take out more bonds with this map (or at least we did). This is the result of having more mountains and water. Bryce drew the baron that would give him 6 points if he had the most bonds, which I thought was an awesome baron. He ended up having 20+ bonds! Too many. However, the baron enabled him to not feel guilty about springing to build the Omaha to San Fran connection early in the game. He started in SLC and built to Omaha. Then he went to San Fran from SLC. My wife barely beat him for the major line from Promontory to San Fran (which really hurt him).

4.) Fuel Depots: No one used a single fuel depot. Bryce would have benefited most by using the fuel depots, as he was the one that connected Omaha to San Fran (but he was so broke that he didn't want to spring for them, I guess).

5.) Rotors: We placed the rotors on the board that the instructions recommended. Instead of placing them using random colors, we used the color that the city we were placing them on was (ex: Tacoma is a red city, so we placed a red rotor on it). I think we all really liked the rotors. I wouldn't say that they had a major impact on the game, except that maybe they shortened the game.

6.) Game length: We played in 90 minutes. I think that the rotors sped up the game, as well as the courage Bryce and others had in taking out as many bonds as they did to build a track really quickly. Once tracks are large, the game goes quickly as people deliver cubes more.

7.) What I would have done differently: I would have started east of the Rockies and built track over there all game. There are a lot of cubes out there and it is cheap to build out there. I would have gone from Denver to Oklahoma City (via 5 or 6 other cities). Had I done this, I probably would have had a better chance of winning (because nobody went to Oklahoma City during the whole game).

7.) Overall thoughts: I loved this game. I definitely liked it more than the Eastern U.S. map. I think that Europe is the best map for 3 players and this is my favorite for 4-6 players. There was plenty of player interaction for a 4-player game. It's not too big for 4 (in my opinion). My BGG rating for the game is currently 9.5.
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Rick Holzgrafe
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Great report! Concise, and a good analysis. One comment:

blake33 wrote:
Rotors: We placed the rotors on the board that the instructions recommended. Instead of placing them using random colors, we used the color that the city we were placing them on was (ex: Tacoma is a red city, so we placed a red rotor on it).
That was correct. You should always match the rotor's main color to the underlying city's color; in addition you should start the rotor with only the city's color showing. (The first rule is the most important. You could house-rule either rule, but if you mess with the city's base color you should be aware of the potentially large effect it will have on the game.)

Glad you had a good time!
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Blake Rule
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Thanks for that advice on the starting colors for the rotors. It was what made sense to me.

I really liked the rotors and would be interested to know if anyone has experimented enough with them on other maps to give a recommended list of cities to start them on for other maps. I especially think they could benefit the Eastern U.S. map, as playing with them generally speeds up the game (and games on that map are always the longest).
 
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Rick Holzgrafe
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I have no recommendations for rotors on other maps, except to say that my inclination would be to keep them a bit rare (six on a big map like Western or Eastern U.S., proportionally fewer on smaller maps) and put them on the "big", key strategic cities that always have many connected players by end-of-game. Red cities usually qualify.
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Bob Melkus
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blake33 wrote:
I really liked the rotors and would be interested to know if anyone has experimented enough with them on other maps to give a recommended list of cities to start them on for other maps. I especially think they could benefit the Eastern U.S. map, as playing with them generally speeds up the game (and games on that map are always the longest).
Since the suggested cities on Western map are cities with hotel cards, that is what we do on Eastern map. So: all red cities, plus Boston, Baltimore and Atlanta. The one in Baltimore is perhaps too much as it is too close to both NY and Cha. Next time I'll try New Orleans as I think this will achieve perfect balance.

Lastly, an idea I had was using gray city rotors on western part of the map to utilize that part of the map, as usualy no one ever builds there.

However rotors do speed up the game considerably and most of my friends do not want to use them at all. Still we play around one third of our games with them (mainly because I like them).
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