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Subject: Moving trains back ... Is this too important? rss

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Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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I tend to not like it when a game has an action that you feel forced to take. Kind of like I don't have a choice at all, it's your turn to go first so you have to take this action or you'll just lose. While the moving trains back special action cards aren't completely this way, I still feel like there aren't very many times where you can pass on it. I think I understand a little bit of the reason that they even exist, but surely there are other ways to keep people from pushing too fast to the end of the board that isn't as punishing as this. Even if there are two or three other cards that help your position much more at the time, you can't let this card go by or the consequence will kill anything you gained from the card you end up choosing.

Of course, when these cards come up early they aren't as bad, since you're still only paying one movement point per spot on the rail. Once you cross the barrier to spending 2 points per spot it becomes twice as bad. If I'm already 4 spots across the line and one of the move back 4 cards shows up I have to get a card that has 8 movement on it just to get myself back to the same spot I started on. That along with any further progress I need to make on my turn to get to a new derrick is very painful. This is compounded even more if I'm the start player and end up not taking the card. The reason is because I don't get moved back until after I have already taken my turn. Because of this it is almost impossible to say no to the card as the start player.

Another problem that comes down to just bad luck sometimes, is never getting a chance to use one of the move back cards. It can be very difficult when you just got pushed back 3 turns in a row, then you're finally the start player and the special action card is an extra derrick. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the other special action cards a lot, but after being held back this long and not being able to spread the love yourself puts you in a very bad position. It means you need to take a lot of heavy movement cards to be able to keep getting new derricks and be able to ship the plumes for free. However, the other players have been less inhibited and so they will all have more licenses than you. This means you won't really be selling your oil for good prices. This situation comes up more than you might think and it gives you a feeling that you don't have much of a chance in the game. Sometimes it's further compounded by the unluckiness of getting shallow wells every time you dig.

Does anybody else feel like this action is too important? I really enjoy this game, but I've seen this one part of the game have too much affect on things that it's starting to wear on me (and I think my group as well) a little bit.
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Jeffrey Oakes

West Jordan
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I think I would like the move back action if it was equal to the number of actions it took to move. So if you are 4 spaces into the second level, a Move Back 4 card would move you back 4 actions which for you is 2 spaces. That way you can keep the other trains in check but it isn't as devastating.
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Roger Howell
United States
Lenexa
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It has been just the opposite in our games. It seems our trains are always plenty ahead on the track and it is rare (maybe on the last 2 rounds or so) that we can't cash in our oil for free. I was thinking there weren't enough move back cards. However, I have only played in a 2 player game so that might make a big difference. I am going to get a chance to play with 4 players this weekend. I will be curious if this changes.
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Travis Cooper
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rogerramjet3361 wrote:
It has been just the opposite in our games. It seems our trains are always plenty ahead on the track and it is rare (maybe on the last 2 rounds or so) that we can't cash in our oil for free. I was thinking there weren't enough move back cards. However, I have only played in a 2 player game so that might make a big difference. I am going to get a chance to play with 4 players this weekend. I will be curious if this changes.


Yeah, I suspect a 2 player game would be a lot different. Half of the cards have move back on them, so you should be seeing a fair number of them over the course of a full game. As far as transporting oil for free, that is rarely an issue with us. My main point is it feels like you almost have to take the card in order to keep up so you can transport for free each time.
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Tod Andrew
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I assume the strength of the 'move trains back' action is balanced by there being fewer action movement points and fewer licenses on that card. Is that the case?
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