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Subject: Rails solo looking for critiques rss

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Blorb Plorbst
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I've played about a dozen live games of 18xx over the last couple years and have become incredibly captivated by the system. My goal when playing, to date, has been to avoid bankruptcy but since I found the Rails moderator, I've spent a lot of time running solo games and getting a much better understanding of the strategies and techniques to actually win.

I plan on teaching some of my local game group how to play (some of them are not interested but some are) and have decided 18AL is probably the best place to start since it's more forgiving in terms of track building and train rush while still allowing some interesting decisions.

I've played enough now on Rails that I can avoid disaster, take appropriate risks and pull off a few shenanigans (though it's tough to surprise myself).

I'm still struggling with manipulating the Priority Deal in one player's favor or another as well as manipulating the operating order. And I'm still struggling with understand what decisions during a game (what actions or lack of action), causes a player to win or lose. Eventually it becomes obvious who is ahead and who is behind. But what were the decisions that lead to that state?

Here's a recent game record and I'm interested in learning from more experienced players about the good things that happened and the mistakes that were made. All the decisions were mine but I tried to always make the best choices at the time.

Thanks!


================ Start of initial round ================
Bob has the Priority Deal

Martie buys Tusc for $20
Bob buys S&NA for $45 (coalfields)
Cheeks buys B&SLC for $80 (lumber yards)
Bob buys M&C for $115 (named trains)
Noel buys NDY for $150 (1/2 price train)

Bob has $340
Martie has $480
Noel has $350
Cheeks has $420
================== Start of Stock Round 1 ==================
Noel has the Priority Deal
Noel starts L&N at $60 but can't float it
Cheeks starts WRA at $70 and Floats
Bob starts AB&C at $60 but can't float it
Martie starts TAG at $75 and Floats


======================= Start of Operating Round 1.1 =======================
WRA and TAG both lay track and buy a 2 train each


================== Start of Stock Round 2 ==================
Noel has the Priority Deal
Noel finished floating the L&N
Bob finishes floating the AB&C


======================= Start of Operating Round 2.1 =======================
TAG (Martie) operates, pays out, buys a 2 train
WRA (Cheeks) operates, pays out, buys a 2 train
L&N (Noel) operates, buys a 2 train
AB&C (Bob) operates, buys a 3 train
AB&C buys private M&C from Bob for $150
AB&C buys private S&NA from Bob for $60
AB&C lays a Coalfield +$10 bonus token on home hex
AB&C names 3-train as "Robert E. Lee" (+$20 for Birmingham - Atlanta run)


================== Start of Stock Round 3 ==================
Martie has the Priority Deal
All players expand holdings.


======================= Start of Operating Round 3.1 =======================
TAG (Martie) operates, pays out, buys a 3 train
TAG buys private Tusc from Martie for $30
WRA (Cheeks) operates, pays out, buys a 3 train
WRA buys private B&SLC from Cheeks for $105
L&N (Noel) operates, pays out, buys a 3 train
AB&C (Bob) operates, pays out

======================= Start of Operating Round 3.2 =======================
TAG (Martie) operates, pays out.
WRA (Cheeks) operates, pays out.
L&N (Noel) operates, pays out.
L&N buys private NDY from Noel for $180
AB&C (Bob) operates, withholds.
AB&C buys a 4-train from IPO for $300.
All 2-trains have rusted and have been removed.


================== Start of Stock Round 4 ==================
Martie has the Priority Deal
Martie sells 1 share of AB&C for $55.
Martie sells 4 shares of TAG (her own company) for $360.
Martie starts ATN at $105 and floats it.

Noel starts M&O at $60 and floats it.

Bob buys 2 shares of TAG and becomes president.

Some modest trashing and portfolio strengthening takes place


======================= Start of Operating Round 4.1 =======================
ATN (Martie) operates. Forced buy of 4 train.
WRA (Cheeks) operates, pays out, buys a 4 train.
TAG (Bob) operates, withholds.
M&O (Noel) operates, witholds.
M&O buys a 3-train from L&N for $145.
L&N (Noel) operates. Forced Purchase of 5-train from IPO for $225 using NDY.
AB&C (Bob) operates, witholds

======================= Start of Operating Round 4.2 =======================
WRA (Cheeks) operates, pays out.
ATN (Martie) operates, pays out.
TAG (Bob) operates, pays out, buys a 5-train from IPO
M&O (Noel) operates, pays out.
L&N (Noel) operates, pays out.
AB&C (Bob) operates, pays out.


================== Start of Stock Round 5 ==================
Noel has the Priority Deal
Everyone deepens portfolio, no trashing


======================= Start of Operating Round 5.1 =======================
WRA (Cheeks) operates, pays out.
ATN (Martie) operates, pays out, buys a 6-train
TAG (Bob) operates, pays out.
M&O (Noel) operates, Forced Purchase of 7 train.
Noel sells 1 10% shares (10%) of WRA to Pool for $135.
L&N (Noel) operates, pays out.
AB&C (Bob) operates, pays out.
AB&C buys a 4D-train from IPO for $800.

======================= Start of Operating Round 5.2 =======================
WRA (Cheeks) operates, pays out. Forced purchase of 4D train
Cheeks sells 3 10% shares (30%) of ATN to Pool for $360.

All RRs run and pay out for remainder of ORs.


================== Start of Stock Round 6 ==================
Martie has the Priority Deal
Martie does some modest trashing
Everyone deepens their portfolio


======================= Start of Operating Round 6.1 =======================
Everyone operates and pays out

Bank breaks in 3rd OR

1. $5511 Bob
2. $4123 Cheeks
3. $4089 Noel
4. $3424 Martie


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Lutz
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Just keep in mind... Bob usually wins.

BOb
 
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Chris Shaffer
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CrankyPants wrote:

======================= Start of Operating Round 2.1 =======================
TAG (Martie) operates, pays out, buys a 2 train
WRA (Cheeks) operates, pays out, buys a 2 train
L&N (Noel) operates, buys a 2 train
AB&C (Bob) operates, buys a 3 train
AB&C buys private M&C from Bob for $150
AB&C buys private S&NA from Bob for $60
AB&C lays a Coalfield +$10 bonus token on home hex
AB&C names 3-train as "Robert E. Lee" (+$20 for Birmingham - Atlanta run)


This is the critical point. Why did WRA buy a second T2? Cheeks let the player with the most value in private companies sell them one stock round before everyone else.



Note that after the stock round, Bob has 9 shares (6xABC, 1xTAG, 1xWRA, 1xL&N) while Cheeks has only 6 shares (6xWRA). Disregard the certificate count - Bob has 50% more shares than Cheeks. Buying that second T2 was a huge mistake.
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Blorb Plorbst
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Thanks! That's good feedback.

Much of the 18xx strategy (as I understand it) is to push trains. 18AL has limited the number of train buys to 1 until the 4 trains break (a softer approach for new players, perhaps?) so there's no way to make the trains move without buying every chance you get.

That purchase was simply automatic on my part.

But you raise an interesting point. In this instance the ABC had to buy a train. If the WRA had not bought the last 2, Bob would have entered SR2 with a similar money position as the rest of the players and then TAG could have broken the 3s in OR3. WRA would have one fewer train to run but it wasn't going to earn that much anyway -- at least not enough to offset what was handed off to Bob.

Thanks!
 
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J C Lawrence
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CrankyPants wrote:
Much of the 18xx strategy (as I understand it) is to push trains.


Always buying trains is not strategy, it is being a robot and never making a real decision.

Train buying is at least one of the more blatant areas of 18xx strategy, but like much of the 18xx it is all about when and how and sometimes if. The Mark Derrick games in particular reward specific players in specific positions early in the game not buying trains, and then later buying rather a lot of trains in a great rush, ie punctuated equilibrium.
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