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Railways of England and Wales» Forums » General

Subject: Opening Service Bounties rss

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The other Euro guy
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We had a 4P game the other day in which 3 service bounties came out in the opening card draw. The bidding for start player went fairly high but ultimately one player got screwed - the player willing to bid highest (and the two lucky enough to be sat next round the table) each built an open link that would satiate a service bounty. By the end of the round the scores were 6,5,5,1. Seemed like a tough break for the player in last as it was only a consequence of her position at the table. The players that had faired best were undoubtedly those who were second and third in turn order - their scores put them right in the hunt and they didn't have to pay anything for the privelege.

Much as I love this game, this didn't feel right.
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Well, that person in last did have the option to bid higher and didn't do it, and so they paid for it.

As for the turn order going clockwise, I play a bidding variant that gets rid of that. I believe the rules say the first bidder for the opening turn is the oldest player. So what I do is put all the players from oldest to youngest. That will be the bidding order for the first turn. Then we bid like this:

Say there are 5 players. The first player can bid or pass. If he bids, then the next player in turn order can bid higher or pass. Basically you go down the line and the first player to pass on bidding goes 5th. Then the other 4 players keep bidding, with the next player to pass going 4th. The next to pass after that goes 3rd. And so on until only one players is left and he pays the bid to go first. After this turn, the next bidding order follows the turn order, so the first player makes the first bid, the second goes second, etc., and the first to pass will once again go 5th.

What this does is reward the players that risk staying in the bidding longer. Only one player will pay just like the normal rules, but the rest of the turn order isn't determined by seat order around the table. The longer you stay in the bidding, the more likely you are turn be higher on the turn order.

The forums for the main game also have a few other alternate rules for bidding that don't rely on table seating which you can find, but these are the ones I like best.
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Joe Mucchiello
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Use Evo/Vegas Showdown bidding. The bidding system for RotW favors the player going second and third when there are more than one good actions on a turn. Making people pay for second and third place, if they bid for it, evens out being the odd man out.

(Even the lame bidding system in Railways through Time is better than the based game bidding system. But the extended bidding system described in the FILES section works best.)
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Richard Young
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Yup - if you are going to have a bidding system, make it work. The idea that only the high bidder pays anything and the turn order goes clockwise from him is a terrible one unless the turn order is not that important other than who is going to go first - which is not the case here.

I know some have commented that it only matters on the first turn in the case of a real killer card or whatever and doesn't much matter after that but I don't subscribe to that view. There are several better bidding systems out there and it simply remains for the group to do a bit of research to adopt the one that suits them best (which of course includes keeping the one in the rules if that's what they really prefer).
 
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Henry Allen
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We have long used the bidding system described above by Doom Turtle and have loved it. We've tinkered with a few others but always come back to this one.

Though, the situation where it's best to slip into 2nd/3rd for free still does occur with this method. I think next time we play I'll push to try the Vegas Showdown style bidding for the very first turn order auction. It seems a bit much to do it for every aunction. However, as you noticed, the first aunction is the most critical and the rewards for slipping in to second/third for free can feel to great.
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The other Euro guy
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Thanks for the replies. I guess I knew the answer would lie in an alternative bidding system, but my game group (or "family" as I usually call them) wouldn't tolerate anything complicated. Doom Turtle's suggestion seems like a nice, simple solution.
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The other Euro guy
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Quick question with regard to DoomTurtle's suggested bidding...

Once the first round is complete and everyone has taken their three actions, in what order does bidding for the second round take place?

I would think that the "natural" answer is that players bid in the same order in which they have just taken their actions (ie. the order produced by the previous round of bidding). Is this right?

We often find that there is little/no bidding for start-player in the mid-game and so (playing by the printed rules) the start-player has just moved clockwise. Even though it makes little difference, I've welcomed this rotation.

If players bid for round two in the order determined by the previous round and all players are then inclined to pass this will (if I understand correctly) cause the order for round two to be the reverse of the order for round one. Doesn't sound so bad, but do I have this correct?
 
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Yes, you have it correct, they bid in the same order that they just took their turn. If no one bids, and the order reverses every time, then the turn order becomes kind of like a draft, where one player goes first one turn, then last the next, then first again, etc., and the player in the middle will always be in the middle.

So with 5 players and no bidding, two of the players will alternate between 1st, then 5th, then 1st, then 5th, with the overall average as 3. Two of the players will alternate between going 2nd, then 4th, then 2nd, then 4th, again averaging 3. And the middle player will always be 3rd.
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The other Euro guy
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Many thanks for the quick reply. I will definitely try to implement this on our next play.
 
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