Don D.
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I want to say at the outset that this is not a positive review of this game and the review will be dominated by negative comments, which mirrors my sentiments while playing the game. Some posters don't like negativity, and I certainly understand that. This is simply my personal opinion and many would likely disagree with me.

I Played this tonight for the first time and boy was it laborious. I would love to see the prototypes submitted to rio grande; I wouldn't be surprised if it was in better shape than the finished product.

Problems that should have been eliminated or alleviated by competent product development:

1) The rulebook. The rules are just short of horrendous. There are scores of important components in the game that are not listed nor mentioned ANYWHERE in the rule book, it took educated guessing and scouring the geek to figure them out. Additionally, a number of rules are either explained in not nearly enough detail or unnecessarily complex.

2) the map. This map is a bear. Unless someone is from the northeastern united states, there is very little chance a player will have any familiarity with the geography of the map and as a result the vast majority of players will expend CONSIDERABLE time (I'm talking like 30 plus minutes added to the length of the game) searching the board to find where certain cities are. In a game where cities matter so much, either the map should be of a more macro area most players would be familiar with or each card should have printed on it a greyed out map with the relevant city highlighted. That the "theme"of this game came out almost none in the mechanics nearly eliminates any reasonable excuse for the mess that this map is.

3) the interfaces used on the board and many cards. Specifically the mail cards and special routes are really bad here. First off, the special routes are referred to as card plays yet are actually printed on the board- not good. Second, both of these have these boxes surrounding some numbers and not others with no mention of a purpose for them in the rulebook nor any intuitive reason for their existence. This simply confuses players.

These are three major major problems with the production of the game, though there are scores of other more minor annoyances with the production- a significant amount of the blame for my dislike of this game must lie with the development team. There are some aspects of the game play I don't care for as well such as the random events that can arbitrarily cripple a players position as well as the unnecessary citadel-ish screw you action cards- both things that do not belong in a 3 hour economic game.

There are some positives too they are just hard to put your finger on and articulate because they have been so deeply buried underneath all the negatives. I guess the best I can do at articulating the positives is to say that the entire time I was playing I had the strong feeling that there IS a really interesting game here and that I might find it enjoyable. However, in the end the interesting game was just not nearly strong enough to overcome all the massive flaws.

In the end I just can't ever see myself electing to play this game over the many fantastic games in the genre that take a similar amount of time.

My rating using the BGG scale- 3 "likely won't play this again although could be convinced, bad."

My rating using my own 1-10 assessment of the quality of the game relative to all other games- 5, many worse and worse than many.
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Ian Allen
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I have to agree and add my 2 cents here:

I played this once and got the topmost area of the map as the Maine player or whatever. Forgive me if I have forgotten exact details, its been a while. I was really far away from the big cities that were giving all the other players huge bonuses. To make up for this - they give the top map area player a special card that has to do with getting bonus production out of lumber mills. I worked this angle as hard as I could, but there were a couple of major problems with this. I was falling behind because the lumber mills didn't come out of the deck until past the halfway point in the game because they had randomly been shuffled to the bottom half.

Also - the random disasters - I don't remember the exact count, but it seemed like about 5 or 6 out of the 16 total targetted my area specifically. I HAD to control cities on the coast to make my lumber mill bonus thing work, but no one else HAD to control certain coastal cities to get their big city bonuses - so the end result was - despite me being in the crappiest position at the top of the board, missing out on big city bonuses, my lumber operation got shut down for a third of the game. All those disasters just nuked me pretty much and I had one of the worst playing experiences ever.

Now just to be fair, I don't like train games very much. However I will play Age of Steam or Railroad Tycoon occasionally and have a decent time. But this game I would never play again without a fire-arm being levelled at the back of my head.
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David Hoffman
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dond80 wrote:
...the entire time I was playing I had the strong feeling that there IS a really interesting game here and that I might find it enjoyable. However, in the end the interesting game was just not nearly strong enough to overcome all the massive flaws.


This is exactly how our group felt. Honestly, this was a heartbreaking game for us. My wife is from New England and we're all fans of train, network-building and economic engine games. Plus, I believe, from what I've read, this game was a true labor of love for the designer.

But it failed for us on every single level. The rules are bad, the font used on the board is difficult to read, finding things on the board is difficult . . . and worst of all (to us) we never felt any compelling reason to interact with the other players. Why pay a fortune to extend your personal network when an insular strategy seems to work just fine?

We boxed up our copy and I know I'll never get my group to play it again.
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Sean Shaw
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I noted some of the difficulties of new players and using Maine. For three players or fewer, or even four players, I'd utilize first Conn, NH, and RI...then Vermont...and last Maine...hopefully for the most experienced player of the bunch.

Maine can win, but it takes some experience to see how it's done.

However, my review of the game was not stellar either. It wasn't quite as negative as yours, but I also saw some problems with the game. I see that there is a good game when you dig through it and finally get some of the strategies, but I also realize that most could be turned off by the game before ever getting to that point.
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Sean Shaw
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ohbalto wrote:
dond80 wrote:
...the entire time I was playing I had the strong feeling that there IS a really interesting game here and that I might find it enjoyable. However, in the end the interesting game was just not nearly strong enough to overcome all the massive flaws.


This is exactly how our group felt. Honestly, this was a heartbreaking game for us. My wife is from New England and we're all fans of train, network-building and economic engine games. Plus, I believe, from what I've read, this game was a true labor of love for the designer.

But it failed for us on every single level. The rules are bad, the font used on the board is difficult to read, finding things on the board is difficult . . . and worst of all (to us) we never felt any compelling reason to interact with the other players. Why pay a fortune to extend your personal network when an insular strategy seems to work just fine?

We boxed up our copy and I know I'll never get my group to play it again.


This is one of the hidden strengths of Maine and Vermont (though Conn is up there too simply by default of location...so some would call that unbalanced...and Conn gets a lot of subsidies as well). By extending your network to a market city, preferably turn one or two, you also set yourself up easy for getting the connection routes for the VP's that way.

A particularly NASTY Maine strategy (BUT ONLY for those who are experienced, if you aren't experienced you'll get wiped out this way) is to connect to Boston and then extend and take everything in MA or the surrounding areas...becoming in essence the MA player instead. This way you can block out those in the area with three or more players if they've already shown a proclivity to wrestle with each other over the industry in that area.

It should be noted of the four people I played my original game with, two will never play it again (they probably had more adverse reactions to the game than any expressed here, including one who felt if it were his game he'd burn it and dump the ashes down the toilet). One of those actually won our initial game and still felt the game was broken and/or bad.

I don't share that opinion overall. I think there is a decent game for those who spend the time learning the strategies, BUT I can understand how it easily turns people off of the game itself.
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Alan Goodrich
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I can't say as I disagree with most of your points, although I found them less problematic than you. For us, it was the lack of a component overview that made the rules hard to follow rather than anything in terms of game flow. The board is jam-packed, but I'm not sure how you get around that without reducing the number of locations (at the same time, I'm from upstate NY and so have some familiarity with the geography).

The lack of interaction is where I'd agree with you most, and I have to say, I wish there was more. All of our games have been 2ers, so getting blocked out of cities is not an issue. Using the same two states every game gets old, but the game does it I'm sure to balance opportunity. We've thought about using different starting states besides Connecticut and New Hampshire, and compensating for the asymmetrical markets with some extra cash or something.

All of that said, we do enjoy this game quite a bit. It's a bear in some ways, but the game itself is quite easy to play once you have a handle on the rules, and it flows. The design reminds me of older/more idiosyncratic designs such as Silverton, Lords of the Sierra Madre, Karnaxis, Urban Sprawl, and the Empire Builder games. All have mechanics that are much more specific than the average Euro, and they all have a good helping of variability/randomness/chaos that Euros usually don't. If you think of the game more as an economic sandbox, with some race elements (basically grabbing the mail/special routes and controlling the game end), and adjust your expectations away from the tight mechanical interlock most Euros have, the game can be enjoyable. It's a long term economic planning game where you are unable to see beyond the medium term. We enjoy the extra variability, but I can see how it can turn some off. If you like your choices to be clearly delineated, this is not the right game. For gamers who enjoy the games I mentioned above, though, it's a nice variation on those themes. While it doesn't hit the table often, we enjoy it when it does, and I find it deeper, and the scores closer, each time we play.
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Eric Brosius
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I enjoy the game, but I'll agree that the rulebook and the components were put together without any coordination between them.

Let me point out, however, that you can play without the "take that" event cards if you don't want so much interaction.
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Stefan Rastapopoulos
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cayluster wrote:
I can't say as I disagree with most of your points, although I found them less problematic than you...

All of that said, we do enjoy this game quite a bit. It's a bear in some ways, but the game itself is quite easy to play once you have a handle on the rules, and it flows. The design reminds me of older/more idiosyncratic designs such as Silverton, Lords of the Sierra Madre, Karnaxis, Urban Sprawl, and the Empire Builder games. All have mechanics that are much more specific than the average Euro, and they all have a good helping of variability/randomness/chaos that Euros usually don't. If you think of the game more as an economic sandbox, with some race elements (basically grabbing the mail/special routes and controlling the game end), and adjust your expectations away from the tight mechanical interlock most Euros have, the game can be enjoyable. It's a long term economic planning game where you are unable to see beyond the medium term. We enjoy the extra variability, but I can see how it can turn some off. If you like your choices to be clearly delineated, this is not the right game. For gamers who enjoy the games I mentioned above, though, it's a nice variation on those themes. While it doesn't hit the table often, we enjoy it when it does, and I find it deeper, and the scores closer, each time we play.


I couldn't have written a better account of how I feel about this game myself.
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Walter Hunt
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For what it's worth, we've got a new rule book almost ready to roll. But this is not a Euro: it's a historical game much more than a completely balanced game. Different states play differently.

I hope you'll give it another try. Sorry to disappoint, but it's got a lot of development time - it plays differently each time.

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Chris Rudram
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hotc wrote:
For what it's worth, we've got a new rule book almost ready to roll. But this is not a Euro: it's a historical game much more than a completely balanced game. Different states play differently.

I hope you'll give it another try. Sorry to disappoint, but it's got a lot of development time - it plays differently each time.



I think it's had a lot of design time. I am sure there's an interesting game in there, and the game play elements are not for everyone's taste, but not the killer of the game. I don't think "it plays differently each time" is a sign of a lot of design time. It's not a bad thing either, mind.

I don't think it had a enough development time, taking the design given and turning it into a high quality product to sell. The Rio Grande Games logo on the box misdirected me. I expected a fully complete set of rules, piece manifest and level of polish that just wasn't there in the box.

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Don D.
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hotc wrote:
For what it's worth, we've got a new rule book almost ready to roll. But this is not a Euro: it's a historical game much more than a completely balanced game. Different states play differently.

I hope you'll give it another try. Sorry to disappoint, but it's got a lot of development time - it plays differently each time.



Walter I'm not really sure that it was your design that disappointed as much as it was how that design was implemented once handed over.
 
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Scott Pizio
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hotc wrote:
For what it's worth, we've got a new rule book almost ready to roll. But this is not a Euro: it's a historical game much more than a completely balanced game. Different states play differently.

I hope you'll give it another try. Sorry to disappoint, but it's got a lot of development time - it plays differently each time.



Any chance current owners will be able to get a copy? Preferably a hard copy.
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Walter Hunt
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spizio wrote:
hotc wrote:
For what it's worth, we've got a new rule book almost ready to roll. But this is not a Euro: it's a historical game much more than a completely balanced game. Different states play differently.

I hope you'll give it another try. Sorry to disappoint, but it's got a lot of development time - it plays differently each time.



Any chance current owners will be able to get a copy? Preferably a hard copy.


When it's ready, it's up to Mr. Tummelson to make it generally available. We will release it when it's ready, and someone from the RoNE forum is helping with the edit pass, so we're incorporating FAQ, clarifications made here, etc.

I don't think I'm in any position to criticize RGG's implementation of the game, as opposed to our own design. I think it's partially a matter of expectations: if you expected this to be a "killer" game, or a sort of elegant souped-up Ticket to Ride, then of course you'll be disappointed.

Of the five states, Maine might be the hardest to play, because its advantages take time to develop. Vermont has good early income, but if the sheep run out it could hit problems. New Hampshire requires a decision about what sort of strategy you want - sometimes guided by other players. Connecticut and Rhode Island depend on the bridges and on the actions of others.

When I look at all of the iterations that preceded it - going back to the early 1980s - I am very pleased with the results I see. I accept the criticisms, particularly about the rule set, but dismiss the comments that say that the game wasn't playtested or developed: those opinions reflect a lack of knowledge.

On the other hand, I don't disavow our responsibility: Rails is our game, it's largely the game we wanted to see, and we're thrilled to see it published. Some will like it. Some will not. There are games in the Top 50 on BGG I dislike intensely; that doesn't make them bad games. There are games that are considered broken that I do like. That doesn't dismiss the particular situation in which the breaking can occur - and it doesn't make me like them less.

My co-designer and I have both been playing board games of various kinds since the 1970s. We were both S&T subscribers before the 1981 meltdown. We've played lots of different kinds of games, and our experience went into the evolution of Rails of New England. We're grateful that Rio would publish it, and we're appreciative of the support. And we're cognizant that when people put down money for a game, they get to say what they want about it, and they get to not like it.

We'll continue to work on the rule set to make sure it's clear, concise, accurate and illustrative. We'll do our best. For the people who have already boxed it up and won't play it again, that's obviously a missed opportunity about which we can do nothing. For anyone else willing to play our game, we'll do our best to answer questions and convey the sense of the game we designed.

One reviewer on Opinionated Gamers labeled it his favorite game of 2011. While I'm elated, I can no more use that appellation as a soapbox than to be crushed by some of the negative commentary here in these forums. That the game is on the shelf is a reward for our many years of work.
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Don D.
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hotc wrote:
spizio wrote:
hotc wrote:
For what it's worth, we've got a new rule book almost ready to roll. But this is not a Euro: it's a historical game much more than a completely balanced game. Different states play differently.

I hope you'll give it another try. Sorry to disappoint, but it's got a lot of development time - it plays differently each time.



Any chance current owners will be able to get a copy? Preferably a hard copy.


When it's ready, it's up to Mr. Tummelson to make it generally available. We will release it when it's ready, and someone from the RoNE forum is helping with the edit pass, so we're incorporating FAQ, clarifications made here, etc.

I don't think I'm in any position to criticize RGG's implementation of the game, as opposed to our own design. I think it's partially a matter of expectations: if you expected this to be a "killer" game, or a sort of elegant souped-up Ticket to Ride, then of course you'll be disappointed.

Of the five states, Maine might be the hardest to play, because its advantages take time to develop. Vermont has good early income, but if the sheep run out it could hit problems. New Hampshire requires a decision about what sort of strategy you want - sometimes guided by other players. Connecticut and Rhode Island depend on the bridges and on the actions of others.

When I look at all of the iterations that preceded it - going back to the early 1980s - I am very pleased with the results I see. I accept the criticisms, particularly about the rule set, but dismiss the comments that say that the game wasn't playtested or developed: those opinions reflect a lack of knowledge.

On the other hand, I don't disavow our responsibility: Rails is our game, it's largely the game we wanted to see, and we're thrilled to see it published. Some will like it. Some will not. There are games in the Top 50 on BGG I dislike intensely; that doesn't make them bad games. There are games that are considered broken that I do like. That doesn't dismiss the particular situation in which the breaking can occur - and it doesn't make me like them less.

My co-designer and I have both been playing board games of various kinds since the 1970s. We were both S&T subscribers before the 1981 meltdown. We've played lots of different kinds of games, and our experience went into the evolution of Rails of New England. We're grateful that Rio would publish it, and we're appreciative of the support. And we're cognizant that when people put down money for a game, they get to say what they want about it, and they get to not like it.

We'll continue to work on the rule set to make sure it's clear, concise, accurate and illustrative. We'll do our best. For the people who have already boxed it up and won't play it again, that's obviously a missed opportunity about which we can do nothing. For anyone else willing to play our game, we'll do our best to answer questions and convey the sense of the game we designed.

One reviewer on Opinionated Gamers labeled it his favorite game of 2011. While I'm elated, I can no more use that appellation as a soapbox than to be crushed by some of the negative commentary here in these forums. That the game is on the shelf is a reward for our many years of work.


Very classy post.
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Don D.
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hotc wrote:
spizio wrote:
hotc wrote:
For what it's worth, we've got a new rule book almost ready to roll. But this is not a Euro: it's a historical game much more than a completely balanced game. Different states play differently.

I hope you'll give it another try. Sorry to disappoint, but it's got a lot of development time - it plays differently each time.



Any chance current owners will be able to get a copy? Preferably a hard copy.


When it's ready, it's up to Mr. Tummelson to make it generally available. We will release it when it's ready, and someone from the RoNE forum is helping with the edit pass, so we're incorporating FAQ, clarifications made here, etc.

I don't think I'm in any position to criticize RGG's implementation of the game, as opposed to our own design. I think it's partially a matter of expectations: if you expected this to be a "killer" game, or a sort of elegant souped-up Ticket to Ride, then of course you'll be disappointed.

Of the five states, Maine might be the hardest to play, because its advantages take time to develop. Vermont has good early income, but if the sheep run out it could hit problems. New Hampshire requires a decision about what sort of strategy you want - sometimes guided by other players. Connecticut and Rhode Island depend on the bridges and on the actions of others.

When I look at all of the iterations that preceded it - going back to the early 1980s - I am very pleased with the results I see. I accept the criticisms, particularly about the rule set, but dismiss the comments that say that the game wasn't playtested or developed: those opinions reflect a lack of knowledge.

On the other hand, I don't disavow our responsibility: Rails is our game, it's largely the game we wanted to see, and we're thrilled to see it published. Some will like it. Some will not. There are games in the Top 50 on BGG I dislike intensely; that doesn't make them bad games. There are games that are considered broken that I do like. That doesn't dismiss the particular situation in which the breaking can occur - and it doesn't make me like them less.

My co-designer and I have both been playing board games of various kinds since the 1970s. We were both S&T subscribers before the 1981 meltdown. We've played lots of different kinds of games, and our experience went into the evolution of Rails of New England. We're grateful that Rio would publish it, and we're appreciative of the support. And we're cognizant that when people put down money for a game, they get to say what they want about it, and they get to not like it.

We'll continue to work on the rule set to make sure it's clear, concise, accurate and illustrative. We'll do our best. For the people who have already boxed it up and won't play it again, that's obviously a missed opportunity about which we can do nothing. For anyone else willing to play our game, we'll do our best to answer questions and convey the sense of the game we designed.

One reviewer on Opinionated Gamers labeled it his favorite game of 2011. While I'm elated, I can no more use that appellation as a soapbox than to be crushed by some of the negative commentary here in these forums. That the game is on the shelf is a reward for our many years of work.


One more thing, you spoke of the great length of time that was spent testing and developing this game...that can be a downside just as much as it can be an asset. When you test for that long, players become intimately familiar with a game in a way that the vast majority of consumers will never become. Thats how issues like a (in my opinion) completely awful map can go unnoticed. Its not an awful map if players know every location on it by heart because theyve played it scores of times. Its up to the developer to bring in fresh people to test the game and identify those kinds of issues. Something as simple as a faint grid system on the map with each business card having the corresponding grid identified (Lumber (A2)) would immensely improve the game experience.
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Ray Smith
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It's great to hear that a rewrite is in the works.

RoNE was on my "must have" list once I heard of its release, and was eager to give it a go at Origins 2011. It was in constant play in the Board Room, and I was only able to sit in on a quick demo. But, I was still impressed with its unique play. Correct; Railroad Tycoon, Power Grid, Silverton, it's not. It's not meant to be.

Unfortunately, I didn't purchase it due to the massive problems with the rules, and the somewhat lesser problems with the map. Normally, these wouldn't be a stopping issue for me, but, with soooo many other more "finished" games, I gave RoNE a pass.

If a second edition gives the rules extensive editing, and the game board receives a tweaking (grid locations, different font, etc.), this would definitely go back on my must buy list.

Thanks Walter, and best wishes on its future.
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I can sympathize with those who are not from New England and also have to deal with the atrocious rule book. However, as a Vermonter (as are the 6 players I have access to) this game has become a delight. Not because of its location (but that helped us to struggle on), but because the game has a lot of hidden nuances that makes it very interesting for those who spend the time to look for them and, unfortunately, use BBG for advise (Rewrite Please!!!).

I have played more than 30 games and have won from every state. I find Vermont and Maine to be the most interesting to play (a 20 year-old girl-friend of my daughter's is almost rabid in playing Maine, even in a 4-player game), and even when I play a 3 player game, I choose one of them (okay, Vermont IS the 3rd player, but I think you get my drift). Like so many other games, one must play it for a while to discover the hidden strategies that tend to grudgingly reveal themselves to those who prevail.

I have had to filter through every post on BBG to figure out the game, but now find it not collecting dust on the shelf. Even my wife (not one for economic gaming) has found this game to her liking. Yes, there isn't the cut-throat action one sees in games like 18xx (which I love, but not my family), but RoNE is a fun game.

Hint: Diversify. Buy businesses in all states (lobster anyone?) and don't power-play your own state. When possible take your opponent's best businesses, trade them with a vengeance, grab every passenger and Mail route you can, and always, always keep in mind the economic situation which is revealed two turns in advance. Contrary to many nay-Sayers I see on this site, there is a lot of planing and decision making in this game. Don't just toss it because you don't know New England. If I did that, I would never play the crayon RR games like Eurorails, India Rails, or even British Rails, where I am forced to look hard to find the cities. But I do it, because I like the games.

All of my cohorts and myself grab any profitable business and even attempt to overtake the good old, MASS Mail route. Another bit of advice: Look at the back of the rule book and get rid of the more random, destructive cards. Only then can the game be a more thinking game and not another rendition of Monopoly.

To finish, it took us a few games (4-5?) before we became familiar with all the scattered rules and found it to be a game worth repeat playing.
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Walter Hunt
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rdsmith wrote:
It's great to hear that a rewrite is in the works.

RoNE was on my "must have" list once I heard of its release, and was eager to give it a go at Origins 2011. It was in constant play in the Board Room, and I was only able to sit in on a quick demo. But, I was still impressed with its unique play. Correct; Railroad Tycoon, Power Grid, Silverton, it's not. It's not meant to be.

Unfortunately, I didn't purchase it due to the massive problems with the rules, and the somewhat lesser problems with the map. Normally, these wouldn't be a stopping issue for me, but, with soooo many other more "finished" games, I gave RoNE a pass.

If a second edition gives the rules extensive editing, and the game board receives a tweaking (grid locations, different font, etc.), this would definitely go back on my must buy list.

Thanks Walter, and best wishes on its future.


Thanks for the encouragement - even if you didn't buy the game.

A careful revision of the rules is in progress. As for the map: I'm afraid you get what's there, though someone has posted a one-page list of locations. I'm afraid that there isn't much I can do about geography: places have the names they had

Someone commented that familiarity is a problem when developing. Yes, possibly: but a large number of different people got to play this during its many years of development, and we saw lots of different things. But new players found and did things we never expected or foresaw.

What's encouraging is that even some folks who had trouble with the rules, or problems with the map, or annoyance at the game system came back to it and played it again. In this era of the "Cult of the New", that's a good sign.
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Walter Hunt
United States
Bellingham
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Cannibal Ox wrote:
Any update to the availability of the re-written rules? My copy is still sitting in the shrinkwrap waiting for the new rulebook.


Incorporating suggestions from an active BGG user. I'll have to make sure that Mr. Tummelson is satisfied with the new rules, and then they'll be available.
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Greg Low
United States
Mansfield
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hotc wrote:
I'm afraid that there isn't much I can do about geography: places have the names they had
Strange given the map's creative geography. Bristol Rhode Island has been relocated to the Atlantic and has a link to Kingston Rhode Island? Rhode Island is defined by Narragansett Bay. Putting a municipality on the wrong side of the bay is about as geographically creative as it gets.

Still, best of luck with the new rules. At least the posts show that there's an interested following, and the new rules may still get fair consideration.

Best,
-Greg
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Carlo Gozzi
United States
Barre
Vermont
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The truth is still out there...
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Ïa! Ïa! Cthulhu fthagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fthagn!
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GreyLord wrote:
A particularly NASTY Maine strategy (BUT ONLY for those who are experienced, if you aren't experienced you'll get wiped out this way) is to connect to Boston and then extend and take everything in MA or the surrounding areas...becoming in essence the MA player instead. This way you can block out those in the area with three or more players if they've already shown a proclivity to wrestle with each other over the industry in that area.


If you do this with people who knows how to play, you'll never ever come close to win the game with Maine... You MUST spend your money wisely and this is not the way to do it.

All states can be played regardless on how many people play the game...

This is a game that i love and it receives lots of attention from my end.
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Togu Oppusunggu
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New York
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Thanks for this review. It generated a lot of great responses about how to play the game, and now I look forward to obtaining a copy. Walter, a congratulations here from a fellow Bowdoin-ite and a friend of P. Cote.
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