We had an instructive game last week at Dallas Gamers. Five players,
most of us had played a lot and the last person had only played once.
First a couple of lessons learned. I've done very well in the last
two months on Railroad Tycoon by being flexible, keeping ready to
take advantage of any change in the game, and changing strategy
completely when necessary.
Instead on this game I violated all this. I went in with a
fixed strategy and refused to change when it became impossible.
I intended to play the gold and VP favor tracks, and play heavily
in the castle to make favors.
The first player jumped into the castle the first turn, and rapidly
got high on the money track. This nullified any advantage I'd have
had on the money track and I didn't change.
Next, three players, other than me, went heavily onto the castle.
By my judgement, over three people in the castle and one person
will get screwed a lot. It seemed every turn I went into the
castle someone else either beat me there or built more than I did.
Even worse, as I was concentrating on castle pieces (and not
getting favors) I didn't get many buildings out.
Finally, I let myself run out of money the last two turns.
On the third turn, the person who had only played once went into
the castle and didn't have enough resources. He seemed to be having
trouble so we all gave him advice on how to get the right resources,
to keep him from losing horribly. This turned out to be a mistake
because he turned around and came within one point of beating Jared.
Jared played a very good building track strategy. He eventually
got a good Prestige building out and won by a point. With the favor
track and good buildings, he scored a lot of points by others
placing workers in his buildings, one turn scoring 5 points this way.
Jared conspired to end the game a turn earlier than anyone
expected. The person who finished last was certain to score a
minimum of 19 points, and probably more, the last turn
couldn't stop it.
So we learn to have initial plans, but not to be blind to other
possibilities. If too many people try the same strategy, change
direction and choose another tactic. Keep enough money for
the last turns (unless its necessary to buy gold).