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General Brass Discussion

Build more rails!

This thread is open.

Posted by humeral 2009-02-16 22:20:51 GMT

In the games I've played in here it seems to me that most people aren't building enough rail links. At least until you get down to the 4-point (max) links (and sometimes even for those), building rails is usually the best way to get points, both in points/action and points/pound. Of course, you'll want to build 2 links with one action when you can swing it.

Don't worry too much about there being nothing on each end, as they'll mostly get filled in (except possibly either the Colne or Stockport areas).

Having the links on the board also gives you more choices for where to use your industry cards.

Posted by Hammerite This user is an administrator. 2009-02-16 22:47:23 GMT

I agree with this wholeheartedly. With coal on the board and a bit of cash you can earn loads of points and go up on the income track at the same time.

It seems like lots of people work hard to get the links into Manchester that are reliably 6/7 points, but don't work very hard after that to get the many other potential 5/6-point links on the board. I think that the worst thing you can do early in the Rail Phase is to try and corner the market on Shipyards. Quite a few people seem to do this and I think it's usually a mistake, since you could be making points and money elsewhere and you're letting other players run away with it.

Posted by Golux13 2009-02-18 20:21:46 GMT

Depends. You definitely don't want to let one player get all the prime rail links, but you may be able to do better for yourself by getting, for example, multiple cotton mills out in a turn and flipping a bunch on the next turn.

That said, you are almost always better off developing links early in the Rail Period if only because it allows you to expand to places you may not have location cards for.

This is what I love about this game - there are multiple paths and strategies for maximizing your score, and they all require a fine balance of timing, cash and income management, and some luck of the draw. (Flexibility is important, too, on account of which I thank Phillip for the "personal notes" section of the game page -- I can plan multiple options and choose the best one based on what my opponents do between my turns.)

Posted by RoosterJuice 2009-02-19 23:42:30 GMT

Strategy time:

Building a level 2 or greater port on warrington during canal phase and AND taking a $60 loan at the end of canal phase guarantees you the ability to build all 4 rail links out of manchester first rail round. Coal should not be too expensive however it is likely going to have to be taken from the demand track. Building coal in round 7 will further assist you in lowering coal price.

6VP warrington -> liverpool
6VP warrington -> Manchester
7VP manchester -> bolton
6VP bolton -> blackburn
= 25VP
all of those rails are pretty much guaranteed points end game.

rail cost = 30
coal cost = 0-10 if you play coal is plentiful, which it usually is.

For < $40 you cant really go wrong for 25 VP in 1 turn.

Posted by Golux13 2009-02-20 05:45:12 GMT

Assuming none of your opponents scarfs up some of those links.

Posted by csibadajoz This user is a translator. 2009-05-11 10:24:04 GMT

What about the points given by 'only-coins-cities', are they worth on 1 pt. or 2 pt.?

Posted by greg909 2009-05-12 16:09:19 GMT

2pts. Each gold circle symbol worth 1 ptVP, so you get 2 VPs for links to Yorkshire, Scotland, Midlands, Blackpool, etc. + 1 VP for each flipped industry on the other edge of the link.

Posted by greg909 2009-05-12 16:15:18 GMT

Agreed that building juicy links (~6 pts) is very potent, but most of the time its not suitable for players going heavy on cotton mills. The only obvious golden rule is to score more than your opponents, and this can be achieved in many ways. Fortunately.

Posted by dr.mrow 2009-08-28 22:44:36 GMT

Apologies for posting to an old link...

After a dozen games, it really seems to me that rails are too good. In one early rail-age action, you can build 12 points of rails for $15 + 2 cubes vs. a level 4 mill @ $18 + 2 cubes. And you don't have to develop down to level 4 mills, spend actions selling cotton, or worry about running out of ports. Better yet, the rails increase your connectivity and obstruct your opponents' connectivity, while increasing the versatility of your hand (since useless cards = rails).

The only upside of building mills is income, but that doesn't match rails either. Say player 1 builds two Level 4 mills and ships to the foreign market. He spends $36 + 4 cubes, scoring 24 points and about 4-8 income. Meanwhile, player 2 builds a level 2 coal (wait till the demand pays for the coal mine) + 2 double rails. He typically spends $30-33 + 4 cubes, scoring 24-26 points + 7 income. Option 2 is $6 cheaper, almost always pays better, and gives you connections to a bunch of cities. And that's in the best case scenario of already having level 4 mills available... two level 3 mills nets you 18 points and 6-10 income for $32 + 4 cubes.

Now, eventually the rail baron runs out of juicy connections and/or track, and has to actually build something besides coal, but the folks who started off building mills have to settle for 4 point links, since that's what's left when they're ready to build rails.

So... out of curiosity, does anyone wonder if double rail links should cost $20 instead of $15?

Posted by greg909 2009-08-29 20:42:23 GMT

Nope. This game's balance seems perfect to me, no need to change something. Everybody knows that rails scores big. Just don't leave the whole cake to your opponents unless you have a valuable reason to do so.

Posted by dr.mrow 2009-08-31 18:34:09 GMT

I guess what bugs me about it is that the canal age is so perfectly balanced. You can rush mills, you can race to the foriegn market with level 1 mills, you can build level 2&3 (or 2&4, or 3&4) ports, you can build coal & iron. If you do it well, you'll be in good position entering the rail age.

In the early rail age, with few exceptions, anything but rails is suboptimal. In the middle rail age, rails are as good as the others. In the late rail age, rails are still decent. Historically, the first rail connection to a city was quite profitable (if you didn't go broke mid-build), but the third and fourth connection that just fill in the map?

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