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General Brass Discussion

Rail Strategy Question

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Posted by randomuser 2009-11-09 19:51:05 GMT


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Posted by randomuser 2009-11-09 19:55:01 GMT


I'm curious as to how other players handle this situation, as my own handling of it seems pretty erratic and not that good.

Let's say you play canal decently and are competitive for the win. Then you draw cards that are substantially useless for your current strategy. Here are a couple examples:

1. Let's say you are going mostly mills and have the following left:

Mills: An unflipped blue Tech Level 4 Cotton Millx3, An unflipped blue Tech Level 3 Cotton Millx1
Coal: An unflipped blue Tech Level 4 Coal Minex2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 3 Coal Minex2, \tilepic(tech 2 coal mine)x1
Iron: An unflipped blue Tech Level 4 Cotton Millx1, An unflipped blue Tech Level 3 Iron Worksx1
Ports: An unflipped blue Tech Level 4 Portx2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 3 Portx2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 2 Portx2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 1 Portx2
Ship: An unflipped blue Tech Level 2 Shipyardx2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 1 Shipyardx2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 0 Shipyardx2

You have some combination of either ~80 gold and meager (but positive) income, or around 40 gold and good (8-13) income.

Your main competition has gone ports, and there are 5 available ports left on the map.

You draw, in the beginning of rail: Liverpool, Liverpool, Fleetwood (still empty), Port, Port, and 3 useless cards (ie all spots filled with non-overwritable tiles).

You can go in whatever position you feel is most favorable to you. What do you do?

2. Let's say you are that ports player. You've played off most of your ports and are looking to focus on rails/coal for the most part. Your position looks like:

Mills: An unflipped blue Tech Level 4 Cotton Millx3, An unflipped blue Tech Level 3 Cotton Millx3, An unflipped blue Tech Level 2 Cotton Millx3, An unflipped blue Tech Level 1 Cotton Millx3
Coal: An unflipped blue Tech Level 4 Coal Minex2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 3 Coal Minex2
Iron: An unflipped blue Tech Level 4 Cotton Millx1, An unflipped blue Tech Level 3 Iron Worksx1, An unflipped blue Tech Level 2 Iron Worksx1
Ports: An unflipped blue Tech Level 4 Portx1
Ship: An unflipped blue Tech Level 2 Shipyardx2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 1 Shipyardx2, An unflipped blue Tech Level 0 Shipyardx2

Your draw looks like: Colne, Stockport, Cotton Mill, Cotton Mill, Cotton Mill, and 3 useless cards.

Though you can't possibly know this, let's say somehow you were able to look ahead and discover that you will only get 1 usable coal mine card, and 0 usable ship cards.


In these scenarios, or others like it, do you have any strategies to try and maximize your score?

Personally, I think for the most part I've been trying to just do rails and pray for useful cards, and when they don't come, I end up losing spectacularly. I'm wondering if there is a better way to hedge my bet so I'm not so draw-dependent.

One possible answer is, don't end canal in such a position that you are forced into one direction. However, I've found that to a large extent, you need to be somewhat specialized to score well enough in canal to be competitive in rail. The most flexible strategy seems to be if you can all of your iron down in canal with a high income. The cards (and sometimes your competition) don't always allow that to happen though. Maybe I'm missing something though.

Any thoughts or advice?

Posted by dave_heberer 2009-11-12 03:50:06 GMT


1. If you've gone so heavy into cotton, and your open draw doesn't have any cotton plays nor ways to suplement income you could have some problems. I would take loans and build rails trying to end up turn 5 with large cash holdings and no income and a goodish rail network. If the cards still don't favor cotton, you can try and do a double develop to surprise the (inevitable) shipyard player and get one in on liverpool or you can build all the rails you possibly can.

2. I don't win often with the port heavy strategy, I think it needs something else and I don't know what it is. Also, everytime I've tried it I ran into heavy competition and there just isn't enough points to be made if the competition for the spaces is fierce, in my opinion.

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