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General Brass Discussion

Shipyard in the Canal Phase

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Posted by Hammerite This user is an administrator. 2009-01-29 18:58:18 GMT

I see a lot of players building Shipyards in the Canal Phase. I have to say I don't understand the attraction of doing this. To me the Canal Phase is almost completely for raising my income level, getting some good industries on the board that will score twice, getting money in the bank and getting coal on the board ready for the Rail Phase. Putting down an expensive tile that scores only once and probably impedes the aim of getting money ready for the Rail Phase just seems like the wrong approach to me.

But there must be something to recommend it, because plenty of people do it. If you like to try and build your Tech 1 Shipyard, then how come? Why do you go for that?

Posted by Mamluk 2009-01-30 23:04:09 GMT

I personally don't think the level 1 shipyards are worth it. I wonder though- do those who build them do well? Just because a lot of people do it, doesn't mean it is worth it. I suspect that with all the data you are logging for each game, one could do some statistical analysis of what people do to see. For example, the odds of winning and having built shipyards (level 1 or 2).

Posted by Golux13 2009-02-02 22:16:07 GMT

If it's possible to do it without damaging my longer-term strategies, I will build the Level 1 Shipyard. It's 10 points, which is not peanuts in the Canal Phase (as long as you're not forgoing better opportunities). You have to get rid of it to get to your Level 2 Shipyards anyway, so, assuming you want to try to get a L2 Shipyard on the board, the only question is whether the 10 points and the flexibility to develop something else is worth ?16 and a coal. (The iron cost is the same whether you build it or develop it.)

Posted by Garner 2009-08-25 13:20:09 GMT

You have to consider the hand you're dealt. If you have no cotton mills or cotton cities, you can't really just lay down a load of coal and wait for the start of the rail age 15 turns away.

Whilst all you need is a single Liverpool (or shipyard) card in hand to have the option of building the shipyards, which is quicker than the latter cotton/port strategy. Though the latter can score twice & earns significant income.

I like building the shipyards and feel that the development cost to get to the lvl 2 means that you really need to put both into play in the rail age, so why not go gong ho and drop the canal one as well.

Posted by fatmat74 2009-08-27 16:42:03 GMT

It is a risk. I only do it if it is the best option available. You are really counting on getting cards in the rail phase that give you flexibility for building shipyards. If not, you're probably done for.

Posted by Joel Gilbert 2010-03-16 23:55:47 GMT

Is it possible to build a Shipyard in Birkhead in the Canal Phase? If so, what are the requirements?

If I have a Port (flipped or unflipped) in Liverpool, available Coal on the Demand Track (or elsewhere connected to Liverpool, then shouldn't I be able to build through the Virtual Connection (assuming I have a Birk or Shipyard card)?

I guess I just don't understand the Virtual Connection.

Posted by Hammerite This user is an administrator. 2010-03-17 11:01:42 GMT

You can't move Coal via the Virtual Connection. The Virtual Connection just allows your personal network to extend further than it otherwise would for the purpose of building industry tiles - it isn't a physical link that can be used for coal or cotton. So it isn't possible to build a Shipyard in Birkenhead in the Canal Phase.

Posted by randomuser 2010-03-17 21:01:10 GMT

I used to think that it wasn't any good, and I still think that often it's not that good. If you do the breakdown though, the math doesn't seem that bad:

2 l2 shipyards = 4 actions (2 dev, 2 placements) for 36 points for 50 pounds + 6 iron + 2 coal
2 l2 shipyards, 1 l1 shipyard = 5 actions (2 devs, 3 placements) for 46 points for 66 pounds + 6 iron + 3 coal
2 l2 shipyards, 2 l1 shipyards = 5 actions (1 dev, 4 placements) for 56 points for 82 pounds + 6 iron + 4 coal

If you average the price of cubes at 2.5 ea, that works out to:

2 l2 shipyards: 36 points for 70 pounds in 4 actions = 9 pts/action, 1.94 pounds per point
2 l2 shipyards, 1 l1 shipyard: 46 points for 88.5 pounds in 5 actions = 9.2 pts/action, 1.92 pounds per point
2 l2 shipyards, 2 l1 shipyards: 56 points for 107 pounds = 11.2 pts/action, 1.91 pounds per point

So if you know you are going to be putting down 2 shipyards anyway, by the math, 3 shipyards is a better deal.

Of course, math and reality are often different, and since money is tighter in the canal phase, your opportunity cost can be high. Also, you are betting that you can place 2 l2 shipyards in rail, which based on your board position, may be difficult (esp if you don't have immediate access into Ellesmere Port and Lancaster).

So while I don't think it's a first choice, I think that it's not as bad as I once thought it was. At the time I'm writing this, this game:

is in turn 5 canal (if you are reading this later, unfortunately the board may be kind of hard to imagine, sorry), and I chose to build the l1 shipyard last turn for a couple reasons:

1. it was pretty cheap (dev for 3, shipyard for 18)
2. it took the last coal off the preston/wigin/blackburn chunk
3. i have a decent income and a decent cash position
4. my alternative was to dev ports and put a port in Liverpool which I didn't want to do

Taking the coal off the board prevents a mill from being placed in Blackburn until someone else gets coal into there, and is the same reason I didn't want to build a port. In addition, building a port in Liverpool helps gray because his Preston mill now has a link. Developing mills just helps the port player too much, and I'm not super excited about building a canal that will probably get used by someone building a mill, and perhaps I am giving away something, but it's pretty obvious I don't have the W&R card (I don't want to connect from Wigin because of the aforementioned coal link issue).

Taking all those considerations together, I decided that building a shipyard there was my best option, despite the fact that I'll have to work on getting good turn position at the start of rail.

PS. This is also why going shipyards on the French map can often be really really good, though you still have to play it right.

Posted by selwyth 2010-04-07 05:44:25 GMT

I used to think L1 shipyards were a joke, but I've been starting to build/consider them more.

1. If I go only Ports, the Shipyard often pulls out the last cube on my coal mine. You might also need it to even the playing field if a cotton rusher is flipping your Ports 1-to-1.
2. Last resort when I can't get a mill down or when I can't get anybody to flip a new Port (or I don't want to provide the L3 mill another Port).
3. If I decide I can't get at least 3 big mills or all iron down, I will look to Shipyard to make up the difference.
4. Feel a lot better about it if I've built in Ellesmere and Lancaster.

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