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VerfasserThema
Tyveil
Junior Member

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June 2004
Strategy Discussion Sat, 05 June 2004 17:19
This thread is for general strategy discussion.

I've only played 4 games so far so I am still working on my strategy, but heres just a few things I've observed so far.

1) The person who connects east to west coast wins. These routes are the most lucrative to construct (20+ victory points), and if you realize you're going to complete these routes early enough, you can often supplement your destination cards with other valuable routes.

2) The person with the most destination cards completed wins. The winners of our games has always had at least 4 destination cards completed, often 5 or more. The person who satisfies rule 1 (coast to coast) often has the easiest time drawing destination cards which they can complete and is usually the person with the most destination cards in the end.

My wife, who is not the best strategy gamer amoung us, has won the last 4 consecutive games while keeping the above 2 tips in mind (4 player games). She has always been the one with the east-west coast route and always ended up with the most destination cards.

I, on the other hand, have been trying to play a more aggressive, disruptive playstyle. This has managed to land me in 2nd place every game (sometimes only by a few points). I would like to see some stragegys here for playing (and winning) with a more aggressive playstyle. The player who plays using the 2 rules above is the passive player who is basically playing a game against themselves and the cards. I would like to come up with some solid strategys for beating this type of player. So far what I've found:

Blocking seems very difficult and random. Your chances of being able to block are increased in a 3 or 5 player game. In a 2 or 4 player game, blocking may just be a complete waste of effort.

1) Block the any-color tracks first. If you have 5 blue trains in your hand, it's better to claim the 5-any color track (which others may be able to utilize), than the 5-blue track. Because you were holding 5 blue trains, it is unlikely that somebody will be able to use that 5-blue track any time soon.

2) Build on the short tracks first leading away from your opponents connecting tracks. If an opponent is playing passively, they will often connect track sequentially, with a predetermined path in mind. Block the short tracks which they can claim easily and try to collect cards which match the color for their long path.

I'm sure there are other tips which could aid the disruptive player. Knowing the destination tickets available, for example, could be a huge aid.
      
EricTheRead
Junior Member

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April 2004
Re:Strategy Discussion Sun, 06 June 2004 05:28
I've got some observations. I wouldn't quite call them strategies, but nonetheless...
1) Maximize your card use. If people are collecting a handful of destinations, you can mess them up by using up all your train pieces, since they will need all the time they can to connect the outlyers. I won once with only two destination cards (LA/Miami; Miami/NYC), but I got there quick by picking up three wild cards to play out exactly the cards I needed to end 1 short of all my train pieces, and ended the game while everyone was still trying to get those last ditch ties together...(I broke 100 points with that. If you can score over 100, you're doing well.
2) Sure, east/west does well. But there are other ways to do well too. A quick note on destinations: 90% of the cities on them are on edges (how many call to connect Chicago? the central plains?). If people are connecting in a sideways I shape east/west, go for the north long runs to maximize long track points, or to the Southern Pacific run SF/LA/ElPaso/Houston. But stick to the edges to maximize your potential hits.
3) Look to see people's starting builds. People doing E/W connections like to do tie their East cities and their West cities first, then tie the two pieces together. Hit them early and often.
4) Look at their strategies - are they collecting a bunch of destinations? Go for the vulnerable connections - Portland/Seattle/Vancuver, NYC/Wash/Pitt/Boston, or the one-piece connection out of Atlanta to Nashville/Houston/New Orleans. These can mess people up real bad when they realize they have to go north to get to Miami...

Okay, that was fun. So here are 6 play notes I recommend. Now, by recommending these, I never want to see you on the other side of the table from me, okay? Very Happy
1) take tickets early (turn 1? 2?) to optimizeyour route.
2) Don't get into a land war in Asia. (huh? Okay, don't get into early battles for connectivity - people panic early and get distracted getting into spending collection cards to fill gray track they think they need - esp the Houston/Duluth track. Be flexible. )
3) Don't take wild cards in the first half of the game.
4) Take them at the end if you need 2/3/4 specific last cards - your chances are better by guaranteeing you get those two cards, but then again, it might pop up on the second turn and now you've got a free wild! (see note 1 above)
5) Grab any paired colors on the face-up set. Esp in the beginning!
6) ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH TRAIN PIECES TO CONNECT YOUR GOALS!

Whew! Okay, also note that you can be doing all these, and someone will get lucky and draw 3 tickets they already connect. You will lose - that's what I like about the game, it's not always the same winners! - but I bet you will do well, and even win an inordinate number of games you play...

Eric The Read
      
Admiral Fisher
Member

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January 2004
Re:Strategy Discussion Tue, 08 June 2004 16:52
The tips written in the previous two messages are excellent and I have used some of those ploys myself. However, I do disagree with the East-West idea as a main strategy for 4/5 player. In those games, I believe that it can work, but is risky. In 2 player games, it's fine, and in 3 players, I can't comment because I have no experience there. In 4/5 player games, I would prefer to have it as a secondary strategy, worth playing if the opportunity arises.

Instead, I prefer to adopt a Central Strategy at the start which normally segues into a North-South push of one type or another.

The following comments refer mainly to 4/5 player games.

To partly explain my Central Strategy more fully, take a look at the board. Notice first how many routes go through the centre. Then take a look at the destination cards. See also how many of those go through the centre, too.

In my view, he who controls the centre controls the game. And, more typically, he who has a strong hand in the way the centre shapes up must be in the front-running at the end.

So, my basic starting strategy will be to radiate out from one or two of a top pick of cities that I will highlight below. I may soon have a vaguely cross shape going through one of them, as I pursue routes to the N, S, SE, SW, NE, NW of it.

Here's what I do in a typical game:

First, I check my starting destination cards. I try to keep at least one that goes through one of two cities if I can - Denver and Kansas City. Next in line, I would place Oklahoma City, Omaha and St.Louis and after that Duluth and Santa Fe. If I can get two routes going through that list I've got something to hang my hat on, but one will be a start. Note you don't have to have one of these cities as a destination. The main thing is that there is a clear and straight route through one of them. If I can get that and start a Central Strategy that's great news because in so doing:

i. I have a high chance of drawing future destination cards that will use part of a route which I've already taken.
ii. I am likely to block someone else's route, or at least make them take a long detour.
iii. Many of the central routes are on grey spaces, thus increasing my play options.
iv. I can pick off short routes for low points without risk, and go for medium and even high scoring routes from there on.
v. I am ultra flexible. I can head off anywhere from the middle!

Second, I deliberately start off aiming to complete a route that is more N-S than East to West if I can. It may be NE, NW etc, but it's not going to be East-West. Why? Easier points to pick off and more flexibility.

Third, I aim to complete a few shortish routes fairly quickly - they are ones with scores under 10. Medium routes will do, too if shorter ones aren't in my hand.

Fourth, I draw new destination cards early and particularly look for ones that are on or close to a route I've started so far and are medium in length (11-17 points). I avoid the high scoring routes (E-W) unless they become easy to achieve - maybe through a lucky draw that needs only a couple of links to finish. Experience says that my Centrist approach is almost bound to link in with new destination cards I draw.

Fifth, I keep an eye out for who it is who is attempting the long routes. Using the preponderance of grey routes in the centre to my advantage, when I spot my target, I block them with a play that makes them take a longer route. Note that for this reason, it's always a good idea to keep a pair or one colour and a loco in your hand. In this way, I am decreasing the liklihood of someone else scoring off the high-value destination cards which I am (probably) avoiding .

I have adopted this approach successfully several times. When I have tried to go for E-W routes, I have found it a much more risky venture.




[Aktualisiert am: Tue, 08 June 2004 22:00]

      
ArchJojo
Junior Member

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July 2004
Re:Strategy Discussion Sat, 31 July 2004 15:12
Well I just started playing and in the first play with my wife.....who weally isn;t into games much......she had some trouble finding city's and especially connecting them.........soo she went for 6 train routes....gathering 15 points each....proved to be vewwy effective......the minor loss she got from not finishing her small routes....was nothing compared to the points she already received........and she was draining her trains fast enough to avoid others making their big routes........

Next play I got LA-miami......I just kept on gathering tickets......Soo the other players could show me wich way wud be free.......and got the 3 6 train routes in between.....lotsa points this way........
      
    
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