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About rkagerer

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    Sand Flea
  1. This is a great game but the maps keep getting bigger and I find I keep repeating largely the same strategy in the campaigns - connect distant cities and run passenger trains between them. I dabble in resources a little where needed but it tends to be a distraction, with links made for a specific and narrow purpose, rather than directly driving my revenue or taking front seat as the focus of my game. This seems like a bit of a lost opportunity given the rich and complex resource system in the game. I feel like all the maps I've played spam you with way more resources all over the place than you would ever want to connect. I keep expecting to find a map where resources take center stage for a change. I'm thinking a small or medium sized map with very little duplication of resources. Make it so you have to produce something at the end of the chain, but in order to do so you need to get at specific intermediate resources blocked by certain challenges - e.g. maybe one's located in territory where you initially have no rights, due to a war on or some other circumstances preventing you from buying rights with cash. But if you ship X loads of some other resource to a city by the border, a black market smuggler will turn them into Y of the one you need. But resource X isn't easy to find either - it's only located in some other territory where you likewise can't lay track, but there's a failing railroad service you might be able to put out of business then acquire to inherit their existing track. Events later in the game could change things up again - the smuggler gets arrested, but some other avenue opens up to get at the vital supply. Anyway you get the idea. Are there any scenarios out there anyone has built which let you play a more resource and strategically focused game?
  2. rkagerer

    Improving Goodwill

    Seriously? Tree cutting? I wouldn't have expected that. I was reworking a lot of terrain to get better grades, guess that might have contributed.
  3. Do you only pay maintenance on track that actually gets used over the year? I ask because at the end of one of my games I had a ton of track, and spent a year without running a single train. I vaguely recall having $0 track maintenance costs that year...
  4. I'm playing Orient Express and find it challenging keeping up my Goodwill. I've been managing my trains pretty aggressively, to keep backlog down at my stations - particularly over the last two years. I commission a new train whenever I see 3+ passengers waiting (unless another one is about to arrive), so most of my stations have a passenger queue close to 0. Mail is generally close to zero as well, across the board. I might have one or two stations flare up once and a while, and address it pretty quickly. With station placement I tried to avoid gaining too much manufacturing coverage. I'm only just now starting to see more goods growth, and am trying to servicing it adequately, although the backlogs are a little higher than that of passengers. I do have a couple of grain farms at one station and iron at another that I just can't seem to clear out quick enough (they've been running backlogs around 4-6). I've been pretty much ignoring the demand side of things, instead focusing on clearing out existing production products. It's 1858, I've connected most of France and have made it up to Venice. Paris has two stations to deal with all the traffic and I've made more bypass routes across the country than I usually do, to try and keep traffic density spread out and trains moving. My track is nearly all green grade, and lines are pretty straight. It's been mostly boom times since I've started and I've got 86 trains running. I have a gut feeling that's way more than justified and it's going to absolutely hammer me once the economic prosperity ends (especially all those the engines I spammed into existence to handle spikes). I've been reloading to avoid wrecks and breakdowns (yeah, I know, wimpy). The year before last I did manage to improve goodwill of neighboring nations from around Fair to Good. But now it's down again, to Poor. I'm not sure how much more I can afford to reduce backlogs (not only from a profitability perspective but also a train-management one). Is Goodwill evaluated continuously throughout the year, or is it checked on specific months the way economic conditions and split conditions are? Aside from keeping backlogs down, what else can I do to improve Goodwill? (I know there are managers who boost it) Are there any factors other than backlogs, wrecks and poor service (particularly to a country's nearby neighbors) that impact goodwill? Does owning factories eliminate them from the goodwill calculations? (i.e. If I buy the backlogged producers will it stop the host nation from complaining about their goods stagnating?) If I'm keeping backlogs lower than my AI competitors are does that help at all? (i.e. Reputation best in the industry) Should I just give up on caring about Goodwill and simply pay the higher land rights prices? (I was kind of hoping to drive goodwill up, buy all my land rights, then forget about it) I think I need to make my existing trains operate more efficiently and then look to long-haul routes for growth. i.e. Right now most of my trains run point-to-point routes between cities, and I try to keep the pairs reasonably far apart. I'm thinking of setting up "circular" or "subway" style routes instead, for trains to service multiple stations. Profits will go way down from the reduced distances, but in theory I figure they should need less management and free up my attention for the new lands. Any other ideas? How do you guys tackle this?
  5. Got this today 3 years into the Excess on the Orient Express campaign mission: Ok I know I'm a decade or two late to this game and some folks have reportedly achieved 20 or even 100 splits, but I was excited and just had to share ;-). Plus, I got a screenshot to prove it.
  6. rkagerer

    Help weaning off micromanaging

    Cool. I wrote a hotseat turn "automator" for Civ3 way back when. It would detect when you end your turn, then zip and ship the savegame to the next player via email. On the other end it would spin up a VM running the game and make Civ load the file, so a player could simply double-click the email attachment and immediately start playing their turn. It worked by hooking the game window and watching for small rectangles of pixels (at known coordinates) to figure out when dialogs were shown, certain text was present, etc. I took full screenshots of the game then used Paint to lasoo a snippet and grab coordinates for whatever image I was interested in detecting. It worked for Civ because the graphics (at least the ones I was interested in) are pretty "static". Not sure if it would for this game but could be worth a shot. Happy to share the code if you want it - I think it was done back in my VB days. In fact I uploaded it to a now-defunct fan site and a guy contacted me interested in getting the source and maintaining it (since I didn't have time to myself). Not sure if they ever ran with it and refined it further. Let me know if you want to have a peek. IIRC the code documentation is gentle - even includes diagrams. Back to this game... What's up with the "never delete a train" and "never upgrade the engine while in a station" rules? Could you point me to some more detail on those bugs? Do they exist in the Platinum version with the 1.56 patch? (Is there some unofficial 1.57 patch does it help?)
  7. rkagerer

    Help weaning off micromanaging

    Thanks @FedaYkin for that extensive advice, it's super helpful. What's a "normal" number of trains for you to have midgame? I'm playing the Great Divide and am up to 60 now. I've gotten a lot better at managing them (rather, managing them less and just letting them run). Not stressing anymore about cleaning out all the waiting passengers was a game-changer. Now I aim to keep the backlog at around 2-5 in cities on my main lines, and don't worry about adding capacity 'till it creeps above that. I've spread out my passenger routes more strategically to avoid exhausting supply at individual cities - especially those lucrative ones at the edges of the map. I mainly reserve those passengers for the longest-distance connections, then set up routes between my other cities (matching up cities by size and ensuring routes are reasonably long). I do keep a few shorter-distance routes around to supplement cashflow while waiting for the long-distance cash cows to arrive (e.g. between Toronto, Montreal and Quebec). For the moment I'm reloading if the economy crashes, to give myself time to learn how to nurture a more automated game. I've also avoided venturing too much into other types of cargo for now, until all these passenger routes are running smoothly. It's 1875 on this map and Vancouver is connected. There's a big bottleneck through the pass from Quebec to Fredericton due to track laid before I learned about the "grading tool" ;-). All in all the game is starting to get more fun again. Is there a hotkey to expand / collapse the train list? (I find that more helpful than the other list, which doesn't fit as many entries on the screen). I can't imagine what it would be like trying to manage hundreds of trains through these basic listboxes. Some filtering options would be nice. I actually made a spreadsheet to keep track of my routes (yeah I'm feeling like a nerd). Has anyone made any tools to pull data out of savegames and present it in a more workable format (kind of like CivAssist)?
  8. Is there a list somewhere for each different type of cargo what the ideal haul distance is (short, medium, long)?
  9. Does going downhill help a train accelerate faster? Does going uphill make it decelerate faster? I'm wondering because on the Great Divide campaign I want to make a station like this: I'm wondering if the 3.5, 3.0 and 2.0 grades will help or hinder trains leaving the station toward the bridge or arriving at it from the direction of the bridge. (For the purpose of discussion let's pretend that's a stone bridge not wood). In theory if the answers to both questions are "yes" then this seems like a great setup - departing trains get a little extra help rolling out and arriving ones find it easier to brake. But something makes me suspect the game isn't going to cooperate with this theory...
  10. I'm looking for tips to improve my game on Railroad Tycoon 2. Especially strategies for effectively managing 25+ trains. I've found I'm quite successful at the beginning when I aggressively manage each trip for my handful of trains. My strategy tends to be: Pick up something from current station, take it to someplace far away where it's in demand. I try to favor destinations where there are valuable goods waiting to be returned for backhaul or carried someplace else. I wind up scheduling "one-way routes" for my trains. The game doesn't give you an easy way to this, but I instruct the train to HOLD at its final destination by making the last consist be nothing but a single cargo car which I know the destination won't have, and setting the red light, making it wait for the never-available load. For consistency I prefer to pick one resource to use for this purpose. e.g. In my last game most of my stations weren't near milk-producers, so I could effectively ignore it as a resource. When my fleet grew to more than a handful of engines, I would periodically scan the list for single-milkers "waiting for cargo" and assign them their next duty. This gets unwieldy once you have like 25+ trains. I've tried to experiment with more "set-and-forget" approaches. e.g. Ferrying passengers back and forth between two big, reasonably distant cities can be a reliable income-generating route that can be left alone for a while. But inevitably the profitability on even that runs out (especially in a recession) meaning you have to go back and tinker - e.g. reduce cargo cars, or reassign to new routes. I'm having trouble finding the right balance where you're delivering goods in line with the rate they're produced / consumed. Then a recession or boom hits and you need to rejig everything. I've found the yellow "half-load" light helpful for keeping trains running at the beginning of a recession, but beyond that feel like it's just a band-aid. Once poor times go on long enough those less profitable routes need to be addressed. And in boom times it's a mad rush to add more trains and I find myself wanting to buy "single-use, disposable" engines to clear out the excess - since the revenue from the first trip dwarfs the cost of the engine and unlike waiting for an existing car to arrive the new engine appears instantly where you need it. In my last game I tried setting up a circular "regional" route where a few set-and-forget engines delivered nearby iron and coal to a steel producer. With enough tweaking I managed to keep my factory pretty well fed, but I found the transport network wasn't very profitable on its own. I tried to be clever and have the trains back-haul the final goods, but that quickly became pointless as the prices were driven down. The sometimes-mixed loads between stations was also complex to manage. Lately I've been thinking of trying "hub-and-spoke" regional systems that collect cargo and pile it up at a node (e.g. small station with no demand for anything), then setting up long-haulers from those regional nodes (or running the bigger loads by hand to wherever is the most lucrative demand). Has anyone tried anything like that? What strategies and tactics do you use for migrating from a small, micro-managed outfit to a fully functional fleet where you're not having to pay so much attention to individual trains? Do you have lots of trains with dedicated routes, and let them just sit and wait for cargo until it's ready? Do you tend to use short trains to haul individual loads back and forth, or long trains to dump a pile of stuff where prices are high? Do you carry mixed loads or dedicate trains to a single resource? Do your routes visit several stations accumulating goods along the way, or are they more point-to-point? If the former, how do you avoid dropping goods prematurely when passing through stations which demand them but don't offer good prices or aren't where you want to deliver to? (Do you have to route around such stations?) Do you relay cargo through "depot" nodes? Also some specific questions: How does redirecting a train in-flight impact profitability? (e.g. Passengers don't mind if you take them someplace other than the advertised destination? I could have sworn one time I saw my gold bar for the load go UP after redirecting the train to a CLOSER location - I assume the new destination gave a better calculated distance/time tradeoff or something??) What happens to a car's value if you drop it off without selling it (assuming you have the necessary building e.g. warehouse, refrigerator)? Does it slowly rot or is the value frozen and the goods just disappear at some point? Does the game track each individual car's value as a function of age (reduces it) and total distance traveled (presumably increases it)? Any other advice?