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Gwizz

New map "James Hill in Mexico (hard)"

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Made some changes to make this map harder to win.

Reduced Player's Start Up amount.

Changed one cargo at the ports. Demands pulpwood for goods.

Removed cattle and meat plants.

Removed wool, cotton and Textile plants

Re-balanced startup of some industry.

A number of other minor changes.

Changed when Locomotives are offered to go with a slower start.

I have not played this map.  Basicly the events are the same and it should play OK.

Darn, I forgot to remove cattle ranches.  They have no market on the hard map, except with crossed flags.

I also scripted the 2-8-2 event incorrectly for what I wanted.  I used Or instead of And in the trigger.

I made these changes and now call the map ex-hard.  I left the other hard map.

It is interesting, since I removed cattle ranches the map's pictal size decreased.  The change of OR to AND could also have changed the size.

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Made some changes to make this map harded to win.\

Excellent.  Give me a couple of hours!

Ooops ... my 1yo just woke up.  I might need a few more than that ...

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OK, won this is Oct 1933 IIRC (I think, might have been 32). 

Limiting factor was diesel, as there were only 2 oil wells where you are "supposed" to do fuel runs on the map that was generated.  It was a lot more difficult, and I didn't really get control of enough AIs until 1924.

I found it even more enjoyable to play this time, and more of a challenge, though I'm sure I didn't use the methods the designer intended :-).

Thanks very much Jerry.

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Well, I've had a couple of unfinished goes of the "extra hard" version.  I'm finding the placement of industries idiosyncratic.  In go no.1, for example, there was only one refinery in the south and it was VERY FAR away from any of the oil.... In the second attempt the oil/refinery situation was better, but both coal and iron was miles away from the steel works....  This isn't realistic and I always find such set-ups irksome.  Most of all, however, I'm finding this scenario requires huge micro-management, at many levels, which personally I also dislike: it gets tedious and the game long-winded.       

OK, so I'm a purist - I like a historically based game to be realistic, and don't think that a scenario should be hard through non-realism or over-fussiness.  I also refuse to cheat.  At which point my son always laughs and says that a computer game should be treated on its merits and any technique be employed, realistic or not!  Which makes me wonder just what stunts djf01 got up to?! 

How about, for example, given the enormous starting funds, seeding unconnected stations all over the place simply to thwart the oppostion?             

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I used a lot of random generation of industries on this map.  It can be troublesome.

But, this map is also designed to let the AI do most of the hauling.

I normally will restart if I don't get a good mix of industries.

On the game I'm now playing I have an excess of iron and coal close to where it needs to go.

My sugar farms are spread out, which is good since I have many places to send sugar.

But oil is sparce.  I have more diesel refineries than I have oil wells.

To avoid mirco managing my own railroad, I route the cargo trains with the first station on a red flag,

to wait for a full load of cars. I route the second station to wait for half of a load of full cars and

the rest of the stations for no waiting for cargo. 

All passengers trains wait for a half load.  I then just let the game run for 6 months to a year

at which point I pause and check for any trains that are waiting for cargo and reroute them.

When I set up an AI RR, I bulldoze their main stations and route trains to only haul cargo, no passengers.

Each train will generally have its' own station serving some industry and its' own track going to one of my stations.

This way they usually don't buy more locomotives and then start new routes.  Doing this, they will loose money and are easy to later merge.

I'm usually able with the extra money supplied, even selling industries to gain more money, to take control of 4 or 5 AI railroads.  I try to control all of their stock to stop other chairmen from buying this stock.  I want these other chairmen to start their own RRs.

The rest of the AIs I take a 51% control of on pause and then cut their rail line. I then use any extra money to have them buy back their own stock raising the price of it so I can gain a little when I sell some of this' stock that I own.  With its money and bonds spent an AI will seldom build more track.

I'm in trouble on the present game as I had the AI buy back its' stock then sold most of this AI's stock that I owned.  Then I had the AI buy back the stock I sold.  I didn't realize that the AI chairman then owned 50% of the Stock.  I will need to merge this AI for a Gold win.  I may not be able to do this unless I make him a big offer.  Then he could start another RR owning all of his RRs stock and put my Gold win up in smoke.

In the past I didn't like this type of game but after playing for a while I'm liking it more and more.

But, Like you I don't like to micro-manage.  And I have not yet won Gold on this ex.hard map.

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Well, Gwizz, I have to say that poor distribution of industries (and there are several other problems, like lots of canneries and hardly any produce) is down to the designer and the player shouldn't be having to do multiple starts in order to cherry-pick a good distribution, which can only be learned after playing the thing several times anyway. 

I'm not familiar with the kind of techniques you describe re manipulating the AI RRs, not least the need to bulldoze their stations or cut their lines.  This is not RT2 as I know it, or frankly, want to know. 

In my latest attempt, I was doing pretty well and by 1925 (ie. 5 yrs play) I had majority shareholding in 6 of the 10 AIs and was bowling along in Boom.  Then, out of the blue, came a Trigger which INSTANTLY plunged the game from Boom into Recession.  Which is barking mad.  And that was that - persistent Broker's calls could not be fenced off  and within a few months all my shares had been sold off = end of game.

You seem to have launched a scenario which is designed on personal techniques which, to my eye, are outside the box, and to then find that you cannot even achieve the Gold yourself leaves me, well, quite cross!

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OK, so I'm a purist - I like a historically based game to be realistic, and don't think that a scenario should be hard through non-realism or over-fussiness.  I also refuse to cheat.  At which point my son always laughs and says that a computer game should be treated on its merits and any technique be employed, realistic or not!  Which makes me wonder just what stunts djf01 got up to?! 

No cheats.  And nothing that was illegal at the time the game was set either!  And nothing that hasn't been discussed elsewhere in these forums.

I've found this thread very interesting, because I've become very familiar with the playing styles of both Steve and GWizz, and I correctly predicted how they both might play and respond to this scenario :-)!

My style of play is not dissimilar to Gwizz's, the main difference is I don't trust the AI to haul my medal scoring cargos.  I know it can be done, and having short line feeders servicing a larger main system does afford a measure of realism, I don't think it's the best way to win this type of scenario.

I'll have to get back to my "French Freight" scenario (about 15% done), which I designed to be both challenge and infuriate both GWizz's and Steve's playing style :-).

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No cheats.  And nothing that was illegal at the time the game was set either!  And nothing that hasn't been discussed elsewhere in these forums.

The first sentence I understand.  The second I don't.  Re the third, I haven't read every word of what's been discussed and it shouldn't be a prerequisite for techniques which are outside the box of running a railroad.

For the record, despite the inherent problems with this scenario (poor distribution of most of the industries and poor pathing through built-up areas), I had already done a dozen restarts in order to cherry-pick a favourable starting position, and restricted the AIs by observing previous starts and planting lots of unconnected stations - which is, frankly, nothing to do with RR practice and cheating, but I could see no other way - and it's possible because the starting conditions offer a vast surplus of money. 

By the time of the instant change in Economy from Boom to Recession, I was on target re the required loads; had a majority shareholding in two-thirds of the AI RRs; was well placed re the rest; and could actually afford to buy out the first two.

In other words, despite the doubly unnatural start as described, I was doing alright and would have won the Gold without having to adopt even more nefarious tactics outside the box. 

To sum up, players should not have to make multiple starts because most are unplayable; nor require multiple plays in order to cheat the AIs; nor need to deploy techniques outside the box which most players will not be familiar with - or wish to deploy.  Nor have to contend with an unrealistically abrupt change in the Economy that is also outside the box. 

Only six downloads says something too.  For nearly all players, it's unplayable.  Including the designer who, despite knowing its innards and play outside the box, can't manage to get the Gold.     

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I have not spent much time play testing this EX. hard map. 

Other than a couple of tests using the cheat code to check an event,

I've started normal play just one time. I'm now to about year number three in game time. 

It doesn't look like I made a good start for a gold win and may just restart.

I did play to gold on the first version.  Which I felt was too easy to achieve.

This map is a venture into an area of competition I have not explored much before. 

I used Mexico's historical up and down economy with some adapting to the game time line.

I used a lot of random in this map which adds a degree of difficulty I have seldom used before.

The ex.hard version of the map is more for challenge then it is for realism.

Although Mexican history is present. 

Getting in the way of my testing of the ex.hard map is a new grandson. 

He was one week old when his parents had to move, when their leased home

was put up for sale.We started packing the day after he was born. 

My daughter had a difficult delivery and was unable to help.

They are still unpacking and we have been spending a lot of time helping them. 

I've only been able to play the ex.hard map in small spurts.

Maybe I should have held off offering this map until I could do a full test. 

As for the canneries, I used them as fillers to restrict other industries from building,

yet still allow enough houses to run passenger trains.

The extra money was to speed up the start for a shorter game.

The maps purpose was to nationalize all of Mexico's rail lines by a given date. 

Mexico used a heavy hand doing this.  It caused economic problems, which I

tried to reflect in the game using random generation for some of the economy.

I also placed stations in the three connection cities to keep out the AI, restricting them to smaller cities. 

I'm not sure it is the best method, since connection can be made over AI trackage without running a train. 

It is important to control all AIs early as they will buy up too much stock and become un-mergible. 

Cutting track is the only way I have been able to control them. 

Some players may discover other methods.

I tend to haul more cargo than I should in the game. 

I tend to not be as Gold Win focused as I should. 

Changing the AI into an industrial RR instead of a common carrier,

I think is necessary for Gold on this map.

Doing this reduces my track mileage and reduces micro-management time.

The amount of random in the map will make every start different, almost extreme sometimes.

This is a different style of map, that not everyone will enjoy. 

I'm sorry for this.  I'm still learning how to make a challenge map, yet still playable for other play styles.

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Getting in the way of my testing of the ex.hard map is a new grandson. 

He was one week old when his parents had to move, when their leased home

was put up for sale.We started packing the day after he was born. 

My daughter had a difficult delivery and was unable to help.

Gwizz, Congratulations!

Please pass on our best wishes to your daughter, and we hope she makes a speedy recovery and copes well with the sleep deprivation ;-).

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The first sentence I understand.  The second I don't. 

I can explain with one word: ENRON !!!

To sum up, players should not have to make multiple starts because most are unplayable; nor require multiple plays in order to cheat the AIs; nor need to deploy techniques outside the box which most players will not be familiar with - or wish to deploy.

I don't have a problem with scenarios that force players to think outside the box.

The thing I most enjoyed about this map was the fact I had to stop and think out a strategy to win it. 

Only six downloads says something too.

Unfortunately, yes it does: that you can count on two hands the number of dedicated RRT2 players.

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I played on for awhile.  I wanted to see how hard it would be to take control of the AI that I only owned 50% of the stock.  The AI Chairman owned the other 50%.  Since I had set up the AI to haul only cargo one way, the AI was quick to loose money.  I tried a normal merge and the Chairman was quick to cry uncle. 

I may play with this map some to double check some other events before I re_start it for my first play through.

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Something I've been fussing over.  It seems if I remove an AI's station from a city, then no other AI will build a station in that city.  At least it seems to be true. 

If that is true, then all I have to do is use an AI company that I control, to build a station in any city I don't want another AI company building in, then bulldozer these stations. 

Now that is a pure up to date democratic method of eliminating competition.

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I played on for awhile.  I wanted to see how hard it would be to take control of the AI that I only owned 50% of the stock.  The AI Chairman owned the other 50%.  Since I had set up the AI to haul only cargo one way, the AI was quick to loose money.  I tried a normal merge and the Chairman was quick to cry uncle. 

I may play with this map some to double check some other events before I re_start it for my first play through.

It's very hard to get a chairman to vacate their company, no matter how much you offer.  It can happen, but I've no idea if it's random, or there is some criteria where the Chairman decides your a better operator than he is. 

I've found the best way to get control in these circumstances is to bankrupt the AI.  When that happens, the Chairman is usually ruined  financially, and the AI company issues more stock, allowing you to buy control.  But in a 10-15 year map, tought to do.

Something I've been fussing over.  It seems if I remove an AI's station from a city, then no other AI will build a station in that city.  At least it seems to be true.

My understanding is that if *any* railroad builds *any* station in a city/town, the AI will never attempt to connect to that town again, even if that original station is subsequently demolished.

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Did 10 re-starts and the first start turned out to be the best.

Using the AI build/destroy a station method can sure turn the game in a different direction.

Using this method too early can also put the game into a death dive.

When I remove an AI station the value of its' stock also drops.

Will have to modify my strategy.

It is so nice out today, I'm parking the game for a few hours to do some outside chores.

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Well I've survived the first year.  Bought 51% of my stock by selling my industry investments.

Took control of the first 4 AI companies.  Connected the first one to my RR.  While it hauled milk to my Company, it also bought two more locos to run between its 2 stations.  I tore down the smaller station of the next two AI companies. kept the larger stations that had a round house.  The forth AI was too poor to remove a station.  So I attempted to slow it down by routed its' two locos to load 5 passengers cars and one mail car on a red flag.  Sold all AI stock as soon as I was finished with each AI. 

6 more AI companies started but I was now too poor to do anything with any of them.  None of their stock split at the end of the year; but starting the new year, 2 have stocks with a value at over $100.

Made two major mistakes.

I bought a locomotive and forgot to give it a route until mid year.

I bought 2 electric locos on sale.  But I'm too poor to build elect. track. Never could pass up a sale.

I think this is the toughest map I have ever made. 

The little stumbles I put into the map are catching me.

95% of my previous maps have been builder maps more on the easy side of game play.

I wish now I had put a warning for this change in my map building style.

 

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I had a go at extra-hard the other night.  I negotiated the first few years, did all the MM to manipulate the stock market and the AIs, and the cash was just starting to roll into Mexican Railways.  I was well positioned to win the game, with 50% of most companies and 100% of Mexican Railways.  But ... I waited till the crocodile loco became available to start hauling the required loads.  I was half way through buying 20 of them, when my game abended :-(.  So I did all the hard work, then missed the fun stuff.

Well I've survived the first year.  Bought 51% of my stock by selling my industry investments.

Took control of the first 4 AI companies.  Connected the first one to my RR.  While it hauled milk to my Company, it also bought two more locos to run between its 2 stations.  I tore down the smaller station of the next two AI companies. kept the larger stations that had a round house.  The forth AI was too poor to remove a station.  So I attempted to slow it down by routed its' two locos to load 5 passengers cars and one mail car on a red flag.  Sold all AI stock as soon as I was finished with each AI. 

I usually just invest in the AIs for their first year.  Unless they start with an absolutely terrible route, their CBV & share price usually doubles in their first year.

And I've already learned the hard way not to try and take over an AI without any cash or credit!  It's much better to wait till they have a bit of money available so you can use their own money against them, rather than yours.

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With the mistakes I made in the first year, I pulled up a saved game from 1920 03.

Did much better the 2nd time.  At the end of 2 years I had delivered 10 cargo loads. The AI locomotives delivered a bunch running on my track. Paying my company a net worth of just over 5 million.  I merged 4 companies and made 4 chairmen very rich. 

Took control of 3 more AIs and took out 3 million in bonds with the wealthiest company, to built a small blocking station in every one of the cities left unused on the map.  the deposed rich AI chairmen could start a new railroad with more than 51% ownership.

They now have no cities where they might build a railroad.

I took out 2 million in bonds from another AI and finished my upgrading to all of my double track.  I was not able to straighten out some track since I used up most of the AI money, buying back stock, so that the two chairmen could not buy a controlling interest in stock and so I could reduce my margin.  I now hold just one share more then the two AI chairmen have.

I had 4 other AIs companies. I took over the only one that had only 20 shares of stock.

It only had enough cash to buy back its' stock. I removed one station and sent the 2 locos to the other station to load passengers and mail. They have a hill to climb so when they get to the station and load, I should be ready to merge and connect them.  The other three AI have 40 shares each. I will just watch them to make sure the Deposed chairmen don't buy too much stock in these 3 AI companies before I do.  I sold some of my stock down to 51% ownership, so that the AI chairmen could also buy my stock as well.  My stock should be a bit more enticing since its' value is below the estimated book value. 

I now have about 33% of my stock in margin and only about 10k in cash. But with my merging I have 15 connected stations and 3 not yet connected. 

I have about 35 locomotives with 16 of them, 2-8-2s.

I need water and sand in a few spots. I do have a milk train about to enter a station that

should help pay for these.  When I merge one more AI I will have track next to the US border and should be almost out of margin, unless the economy takes a dump. The Mexican economy had a lot of problems during these years and the random generator might sock it to me.

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Played one more month to see what the Chairmen will do.

Well each of 3 Chairmen started a Railroad company. 

But with no towns to serve, none built a railroad.

Amount of stock own by each of the Chairmen, one owns 50% and the others less than 50%

I bought controlling stock interest in these last two AI Companies.

I'm not sure how to handle the First.  I will figure out something. He could be a Gold Win game breaker.

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Wasn't able to play much yesterday.

But I think I need to change my strategy again.

In the past AI chairmen didn't start a company when cities to build in were few.

The difference is: these chairmen are much richer than in the past.

I was also having the AIs buy back their stock and starting to control my stock better.

They had no place to invest their money; So, they started a new company.

These AI chairmen own a big block of their own stock; So, I may have to control them quickly to save my Gold win. Not starting a railroad they could just stagnate. But the games pays interest on money held and a chairmen could buy more of his own stock with this interest payment.  If I buy their stock, this will put me deep into margin. Since the Mexican economy is historically volatile my chances for success are no longer very good.

So, do I start over or go back to a saved game with a modified strategy?  Hummmmm

What do you think I should do?

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What do you think I should do?

Wow.  Someone actually asking me for my opinion *before* I give it!  That must be a first.

Firstly, I don't think you are making best use of your own starting PNW.  IMHO, the key to playing this map well is to be clear on your financial objectives, and fully abusing  Mexico's lax insider trading laws of the time. 

Secondly, I think you need to ensure no AI chairman ever gets 50% of "their" railroad. 

Thirdly, I don't ever merge out a company till right at the end.  The AI chairmen will generally stick with their company, especially while there is a chance they can re-gain control.  If you do it right, you can enrich yourself while impoverishing them.

I need water and sand in a few spots. I do have a milk train about to enter a station that should help pay for these.

And why exactly are you building those *your* money?  I'd suggest service utilities can be built using the AI's funds.  The AI's funds can be used for all sorts of things that benefit you and cost them, such as duplicating your track for you.  Your track gets duplicated for free.  But best of all, the AI picks up the tab for the extra track maintenance!

For example, buy up 50% of an AI's stock, float off a bond, use that - plus the AI's  existing cash to do the capital works on your railroad.  This has no effect on the share price of the AI company.  While there is still some cash left, buy back stock while you personally sell out (that in itself can be profitable for the raider), but keep a bit of cash on hand.  Once you have sold out completely, *then* bulldoze the stuff you want to destroy.  That immediately gets booked as negative profit, dramatically lowering the share price of your target company.  As the game is frozen the AI Chairman hasn't had a chance to sell out, and after enriching yourself your have impoverished them.

Of course I could tell you about the Microsoft method, but if I did that I'd have to sue you :-).

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This play style is not what I'm use to. 

I can understand why it so frustrated Steve.  His normal play style is more like my normal play style.

I have long used the AIs to increase my wealth.  But, with less intensity. 

On this map I have to completely control what the AI companies do or Gold is loss.

So far, my best strategy is to do what ever is necessary to restrict AI wealth.

I have yet to try a good strategy to keep AI # 1 alive and doing well, so I can use it to

buy more 2-8-2 locos which I use on my railroad, at least until the souped up 1020 becomes available.

When I restricted the map to only a few industries it did cause a major balance problem. 

So I had to reduce some of the required, for a win, industries thus creating scarcity of these.

This did make the game much more re-playable. 

But, Even restarting makes it hard to find a good starting balance to use.

I'm going to re-start by using a saved map the same startup map I used last.

What I'm saving is the quasi balance it does have. 

At least I don't have to learn where the map has problems again.

I will be playing the same map using a somewhat different method.

This map is truly a very hard map.

Question:

Do I understand how the station improvements work correctly?

The premises I'm operating under are:

An AI can't add improvements to my stations?

It can add improvements to its' own station?

My trains can't use AI improvements at an AI station unless I merge the AI RR first?

I'm in agreement merging is not a good method until the AI is broke and can't restart.

If any of the other players who downloaded the map want to chime in, please do so.

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This play style is not what I'm use to. 

I can understand why it so frustrated Steve.  His normal play style is more like my normal play style.

It frustrated me too.  Which is why I enjoyed it - *after* coming up with a solution of course :-).

I have yet to try a good strategy to keep AI # 1 alive and doing well, so I can use it to buy more 2-8-2 locos which I use on my railroad, at least until the souped up 1020 becomes available.

Of the times I've won this map, I didn't really start hauling the medal scoring loads until 1020 came along.  Or if I did, it was one short haul industry.  I should stress that in my last attempt when I deliberately waited for the 1020 (man that takes discipline, having cash and *not* spending it while the clock is ticking!), but the game abended when I started buying them and got so discouraged I didn't go back.  On the previous  hard version I won it without using the 2-8-2, and only 2 or 3 crocs.

Do I understand how the station improvements work correctly?

The premises I'm operating under are:

An AI can't add improvements to my stations?

Correct.

It can add improvements to its' own station?

Yep.

My trains can't use AI improvements at an AI station unless I merge the AI RR first?

I don't believe this is right. 

I've used the strategy of building a small AI station on my route, and adding improvements to that AI station.  I *think* it's worked, without ever really testing it properly.

However, in one of my maps I gave the starting player no cash, and a very limited starting balance sheet.  I did this by putting the service buildings in an AI company, and that definitely did work.

I guess it's possible this behavior might vary with different patch versions.

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Game ended when buying locomotives.

That has happened to me a few times.  I'd use the enter key to buy another loco. and to speed up the process.

So now I buy locos slower and the problem seems to have gone away.

I may be hitting another key or just hitting the correct ones too fast.

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