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MaglevForever

Secret Gold on the Heartland map, who used the GG1?

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I achieved my first secret gold medal ever (in 1948). For those who don't know, it's to get $80M CBV within 20yrs instead of 25 for the normal Gold. I played in the classic style, no stock issued, no multiple companies, no stock market tricks, no jumping into the chairmanship of the AI companies.

 

I previously gave up on this medal after a handful of attempts using the GG1, but I finally concluded that the cost of electric track is too much. Much better to stretch distance for high express revenue. This time I used the Prairie and then the F3A+B. Just wondering has anyone else won the secret gold medal, and what engines did they use?

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And you started in 1935? If so, that's amazing!

I've never earned the secret gold, but got the regular gold several times years ago. Haven't tried for a while as I don't much enjoy playing the way you have to play to squeeze every last penny of revenue. I love micromanaging a few trains at the start of a game, but hate the drudgery it becomes with the dozens in play with a mature game. And I've never found a way to even approach gold level revenues without intense micromanagement.

I'm sure I got the regular gold a time or two or three using the GG1. In fact, if I'm remembering correctly, it was easier using the GG1 if you picked the right cities as your hub of operations.

 

 

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Saved game from just before the medal. Run the game for a month if you want to see the difficulty level (285%) for yourself, but be warned as the score (855) may take up a spot on your high score list.

Heartland 1948.zip

 

Just before the saved game I have taken over 2 of the AI companies. Did this because I wasn't really keen on those chairmen starting new companies. Not giving them a chance here. I retired all their trains as human player revenue reduction (-25%) means they are loss-making. This cleans up the roster. If I was to continue playing I would connect the 6-house cities together with long-distance routes. For example: Dubuque to Atlanta; Toronto to Des Moines.

 

Did I micro-manage? Yes. However, out of the 44 trains, 7 are freight, and another 8 are connecting 6-house towns. This leaves 29 that I was more actively managing. Compared to what I had going in East USA by letsdance, that's nothing. Essentially I kept this play much simpler because I was focused on the largest towns with the longest practical runs I could make. I have previously fallen into the trap of attempting to haul every load of cargo. Trying to relax out of that, and I think the result shows that there is no harm done.

 

The main advantage over the GG1 is in the first 5 years or so. High express revenue is had with long distance. Think of it as how much extra track bonds will finance if it's not electric. Extra distance seems to outweigh the speed and reliability advantage of the GG1.

 

My start track was Chicago to Cleveland, single with a passing section of double in the middle. Then I added St. Louis to Detroit. Next Minneapolis to Columbus. That and all subsequent routes have remained through the rest of the game. Because expansion was done with these relatively long routes, with the Prairie each leg had up to 2 years delay before it would start making money. During this delay, the extra costs, interest, fuel, and track maintenance, eat into the current revenue stream. For the first 5 years profit levels were choppy. The benefit of this is that I had time to grow my personal fortune by investing in the AI companies. When profits hit a trough I bought up stock in my company for a song.

 

Other tricks I'm now using is to only build Small Hotels and Restaurants when money is tight. It only takes a little math to work out that +15% Pax revenue for $65k (Small) is better value for money than +25% for $175k. For an extra 10% we pay $110k. The Restaurant is not much better, for an extra $50k we receive 5%.

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Just felt like chiming in on this thread. I have never gotten the Secret Gold, in fact, I have never achieved Gold. The best I could manage was a Silver. It is prolly because I, like CrownVic95 stated, started getting tired during gameplay...meaning the intense micro-managing and revenue squeezing gets old for me on this particular map. On some maps I enjoy micro-management immensely...pausing the game as well very frequently to watch all of the activity going on with competitor's RRs, and industries that may be turning lucrative, cities growing or declining, etc. And I pause some games even more frequently just to assuage my true fetish...the stock market....LOL. I have devised formulas in my mind that use the 5 yr weighted return in relation to a stock's current price to tell me when to buy or sell, but it really only gets me looking deeper into the company, which takes even more time. But I enjoy all of this. It's just me and my gameplay preferences. I know this will sound goofy, but in a map I particularly like playing, I feel that there is a story being told....but the Human player must dig to find all of the words, actions, scenarios, etc. before these clues disappear completely over time in order to know that story in its entirety. That is how and where I get the most joy from playing this great game, finding those clues and being told the story. And the story is NEVER the same, no matter how often I play a particular map....I guess that's what keeps me coming back.

But I also enjoy reading Maglev's tricks and tips on gameplay, and this one is no exception. That is some good stuff in your post Maglev.

Lastly, I just wanted to add that I, too, found that Small Hotels and Restaurants work much better than Large ones (for the costs incurred). An added Saloon can sometimes help here, but I really like adding a Dining Car to the Express Trains if you have room for another car, and a capable Locomotive pulling the train. I haven't played a game recently, but I am thinking the Dining Car adds +10% again to Pax revenue. Of course you can check this in the game by holding your mouse over the car or clicking on it. Then you may decide if it is worth adding it or not for an express run.

Good comments folks.....enjoyed reading.

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As I said, focus on fewer, better routes meant that a medal that I previously thought was impossible came pretty easily. I have also struggled with the micro-managing mentality. One of my pitfalls was buying too many engines based on Boom time production levels and the burst production that express experiences. Then in poor economies I really struggled to keep all those engines meaningfully employed.

 

Generally I look for whether the AI have evenly matched pairs of cities. If not, they will probably make all wait at the lean end hurting their profitability. Whether an AI's initial train will be loaded or not is a guess. If there is still cargo left in their station (peek from one of your train's routing page) that could be a clue that they started out empty. Sometimes it's possible to visually judge by watching their speed on a climb, but I don't know of a reliable insider-trading method.

 

The Dining Car is +20% on Pax revenue. Lately I wasn't using a caboose or diner when not micro-managing. The wait-till-half-full option can be used to ensure a 1, 2 or 3 car train. I really want the maximum of 3 cars full. If I add one of these special cars to the train, one slot gets used.

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Indeed it is +20% on Pax Revenue. I will use the Dining Car frequently when consists of Pax and/or Mail are 4 or less cars (in any combination, with at least one Pax car). I surely DO like a caboose always. Seems I get robbed whenever I forsake using one. That is NOT really the case, but it sure can seem that way. If robberies are reported to be down recently (via the Newspaper) I may gamble for one run with 6 cars of Pax/Mail, or 5 Pax/Mail plus a Dining Car. This would also work on a Map with little or no robberies. The Dining Car just fills in an already less than full (5 or less cars) consist, in my playing style.

It is a viable option, and entirely up to the player whether to be used or not.

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I realized that I was wrong with the last paragraph of my previous post. The dining car and caboose don't take up free slot when waiting for a load. However, these things restrict the possible options for better than 50% full when trains are set to wait-till-half-full. The reality is that the train isn't always waiting-to-fill. A certain portion of the time, especially in good economies, there will be an existing stack all ready to go. This is caused by the random timing of the generation of passengers and mail. When a stack is present, having the 5th and 6th cars with a possibility to fill will surely increase potential revenue. Since this is likely to happen in good economies, the extra revenue is not to be scoffed.

 

There is a place to use the diner and caboose, but as I said I was tending not to use them with my latest play-style evolution. Diners only when micro-managing. The caboose when dictated by reliability, such as after a certain age of 3+ year old engines or if I get a severe down-turn. Some maps have higher robbery chance. It's hard to know without a look in the editor, but I don't think my recent plays involved any maps with many robbers.

 

Placing the caboose is a safe play, but after playing this game so long I want to take a little risk that I can manage. Because of the aforementioned randomness of the generation, any potential advantage may not even eventuate in a certain play. It also comes down to how much effort such an advantage is worth. One could change consist according to economic state, for example: caboose and diner when below normal. This would make sense. But it does take some player effort. It's only a small thing after all, so not worth the effort if I have a ton of trains.

 

PS . . . Edit . . . : Thought I would share an old thread about the economy that I recently read for the first time: https://forum.dune2k.com/topic/22750-managing-the-economy/?page=1. I would have liked some examples of the difference in medal time that Steve39 achieved by using this method. Some interesting strategy ideas to try to take on board, especially in regard to expansion. Personally, I will temper my efforts with the realization that a shortish period of poor economy can actually present some opportunities for electrification, mergers, etc..

Edited by MaglevForever

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That IS a great thread, read it first time just now. Thanks for bringing it to our attention Maglev.

Personally, I like the downturns in the economy. If I am playing a scenario particularly well, I can maintain profitability even in the worst of times. This becomes my barometer as to how well I am doing as a company, and usually signals a decisive victory forthcoming in the particular scenario. It also presents those wonderful opportunities you have mentioned.

Conversely, sometimes I will get my butt handed to me and be ruined. Always remember the lesson learned when this happens. Most times I just try to weather the storm like all of the other companies in the game. These times taught me many new skills for sure.

Lastly, I cannot imagine playing a particular game that would have a perpetual booming economy. I would NOT like it, in fact. But if one prefers the economy to be at or near that level more frequently, then try some of those gameplay ideas in steve39's thread. The beauty is the variety of play-styles that work well in this game.

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