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Improving Goodwill


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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).

  1. Is Goodwill evaluated continuously throughout the year, or is it checked on specific months the way economic conditions and split conditions are?
  2. Aside from keeping backlogs down, what else can I do to improve Goodwill?  (I know there are managers who boost it)
  3. Are there any factors other than backlogs, wrecks and poor service (particularly to a country's nearby neighbors) that impact goodwill?
  4. 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?)
  5. If I'm keeping backlogs lower than my AI competitors are does that help at all?  (i.e. Reputation best in the industry)
  6. 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?

Edited by rkagerer
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I'm unfamiliar with the map. What land rights will you need to buy? You only need goodwill in those regions. I've never been able to understand how wait times affect it (I can get high ratings in regions where I leave all kinds of cargo rotting).

What does matter most however is bulldozing. If building a bypass means cutting down trees, then you might do better to postpone it until you've purchased your region rights. Avoid all bulldozing for a few years to see where your goodwill goes.

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