Thursday, May 01, 2008

Reading Railroad updates - in effect

Well, I just finished updating the City tiles for Reading Railroad. The endgame scoring phrase THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPED OVER LAZY DOGS - READING RAILROAD has the following letter distribution:
A:4 - - - J:1 - - - S:1
B:1 - - - K:1 - - - T:1
C:1 - - - L:2 - - - U:2
D:4 - - - M:1 - - - V:1
E:4 - - - N:2 - - - W:1
F:1 - - - O:5 - - - X:1
G:2 - - - P:1 - - - Y:1
H:1 - - - Q:1 - - - Z:1
I:3 - - - R:5

I began by using 1 City tile for every letter instance in the phrase. That's 49 City tiles. Then I added one of each letter, so there's enough to go around - enough for at least 2 people to get each word - for a total of 75 City tiles. I fear this may not be enough of each letter, especially the letters that only appear on 2 City tiles. I guess we'll see.

On the up-side, there were exactly 75 City tiles in the original set, so I didn't have to compromise or print more tiles!

The next playtest - hopefully Thursday night at game night - I think I may try it without the investor tile and see how that goes. I've been thinking that the rules for the investor tile may be more weighty than they're worth. I'll miss the tension as you sweat out your draw, but I'm curious if the whole mechanism is really needed for the game. I might also try bumping up the pay scale so the first tile you use is worth 1 instead of 0... so a 2 letter word is worth 3 coin instead of 1, and a 5 letter word nets you 15 coin instead of 10. This may be too much, another "we'll see" type of thing. The reason is because I want people to be able to lay track, even if they can only manage a tiny 2-letter word. The pay scale rewards longer words, so you'll probably always try to make the longest word you can, with the possible exception of holding back and going for an even longer word.

That brings up a question... without an investor tile to punish people for hoarding letters, will a player simply not make a word until they have an 8+ letter word on their 'rack'? I figure that might not be turn efficient. Maybe I should try that out and see how it goes. I think more likely a player will buy a Factory (or 2?) and then make 5 and 6 letter words every other turn or so.

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