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Subject: Simplifying setup rss

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Evgeni Liakhovich
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
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I just got PC, haven't played it yet. The setup does seem a bit annoying and I was playing around with ideas of simplifying it. Here is one idea that I would like experienced players' opinion on.

Suppose I had trains pre-sorted and stored in six individual containers. The setup would then eliminate the sorting step. Then for the initial shares, suppose I take only a subset of each color and mix in the bag. For starters, lets say 8 trains per color. What this will do mathematically is it will eliminate some rare lopsided distributions where players got a whole lot more than average of one color among them (say 15 black). Now my question is, is this good or bad for the game? Are games with such weird distributions more interesting? In your opinion, what is the smallest reasonable number of trains to put in the bag?

Setup isn't really that big of a deal, but I think this last question is an interesting probability/statistics puzzle. On that note, does anybody have any other ideas or tips on simplifying setup?
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Christopher M.
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Jackson
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I applaud your effort to simply setup. It is the absolute worst part of this game IMO.
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James Torr
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Torrance
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Glad8r wrote:
What this will do mathematically is it will eliminate some rare lopsided distributions . . . Now my question is, is this good or bad for the game? Are games with such weird distributions more interesting?


I agree that it's an interesting question. We did this once, and I think we used 10 trains per color. The game went just fine, but I wondered, like you, whether more lopsided distributions might be interesting, and for this reason I haven't suggested it again.

Two thoughts. (1) The proposed solution eliminates some of the nuisance of setup, but not all of it. You're eliminating some of the sorting, but IMO, you still really ought to neatly arrange the trains on the share boards, so that everyone can easily count what's left. And that arranging-on-the-share-boards is at least as much of a bother as the sorting. (2) I've decided to take a zen approach to the "setup is annoying" issue. It literally takes less than 5 minutes, and the game is well worth it. (And yes, I know 5 minutes can be 1/3 the total length of the whole game, but I don't think it should be considered a flaw that solid gameplay is packed into a short time frame.)
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Evgeni Liakhovich
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You speak wisely, master James! I agree, shaving off just a bit of setup time probably isn't worth it. I played around list night however, pulling out 32 trains (8x4) a few times and counting distribution. I didn't do it nearly enough times, but I never had more than 8 of the same color. I might just try full setup and my variant when it comes to playing, see how it goes.
 
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