GeekNights Tuesday - Rolling Stock (2011)

Tonight on GeekNights, we review Rolling Stock (2011). A Björn Rabenstein tabletop game that's adjacent to 18xx games like 1846: The Race for the Midwest, 1889: History of Shikoku Railways, or 2038: Tycoons of the Asteroid Belt, we've been playing it asynchronously online!

In the news, Smash Brothers' online mode isn't suitable for Evo Online 2020, Amazon's Crucible experiment is actually coming out, Gen Con is (rightly) canceled this year, and the Doom Eternal updates has a hot helping of malware.

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FWIW, I actually got my refund from Valve a little while ago on Doom Eternal.

What is going on on that tutorial page on

Phase 3

Phase 1 is “Issue one share”. It’s impossible to be president of a company that can issue shares until turn 3. Therefore it’s not taught first.

Phase 2 is form corporations. This isn’t possible until turn 2.

Now that I think about it, you are absolutely right. There’s no reason Phase 1 couldn’t be phase 11 and Phase 2 couldn’t be phase 12. Then subtract 2 from all phase numbers.

Just more examples of the kind of BS that goes on in these games, and the cultures and traditions that surround them and keep them entirely within the realm of grognard types. There’s good stuff here, but they sure don’t do themselves any favors.

I don’t know that that’s any better! Is the tutorial page still omitting stuff?
Now one “turn” would be

Phase 1
(No phase 4?)
Back to 1
Skip to 4
(No phase 5?)
9 (old 1)
10 (old 2)

This is some epicycle BS.

I didn’t learn from that tutorial page. I learned from three pdfs.

On that page there are links for Concise Rules, Learning Rules, and Players Guide. Read Learning Rules first. Then Players Guide. Then Concise Rules are your reference when you need to look things up.

You will also have complaints about these pdfs, and they are valid. But I did successfully learn the game from them.

If you download the print+ play version of the game, there is a fourth pdf with a turn summary sheet inside.

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The game is not actually complicated. It’s difficult, and you’ll run out of money the first time you play basically no matter what. But one readthrough is enough to internalize all the rules that matter.

Specifically, that tutorial is presenting the phases of a turn but omitting the ones that won’t be relevant until the second or third turn.

Phase 1 - Issue New Shares (won’t happen until turn 3 at the earliest)
Phase 2 - Form Corporations (turn 2 at the earliest)
Phase 3 - Auctions and Share Trading
Phase 4 - Determine New Player Order (no decisions to make)
Phase 5 - Foreign Investor (no decisions to make)
Phase 6 - Corporations Buy Companies (turn 2 at the earliest)
Phase 7 - Close Companies (you won’t have to do this for several turns, but you CAN)
Phase 8 - Collect Income (no decisions to make)
Phase 9 - Pay Dividends (turn 2 at the earliest)
Phase 10 - End of Game Check (no decisions to make)

It’s a very procedural turn structure with 10 phases, but 4 of them are just updating the game state without making a decision, and 4 of them need to be “bootstrapped” from the initial game state and they won’t be relevant on the first turn. I found the “learn to play” pdf a bit more descriptive and helpful than the HTML tutorial page.

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Correct, that is a 3.5 inch floppy disk.

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Standalone Review:

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