Game Report - 5 Dec - Ruhrschifffahrt
Game Report - 5 Dec - Ruhrschifffahrt
And RUHRSCHIFFFAHRT it was with three players as Dave and Tim were on hand for game. The game is presented with a 16 page rule book that not only discusses the game, but also talks about the historical development of the coal barge trade along the Ruhr river. So a thematic Euro with justification for the chrome in the rules. While that does sound a bit snide, the rules do make a bit of sense in context of the theme and the “chrome” isn’t that oppressive at all. What is more difficult is the poor organization of the rules. As an example, the fact that a warehouse in a city earns 1 Thaler when coal is delivered in the city is NOT found under Movement and Coal Sales, but rather under Purchasing Warehouses as a benefit for buying a warehouse in the city. As I mentioned in the suggestion e-mail, there are excellent summaries and player aids online that help create the mental framework of the game that allows one to read the rule book and understand how the parts move together.
Stepping back, this is a pick-up and deliver game. Player’s barges pick up coal and deliver it down river. Doing so not only earns money, but also research points. Combinations of these research points will then allow players to acquire advanced abilities. So the technology tree is tied to what one delivered where. Also, the river acts as a turn order track with players upriver doing actions before players down river, so one’s positioning for a turn could depend on a few factors. And of course, it is free to move down the river, and there is a cost associated with moving up the river.
Interestingly, Tim and I ended up pursuing the same technologies for most of the game turns. However, Tim was much more successful in getting more gold for his deliveries and could turn his technologies into VPs for the game. Rich ran out of money (see note below) a few times which cost him a tempo or two. Dave didn’t pursue the tech tree as aggressively preferring instead to gain VPs available on the board. This actually kept him in good running with Tim for much of the game, until the end game bonuses kicked in to push Tim out of Dave’s reach (Tim: 43; Dave: 30; Rich 21).
As I was checking in the rulebook at game’s end about transporting low value goal, I noticed one mistake we made in the game. As goal is transported, it loses 1 in value as it crosses an obstacle. We had played this as 1 per obstacle when the rules are 1 max for any number of obstacles. This would have made coal more valuable as well as provide players with more income in the game.
(As an aside, the coal in the game is represented by dice with the value conveyed by the face-up pips. Historically, the barges couldn’t navigate over an obstacle so the coal was offloaded from one barge to another downstream of the obstacle resulting in a loss of coal and/or value in the process.)
In addition, we forgot one of the rules adjustments for 3P resulting in a few more obstacles on the map. (As the Ruhr river was developed, these obstacles were converted to locks in the river to make for easier navigation and avoiding the barge transfer.) This also would have injected a bit more cash into the game as well.
More cash would have given all of us more chances to build warehouses for points – something Tim did well that the others did not.
Finally, we wondered who restored a coal dice from the transport track to the coal fields by the river. Finally found where this was mentioned – it is the START PLAYER (ie furthest upriver) who does that. In fact, it is the current start player who does this also when coal is delivered to the transport track and a coal dice is pushed off the bottom. This isn’t necessarily the player who started that phase, nor the player who delivered the coal.
Otherwise, I think we managed to do the right things as found in those 16 verbose pages of rules. Certainly one that is probably worth another try, perhaps with 4 players sometime down the road.