Octopus's Garden

Issue Ninety

7th July 2020

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HELLO, good evening and welcome to Octopus's Garden, the subzeen with its very own Railway Rivals openings. It is a subzeen to Douglas Kent's Eternal Sunshine. It's produced by Peter Sullivan peter@burdonvale.co.uk. It's also available on the web at: http://www.burdonvale.co.uk/octopus/.


So, I'm back. Although I guess I've never really been away. But my nascent interest in the games hobby was re-kindled by Virtual Dixiecon back at the end of May. Where I got viciously stabbed, what I thought at the time was one turn too early by my notional ally. The fact that he went on to achieve an outright win in the gane and win the whole tournament somewhat shook the solidity of this presumption.

Given that there's currently a lack of train games in this fine periodical, I'd like to start a game or two of Railway Rivals. Let's start with:

Railway Rivals Map "B" (London and Liverpool): Five wanted.

Map is at http://www.burdonvale.co.uk/octopus/rr-b.pdf

To get on the waiting list, e-mail me, and (if you aren't already) join the Eternal Sunshine mailing list at https://mailchi.mp/45376bbd05df/eternalsunshine

Railway Rivals Postal Rules

X1 Except where noted, these are based on the 5th edition rules, published in April 1990. Players and g.m.s should read these rules as well as the postal amendments.

X2 The GamesMaster (g.m.) decides all disputed points. You may appeal against his rulings to a mutually-agreeable third party (usually David G. Watts), but changes are unlikely !

X3 Players may correspond, make/break agreements, etc, as in Diplomacy.

X4 The g.m. will accept late moves until the game is adjudicated. Clear unambiguous errors may be corrected by the g.m., in line with the player's perceived intent. Otherwise, moves are made as ordered, if possible.

X5 The g.m. will typically provide an electronic copy of the map to players at the start of the game, in order to avoid the need to charge players for printing and posting a paper map.

X6 The g.m. will attempt to contact players who NMR.

X7 If a player still does not submit orders or otherwise contact the g.m. then the game will be held over and a stand-by appointed. If the original player does not submit orders by the next deadline, the stand-by will replace them for the rest of the game, and the original player will be dropped. Other players may make their orders conditional on whether the stand-by takes up the position.

X8 With NMR!s in rounds 10, 11 & 12, the g.m. may decide not to appoint a stand-by. The game will still be held over, as in X7. If the original player does not submit orders by the next deadline, they will still be dropped. Their track may be used by other players at half normal cost until the end of the game. This means players may use up to 20 hexes (=10 points) per race.

X9 There are normally 12 rounds and a preliminary round in which players give preference lists for start towns and colours.

X10 Players' rail companies may go into debt at any time, but interest is 20% per round, fractions rounded up.

X11 Players orders to the g.m. should include : game name ; round number ; name or initials of the rail company ; colour ; date ; player's name. Moves must be clearly set out and helpful to the g.m. (e.g. known payments to other players should be shown). Changed moves must be dated. If the g.m. makes a mistake because you didn't observe this rule, it's your fault!

X12 If a player's builds involve paying over 15 points to another player in any one round, they pay in full but the other player receives only 15.

X13 Where both tracks are built in the same round, the payment for building alongside the earlier track is 1 per half-hex ; plus 1 for the junction as usual.

Building stage

Y1 there are a fixed number (normally 6) of building rounds. The g.m. sets three die rolls per round (e.g. 3, 6, 4) so all players have the same building allowance. (The three rolls will normally total 11 to 15; there are no 1's and few 2's. There may be 7's or 8's on large maps, if the g.m. says so at the start). Moves by all players are simultaneous; but if you enter a hex even 1 hex behind an opponent, you must pay them. (See X13).

Y2 Builds are written thus : a, b, c refer to the three rolls (not 1, 2, 3) ; (Start point) is in ( ). Use town names when they are built to or through; e.g. 2b) (F39) - Richmond - C39. All builds are firm, and not conditional on what other players do.

Operating stage

Z1 Normally each key number comes once in rounds 7-9, and once in rounds 10-12. Usually there are 6 operating rounds, with 6-9 races in each. Players may usually enter just over half the races offered (e.g. 4 from 6 or 7, 5 from 8 or 9), although the g.m. will normally specifically state how many races can be entered. All races must be at least 6 hexes long by the shortest route that could possibly be built.

Z2 Sectoring schemes are as follows, unless the g.m. says otherwise :

Z3 A run with no entrants is held over and offered as an extra run next round (unless it cannot be run, in which case it is held over until it can be run). There is no limit to how many times a race may be held over, but any races held over in after the final racing round are lost.

Z4 Routes in the races must be clearly and unambiguously indicated to the g.m.. However, it is not usually necessary to list every hex, or give the route length. The payments to other players should be shown e.g. : run 13, Phil - Charleston : (Phil) - G38 own track ; pay CVR (Blue) 4, G38 - F35, and 5 to NGB for F35 - E31; own track E31 - Chstn.

Z5 There are 4 types of runs ;

Joint runs : both must submit identical orders ; or one may specify as ordered by XYZ. You must still give details of any payments to third parties for using their tracks.

Exchange of Running Powers (XRP), allowing payments of over 10 to the other. These are normally for the same race, but may be for 2 different runs in the same round. If in the same race, players do not have to run along the same routes. If the conditions set out by one player are not followed by the other, the runs do not take place. Payments to and from the other partner, and to other players, should be given in your orders as normal.

For both joint runs and exchange of running powers, you may submit alternative orders for use in case the other player doesn't agree (e.g. run joint or XRP with another player; run solo; enter a different race, etc.) These are the only occasions when conditional orders are allowed.

Z6 Players may submit orders for track to be built at the end of the round, according to the limits set by the g.m. Typically, this is 12 - 14 pts for round 7, decreasing by 2 points per round; but the g.m. uses his experience to set suitable limits. This limit does not include payments to other players for joining/building alongside their track, i.e. it is a limit on the terrain/physical points only. If none of the players makes any builds after any round, then no further building will be allowed in the game. The g.m. may curtail unwise builds which give excessive payments (over 15) to one player, especially towards the end of the game.

Z7 Actual racing is done by the g.m. using an average die (2-3-3-4-4-5).

((These postal rules are based on those dated March 1986 by David G. Watts, and are reprinted with permission.))

Last updated: July 2020

That was Octopus's Garden #90, Startling Press production number 386.

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