Online strategy guide

Got a new strategy? Not sure how to do something?
efast
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Online strategy guide

Post by efast » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:45 am

Tips for winning and major mistakes for online play.

1. Don't build curved railways. By default SMR proposed curve railways, which is much longer than straight lines. Shorter distance = quicker to destination = higher frequency = more goods transported = higher revenue = higher town growth.

To build straight rails, build a small turning section headed to your destination town, then lay a straight track.

2. Link towns close to each other. Trains travel short distance give you more money.

3. Passengers/mail are gold. The price for passenger isn't high, usually at the bottom. But when stations are upgraded, the passenger reward is significantly higher. Passengers are quick to load and not heavy. Passenger transport are often the key to winning.

4. Raw material trains are work horses, not income earners. Earn money by transporting value added goods, such as furniture/steel/autos.
Attachments
1. no curve.jpg
2 distance.jpg
3. passenger.jpg
4. raw material train.jpg
Online play example.rar
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Last edited by efast on Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

efast
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by efast » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:59 am

5. Prevent stealing. By building your station closest to the raw material deposit, your opponent might try to steal, but you will always get the most because you are the closest.

6. Bridges for raw material deposit. Build bridges by pressing + button when laying track. Trains go fast when going down, but going up with no load/goods with just a locomotive is equally fast. Build a bridge going up toward the deposit and you will harvest resources much quicker.

7. Upgrade trains on Robber Baron level. Maintenance costs goes up by the second. After 10 minutes trains maintenance cost can double. To keep revenue/cost ratio high, upgrade trains constantly.

8. Upgrade stations. Logistics is about time. Quicker transport = higher income.
Attachments
5. no stealing.jpg
6. bridges.jpg
7. maintance cost.jpg
8. stations.jpg
Last edited by efast on Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

efast
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by efast » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:02 am

9. Use your cash. Don't leave your cash stack up. Buy stocks. Stocks rise in value, and when you sell them you get very valuable return.

10. Build efficient networks. A efficient network with only 3 raw material deposits can earn more money than an opponent with 10 resource deposits spread all over the map. Key is: close distance between towns, trade high value goods, prevent stealing.

11. Stocks game. Buy your opponent's stock early. This ups the price for them to buy and distorts their mentality. The early you invest, the more is the return later when you sell them.
Attachments
9. Spend extra cash on stocks.jpg
10. efficient network.jpg

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darthdroid
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by darthdroid » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:14 pm

Some very good tips here efast, I agree with everything, except points 6 and 11. Let's discuss why.

On point 6: This is certainly something many of us agreed with at some point. The concept behind this is gravity of course; that a train would go faster if it's on a down slope. This would indeed be true if there were gravity in SMR.
There is no gravity in SMR.
So this means you should revert back to your comment about "shortest distances"... it's true on resource routes as well. Raising your bridge way up adds miles to your track. If you have a steep track like in your screen shot, and I have a flat track straight to resource... I'm going to beat you every time. Why? Because there is no gravity-so all you did was add unnecessary mileage to your track that slows you down in the route.
Trust me on that-I beat those trains every time, because my track is shorter. I've tested it hundreds of times and my train will make yours go negative.

Also, just a point in the middle of the discussion: The strategy FAQ is mostly written by me and it applies directly to online play-I never play anywhere else, just online with human beings. Cuz as you know, the computer sucks.

Now to point 11: I think that is suicide. You should never start buying opponent early on. Please refer to my post on stocks in the FAQ, it is quite lengthy and describes the strategy: http://www.smrsimple.com/forums/viewtop ... =34&t=3803

You are talking about using stock as an investment. This is illogical due to the concept in economics of "opportunity costs" which says, what is the cost of doing A if you forego B? B is building more routes. You will make A LOT more money by investing in your own capital (trains, stations, tracks) than you will by buying a stock or 5 stocks. Stocks are key to winning the game, yes. But the key to winning the game is making the most money-which then allows one to buy the stocks in such a way to buy out opponents.

If I invest in your stocks early on, maybe I bought 3 for $350,000. I agree that in 5 years, they could be worth $600,000 perhaps. So if I sell at that time I would make $250,000. However, if instead I spend my $350,000 on a train route that could make $1,000,000 per year... then that route could have made $3,000,000 or more in the same 5 year period. This means that while you made yourself $250,000, I might have made $2,650,000.... a difference of 10x.

Stocks are complex and more people understand the building aspect than they do the stock process. I would argue some basics here:

1/ On Tycoon or Robber Baron, you should SELL all your stocks very quickly or you're not building fast enough or aggressive enough. On Mogul, you'd still sell all of them on most maps, but it will take a bit longer. On Financier or Investor, you might not sell all of them, but you'd certainly sell at least half of them and again, pretty quickly in early game.

2/ You should never make a stock move unless you are financially ahead of your opponent. This means, you are making a reasonably higher profit than the other player over the course of the current year. At this time, it would be okay to make a stock move - because you are ahead.

I frequently see players start putting their seed money into stocks early in the game, while I build a stronghold and then begin to invade their territory. Soon they may own 3 or 5 of my stocks, but I'm making so much money, I can buy all their stocks--and my value is rising so quickly they cannot really keep buying mine at a good rate. Pretty soon, they are making less and less money (as you said, even if they build defensively-I can still cut their cash production in half) and soon they are bought out and I never had to buy even one of my own stocks... and of course when I buy them out, I inherit all my own stocks that they previously owned. Now I have the 3-5 defensive stocks of mine they bought and can easily take out the next guy... Don't buy stocks early.

This stock issue is simple as well: How do we make money in this game? We make money with our business (train routes). How do we WIN the game? Buy buying up all the opponents' stocks. Stocks are not an investment, the investments are trains, tracks, stations, depots. The investments allow us to buy up the stocks and win. But don't look at stocks as investments-the return on stock is minimal at best and nothing compared to the return on good trains. Stocks are NEVER an investment in SMR.
-Bob the Lunatic

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darthdroid
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by darthdroid » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:28 pm

Also, your tracks look pretty good in your pictures, but I see a lot of inefficiencies for online play.

1/ The steep tracks to resource as already discussed.

2/ At the stations, your double tracks while short are still way too long, they should be slivers.

3/
Your right turns are also still too curvy. If you truly take a tiny piece and make a right turn... the train won't turn at all, which means it never slows down-it won't turn as there is no track to turn on. Your trains coming in at right angles will have to turn and it will indeed slow them down enough for a guy like me to hurt you.

4/ On big money routes (like steel, bombs, etc.) you should have your routes set up to do 2 or 3 of those city to city routes on the huge money trains-I see only one route where I'd have at least 2. Not a problem with computers, but you said this was an "online guide" and that suggests other humans. Many of the advanced players use 2 or 3 routes on the big money trains and that indicates that you need to set up your routes to do so no matter what to defend yourself. If I come into that city and set up 2 routes that are just as straight, flat, and short as yours... I now get 66% of the money, and you get 33% (at best)....

5/ You are laying track with the landscape. I see big hills between your cities that you laid your track across. Flat tracks are a must between cities. That is the most efficient way. Based on that, if I laid flat routes between them (2 as stated above), I'd make closer to 80% of the profit (or more).

6/ You have a multi-city network. This means you cannot have "shortest tracks" everywhere. You could trim those tracks a bit more... a station should truly be on the edge of a city-you are close, but I could shave a mile off that track and hurt you. On the other side, the station is at a right angle... which again means turns.
Multi-City networks also mean you compete against yourself... you have 2 trains that you own both competing for the same passengers... you are right, passenger routes are big-so why have 2 trains (double maintenance) running the same city? A group of bi-city setups is better...in doing so, you never compete with yourself. It also means that ALL your tracks (that matter-city to city tracks) can truly be efficient, being as short as possible.

I could point out several other things as well, but 6 points is enough for now I think. Perhaps we should have a game sometime and we could discuss these things in game via the built in VoiP of the game.
-Bob the Lunatic

efast
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by efast » Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:01 am

I am glad to hear my mistakes pointed out. I only waned to make some points, and not intended this guide as a Top Players guide. The game I posted is itself a easy game, and I didn't put too much emphasis on overall efficiency.
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SMRailroads!0000.jpg

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darthdroid
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by darthdroid » Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:45 am

Just trying to help efast. You have a lot of the tactics down, I just thought you might be wanting to learn more. I'm sure there are still tactics undiscovered in the game... Every time I think I've figured it all out, I learn something new.
-Bob the Lunatic

keotaman

Re: Online strategy guide

Post by keotaman » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:41 am

darthdroid wrote:... Every time I think I've figured it all out, I learn something new.
LOL, I think we can all say that, Darthdroid. You and Efast have posted some very fine tips. There are many different types of strategies for use on: online multiplayer, offline Multi, scenario goals, layout appearance, realistic operation and traintable experimentation. And, of course, going back to see if you can better your own performance with a scenario. Since I'm not a fan of online multi play, I've refrained from commenting much on the strategy tips presented for online play in this forum, but Efast made some good points. Have several networks where resources are hauled nearby to produce value-added goods for higher revenue, and let the grade work for you, especially for heavy materials. Run downgrade with loads and uphill with empties or light loads, gravity Does make a difference!
Instead of running perfectly flat track, bump it up or down 2 clicks; acceleration and speeds will be better. I've setup a small demonstration game, with loads hauled but not delivered between two towns, that demonstrates the effect of grades (gravity). (removed 7-24-10)

Premise: to test for the presence of gravity - Northwest U.S.

A train hauls the same load uphill and then downhill, record speeds.
Increase the load by loading 1 or 2 freight cars and record speeds.

Observation: Speeds, both uphill and down, tend to decrease as the load increases, slowest in the middle.
Speed uphill is always lower than downhill, with a greater difference at heavy loads.

Speed difference uphill and downhill is not due to track, terminals, or engine, just the grade.
Loads . Up - Down
0 cars = 59 - 58
1 cars = 58 - 58
3 cars = 47 - 58
5 cars = 34 - 54
7 cars = 27 - 41
8 cars = 18 - 35

This grade was moderate, Lewiston at 1163' minus Boise 840' = 323 ft;
same effect was noted on steep grades (624'), but with a greater differential.
Last edited by keotaman on Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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darthdroid
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by darthdroid » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:29 pm

No foolin! I thought we settled that 2 years ago. Now I'm going to have to test it at various heights-uggh.

Well, thanks for correcting me Keo. I do imagine I/we would find that with steep inclines, what I say is true (flat is better) but perhaps a slight grade or even a few more clicks could also make a difference in the favor of the slope player.

Interested to find out.
-Bob the Lunatic

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darthdroid
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by darthdroid » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:30 pm

Now you're making me question other assumptions.

Are we agreed that cars have zero weight?

(ie 8 empty cars run as fast as zero cars?)
-Bob the Lunatic

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Warll
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by Warll » Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:13 am

Empty cars have no weight, full cars do though. right?

Now the question is if the extra speed makes up for the increased distance. Of course that assumes that smr has a complex enough system that the inclines extra length actually counts.

My vote is on inclines helping.
Image

keotaman

Re: Online strategy guide

Post by keotaman » Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:07 am

Aye, cars have no weight (mass), only loads. That's why it is almost always a help to have a full 8-car train. And the increased distance for sloped track is a factor, esp. if the slope is dramatic.

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darthdroid
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by darthdroid » Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:11 am

I'll get to the bottom of this!! Just give me a few hours alone with the game and I'll beat the answers out of a few trains!!
-Bob the Lunatic

keotaman

Re: Online strategy guide

Post by keotaman » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:03 pm

I had an anomaly that caused the Terminal walkover to not appear, allowing a clear view of "trimmed" station tracks. The small turning section on the 4th track (mentioned by Efast's point #1) is as small as I can make it on a sliver of station track ($2,000); if the station track is longer, the turning section can be abrupt & small enough to not cost any money at all.

P.S. - The 4 trimmed terminal tracks cost zero!

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darthdroid
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Re: Online strategy guide

Post by darthdroid » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:38 am

keotaman wrote:I had an anomaly that caused the Terminal walkover to not appear, allowing a clear view of "trimmed" station tracks. The small turning section on the 4th track (mentioned by Efast's point #1) is as small as I can make it on a sliver of station track ($2,000); if the station track is longer, the turning section can be abrupt & small enough to not cost any money at all.

P.S. - The 4 trimmed terminal tracks cost zero!

Now you're talking my language-that's a nice right angle you got there. Also-the further you push the limits of this game, the more likely you'll see glitches in my experience (like no crossover)... you're pretty good for a non-online player keo.
-Bob the Lunatic

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