Advanced Endgame Case Study

  • The Setting

    • The leading city is about to end the game in somewhere between 30 and 120 minutes.
    • Your city has just finished the hour getting an RG 90% but wait time is 13 minutes at the called facility
    • Your city has another RG at 50% with a wait time of 40 seconds.
    • Your current pace makes it likely you can close the 50% RG if you haul it for the full hour, but less likely for each 15 minute interval less

    The Outcome

    • The caller made a 'closing' call on the 90% RG
    • The city closed the the 90% RG call in 30 minutes
    • The caller made a 'grooming' call on a 10% RG
    • When the hour closed the 50% RG had its wait times destroyed so the caller made an 'optimal' call on a 0% RG
    • The folks who broke the 50% RG industry accused the caller of making a bad call
    • The city failed to close a second RG despite having 105 minutes to close an RG that was set up to close in 60 minutes

    High Level Assessment

    • The caller used advanced techniques to 'manufacture' the opportunity to close an extra RG in the final stages of the game, made an optimistic call to'go for 3', and then despaired when players mutineed against the caller.
    • The Players who refused to follow the calls cost the city a final RG
    • The city 'could' have still closed the RG if they had reacted differently to the initial breakage.

    Ultimately, it was a shakesperean tragedy because the same traits that enabled the extra RG also doomed it.


    Here's where the 'Advanced' guide comes in. It will discuss concepts that are not easily understood and rarely practiced. That is what makes them advanced. Unfortunately, because they are hard to understand and rarely practiced, many people will STRONGLY disagree with them. This 'guide' thus needs a warning attached to it. If you agree with it, be careful who you talk to about it, or you will be in for some very unpleasant conversations. I have tried to identify what are commonly accepted (basic) concepts and what are likely to cause fights (advanced) where possible.


  • Terms

    Park Call (basic) - The caller wants to make sure people do not mess up wait times for the next hour

    A Park call is typically written in the variation of 'Park all trains prior to call'

    This means you should Park all you trains in the city center.. In truth, parking trains is usually a horrible thing to do. Far better to have your trains run up and haul a trip of offline goods than park. In fact, that is often what the caller wants you to do when they make a park call. Hauling the offline good can be inefficient if the park call lasts only for a manner of 1 to two minutes because it can leave your trains out of position for the next call. But Park Calls usually last 5 or more minutes. Plenty of time to snatch an extra trip from the offline site.

    Closing Call (basic) - The caller expects to close the RG in the hour so they do not care what happens to the wait times in any of the industries.

    A closing call is typically written in some variation of 'Haul Cotton Fastest'

    This means each player should determine which source for the RG (cotton) has the lowest total transit time for them (Transit + wait times, not just lowest wait time) and haul the RG from that location.

    Cooling Call (basic) - The caller knows the closest industry needs wait times recover (cool) so instructs all haulers to avoid that industry.

    A Cooling call is typically written in some variation of 'Haul Cotton Fastest but NOT SD SOUTH'

    This means each player should determine which source for the RG (cotton) has the lowest total transit time for them (Transit + wait times, not just lowest wait time) and haul the RG from that location unless that location is the prohibited industry (San Diego South cotton industry)

    Warehouse call (basic) - The caller wants to cool the primary industry but keep options open so limits cooling call to a specific industry.

    A Warehouse call is typically written in some variation of 'Cotton LA West' or 'Cotton Warehouse'

    This means each player should shift their trains from the prior call (Cotton SD South) to the new call (Los Angeles West)

    (advanced) - I call them warehouse calls because many cities like to use the Warehouse as the alternative destination. This is RARELY the optimal call for multiple reasons which I will address under the topics 'Warehouse Fallacies',

    Grooming Call (advanced) - The caller wants to set the industry up for a full hour of hauling in the future so uses part of an hour to drive up wait times

    A grooming call looks like a normal call but it comes towards the end of an hour and city chat will explode with calls for a new caller.

    Grooming calls are needed because zombies (inactive players) are hauling a steady amount from an RG and thus driving up its wait time so when everyone hauls that industry, everyone suffers. By grooming an RG, you drive up the wait time in a short period of time. This higher wait time 'kills' the zombies in the following hour. That means they haul much less of the RG the entire next hour because they are spending most of their time waiting.

    You then come back the post cooling hour and haul much more efficiently.

    Close RGs are more likely to be grooming candidates because the closer the RG the easier it is to drive up the wait time in a small amount of time.

    In the case study,

    • The wait time on flour was 200 seconds (3 minutes 20 secs).
    • After the caller 'groomed' flour the wait time was 800 seconds(13 minutes 20 seconds).
    • When we returned to Flour wait time was 80 seconds (1 minute 20 seconds). round trip was 180 seconds travel time.

      • Without grooming I would have halued 425 * 9.5 = 4026 tons.
      • With grooming I hauled 425 * 13.8 = 5884 tons.
      • A 40% improvement.
      • Multiply that by 10 active haulers and grooming delivered an extra 18500 tons over the hour.

    Note: My memory is not exact, i do remember the wait time impacts of the grooming, but the actual transit time is approximate based on Ollys travelling 3 track segments

    I have only played in one city where somebody other than me/my teammates have ever groomed an RG. It was a real pleasure to watch the caller do it repeatedly this game.

    Optimal Call (advanced) - The caller sees an opportunity to haul an RG at a most optimal time and calls it irregardles of chances to close an RG

    An optimal call looks like a normal call only city chat will explode with questions about why a warehouse call wasn't made.

    Optimal calls are an advanced concept because of the 'Consumption Fallacy' which I will discuss later.

    Optimal calls are needed because industries acquire zombies and zombies ruin industries. It is important to make an optimal call when it presents itself because it may go away at any moment. Optimal calls are made because it is a use it or lose it opportunity.

    The case study had numerous Optimal Calls to leverage the groomed industries when the time was right.

    Cooling Call (Advanced) - The caller knows the closest industry needs to let wait times recover (cool) so instructs all haulers to haul a different RG

    An advanced cooling call looks like a normal call only city chat will explode with questions along the lines of "Why aren't we closing cotton?", "Wait time is 0 at this industry 15 track lengths away"

    An advanced Cooling call occurs because

    • an hour is too long to 'groom' an RG
    • No optimal RG calls exist
    • All the alternative sources for an RG are trashed so no Warehouse call is possible.

    The scenario for an advanced cooling call rarely arises, and it is even rarer to find a caller capable of making one. I was REALLY happy/impressed to see a caller in the winning city make an advanced cooling call, and then a little sad when the caller failed to follow up with a Grooming Call when the Cooling Call closed early. (he followed up with a basic cooling call which was tantamount to throwing 15 minutes away having trains sitting at a 5 minute wait time station)

    Reverse Grooming call (Unicorn) - The caller attempts to drive wait time down so that max wait time in the next our is in seconds.

    You need to understand the supply falacy to understand why this works.

    I have also never seen it called in endgame although I have seen it work via serendipity more than once while endgaming cities during the 12 week time frame.

    The idea is that you only have a fraction of an hour (grooming time) and the industry you plan to call next already has a low wait time. If you supply that industry, wait time will go down for the next hour. Since the impact of supply loss during the hour is a multiple of the starting wait time, getting the starting wait time into low single digits almost eliminates the effect of supply. (the ultimate example. A city with 0 wait time will have 0 wait time for the entire hour even if you go from fully supplied to no supply, 1 second goes to 3, 2 to 6, 3 to 10...) by reverse grooming an industry that is already low, you can keep it low for the entire hour by supplying it ahead of time.


  • Fallacies (Advanced)

    Consumption Falacy - Turning off consumption by closing the RG is the highest priority.

    Origen: Every 15 minutes, the city eats some cars. The only way to stop the city from eating cars is to close out the RG. The fastest way to close out the RG is to continuously haul that RG until it closes.

    Fallacy: Cities are not the only thing that eats cars. Wait time at industries 'eats' cars in terms of opportunity cost and there are more than one RG in play.

    Example: (apologize for compound interest aproximations)
    Consider a city with 10% consumption can haul 25% of total in 15 minutes from primary site and 10% of total from secondary site for two different RGs.

    • Standard approach
      Hour 1 -- optimal call -- Haul first RG from primary site for an hour (22, 42, 69, 85) = 85 after hour
      Hour 2 -- cooling call -- Haul first RG from secondary site for an hour (86, 88, 89, 90) = 90 after 2 hours
      Hour 3 -- optimal call -- Haul first RG from Primary site for 45 mins (close) = closed one Rg
      -- cooling call -- Haul second RG from Secondary site for 15 mins (9, 17, 24) = 24
      Hour 4 -- optimal call -- Haul second RG from Primary site for an hour (44, 62, 78 , 93) = 93
      Hour 5 -- cooling call -- Haul second RG from Secondary site for an hour (94, 95, 96, 98) = 98
      Hour 6 -- closing call -- Haul second RG from primary site for (86,97, close)

    so it took 5 1/4 hours to close two RGs

    • Advanced approach
      Hour 1 -- optimal call -- Haul first RG from primary site for an hour = 85 after hour
      Hour 2 -- advanced cooling call -- Haul SECOND RG from primary site for an hour = 85 after hour, other decayed 77, 69, 62,55
      Hour 3 -- optimal call -- Haul first RG from primary site for an hour (67, 83, 97, close ) other decayed 77, 69, 62,55
      Hour 4 -- closing call -- Haul second RG from primary site for an hour (67, 83, 97, close )

    so it took 4 hours to close two RGs

    Consumption is not always a fallacy.

    • When the secondary site is almost as productive as the primary site. (say two locations equidistant from city center), consumption is not a fallacy.
    • Everyone becomes VERY familiar with the... we are so close, why aren't we leveling nature of the consumption fallacy when the warehouse calls are merely treading water rather than gaining ground because... well... far too many believe the warehouse fallacy, and those who know better, know enough to keep it to themselves.

    The fallacy survives because strong cities are too busy bragging about closing 2 rgs in 6 hours to care about missing the opportunity to have done it in 4.Weak cities can see it, but they are typically weak cities, because they don't have experienced players..

    Warehouse Fallacy - Warehouses are critical to winning an endgame

    Origen: Folks who believe the consumption fallacy believe the more alternative sites for cooling calls the better and the warehouse adds an alternative site for every RG.

    Fallacy: Warehouse calls are rarely efficient and even when they are, routing a warehouse call to the warehouse is usually not the best alternative.

    Example: Once in dallas, we spent 5 hours trying to get Pharmaceuticals to level. Folks had spent all game obsessing over levelling the warehouse. When the time came there were 4 separate pharmaceutical sites all of which offerred better transit time to Dallas than the warehouse did. Era 6 goods are often roughly as far away from the city as the warehouse. Take a step back and try to give me a scenario where a cooled era 3 RG will ever take longer to haul than the warehouse. I literally have never seen it in all my time playing.

    The falacy survives because strong cities have enough power to waste levelling a warehouse. They also have enough power to win despite innefficient calls. They then associate their victory to wasting time leveling a facility that let them make inneficient calls (warehouse calls rather than advanced calls) from an inneficient location (warehouse rather than alternate site).

    Who can argue with winning right.

    In this day and age, where cities with 180 active players are considered to be on equal footing with cities of 380 players, and all the top players flock to the same city making 'winning' a foregone conclusion, who can argue?

    That last statement is one reason why warehouses are important. If you are attracting the top players from accross the board to your city, it will be a challenge for them to connect all the primary sites much less the secondary sites. Connecting the warehouse as a surrogate for secondary sites is a very smart thing. Unfortunately, the cities that prize warehouse levelling, usually prevent the very people who need to use the warehouse from actually using it when they call secondary sites.

    Supply Fallacy - you must supply your industries or wait times will go through the roof

    Origen: Common sense belief that you need supply to produce RGs and when you go look at a high wait time supply is always a big contributor

    Fallacy: You do not need supply to produce RGs

    Haul from an industry that has zero wait time. No matter what the supply level is, wait time is always 0
    Haul from an industry with one second wait time. No matter what the supply is wait time is always < 5 seconds

    In truth, running industries with low supply is beneficial when you groom facilities, since wait time resulting from supply is a multiplier of initial wait time. When you groom, the impact of your increased utilization is multiplied by the fact that the industry has low supply to drastically drive up the wait time for the next hour, which in turn kills more zombies, which reduces wait time even farther

    The fallacy persists because people think industries need supply to produce RGs. It also persists because it is a religion. There are many times when cities run direct without chaining (e.g. ever wonder why so many cities level up during city competitions?), but noboy ever notices that after multiple hours of hauling direct leading up to the competition, wait times have not skyrocketed. What people DO notice however is that when they call 'push' - a sloppy brute force approach to leveleing where all industries switch to direct hauling at the same time - that wait times skyrocket. People assume it is because supply dropped while in truth, it is because utilization increased. They never see the cooldowwn impact in the third hour, because they have either levelled or are continuing to throw more and more trains at the lagging RG making matters worse.

    Chaining Fallacy - you must chain supply your industries to level your city as fast as possible

    Origen: see supply fallacy

    Fallacy: although 3 > 2, 3 < 1+1+2


    • Haul an era 5 rg requireing a supply chain of 3 prior stops, each having 60 seconds wait time to a destination RG haveing 120 second wait time
    • By Chaining it is taking your trains 300 seconds of wait time plus an extra 30-60 seconds of acceleration time (5.5 minutes)
    • If you were told to haul an industry with 5.5 minute wait time, you would complain, but since the 5.5 minutes of wait time is spread over multiple stops, it suddenly seems reasonable.

    Now ask yourself, when have you ever seen an industry with 5.5 minute wait time, except after focusing on it in the prior hour.

    The reason for hauling chained has nothing to do with efficiency and everything to do with cash. Prestige haulers will want to haul direct to maximize their prestige. Money haulers will want to haul chained to raise cash. It is this symbiotic relationship that levels cities.

    The fallacy persists because the people with grand plans are all about levelling up industries, which is important to an extent, but not to a great extent. And chanied hauling is how you level industries. The irony is, the industries you are levelling via chained hauling don't need the levels (coal is easy to close for ANY endgame city), and it inhibits the levelling of the industries that need levelling (cars). Cars is a perfect example, it is impossible to fully supply because of its complex supply chain, yet they are not harder to close than Aluminum wich is trivial to supply. But nobody notices.


  • So now that I have laid the groundwork with the concepts to understand the events of the case study, lets step through it.


    I joined the eventual winning endgame city but two things quickly became clear
    1. The city would win with or without my trains
    2. My trains would not help my teamates gain more prestige

    I sent my trains off to Goonland, where the best endgame callers in the game (IMHO) were calling.
    No sooner did I arrive than I was rewarded with
    1. A closing Call
    2. A Grooming Call
    3. An Cooling call
    4. An Optimal Call on the groomed industry
    5. An Advanced Cooling call
    6. A Closing Call
    7. A Grooming Call

    I was hooked

    Fast forward to the time of the case study.

    Well, not all the way to the case study, because, to fully understand the case study, you need to understand events two hours prior the case study.
    I have not spoken with the caller, so my statements of the caller's thought process are strictly my own interpretation. They could be completely wrong. Thye are a result of me analyzing each of the calls in the last hour to understand what was going on.

    Rail Nation is full of folks who think they are geniuses because they bring a gun to a knife fight and will spend hours telling you how the way they carried their gun was the reason they won. Rarely is their victory more than a good job of effective recruiting, which is a skill to be praised, and suprisingly difficult for most cities, but less Kasparov and more Callipari.

    But in these final four hours, I hope to convey the chess game that can be played in endgame, and how folks who fail to see the game prove Rail Nation is not a chess game.

    We finished an RG and it was time to formulate the closing of the final RG.
    There was an obvious choice (Iron). It was two tracks away and had a low wait time. Easily closed in two hours, and we had two to four hours left. 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 30 minutes maybe more.
    So the obvious call was
    1. Cool Iron
    2. Optimal Iron
    3. Close Iron
    4. all spare time lost

    But our caller was not obvious. Flour was also two tracks away, but it had a high wait time. So our caller decided she could close 2 rgs rather than just 1. She called.
    1. Groom Flour
    2. Optimal Iron
    3. Optimal Flour

    At this point, we came up just short on flour (90+%) which meant we were pushing 20% every 15 minutes. That pegged Iron at 45 minutes hauling to close.

    4. Closing Flour.

    Ironically, this was possibly a bad call despite being the obvious call because of the consumption fallacy. The point is moot, because even if Iron were the right call at this point, it would have failed because folks would have refused to switch off flour.

    The consumption fallacy says the right call should have been 4. Close Iron, 5. Cool Flour, 6. Close flour

    But, if we closed flour in 15 minutes, the consumption fallacy was not a fallacy AND we had a shot at closing iron in 45 minutes which was the most efficient.

    Anyway that was my reading of the situation. I figured we would close flour in 15 minutes and then hammer iron for 45 and congratulate ourselves on a strong finish. I don't know whether that was the plan or not, because I did not ask, a mistake I would soon regret...

    I left my olympus on the close Flour and instant dispatched them rather than wait 13 minutes or haul a 5+ minute round trip. My baby trains would be useless on flour. I was sure the call was going to be iron for 45 minutes, so I sent my baby trains to haul iron for the 15 minutes it would take to close flour. It was beautiful. Just one problem. Flour took 30 minutes to close... and barely at that, so barely that I think the extra 2K from my instant dispatched Olys was the only reason it didn't take 45 minutes to close. The consumption fallacy has teeth man.

    • If I had been smart, I would have pulled my baby trains the instant we failed to close flour in the first 15.
    • If I had been smarter, I would have pulled my baby trains the instant I knew we would not close flour in the first 15.
    • If I had been even smarter, I would have asked if it were okay to run my baby trains on Iron in the first place.

    But I wasn't smart. In fact I was dumb. So when, flour closed, I knew we had nno time to waste and immediately switched to Iron.

    5. Grooming call PASTRY

    It is at that moment that the stupity of everything I had done came crashing down on me. I switched all my trains ASAP, but I knew

    • at best I had added 15 seconds to the wait time and cost the city thousands of tons in the next hour,
    • at worst, I had added more seconds and had cost the city the opportunity to close Iron.
    • I spent the next 30 minutes framing my apology. All that was left for me to do was gage my impact in the next hour.

    The caller correctly assessed the situation.

    • We had more than 90 minutes left
    • We could not close iron in 30 minutes
    • We could easily close iron in 60 minutes
    • we had 30 minutes to Groom another RG.

    In any other small city (city with fewer than 200 players) closing 1 rg would have been a moral victory in the final four hours. We had already closed one, had a second in the bag and lining up a third if the winning city dawdled.

    30 minutes was up and the next call came.

    6. Optimal Call TEXTILES.

    In truth it was more, "I am too depressed for words", maybe we can close a 0 wait time industry in an hour.

    My reaction to that call was ... Set my trains to Textiles... and then quickly opened Iron because, shoot, I didn't think I had THAT big an impact.

    Before I could get there the following conversation occurred.

    Caller -- No iron, folks failed to follow call and ruined it
    My Thought -- Dang, sorry, didn't think it would be that bad

    First time Player -- It was me, you made the wrong call
    My Thought -- Okay, I laughed, and smiled. I had trained that player that game, and I encouraged my folks to disagree with me and prove me wrong, but used that to illustrate why strange things were done and why obvious things would actually fail. Ultimately though, I thought I had taught how important it is to follow calls because of the wait time manipulation.. I was typing that up that answer to my former trainee when...

    Caller -- And how many end games have you called before?
    My Thought -- another smile because Velvet Panther, co-creator of the Panther plan upon which most of this is based, was also a first time player when she co-created the Panther plan. But then again, she was no ordinary first time player, she was the Velvet Panther.

    First time player -- Insults, Rage quit
    My thought -- Disappointment. make your case and then apologize when you realize you were wrong. Rage quitting, just means you will make the same mistake again in the future. And it was a mistake.

    Me -- I did apologize for my mistake, but by then who cares about punishing a thief when murderers of the final RG were on the loose.


    Despite Iron being trashed, there was a chance, albeit slim, the city could have closed iron. Rather than calling textiles
    1. Cool Iron
    2. Close iron
    might have worked, if the folks who failed to follow the Pastry call did follow the warehouse iron call.

    That's a big IF, and tough to make when you are upset.

    We only had that opportunity because the caller set that up in the first place, and then it was lost because folks felt they knew better than the caller, and then it was too late in the day to recover from the damage that was done. (I would argue impossible, because wait time went UP after the Hour indicating a Cooling call would have failed)

    Many people love endgame. It is absolutely fun when you call an RG and it closes. But endgames are even more fun when you realsize you can do more than haul an RG until it closes. It was a lot of fun watching the callers in goontown work.

    In fact, some of us enjoy that so much, we endgame cities for all 12 weeks, but that is a different guide. ;)

  • I hate those fallacies so much, and I hate even more that you can't get it into the minds of most city grinders, that they are fallacies. Thank to trains coupling through now, it has at least become a smaller problem in endgames, because less people are like: "my baby trains can't haul the current call, so I let them supply that messed up era 1/ 2 facility instead, so they've got something to do." Yeah, but even in the case that we don't need the supply facilities anymore (already finished, or not in the current set and the winning city will end the game before we get a new one), they help those that left their train on the supplied facility to haul more out of it and by that increase its occupancy and wait time even more after recalc.

    That's bad enough already, but it's way worse during the regular game, when "experienced" city grinders try to force everyone in the city to haul fully integrated all the time, except maybe for the hard level pushes - no matter how many extra tracks the trains need to drive for that, no matter of the wait times on the supply facilities ("You neither have maj or friendly on parts of your supply chain, because another city corp need them? How dare you not to haul fully integrated nonetheless!!!"), no matter of unbalanced supply, no matter that the difference between 90% supplied and 100% supplied is pretty insignificant. I get that hauling RGs fully integrated (ideally with licenses) is the way for rather inactive players to combine making decent money, decent prestige, and helping the city - but that city leaders want to force their active players to do that all the time and rather lose them than letting them get away with direct hauling or 1-stop-integration round after round is really mindblowing.

  • This has been implied or stated somewhat, but I think it's worth making it very plain for any reader wanting to learn good endgame strategy.

    Do not supply any facility during endgame unless specifically asked to by the caller.
    1) If you aren't paying attention/careful you could be ruining industries you still need to haul from and if a set of 12 is about to finish you'll probably be unlucky enough tho need it next.
    2) your trains aren't doing something worth while. They should be hauling the called good or one of the offline goods.
    3) Finally, and what has been touched on by Mr. Magnet and Mr. Penguin, you could actually be doing more harm than good. If I, as the caller, purposely just did a grooming call to drive wait times up for the zombies, I do not want people doing anything to bring that wait time back down. If you proudly tell me that you just knocked 3 minutes off the wait time by supplying it, I'm going to be upset not pleased. All you did was ensure that wait times will be higher than they could have been next hour because the zombies were able to get in more trips with the lowered wait times. Also, you create a false sense of wait times at the start of the hour because that stock is going to quickly be consumed and soon everybody will be hauling with terrible times again.

  • Warehouses

    People misunderstand them.

    They can be a great resource in an endgame city, especially if you have goods with the closest facility farther away than the warehouse. However, you need to learn to manage the wait times. I'm not necessarily going to go into a lot of detail, but I do want to bring up the misconception that I see the most.

    People spend a lot of time desperately trying to fill the warehouse before endgame starts, and they may even start yelling at people who dare to haul from it and lower the stock. Here's why that's not a effective strategy If you actually want to use the warehouse during the endgame for full hour calls (if you don't, stock it all you want.)

    1) A full warehouse attracts free haulers, both before endgame starts and after. A full warehouse gives them low enough wait times to make it an attractive option. But their hauling doesn't allow the CU to drop low enough to make it worthwhile as a called facility.
    2) If you do call the warehouse, be prepared for the wait times to skyrocket part way through the hour because the stock gets depleted. If you start with no stock, the caller can see true wait times that won't change during the hour.

    A stocked warehouse is potentially useful for a quick 15 minute finish call because hopefully you finish the good before the waits get too high. Also, if you are not planning to use it for full hour calls, it is nice to have the free haulers using it because wait times are decent enough rather than jumping on your facilities and wrecking them.

    So it depends on how you are hoping to use it. There are other details and strategies to think about regarding warehouses, but I am not really the best at explaining strategy.

  • I must admit, I was afraid I was going to be tooooo, controversial with those fallacies. For example, when I ran that second fallacy past Caveman 5 years ago, he disagreed with me. :(

    I am happy to see I am not alone in proselytizing some of these things.

    I like your answer on supply TigerHawk. I have always found hauling low supplied industries to be preferable to highly supplied industries, but I was never able to put my finger on it, or concisely explain why until your post.

    I have been out in the cold for a long time, can I come home now? :)

  • I agree with most of what you've said about the endgame strategy except for the Reverse Grooming Call and thinking that the warehouse is useless. Stocking a facility might make things better for a short while but you will soon reap the full effects of having drained the supply again. You could argue that it might save some time but I would only do that in a situation where there were absolutely no other options. Like Tigerhawk said, the warehouse has it's uses and is definitely more useful in cities that have a poor layout and don't always have a ton of hauling power. And having it a higher level can't really hurt, it can only help in the situations that you do use it. You mention the pharma in Dallas, which is the first game we were trying out my plan so some mistakes were going to be made ;)

    Btw, who is the other co-creator of my plan?

  • Does anybody want to talk about offline Goods since we're talking about endgame strategy? Because my people, cars are never the right choice. :S

    I've not done calling often / with a great team so I don't have a lot of practical insight, but to me, offline goods are :
    -with 0, 1 or 2 easy supplies
    -as far away as possible (I mean that depends on the team you call for, but it should be a good that you cannot rush easily, otherwise there is no real utility to put it as an offline good, if you can take care of it in 1 hour). I usually play on SoE, so the endgames are much easier with the -20% consumption on the rushed good btw.

    So, usually, I really like : bauxite, aluminium, sports goods, pottery, wires, cotton, thread, textiles, silicon, chemistry, plastics, crude oil, petrol, toys and pharmaceuticals as "possible endgame offline goods". I probably forgot some, sorry.^^ And then depending on the city you have, the 12 goods that are given, and so on, choose some from the list.

    I've had a lot of difficulties convincing people to go for an offline good bauxite or crude oil for example, As they just say "it's an easy one, no supplies", but that's the point of offline goods isn't it ?^^

    And I'd love to talk more about strategies ;) I feel this game has endless possibilities, and way too few people going into them.

    Fr-201 Bad Wolf de coeur

    en pause indéterminée - away from the game until next interesting server

    Likely coming back for clash!

  • Sooooo much to respond to. I am like a kid in a candy store.

    Offline goods, or zombie survival skills, is my current greatest endgame enigma, so I will just state the problem, I had typed up a strategy for San Diego to try but we didn't make it. The problem is that Zombies haul a significant amount, but run into the consumption wall and then their hauling mostly treads water, essentially throwing their carloads away. and if you groom and close an RG after the zombies do most of their work, you have completely thrown their trains away. There needs to be some way to manage zombies actively, despite zombies being... well... not active.

    Now for the Velvet Panther

    I agree with most of what you've said about the endgame strategy except for the Reverse Grooming Call and thinking that the warehouse is useless. Stocking a facility might make things better for a short while but you will soon reap the full effects of having drained the supply again. You could argue that it might save some time but I would only do that in a situation where there were absolutely no other options. Like Tigerhawk said, the warehouse has it's uses and is definitely more useful in cities that have a poor layout and don't always have a ton of hauling power. And having it a higher level can't really hurt, it can only help in the situations that you do use it. You mention the pharma in Dallas, which is the first game we were trying out my plan so some mistakes were going to be made ;)

    Btw, who is the other co-creator of my plan?

    1. To be fair, The fallacy is that warehouses are CRITICAL to winning endgame. I acknowledged that warehouses do have uses, and folks are expanding on my limited examples. I also suggested that most of the uses are actually prohibited by most callers. Since I doubt you have played for 'most callers' I am not sure you have a reference point here. (that is not a bad thing)

    2. Reverse Grooming. I once thought as you. And was explaining to a player who went right off to test what I had said, and he immediately proved me wrong. Much testing then ensued. The point is, the impact of supply is CAPPED by the starting wait time. so if you can get the wait time from 10 down to 1 with 15 minutes of supply, you will save yourself 9-30 seconds of wait time the next hour depending on supply before you reverse groomed. That I have seen AND done. it is not a common occurrence, and it is bloody unlikely in endgame. I think that's why I called it a Unicorn.

    3. I believe I credited the Pharma Phiasco as a real eye opener for a lot of us. Soooooo, Buckshot, if you are out there, proof positive that even the Velvet Panther both
    A. Made mistakes in her first game
    B. Is able to acknowledge that mistakes were made (cough... hint... cough)

    4. And this is by far the most important topic. You aren't going to be one of THOSE professors who fails to acknowledge that her grad students had any input to the process are you? I was attending the State School of Penguins rather than Goon U. at the time, but I just assumed there were some bright students providing opinions as part of their coursework. Geez aren't naming rights and the patent enough?

    5. And for the record, I believe the Panther Plan callers deserve some credit. Those who can call, call. Those who can't call put together plans that winning callers follow. Those who can't do either, write case studies about them. ;)

    Sacroima... the very first offline call the Panther Plan ever made... OFFLINE... Aluminum chained. :)

  • For offline goods I'd advise you pick a good:

    with a short, simple supply chain;
    no good in the supply chain is demanded;
    the factory is too far to finish the good in 1 hour;
    the wagons aren't too expensive.

    By picking a good with a short supply chain you can keep the wait times manageable, and give offline players a chance to make some money for when they come back online. Remember, the players who are only joining you for a couple of calls a day are probably the players with the fewest wagons going in to endgame. By letting them make some cash whilst offline they can fully contribute to a few goods when they come back online.

    Expect players to haul supplies to the offline good, so make sure there are no demanded goods in the supply chain.. They will do this even if you tell them not to, it will be too profitable to resist for some. Also, when the new set is opened up all factories in your offline goods supply chain will be trashed for the first hour. The shorter the chain, the less damage.

    If the good is 6 or 7 tracks away it will be hard to finish it in an hour or two (or more), so there is no opportunity lost. It also should take several hours even with lots of players hauling it, meaning that players feel involved when offline.

    One common mistake is to pick an era 6 good because it is hard. The players who are least active are less likely to have a full set of era 6 wagons, tracks to unused factories, or the cash to buy them. Many will just go and haul something else if they can't follow the instructions.

    Whist every city varies, silicon, chemicals, pottery and aluminium are usually good options. Glass and paper are usually too close to the city, but if you need a second offline good during the set they can be useful (especially if the wait time is already trashed). Slightly longer, but still simple, supply chains include plastics, petrol, wires, steel, and textiles.

    The next best option is a good with no supplies, like crude oil or bauxite. Please don't pick cars! If you want to win endgame the offline good has to be part of a plan to win, rather than a way to forget about something because it is hard and hope it goes away.

  • Offline goods, or zombie survival skills, is my current greatest endgame enigma, so I will just state the problem, I had typed up a strategy for San Diego to try but we didn't make it. The problem is that Zombies haul a significant amount, but run into the consumption wall and then their hauling mostly treads water, essentially throwing their carloads away. and if you groom and close an RG after the zombies do most of their work, you have completely thrown their trains away. There needs to be some way to manage zombies actively, despite zombies being... well... not active.

    Tbh, the more endgames I play, the more I think that very most offline calls from good callers (not me, but I get to see at least one excellent caller in action almost every round ;) ) only serve the purpose to minimize the damage inactive players do, by giving them a task for the city, where they can feel useful and appreciated. Because else they would try to "help" by hauling everything from wherever they feel like, or even do that out of spite, and by that mess up everything for the active players. So from good callers, offline calls are IMO more a psychological trick to comfort rather inactive players, than the caller actually thinking, that them grinding the offline goods helps the city more than having more choices with a low wait time they can call for the active players.

    Also the observations I made in different kind of megacities fit with that logic. Megacities with a low hauling power, that only got into the endgame, because at least 40 other cities had even less, won't have the numbers to beat consumption by a high enough margin to make it worth it, when they also have high wait times at the facilities. Cities with a lot of active hauling power don't have that many offline players to make offline goods actually worth it, but they could use more options with possibly low wait times, because with their players playing many hours in a row and staying up late, the risk of some of them making concentration mistakes (ooooops) and messing up the next planned call increases. So having an offline good does more damage than good to them most of the time. The only megacities where in theory offline goods actually make sense - beyond the psychology behind them - are cities with a lot of rather passive hauling power, but little active hauling power only. But in practice they most likely have poorly organised calling, and way too many rather inactive players didn't get their trains out of town in time, and/or are hauling whatever they feel like anyway.

    However, I think there are a few occasions where having offline goods can be a good thing:

    • Passengers in Classic and SoE. Pretty obvious, because they won't be an online call before all cargo goods are finished anyway, because not only the wait times will likely never be low enough, but also because you would lose 10 min for getting the passenger trains out of the museum, and then another 10 min for getting the cargo trains back to work. Because of that passengers are only a useful offline good for players who'll be offline for several hours in a row however.
    • If facilities for possible offline goods (I agree with @sacroima and @Neilus about the criteria for them) are messed up anyway, you've got only little hope that this will become better over the next hours, and you've got enough possible offline haulers to beat the consumption by some percent nonetheless.
    • If you've got several facilities for a possible offline good, but they all are 6 - 8 tracks away from the city and you really manage that the offline players only use one of them, so the active players can finish off the good from a low wait time facility during a mid hour call.
    • If you've got a good to 80% or so with online calling, but a lot of players are leaving for sleep or work - in this case them at least beating the consumption and hopefully adding some percent could be a good thing, but I'm not even sure about that.
    • Similar scenarion: if the endgame is going to end in some hours and you've got no hope that the facilities of the offline good will be of any use for the online calling.

    It's rare that the callers dare to say that players should just park their trains or even better haul in ghosttowns far away enough from any megacity to make prestige and some money for waggons when they are going offline, rather than making offline calls. Strictly by logic* I think it would be the better choice from a city point of view however in most cases. And getting my trains to ghosttowns is also what I usually do, when I go offline for some hours and the endgame isn't to end soonish.

    Funny side note: The guy who managed the winning city on our server the last 2 rounds, tried that no offline goods strategy some rounds ago. To much upset from the second corp in town, with the result that he agreed to offline calls from the warehouse only. (I assume some of his love for really huge warehouses stems from that :P .) Still the second corp in his city was so upset, that for most of the endgame they didn't show up at all, instead of just being semi-active at their usual level.

    * I'm aware of the irony when that comes from a guy who spends a lot of time playing a buggy browser game, and then even writes lengthy forum comments about it.

  • Bonus question: if the museum is available (it's currently tested for the US scenario on the PTR server, so it might happen on the live servers at some point) and there are no passengers to haul as offline good, should players who insist on hauling the offline good get 25 hydras out of the museum when doing that for longer? (Assuming that they could afford those extra trains and can afford the extra waggons.)


    According to the Dutch train comparison tool*, at 100% they break even with Olympuses (divided by 5) on 6 tracks direct hauling at 59 sec wait time when both trains are fully upgraded, and the wait time on offline goods is usually way higher than that. On the other hand there is the lower reliability and 20 min time loss for switching trains back and forth if you don't want to use ID vouchers for that.

    * Rail Nation vergelijker

  • ...
    According to the Dutch train comparison tool*, at 100% they break even with Olympuses (divided by 5) on 6 tracks direct hauling at 59 sec wait time when both trains are fully upgraded, and the wait time on offline goods is usually way higher than that. On the other hand there is the lower reliability and 20 min time loss for switching trains back and forth if you don't want to use ID vouchers for that.

    * Rail Nation vergelijker

    Sooooo.... given your other post, I think we understand this conversation is moot as, Offline haulers cannot afford Hydras, cannot afford carts for hydras, and will refuse to haul an RG direct (which is the only scenario Hydras win)

    (assuming not buying with gold)
    I think Instant dispatches are the least of the Olympus considerations as they are at best good for two hours hauling.
    The dutch tool lets you factor in that the Olympus will run on 'Burst' the entire endgame,
    but you would have to approximate that it also lets you run them fully maintained (engineers) all end endgame.

    Some of us have tried the 'Hydra' option for endgame. I can't speak for your fellow penguin in arms, but my personal experience was.. never again. :)

  • I didn't mean to use the ID vouchers for instant dispatching at the offline facility, but for avoiding the 10 min wait time in which you can't use your trains after getting them out of the museum. It's likely not worth it to spend 25 of them to instant activate the hydras for offline hauling, but possibly it's worth it to use 5 of them to switch back to Olys for online hauling. This way you would only lose 10 min for switching trains instead of 20.

    But yes, it's more a thought experiment about optimizing offline hauling than really thinking that this would work for typical offline haulers, while those who could pull this usually don't do much offline hauling anyway.

    Personally I don't have much experience with Hydras (you would probably have to ask @Rockhopper88 for that) and even less with them in endgames, but what I can say from my little experience is:
    * in the one SoE game where I tested them during the regular game, because we needed every little advantage we could get to make it into the endgame, they easily beat Olys and Wormies (especially the latter) when it came to fresh era 6 goods offline grind. Even more when hauling fully integrated, because the wait times at the rather fresh supply facilities were high as well. Hence my thought, that they could work well for offline goods, because that are similar scenarios.
    * they can be nice for offline farming in a few selected megacities from the warehouse. You don't move them from one megacity to another, but just get some hydras in every megacity before the endgame started and then let them permanently haul the goods of their current sets from the warehouse. (Of course this might make people mad at you.) However, I don't think that they get so much more tonnage done than Wormies this way, that's it's worth it to switch trains for that. If you're the top hauler of the 9th, 10th, or 11th best corp on this good doesn't really make much prestige difference and you're probably better off with upgrading the concourse than with buying hydras and waggons, except you've got them anyway, because you've also used them in the regular game.
    * for active prestige farming or active city hauling they aren't really suited, I agree with you on that.

  • Heh, now when has sounding arrogant ever stopped me from saying anything?

    As I recall, my biggest contribution to the Panther Plan was cheerleader. Our two squads fought so much that game, I am sure our providing vocal support for it from the get go, stopped the nascent rebellion before it gained any steam.

    I spent the next few games trying to translate it into a 12 week game plan. :)

  • More Offline talk.

    I believe there is more to offline calls than Borg states. I believe offline calls are more than just a way to keep inactive players out of the way. I think Neilus's response is a more accurate summary than borgs on the whole offline for inactives, and I am trying to knit that into my understanding now.

    Because of this conversation the following little bit of logic popped into my head.

    Offline Calls are for the Zombies and while all zombies are created equal, some zombies are more equal than other zombies so there needs to be different offline calls for the different zombie classes.

    1. I will only haul one RG all endgame zombie (the Borg Zombie class)
    2. I would like to help but I only have swallows zombies (the Neilus Zombie class)
    3. I would like to preserve my marriage so back in a few hours zombies (the short term parking zombies)
    4. I need to go offline now or my trains will haul the last call all night zombies (the somnambulant zombies)

    Not sure what it all means, but those zombies are out there and they all need a reason to live... so to speak.