Advanced Endgame Case Study

  • One more thing that is really important for the advanced endgame caller to pay attention to -- people.

    This game is played by people, not robots doing perfect things all the time. You really need to keep human nature, morale, behavior you saw during the normal game, etc in mind when making calls. Sometimes you have to weigh the strategically best call against the human factor. I'll try to give some examples.

    example: The best call for a spare 15 minutes is to start a good with 2 facilities and call the facility that is 5 tracks away rather than 4. But you've already observed that people aren't paying attention to specific called facilities so you know they'll mess up the 4 track facility. In this case it ends up being better to groom a different good completely so you can just start off with the 4 track facility in 15 minutes.

    example: it would be strategically best to get a tough good out of the way first on a new set, but you just spent a couple hours grinding out the last goods and you need to punch out a few goods quickly to raise morale and get people excited again.

    example: you choose 2 offline goods -- bauxite and textiles. Textiles give people a good that they can afford carts for, so they actually follow the offline call rather than ignoring it because they can only buy a few bauxite carts.

    example: you get a new set of good, so farmers start hauling their drops of each good. You need to come up with a plan that assumes this will happen.

    I've seen so much frustration or outright anger from callers expecting perfection and getting human begins :) I think that's why most people hate calling. They don't see it as a beautiful puzzle that needs to be figured out.

  • I think a complete "offline" goods section shoudl be added to the OP ... i know it was discussed later on.... but then maybe we can get Samisu to take the OP and sticky it for new players. This is the best explanation/analysis have seen since i started playing, and EVERY PLAYER IN EVERY SCENARIO NEEDS TO READ THIS!.....

    Also i think this line "Hour 4 -- closing call -- Haul first RG from primary site for an hour (67, 83, 97, close )" was meant to say second RG

  • Thanks Nerisrath,

    I made the correction as you were absolutely right. :)

    I think this might be a little overwhelming for most first time players. Not for most of the folks replying to this thread, because people who replied to this thread weren't the usual first time player when they started playing. but yes, new players looking to dive into the deep end of the pool would likely find this useful, of course, it would ruin them for most cities. I mean, in just the prior post to yours Tigerhawk suggested the game is being played by humans rather than robots. We ALL know such radical concepts won't be well received by most city leaders. ;)

    As, for the offline call stuff, I can't write that up yet because I don't know the answer yet. Maybe after I get to watch Tigerhawk call a few games. :)

    Edited once, last by DramaMagneTSorry: Added the whole humans playing game as radical concept ().

  • I've seen so much frustration or outright anger from callers expecting perfection and getting human begins :) I think that's why most people hate calling. They don't see it as a beautiful puzzle that needs to be figured out.

    Yes. People in combination with having to make quick decision - and mostly having to make those because of people - is the worst :P .

  • 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.

    I'm not even sure whether or not @Neilus isn't basically saying the same as me, just in a more polite way. What does "most offline players have way too few waggons, so let them run stupid faraway goods with no/little supply and not too expensive waggons, so they can afford some more waggons ... for the next stupid faraway goods", if not to keep them out of the way, so that they don't haul a bit of everything for hours and hours with the waggons they've got. Of course it can happen that they finish those goods, while the active players are working on the other goods of the set, and without needing an additional cooldown hour for those other goods, and in this case it's fine, because they don't have to waste time for dealing with the offline goods. It can also happen, that another good for an additional cooldown hour would've been a good thing, and/or that the online haulers are stuck with the offline good at the end of the set, which forces them to grind it from facilities with high wait time, except they're lucky with the warehouse. So assuming people were suddenly turning into robots (with offline times - and often poorly prepared, because they were humans before) for the endgame, for the callers it came down to make the correct qualified guess which of those cases is more likely to happen in their city. And the more active hauling power a city has, the more likely it becomes that the latter scenario will be the case. It also means that having offline calls at the start of a set have a way higher likeliness to be actually useful - beyond psychology - than making new offline calls in the middle of a set.

    I think you only need to classes to classify offline players.
    1. The actual offline players (your 1 + 2), who can't be around to haul the online calls and/or aren't prepared enough to haul the online calls. -> I'm mostly talking about them, when saying that offline calls are mostly a nice way to get them out of the way or at least try to.
    2. Active and prepared players, who need to go offline for some hours for sleep and real life (your 3 + 4). They are the ones, where IMO there's more point in discussing on how they could help the city in that few hours. But I'm not sure how one could make offline calls that suit them better than the offline calls for class 1, beyond @Tigerhawks making a 'real' offline call which is de facto for them, and an easy offline call which de facto for class 1. Also you need to keep in mind, that those players are more likely to have better options which they can haul in the ghosttowns, so some of them might not even care much about offline calls.

  • I do understand that you think 1 and 2 are the same type of player, and only 3 and 4 are useful but effectively the same.

    Lets have a small case study shall we... :)

    Last game I ran a learning corp.

    • that corp had 2 died in the wool farmers. offline, smoffline, doesn't matter what you call
    • I had 4 players who were active endgame. case 3/4. You got three of them for endgame, winning city got 1.
    • I had 10 that did not play endgame at all. (fun getting yelled at to force players who weren't even playing any more to shift their trains)
    • The rest were category 2.

    Lets talk about those category 2's

    Lots of talk on Corporate chat about which city to endgame in and where. The heavy haulers were curious because they wanted to set themselves up and did so. The class 2's also wanted to prepare but were less able.

    • Despite telling them from era 1 through every era which city should win so they should connect to it.
    • Despite specifically stressing during era 5 reminders that they should fully track the eventual winning city.
    • Despite specifically stressing during era 6 reminders that they needed to raise cash for carts because they would need those carts
    • Despite specifically saying that our city's endgame dream was dead so start hauling for cash for endgame

    When endgame came. we sent 9 haulers to the winning city, of which 5 or 6 followed each call. The top hauler hauled about as much cargo as the other 4 or 5 combined. That tells me this about the weak haulers.

    1. Despite being weak, they equaled an active hauler.
    2. They had a lot of trains hauling something other than the called good, presumably because they couldn't max out on the called good (or they were hauling from home because they were not allowed to haul from the warehouse)

    So I think accounting for those trains matters. Neilus called that need out out directly, and Tigerhawk implied it as well I think..

    Had we made end game, I was planning to call out a cash run in addition to the online call every hour for online players to follow if they couldn't max out on the current call. Wellll... that was the theory at least.

  • As @DramaMagneTSorry has said, it's a lot of hauling power you are ignoring if you just treat offline hauling as something to keep players busy. If you think about it, most of endgame you will have 30% of your players online if your lucky.

    I think part of the problem is that the callers are usually the super-active players, as are their friends. It is tempting to dismiss players who can only log in for 4 or 5 calls a day as meaningless, when they make up the majority of the city.

    If you pick the right offline good they can get it up to 85%+, which is a manageable push from completion. If they cannot get the good close enough to finish, then you have picked the wrong offline good.

    Don't be affraid to pick a slightly easier good as offline, although if you do you will get a lot of flack in chat. Online players like to keep all the easier goods (and the prestige) for themselves, so the most vocal players won't be happy. But if you don't have big numbers in the city a 5 track good will be hard to finish in an hour, but might make a decent offline good.

  • "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. . ." Agreed,

    Neilus, an offline good that closes early causes a lot of folks to get stuck hauling a dead good for hours or more. I can see why they might be upset. Low $ and zero prestige at that point.

    I've thought about parking Hydras in those poorly managed long wait time aren't ever going to win but can be farmed for prestige EG cities. You know, the ones yelling at those nasty prestige hauling corps for haulling 500 t of a not yet called good while thier local corp has hauled 10k of the very same good. . .

    WHes indeed give prestige farmers an option to haul from in friendly and neutral cities so we can avoid local industies. I suspect that the degree of hostility toward prestige farmers effects wait times and EG city preformance more than most city minded folks consider. . .

    Lots of good high level stuff here. . . I'm a simple Dog and am also thinking "No plan survives contact with the enemy" as I read some of this. A good point, made early on by Drama, is that many of us will follow someone in te EG that is consistantly succesful (as in wins it often), even if there are better ways to play. I'm pragmatic and not looking for the optimal theory; I'm looking for who can deliver. This EG in 102 might be different that the past few.


  • It was interesting to revisit this thread, over the last 6 months I've played a few endgames and hopefully learnt a few new things.

    One is that my arguments are biased because I do almost all of my calling on Firebox. Endgames last about 36-40 hours, and often the fourth (or sometimes even the third) placed city won't finish the first set of 12 goods. The prestige farming that @Triarius is describing is a bit pointless on that server; there isn't much prestige outside the top two or three contenders. On Firebox I really think picking a city and following the call is the best strategy whatever your aims.

    Another bias is that when I call an offline good I am planning to be done with the set of 12 in 8-10 hours, and consumption is usually very high (often 20%+). I am very lucky if an offline good clears before I have to call it. However, I do agree that players don't like coming back and finding the offline good finished, unless the set of 12 is done. I now try to avoid calling 'offline good until the recalc' whenever possible for that reason.

    I also play on Loch Ness, and that is different. Longer endgames allow less active cities a real chance to clear at least 24 goods, and a offline good that takes 24hs to clear isn't a complete waste of time. Also consumption is very different in a city clearing goods at half the rate, so tougher offline goods don't get 'stuck' at 75-80% as much. And fewer players mean lower wait times, so using that L1 factory isn't as bad.

    I still think my points are mostly valid, but I accept that maybe I was a little short-sighted. Offline hauling should always be for a purpose, but maybe there are more ways to achieve that than I originally thought.

  • I agree with you above.

    I learn a lot from you all much more experienced players than me.

    I feel I can learn a lot from the messages here.

    But mostly I cannot understand at all the words you are using.

    Please note that many of us are either not native speakers or in the servers we play, the words that you are using to describe the action, are not used at all.

    Maybe a patient and kind player who has sent a message here to the end game technique before can put a dictionary explaining the words/expressions/slangs used to describe actions in simple words!

  • StressFree, I do like the way you think and there is a ton here I could talk about but will only take the initial post to comment on. Truth is, in that situation, that city could have and should have succeeded in what they attempted. While yes, it was some serious "out of the box" strategy, he was the caller and the city should have followed it. I feel that if you dont like the call, fine, discuss it after the fact as lessons learned but still follow it. If they dont like the way things are called, they needed to volunteer to call themselves. The people I find being the biggest issues (i.e. complaining or not following calls) are usually people who havent ever called. They just sit back and criticize. Me, I have lead and I have followed and sometimes, I dont agree with calls but I have found that the reason I initially didnt agree was because I didnt see what the caller had seen and it turned out, they were correct to begin with. That is why, if you arent the caller, you should just follow the call. I also dont like it when tons of people throw their ideas at me of what should be next when I am calling. Again, if you want to call, vollunteer to do so.

    “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”-Mahatma Gandhi

  • ...But mostly I cannot understand at all the words you are using,

    Please note that many of us are either not native speakers...

    Hah! No... My writing is hard to understand because I don't know how to write like a normal person. That makes life difficult for english speakers and non-speakers alike.

    TLDR; Its not you, its me

    BTW: The second section is literally a glossary of terms. So you asked for a glossary to explain the glossary. :) Awesome!!! If I wrote like a normal person, that would never happen and where's the fun in that?

    TBH; All of the terminology is my invention. They are intentionally meant to differ from normal terminology to avoid inherent bias from folks based on what they are used to. Some of them are standard on the servers I play because I can be ... chatty.

    RoadKill911: Without a doubt. Whether you know better than the caller or not, follow the caller's call... unless they call 'offline'... or rrrrr 'Park your trains... or they tell you to haul from a 15 minute wait time... or, wait, where was I ... oh yes, always follow the callers call no matter what, except when you don't. But when you don't, and I am being serious here, when you don't absolutely make sure what you do has ZERO impact on potential next calss... i.e. no hauling from any active RG, never haul from warehouse, never try to spark a debate when the call is made.

  • I Do.

    Our prior leader once observed that Rail Nation has a tendency to obsess spectrum folks to the point where they made themselves sick. Sounds about right. I just have to ghost all electronic channels after too much Rail Nation chat

    I actually just finished a full round without feeling compelled to log in every day. Didn't even talk on Chat. Actually got to watch Fantasy lose endgame in a two city Sandberg verses the rest of the map conflict. He lost by less than 2 hours despite a coordinated attack that drove up wait times for the last set of goods.

    He actually is a good caller... there may even be a story involved.

  • I stopped existing in game a few months ago, but still can't kick the habit of reading the forum. So weird...

    Wish you had been around for my last couple endgames before I retired. They were delightfully fun. (I switched to the Express server sometime last year and played my last several games there.)

  • I do too Tiger. oh well.

    Even if they weren't fun, following your calls would be.

    Dutcher, I still haven't forgiven you for taking my 3rd place finish on the winning city bonus back when you were still rockin you 'Poirot' face. Sneaking up on noobs in their first full game, is that very nice? :P

    BTW, Dumbledore/Sandberg used a call I had never seen before to powerful effect. I am sure it is not new to many, but here


    ID Call (advanced) - The city failed to clear the RG by a small margin just before recalc, and shifts all trains to a new RG except for those players who still have Instant Dispatches.

    A call is typically written in some variation of 'Haul Cotton SD SOUTH, ID haul to close Steel'

    This means each player should determine which category they fit into.

    • If they have no Instant Dispatches left, they should shift to the new RG.
    • If they have instant Dispatches,
      • They should shift all their bonus trains to the new RG
      • Use Instant dispatches for their Olympus trains to haul the prior RG until it closes. When spending instant dispatches, spend them 5 at a time because you don't want to waste any once the RG closes.

    This seemingly obvious strategy is advanced for a number of reasons.

    1. It requires folks to determine which group they fall into for themselves... many will fail that determination and stall their trains on 15 minute wait times.

    2. It requires folks to have Instant dispatches... either via gold purchase or via saving 3 months worth acquired over the prior 6 eras

    3. It is not obvious when Instant dispatches will be enough to close out the RG. The caller needs to use this sparingly enough that players have instant dispatches all the way through the end game.

    In the game where I saw it. I personally started end game with 180 instant dispatches. I participated in 6 different Instant Dispatch calls and still had 100 left for the final endgame push.