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  #121  
Old 05-06-2016, 06:11 PM
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Excellent. All according to plan...
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  #122  
Old 05-08-2016, 12:19 AM
Trar Trar is offline
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Actually, looking at the maps again, it looks like connecting to Casablanca would be easier than trying to go through the southern mountain passes. More importantly, it would at least be less expensive. Every dollar's going to count here.
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  #123  
Old 05-20-2016, 12:50 PM
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The worst thing about the engines in longer late-era games is that the good diesels get scrolled off the top of the engine selection screen when enough new engines get introduced. You can get REALLY screwed (I think the China scenario in the original game was the best example of this)
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  #124  
Old 05-27-2016, 07:31 PM
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Yeah, that's absolutely a thing. The China scenario is the only vanilla mission so far I've never been able to get better than bronze on. That would make a good alternative for me to show you in case Morocco kicks my ass, either that or Euphoria. Things are tough enough that I'd settle for a silver medal at least.

Anyway, I've got an update in the works, and although I can't promise it'll be a long one considering my other obligations, I can promise you it'll be out either this weekend or the next.

Last edited by Trar; 05-27-2016 at 08:22 PM.
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  #125  
Old 06-03-2016, 06:03 PM
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Default Part 3: Left Turn at Dire Dawa

Some more appropriate music:





First things first, some stock goals. I need to own 17,000 shares of our railroad to retain total control assuming no more splits happen. If worst comes to worst, I can let my rivals buy the other 49% while I work on their companies' stock. Since I'm 34k in debt and the railroad has a small dividend to compensate for bond interest, this will take a bit of magic to do. I don't want to go too into the red, since a recession while heavily in debt will send my portfolio into a death spiral.

Nevertheless, our credit is good enough to refinance our first bond, take out another bond and expand to Casablanca.



I really wanted a medium station, but sadly its radius would have been too small, and I didn't want to build a small depot just for port service. All Casablanca has right now is a saloon, just like in the movies. It also has a bakery I've set train #2 to service so Marrakech gets long-distance food shipments as well.

I could haul produce to the port to receive rubber shipments, which would go to producing tires which in turn are used to manufacture automobiles. I need to do that at some point, but what would be easier for me is to haul produce and exchange it for oil to haul up the coast to Mohammedia. That would expand my profit base and cut my expenses. It would also mean I'd want to rely more on diesel locomotives, even though I do plan to electrify at least a part of my main line eventually.



I had enough left over to make this connection and purchase a third locomotive to service it. Being able to put that cattle to use feeding Casablanca will pay for itself. At least, that's the hope. (Asni also gets a saloon - +5% to passenger profits can add up.)



Here's the status of our locomotives later in the year. That's about 900k of profit, give or take. While that's really great, there's two things to consider. The first is that all three of these trains will take time to reach their destinations, time that we can't afford to waste. We'll need to take out a third bond for further expansion, and as long as the surge of cash can pay for the interest it'll work out in our favor.



The second thing to consider is that the AI is using its advantage over a human player forced to use long hauls to its fullest extent. I hate to say this, but given these numbers we stand a fair chance of being shut out or outright losing, or at the very least having the gold medal become an impossibility.



Unpleasant news arrives at the beginning of 1958. While this gives us an incentive to break into the steel business, expansion will now be even more difficult, given the steel mill in question is a ways to our east. Also the Algerians' stock split because of course it did.



Not exactly a pretty picture.

Cecil Rhodes, the CEO of the Algerian line, has also shot past me in personal net worth. I don't necessarily need to be the richest, but it's still concerning given his potential to shut me out.

On the bright side, I have new managers to hire, and I'm also able to refinance my bonds as well as take out that third one if I need.



Miscellaneous overhead really isn't that much. It's worth eating the very slight increase there to reap higher station revenue.

This is going to get really ugly for us unless we can expand suitably. Our opponents haven't expanded again, although they're probably saving up for it, and our profits have been growing. We just need to reach critical mass before the sheer weight of their revenue renders us uncompetitive.



I'll also buy some shares in the Algerian line for now, since they seem to be doing so stupidly well. Risky, but a risk I'm willing to take.



Mohammedia is a shorter distance and lets us utilize fuels we can trade for in Marrakech, but entails crossing the Oued Mellan and hooking up produce orchards to trade for foreign oil. Khouribga is a bit further away from our main line, but will let us start manufacturing fertilizer, something we'll need. Whichever direction I take, I'll need to use a single track line and take out bond #3 to pay for it.



I really wanted to use a double-track bridge there, which would make any future doubletracking less expensive, but that's an extra +100k I really want to save. I'll all but need a fourth bond anyway.

I also built the refinery station with an eye for expanding it into a proper terminal eventually. There's enough houses in the city for it to be a passenger stop, although they're not as high on the priority list in The Second Century(tm).



In addition to two depots near Settat and Marrakech for produce pickup, I had to place another one by the dock in Casablanca, since otherwise the produce would be sucked up by the manufacturing plant in the city proper, and since we're already hauling plenty of food with no aluminum to make food there, I can safely say we need oil more.



Another depot in Mohammedia will let us deliver the diesel that its refinery would convert from oil. Power stations take coal or diesel, something the scenario briefing apparently forgot.



And a train to haul everything.



Oh, who needs them anyway?



So far so good. Some of that is going straight into a bond repayment.



The EMD GP18 doesn't look like a bad engine here, but we're in no position to go replacing perfectly serviceable locomotives yet. Meanwhile, I've been raising the company dividend as much as I dare.



Not a terrible situation, except for the moderate ramp just before the 'Oued Oum Er Riba' (actually the Oum Er-Rbia) bridge down the line. This train will likely have enough momentum to maintain reasonable speed anyway.



That...is some serious money. Only thing is that we're currently a bit low on funds waiting for the trains to roll in. We have room for more bonds, so it's something to absolutely consider.



We're not far from Rabat at all.



Erfoud, however...

It's still worth considering. We need to keep expanding anyway, so why not make myself a ton of money in the process?

So far as I see it, there's two routes we could take. South from Marrakech and immediately over the mountains through the Tizi-n-Tichka. The problem here is that there aren't many stops in between, so we'd need to save and borrow even more.



We could also expand more gradually down through the center of the country and eventually through the Tizi n'Talrhmeht (also known as the Pass of the She-camel). This would give us more industry to connect, but we'd have to be quick about it.

The matter's open for discussion, at least.

Last edited by Trar; 07-05-2016 at 11:28 AM.
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  #126  
Old 06-03-2016, 10:52 PM
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I favour the risky option!

Is that the second one? I think it's the second one.
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  #127  
Old 06-12-2016, 11:28 AM
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Down the middle! Divide and conquer!
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  #128  
Old 06-29-2016, 09:49 PM
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Update coming over the weekend, probably. While I've accepted this LP being a slow burn I come back to every so often, this scenario is kind of hammering me. :V
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  #129  
Old 07-05-2016, 11:17 AM
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Default Part 4: Expansion. Yep.

You know the drill. (This is really more Moroccan Arabic than Amazigh, but it's still good.)





This guy has come at exactly the right time. A drop in stock price will allow me to buy more of it as well, but I'm already pretty heavily on margin. I'm gonna say this straight up: I don't exactly see a way to the gold medal from here, since my personal debt is still a problem at 200k and most of our company's interest going to bonds instead of the dividend. The connection to Erfoud will also be an extremely tenuous possibility unless I can get some real profits going.

Nevertheless, I'm going to concentrate on building up industries in the middle of the country anyway. This would involve extending east to places like as Fez and possibly shooting south to connect more industries. We'll likely end up doubling the length of our railroad by the time we have steel rolling out, the upshot being more industries & cities connected as well as freight to haul.



We also need to connect to Taroudannt at some point, just to keep up with scenario goals. Making a hastily-financed and constructed connection east through Ouarzazate might let us reach Erfoud within the King's time limit, but I'm not holding my breath.



Making tires and shipping them to Khemisset will give us some cash to invest in a steel connection to make cars with those tires. While I was able to route some of our existing trains to our new extension, we didn't have enough money or credit left over to buy any new ones right away. Some loads are due to arrive at their destinations soon, so hopefully that will give us enough breathing room.



Really? Barbary pirates didn't even exis-oh whatever.

I suppose we're lucky: this was just a freight engine hauling a handful people back to Asni to avoid deadheading across hundreds of miles.



Boy, what a month.



Agadir isn't too out of the way, and the most convenient distillery is in Ouarzazate to the west. This is still gonna kinda suck until we get tracks down here though.

Another dividend suspension is followed by Rhodes buying a thousand shares of our stock before the trains come rolling in around November. Since the produce at Casablanca's port is subject to customs, I built a customs house there with what profits I can spare.



Our profits: $334,000.



The Chaz Cannonball FINALLY arrives in Casablanca and gives us 200k more in profit than we saw last year.



#5 is a cement train. Not much more to say, other than that I might ax its trip to Marrakech if we need more short-term revenue. Two other locomotives were purchased shortly after with delivery revenue: #6 is a mail carrier and #7 hauls chemicals exchanged for rubber made into tires for Khemisset. The expansion to the tire factory plus the two new locomotives just about drained the coffers, even with a sixth bond.



The DB Class V 200 is cheap but unreliable. Fodder we shouldn't take risks on by hauling important loads with it - right now almost every load is important. We'll probably have to use them anyway to cut costs.



We got pretty lean (and by 'lean' I mean almost 250k in the red and another dividend suspension) but by September of '59 our industry connections prove themselves, and we have enough money to snap the Azni meat plant up. Of course, there's now one in Marrakech that I'll hook up with a different source of cattle later so as to maximize profits.



Okay, this is bullshit. Our profits HAVE been increasing, but this guy with his one desert line managed to pull the single best manager in the game for AI companies. We'll see about grabbing more stock, ours and his, once more splits happen at the end of the year; both of our companies' stock has been going up, ours undoubtedly from the increased frequency of deliveries. What I'm currently deciding between is an extension to Fez or a branch to Khouribga.



Fez would give us access to the important steel mill, as well as a textile mill for potential goods manufacturing and a nearby source of logs to process into lumber. The distillery would give us another outlet for agricultural products and let us ship lucrative ahcohol, Moroccan Muslim beliefs notwithstanding, and the electrical plant is another outlet for fossil fuels for what that's worth. The city is also obviously another passenger/mail hub, something the Chaz Cannonball and the mail train can make use of.



Khouribga on the other hand would give us access to a stockpile of chemicals, as well as the ability to turn it into fertilizer for our farms and orchards. It also has grain to feed livestock, and the sheep farm would give us wool to haul to Fez for goods manufacturing. Importantly, we can trade fertilizer for coal which we can stockpile/send to Fez's steel plant. (Also pictured: our impressive profits.)

I could take out a bond to connect both locations at once, since they'd depend on each other to reach their full potential, but we already have six of the things outstanding. Taking out multiple new bonds and attempting a cheapskate connection to Erfoud is also still an option, but I would like to at least see how the year ends before attempting such a move - and we can't just sit on our laurels watching our cash reserves dwindle away.

Last edited by Trar; 07-06-2016 at 03:40 PM.
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  #130  
Old 07-05-2016, 04:51 PM
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Fez. We want hats.
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  #131  
Old 07-05-2016, 05:18 PM
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I also favour hats.

Also getting out of debt.
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  #132  
Old 07-05-2016, 07:49 PM
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To be clear: each bond is for $500,000. We're 3.5 million in debt, although thanks to our expansion our equity is thankfully somewhere in the range of 4.5 million.
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  #133  
Old 07-20-2016, 01:38 PM
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Aw, I remember every time I swore that the AI pulled Pullman out of their ass to make my life miserable.
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  #134  
Old 08-10-2016, 11:30 PM
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You guys don't mind that updates are essentially monthly now, right? I've been a bit busier on average recently and even when I focus on the LP, it's still a scenario that requires more thought and planning than the actual monopoly we had with Talking Tracks.

I'm starting on the next update, at any rate.
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  #135  
Old 08-25-2016, 11:45 AM
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I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to put this on hiatus again.
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  #136  
Old 10-13-2016, 08:56 PM
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on hiatus
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  #137  
Old 01-05-2017, 04:23 PM
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Default Part 5: The Most Powerful Force in the Universe

Back on track, and hoping to keep steadier updates from here on out. I'll start off with yet more mood-setting music.





A little bit of terraforming was needed to grade this convenient station spot. Terraforming in this game is done by repeatedly building and bulldozing track, because track laying automatically smooths nearby terrain.

Ideally I'd double-track here to accomodate the multiple trains I know are going to come through this little depot, but money. I took out a seventh bond for this, and the average interest rate for our debt is 10%. That's 350k in debt payments every year. Debt like that, at least as far as I'm concerned, is usually reserved for madcap construction projects that connect far-flung corners of the map.

With this in mind, my plan is to connect Fez, hook it up to our revenue stream and then build a line to Erfoud as fast and as cheap as possible before paying off some of our debt. I'm crossing my fingers that I can get refinancing, too.



I built a saloon and a roundhouse in Fez, considering it's more or less our third major terminal even if I skimped on building a large station for now. Of course, I need to purchase at least one new locomotive...





...which leaves us with 3k in the coffers.



Pictured: the Chaz Cannonball after passing through Khemisset.





1960. The era of environmentalism, as shown by these notifications. The National Landfill south of our recent expansion will now be taking waste generated by electric plants. (We do that enough, we get discounts to electric infrastructure, which I ought to show you eventually.) Nuclear power facilities and cities also generate waste, but there's none of the latter in this scenario.

Bit of a shame, because they're quite interesting: since they're a Second Century addition you don't see them often in the included scenarios. As far as I recall, nuclear power plants cost a cool million dollars to buy, which is reasonable for us and hilarious to any actual nuclear planners.

Anyway, I've reasoned that we need to connect to Erfoud this year, by any means available. We also need to expand south of the Atlas Mountains in other, more easily exploitable areas afterwards, as well as continue to hook up nearby industries.

More expansion is the plan for this year, if not to Erfoud then at least south of Marrakech or industry hookups. That'll have to wait until the trains roll in though, because we're megabroke again, dividend suspended and everything. Note the Algerian stock splitting yet again.



Al-Maghreb is doing better, though. We beat the Algerians by two thousand dollars in revenue!



Of course, since I'm plowing most of our money into expansion and interest payments, we're an even second in actual profit. Still much better than before. Look at Tangier & Rif, where we've practically switched places.



Since this is something of a milestone, I'll show you the status of our goals. Of note: the automobile factory in Khemisset apparently makes Renaults, and my reasoning for wanting to connect south of the mountains. It's been four years and we haven't even started on one of the bronze goals yet.



I wasn't even aware of the rubber bonus. I know there's a steel bonus, steel being the other component we need to hook up to manufacture cars, but...this will be interesting.



I'm doing reasonably well for myself, but I need to get my foot in Rhodes' door before he seals up his railroad completely.



Therefore, having your debt double before your eyes isn't a very good sign. This might get painful.



Can't really afford to electrify right now. This engine's more for short hauls as opposed to what we have going on, although I've never even used it much for that.



That single line east of Casablanca's resulting in some slowed traffic, but luckily there's a number of industries we're servicing that we ought to snap up soon. The gravel pit/cement factory to the east as well as the refinery just down the line in Mohammedia are all at lucrative profit levels.





We still kind of can't yet. And the most vexing thing is that interest isn't quite eating us alive - it's just that our most valuable shipments of the year haven't even arrived yet.



They arrived...in December. That's actually some respectable profit.



We're not doing terribly, I think. We just need to make sure we don't get crushed by debt, or that the economy doesn't go belly-up on us. Apart from more expansion, stock buybacks and industry acquisitions are things I want to do at some point - preferably soon - but as is becoming usual we don't have the money to do all at once.



Our stock is going to split come 1961, so I'll keep Alonzo around until I can snap up a bit more of it and replace him with Judah.

I refinanced some of our bonds down to 9%, which gives us room to take out more. I kind of don't want to with our annual interest still at 315k, but we do have the equity for it and we're probably going to need it for more expansion.

A little trick I learned in the interim is that building track one tile at a time is often cheaper than building it all at once. Sometimes this is because building it in stretches performs the terraforming I mentioned earlier, but according to the source, sometimes it costs more for no real reason at all. It'll be more tedious, but that's an ace up our sleeve for potentially reaching Erfoud.



I decided to raise the dividend and wait until the new year to do anything else of note. We have the most revenue by a fair amount, but at only around 760k of profit are still 200k behind the Algerians in that area this year.



Then his majesty goes and dies on us. We can forget about Erfoud now, since his offer has presumably went to the grave with him. The worsening market and advances of our rivals as seen in the bottom corner there aren't helping either. On the bright side, consolidation looks like a better option, although if we were to expand then track-laying costs would be lower in a bearish market. I went ahead and hired Judah to stave off the worst of the market drop.
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  #138  
Old 01-05-2017, 04:31 PM
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Dang Royalty. Living the good life and dying from it. the nerve...
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  #139  
Old 03-15-2017, 12:01 PM
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Happy to see this back!
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  #140  
Old 03-24-2017, 05:55 AM
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Yeah, I don't think I can do those faster updates I promised (sorry) but if nothing else, I intend to finish it at some point.
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  #141  
Old 03-24-2017, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trar View Post
Yeah, I don't think I can do those faster updates I promised (sorry) but if nothing else, I intend to finish it at some point.
No worries! Life is hard. My own LP is crawling along too! Just glad to have you.
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  #142  
Old 06-01-2017, 07:56 PM
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on hiatus
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