Tips and strategy on how to win the campaign.
The game isn’t hard, just very very annoying. It feels like a race between your rival and whoever gets 51% shares of the railroad stock first win the game. At the beginning of the game you will feel like you’re losing the race or it too close to call and starting to slip behind. The reality is you have all the the time in the world to win it if you know how the game mechanics works.
I beat the game with Forney 0-4-4T, Long Cargo Carriage (upgraded to 18 slot), Small Passenger Carriage, and Big Caboose. All upgraded to the max.
Buy low and sell high. All cities have certain needs and will pay a high premium for those goods. Those needs doesn’t change in the campaign and can be taken advantage of in your trade routes. A good two cities trade routes is Philadelphia and Washington. Buy Jewels from Philadelphia and sell it in Washington. Buy food in Washington and sell it in Philadelphia.
To maximize your profit you have to look at raw number instead of percentages. For example: Jewels buy price is $100 and the sell price is $150. While cotton buy price is $10 and the sell price is $30. Between the two Jewels is clearly the better in regards to maximizing profits.
City Hall Quests
City Halls gives a lot of quests. These quests will raise your reputation in the city and can be very profitable. If your cargo cart(s) is large enough to take the entire goods it probably best to do city hall quests because a strong reputation is needed in all the cities by the late game.
The City Hall quests I completed the most are delivering goods to another city. Very simple to do even if the target city is far away. It doesn’t require you to buy goods.
City Hall quests that requires bring in goods can be risky. It will depends on how far I need to go and how expensive are the goods. If you take these type of quests keep in mind you can load goods into your cargo cart(s) and ship it to the target location. Sell those goods and buy the require goods to bring back to the city.
Be flexible doing these type of quests. You can do two or more of these quests at one go around as long as you have enough cargo space and meet the weight requirements. For example: Three delivering quests, two is to the same city and the third one is on the route. 8, 10, 10 cargo space are needed for a total of 28. To accomplish this I bought a 10 cargo cart (not upgraded). My main cargo can hold a max of 18. I remove the Passenger and Caboose cart (will pick it up after the three jobs is finish) to meet the weight requirements. Complete all three quests. Sell the 10 cargo cart I bought just for these mission. Go back to the city and pickup up my two carts and crews.
Doing passengers is normally not worth it if you’re into cargo hauling. You can make side money whenever the opportunity arises carrying passengers. Make sure you can deliver the passenger(s) to the require city on time. Take into the account of the cargo weight because it will affect your train speed. To figure out how long it will take to get to another city. Load your cargo first. Go to world map and click on the destination city to check time of arrival. Than review your passenger arrival time requirement by clicking on the ! in the quest log.
I can see a viable strategy of winning the game just doing passengers. Pure passenger game is going to require a complex dynamic route unlike the static cargo hauling. Failure to deliver passengers on time will lose reputation and money. The risks and rewards are not balance in regards to pure passengers playthrough tho.
You will get Allan Pinkerton quest at the start of the mid game. Hiring Allan Pinkerton will open up quests to prevent Cornelius from increasing his share of the railroad. This basically stop the clock permanently in the mid game if you successfully complete Pinkerton/Jeremiah quests given to you. Keep paying Allan Pinkerton monthly bill through the bank to insure he give you those quests.
Finish whatever you’re doing and immediately focus your attention on completing Pinkerton/Jeremiah quests to stop Cornelius from increasing his shares. You only have a limited amount of time to complete them. The time limit is generous tho. You should have more than enough time to finish it if your complete attention, ie no side hauling or quest(s).
Auction Railroad Stocks
The introduction of auction railroad stock in the late game will complicate matters but also speed up to game to it conclusion. Cornelius can get stock through out bidding you or worst you can’t enter the auction because your reputation is below 40 in the city.
The city where the auction will be held is random. So it is best to get as many cities above 40 reputation before entering the late game. There is a time limit when the auction starts. If you have the money and reputation requirement you can start the auction in the court house. If you don’t have the money or reputation you can use the time to meet those requirements. If you think you can’t meet them, the time should be used in preparation for the next auction.
The money require to win the auction is between $10,000 to $15,000. So have that in hand before starting the auction. The share in the auction is 2% or 3% per auction. Winning the auction increase your share and denied Cornelius.
Trains and Carts
Selecting a locomotive is not hard. Get the best one money can afford. If you’re hauling cargo get the largest cargo cart available. Same with passengers. If you’re primary hauling cargo it is best to select a small passengers cart or no passengers cart at all. Same strategy applied to hauling passengers only. The less weight the more cargo you can haul or the faster you can get the passengers to their destinations.
Upgrading your locomotive and carts is very important. Unfortunately the game doesn’t do a good job explaining it. I highly recommend upgrading High Durability to the max on your locomotive and carts as soon as possible. This will save you time and money in the long run.
For locomotive after upgrading durability, Engine Power should be next because it allows you to pull more weight and speed. Upgrading Improved Firebox will save money but more importantly improve the range of your locomotive without the need to refuel.
Armor and Fire-resistant Materials should be upgraded to the max if you have extra money to spend on locomotive and carts. It will save you money and repair time after a fight. The upgrade are worth the money IMO.
Upgrading Cargo Slot on Cargo Carts is a must. It increase the amount of cargo space you can carry. Upgrading Smuggling Compartments isn’t necessary but there are some main and side quests where it is a must to have it upgraded to the max. Maxing Smuggling Compartments gives you a better odds your contraband will not be found.
Condition of the cart and locomotive is important. If the condition is bad or terrible, it better to sell the locomotive/cart than fixing it. Buying a replacement is cheaper in the long run even with upgrading the replacement.
I prefer Locomotive, Cargo, Passenger, and Carboos configuration over others. Carboos is in the rear where it will take the most the damage. Cargo cart is the first cart to allow me to load, unload, and to see the cargo better. Overall it not important how you configure your train.
Hiring and Skills
Hiring guards is a personal preference. I recommend hiring guards with at least one of these skills, Medic, Gunslinger, or Marksman. At least one of the guard should have a high medic level. Victoria Rollins is a very good choice because she starts with high medic which is very help throughout the game.
The Gunslinger Skill is probably my most use skills in the game. At max it is a killing machine.
Marksman should get in the late game when repeating rifles starts to show up. These rifle with the marksman skill can one shot a lot of different enemies. It highly recommend at least one crew member have a rifle in the late game. It makes fights go fast.
Medic is a life and time saver. Two of my crew member have the medic skill. This allow them to heal wounded members in combat but more importantly you don’t need waste time in the hospital. The higher the medic skill the more it can heal. For a 200 point medic will heal 200 HP. Medic points will reset to maximum at the start of every combat.
Any skills that give. I rarely increase my strength.
Agility is really good. A high agility will migrate a lot of damage.
Intellect is to increase critical and open the extra skill slots. s +1 damage or critical.
Hand to hand combat skills are wasteful. With Gunslinger and Marksman you should be able to kill your enemies before they get onto your train.
Combat isn’t hard if you know how the mechanic works. At the start of the game you should hire 2 crew members. Having one with medic will help a lot. Work up to get four hires which should be enough to handle anything the game throw at you. The key is having two medics and all crew should have gunslingers skills.
Buy healing pots in the early game to get you through some rough fights. Later on in the game when you have two medics and four hiring healing pots and hospital visits will be a thing of the past.
Make sure you have high explosive, like bundle of dynamite on hand for each of your characters. When fighting Unions or Confederates they will have heavy weapons like Gatling gun or mortar. The best way to get rid of them is using high explosive. Throwing a bundle of dynamite should be enough to kill the people manning these heavy weapons.
Chase combat isn’t hard. The thing to remember is keep the train at a safe speed and let your hired guns to do their job, that is killing the enemies on horseback. The worst thing that can happen is going super fast and destroying your train. Place a hire member with you on the locomotive. One in rear of the train. One on each side of the train. This will cover all angles to provide consistent damage to the horse rider.
- Jackson and Jacksonville are two separate different cities. Don’t make the same mistake as I did and spend 30 minutes or so wondering why the quest didn’t complete. Very bad design to have two very similar sounding looking name in the game.
- Make sure you have a lot of money on hand to cover expenses if you decide to deposit money into the bank.
- Success chance on smuggling cargo depends on how much contraband you are hauling. A full cargo of contraband will most like be caught. However 1 contraband and a full cargo of other legal goods will likely be successful.
- Save a lot and use as many save slots as possible. The game have a very bad habit of auto saving failures and not saving successes.
- When repeating rifles (more than 1 ammo capacity) are available, it best your buy at least one of them. They do a lot of damage and in most case can one shot your enemies.
- Sometimes is best to pay bandits to avoid a fight.
- Sometime it best to take a longer route to avoid a fight.
- It is highly recommended Union and Confederates are not hostile to you. They are the toughest enemies in the game.
- You can use passenger as meat shield in a fight. Just keep an eye on their health. If their health goes too low move them to a safe spot.