Railway Board (Guide)

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The Board of Directors are a bunch of personalities that can assist you in various ways, but also make development of the Railway difficult for you. Before any major action in the Railway, you need to hold a board meeting and have approval from all current board members.

Gameplay-wise, you will be locked into the board meeting until you either win everyone over or give up. If you have accumulated high Menaces during that meeting, you take the consequences as soon as you step out of the Railway's office. Most importantly, opportunities for board meetings are limited to two a week when you're beginning the railway, and one a week after you've made sufficient progress. Getting stuck because of a stiff Persuasive challenge from a disagreeable board member can be unpleasant.

The following guide is meant to help keep your meetings, and the trains, running as smooth as possible.

Opposition from Board Members[edit]

Every decision by the board must be approved by every member. Every board member is looking out for certain interests, and earning their vote is harder when your proposal works against those interests. Board members may also be "persuaded" by different tactics. The table below summarizes the tactics and persuasion techniques for each board member.

Mechanically, earning the vote of most Board members requires a Persuasive check with a base difficulty of 100. This difficulty is increased by the Interest qualities of your proposal, with each board member responding to different Interests. In most cases, the difficulty may also be reduced by raising one of three persuasion qualities. It seems that this Persuasive check can be repeated without penalty.

The data for how different board members respond to each interest is still incomplete. In particular, the voting behavior of Furnace, The Gracious Widow, The Tentacled Entrepreneur, and April are unknown for many Interests, and responses to many board members are still unknown for The Church, The University, Rubbery Interests, Preservation, and The Fingerkings.

It seems that most board members have one interest they care deeply about (raising the difficulty by 40), two to five issues they care moderately about (raising difficulty by 20), and one persuasion technique they respond to. Some board members also have interests that will decrease the difficulty.

Table of Factors that Affect Board Members
Board Member Interests (difficulty modifier) Persuasion
His Amused Lordship Board against the Interests of Society (40)
Board against Own Financial Interests (20)
Board against the University (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Respectability Factor (50)
The Efficient Commissioner Board against the Bazaar (40)
Board against Own Financial Interests (20)
Board Against Infernal Interests (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board against the Constables (20)
Obfuscation of the Board (40)
Jovial Contrarian Base of 400 Persuasive Uncommitted Board Members (50)
OR
Auto-pass with Portable Fingerking Moot (HALLOWMAS)
Sinning Jenny Board against Urchin Interests (40)
Board against the University (20)
Board against Labour (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board Against Rubbery Interests (20)
Auto-pass with 7 x Credit with the Headmistress (FATE)
Feducci Board for the Fingerkings (40)
Board Against Infernal Interests (20)
Board against the Interests of Society (20)
Board against the Bazaar (20)
Board against Criminals (20)
Board against Revolutionary Interests (20)
Dangerous challenge instead of Persuasive

Respectability Factor (50)

Virginia Board Against Infernal Interests (40)
Board against Own Financial Interests (20)
Board against the Interests of Society (20)
Board against the Constables (20)
Board against the Bazaar (20)
Corruption of the Board (40)
The Dean of Xenotheology Board against the University (40)
Board against the Church (20)
Board against Own Financial Interests (20)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board Against Rubbery Interests (20)
Respectability Factor (50)
The Bishop of Southwark Board against the Church (40)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board against Labour (20)
Board against Urchin Interests (20)
Board against the Constables (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (-20)
Obfuscation of the Board (40)
The Bishop of Saint Fiacre's Board against the Status Quo (40)
Board against the Church (20)
Board against Urchin Interests (20)
Board against the Interests of Society (20)
Board against the Bazaar (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Corruption of the Board (40)
Furnace Ancona Board against Labour (40)
Board against Revolutionary Interests (20)
Board against Urchin Interests (20)
Board against the University (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board against the Constables (-20)
Obfuscation of the Board (40)
The Tentacled Entrepreneur Board against Own Financial Interests (40)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board against the Interests of Society (20)
Board Against Rubbery Interests (20)
Board against the Bazaar (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Obfuscation of the Board (40)
The Gracious Widow Board against Criminals (40)
Board against Own Financial Interests (20)
Board against Urchin Interests (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board against the Bazaar (-20)
Corruption of the Board (40)
April
Ambition: Bag a Legend!
Board against Revolutionary Interests (40)
Board against Labour (20)
Board against the Liberation of Night (20)
Board against Urchin Interests (20)
N/A
The Wandering Gondolier Board Against Infernal Interests (40)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board against Labour (20)
Obfuscation of the Board (40)
The Viscountess of the Viric Jungle Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board against the Constables (10)
Board against the University (10)
Board against Own Financial Interests (10)
Board against the Interests of Society (10)
Board against the Status Quo (10)
Respectability Factor (40)
The Hell-Scarred Gondolier Board Against Infernal Interests (40)
Board against Revolutionary Interests (40)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board against Criminals (20)
Board against Labour (-20)
Corruption of the Board (40)
January Board against the University (40)
Board against Revolutionary Interests (20)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board against the Liberation of Night (20)
Board against Own Financial Interests (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Respectability Factor (40)
Cornelius Board against Preservation (40)
Board against Labour (20)
Board against the University (20)
Board Against Infernal Interests (20)
Board against Criminals (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Respectability Factor (40)
July
FATE
Base of 200 Persuasive
Board against Revolutionary Interests (10)
Board for the Fingerkings (-10)
Obfuscation of the Board (??)
September Board against Revolutionary Interests (40)
Board against the University (20)
Board against the Liberation of Night (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board against the Bazaar (-20)
Obfuscation of the Board (40)
Rubbery Yes-Man
FATE HALLOWMAS
Base of Persuasive
Board Against Rubbery Interests (50)
N/A
The Delightful Reverend Board against the Church (60)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board against Own Financial Interests (20)
Board against the Constables (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Respectability Factor (40)
The Drummer Board Against Infernal Interests (60)
Board against the Church (20)
Board against Urchin Interests (20)
Board against the Constables (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (-20)
Corruption of the Board (40)
The Wry Functionary Board against the Shuttered Palace (20)
Board against the Interests of Society (20)
Board against the Bazaar (20)
Board against the Status Quo (20)
Board against the Constables (20)
Board for the Fingerkings (20)
Board against Revolutionary Interests (-20)
Corruption of the Board (?)
The Dauntless Temperance Campaigner Board against the Bazaar (20)
Board against the Interests of Society (20)
Board against the Constables (20)
Board against Urchin Interests (20)
Board against the Church (20)
Board Against Infernal Interests (-20)
Respectability Factor (40)
The Implacable Detective Board against the Constables (40)
Board against Own Financial Interests (20)
Board against the University (20)
Board against Preservation (20)
Board against Criminals (-20)
N/A

The pages for persuading each Board Member also have a table that shows the difficulty ratings for the challenges.

Statues of Specific Board Members[edit]

See Statues at the GHR Stations (Guide) for more details.

Statues can be erected at the Upper River locations to honour specific board members. The statues attract followers/admirers of those board members, and these people happen to be associated with the various factions of London. You can make deals with them. Mechanics-wise, this lets you trade Favours for resources.

A statue at Ealing Gardens may honour any of the former mayors or the resident big-name, the Tentacled Entrepreneur. This unlocks a card which has one option that is specific to the faction that the board member is associated with.

A statue at Jericho Locks honours board members of a theological leaning. (Whether the people of Jericho Locks would appreciate this is another matter). This also unlocks a card, with each option trading in Church favours for various rewards.

At the Magistracy of the Evenlode, a statue can be erected in honour of the Gracious Widow. She is the only board member that can have a statue here.

You can, of course, eschew honouring any board members and put up statues of your player character instead. Why should they get the glory when you are putting in the most work into the Railway?

Unique Benefits from Board Members[edit]

There are some incentives to having certain members aboard, which may have some impact outside of board meetings too.

Jovial Contrarian[edit]

As the gameplay instructions on him have mentioned already, the Contrarian has no particular opposition to any issue. Just get his vote first and everything is hunky-dory. (He is not so fickle as to dishonour the cast of his vote.)

Tentacled Entrepreneur[edit]

The Tentacled Entrepreneur unlocks more of the options of the Rubbery Observances card at Ealing Gardens. The card gives access to an option that uses Persuasive - a statistic that is otherwise useless at Ealing Gardens.

The other benefit of having him on the Board is his initial sign-up gift: a considerable reduction in Debt (which prevents certain Agendas from being taken if too high), enough to save 30 Action Points or so. If desired, you can then vote the Entrepreneur off the board, and re-appoint him, to gain his gift again. And potentially again.

the Gracious Widow[edit]

Like the Tentacled Entrepreneur, the most immediate benefit of having her on board is her gift: a considerable reduction in Debt, also enough to save more than 30 Action Points or so. Of course, she also raises Seeing Banditry, but this might be what you want anyway if you are looking to make use of certain options. Notably, almost no other possible board member has Board against Criminals as a factor in their voting.

Her other significant benefit is that she enables an option under the Engage in Some Minor Smuggling card. That option is certainly not minor smuggling. However, to access this card you need to reach level 60 of Involved in a Railway Venture, i.e. build the station at Jericho Locks.

A third benefit is the ability to Propose special consideration to certain charitable groups which is a very good source of Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise.

You can use the "remove and re-appoint" tactic with her as well, if you wish.

Furnace Ancona[edit]

If you have convinced Furnace on a vote, you can supply her with a Queen Mate and she will assist in getting the other board members to agree to your proposal. This is helpful if you have a huge board for whatever reason. Note, however, that Queen Mates take a long carousel to get, with no guarantee of acquisition unless your A Player of Chess is higher than 7.

Cornelius[edit]

Just like Furnace, Cornelius has an option to help persuade all other board members. However, instead of a Queen Mate, this uses an Epaulette Mate, which is slightly harder to obtain.

Sinning Jenny[edit]

She agrees immediately to improving the train's defences. This is useful, but can complicate getting the fickle Contrarian's vote, especially if you already have a board size at the minimum.

Sinning Jenny allows you to Propose paying a dividend to the poor of the Hinterlands, which can be a decent way to reduce Banditry.

The Viscountess of the Viric Jungle[edit]

She agrees immediately to many options regarding Parabolan warfare. As previously, this can complicate getting the Contrarian's vote.

Leverage on Specific Board Members[edit]

Some board members have leverage options that can be played to affect only them, and to secure their agreement outright. These options use up the resources they cost.

The Bishop of Saint Fiacre's[edit]

You can earn a favour with the Bishop by resolving A Jurisdictional Dispute in the Upper River to his benefit. This can be spent to gain support on any one vote. You can only carry one favour at a time, so this isn't extremely powerful. But it can be used to bypass the Bishop's normally staunch opposition to removing Board members. Without this, you might have to spend a lot on bribes more than once for each member-dropping agenda.

The Bishop of Southwark[edit]

Like the Bishop of Saint Fiacre's, if you resolve A Jurisdictional Dispute to his benefit you will gain his support on one vote of your choosing. There are currently no repeatable votes that oppose Church interests - other than voting Church-affiliated members off the board - making this less immediately appealing than a favour of Saint Fiacre's. (The Bishop of Southwark still has a significant opposition to changing the board's makeup, but that can be handled with obfuscation.)

Jovial Contrarian[edit]

While the Contrarian's vote is not difficult to obtain anyway, he can also be convinced (guaranteed, despite the small Mithridacy challenge) by deploying a Portable Fingerking Moot. The Moot is a HALLOWMAS companion which was available for free with festival participation in 2020, but required FATE in subsequent years.

Sinning Jenny[edit]

Players who have purchased The Empress' Shadow (FATE) may earn Credit with the Headmistress in Jenny's Finishing School. Excess Credit may be spent to earn Jenny's vote, bypassing the regular Persuasion action.

Trimming the Board[edit]

There must be at least four members on the Board, not including your player character. To make meetings go more smoothly (and quickly), at least without resorting to Furnace or Cornelius' special benefit, keeping the board small is recommended. Below are some notes on the benefits and drawbacks of removing each listed member, should you wish to.

At this time of writing, there does not appear to be any consequences for voting out specific Board Members.

The Efficient Commissioner[edit]

Since she opposes most agendas rather often, the Commissioner is likely to be at the top of any player's list of names to cross off. Removing her requires 5 (or higher) Board Status.

Bringing her back on board and subsequently voting her out again can be a good way to grind Connected: The Masters of the Bazaar. Note that this has to be done before the railway reaches The Hurlers.

His Amused Lordship[edit]

He is handy to have around at the beginning of the Railway, but when the train upgrades become available ( Involved in a Railway Venture 50 and above), he can begin to become difficult to convince. With a high enough Respectable, however, he's easily swayed.

The Bishop of Saint Fiacre's[edit]

Having the Bishop on the board makes removing any other member more difficult, at least before you have leverage on him. However, voting to remove him can be a problem by itself since it adds Board against the Interests of Society which raises opposition from many board members. (Spending Favours: Society smoothes this over.)

Sinning Jenny[edit]

If you lack the FATE story that is associated with her (The Empress' Shadow), there are no means of influencing her. Her special benefit, as mentioned above, also causes problems. However, she has an easy Persuasive 100 check on most issues (notably the payout of dividends if you have a Worker charter), and is a good choice for weekly routine votes.

Virginia[edit]

At this time of writing, she is required to be on the Board to get the railway running. After that, however, she can be removed if desired. She'll be particular difficult to convince when trying to upgrade Train Defences. (That can be smoothed over by spending Favours: Hell or bribing her though.)

Tentacled Entrepreneur[edit]

This board member will be a problem when upgrading the trains. Consider not bringing him in until after the trains have been fully upgraded.

The Gracious Widow[edit]

The Widow has stiff opposition to upgrading either the train defences or luxuries from the get-go, and it only gets worse. Again, consider not bringing her in until after the trains have been fully upgraded.

April[edit]

April has similar voting factors to Furnace, with one major difference: none of the means of persuasion thus far work on her.