About a week ago, I played my worst game of Pipeline. I posted about it. The night before last, I played my best game ever. I’m not sure what external forces might have made the difference other than this recent game being a 1-on-1 game in my own home. There’s a little more time to think when playing with one other player because they only have to sit through your turn, not through three other turns. But what seemed to work for me went beyond just a better environment and a quicker quieter game.

I bought the HR upgrade on my first turn. The HR upgrade gives the player the ability to take a second action on their turn without paying the typical $10 fee (or is $10 actually $10,000 or $10,000,000 in the game, I forget). Getting one more useful action before the end of the first year can make a huge difference in the game. Ending the year with some extra cash can make a big difference since the crude oil gets restocked and is cheaper until the price gets driven up again. In my case, the extra action gave me enough actions to fulfill a fairly high-end contract. And of course, contracts were one of the valuation bonus’s at the end of the game so not failing the contract paid off a lot. The HR upgrade can be a big advantage if used properly.

The other thing I did well was to parlay my cash into a pretty good set of pipelines and multiple machines. With a machine to run pipelines combined with the HR upgrade, I was taking three actions per turn. I’ve seen players do exceptionally well without a machine and without an upgrade, but in this particular case, it was these things that gave me a score just over 600!

My goal now is to pay again with four player do equally well. It will be tough since there’s more competition for the upgrades but there’s also pipes available. We’ll see.