- The wooden coffee table we build on limits the maximum footprint of most designs. With some exceptions.
- Our collection of pieces has grown steadily over time. The pieces on hand limit what you can make.
- My son often prefers to destroy track layouts instead of building them.
Measures of Greatness
- Total number of pieces you are able to use in a single pattern. The more pieces, the more advanced the design.
- Geometrically, visually pleasing designs.
- Symmetry tends to lead to good designs.
- Going vertical. Inclines, declines, and overlapping layers of track are great.
- Using difficult piece types. The “cross” junction, the “X” junction, the “T” junction are all difficult pieces you need to build around. They can force you into making difficult tradeoffs.
- When a track doubles back on itself and you are forced to make a “head to head” track connection. Using the male/male or female/female 1 inch coupler pieces.
- Dead ends. Tracks to nowhere, especially bad without a dead end indicator piece.
- Using 1 inch standard straight track. These pieces are highly flexible allowing you to make up for early decisions. Fewer of these pieces deployed, the greater the design.
- Stretched/cranked sections. There is play in wooden track connections but if you push it too far the connectors become impacted, like shoving a jigsaw puzzle piece into a space it doesn’t belong.
A special division of track designs are ramps. They often don’t conform to the goals of normal designs. But they are are awesome for other reasons like racing and launching trains.