Main branches of the 18xx system
18xx is the collective term used to describe a set of railroad-themed stock market and tile laying games. The 18xx set has two main branches: the 1829 branch (1829, 1825, 1853, and 1829 Mainline) and the 1830 branch (1830, 1856, 1870, etc). There are also a number of crossover games which sit somewhere between the two branches (e.g. 1860). While general railroad operations such as track laying are critical to both branches, the two branches are fundamentally quite different in character and player focus. The 1829 branch games emphasize stock-picking and portfolio management while the 1830 branch concentrates more on financial prediction and stock market manipulation. So in 1829 et al. players are rewarded for holding the right stocks at the right time and for running their companies well, while in 1830 et al. they are rewarded more for manipulating the stock market to their advantage and investing in the companies that thereby profit.
For more information about 18xx, visit the 18xx YahooGroup and the 18xx Family.
- The original 18xx game from which all others trace their design lineage is Francis Tresham's 1829.
- The games involve railroads/railways. (This is somewhat controversial, as games like 1830 UR and 2038 are based on the 18xx system, but do not involve railroads/railways).
- Highest net worth (normally cash plus stock assets) determine the winner.
- Players can buy stock in companies.
- The player (or corporate entity, e.g. in 1841) with the most stock runs the subject company as president or director.
- Turns alternate between stock buying/selling rounds and operating rounds.
- In operating rounds, the president/director determines what track tiles to lay and where, what stations/bases to create, calculates the earnings of trains, decides whether to pay out the revenue as dividends to the shareholders or to retain it in the company, and may buy a new train. These don't necessarily have to happen in this order (e.g. train buying may occur before revenue calculations in some games).
- The purchase of new types of trains may trigger other actions (increased revenues, border changes, private company closures, new track tiles, etc.).
- The board has a hexagonal grid and track tiles are hexagonal in shape.
- Stock values rise or fall depending on whether revenues are paid out as dividends or retained by the company.
- Chattanooga Rail Gaming Challenge - January-February in Chattanooga, Tennessee; run by Mark Derrick
- TempleCon - January in Providence, Rhode Island; run by Dave Lionett
- TotalCon - February in Mansfield, Massachusetts; run by Dave Mitton
- Portland 18xx Convention - June in Portland, Oregon; run by Dave Blanchard (magnate)
- DieCon - June in St. Louis, Missouri metro area; run by Chris Fawcett
- ManorCon - July in the United Kingdom
- MidSumCon - August in Chicago, Illinois; run by Anthony Carver
- RailCon - Fall in the United States, location varies; Run by the Train Gamers Association; includes non-18xx rail games.
- Buckeye Game Fest - September in Columbus Ohio. Includes non--18xx games. Run by Columbus Area Boardgame Society (CABS).
- Conception Convention - September in Glen Ellyn Illinois. Features an 18xx Tournament. Tournament run by Joe Miller.