San Francisco Bay Area 18xx -- November 2012
J C Lawrence
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Campbell
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The San Francisco Bay Area 18xx group is nominally a sub-chapter of SB-Boardgamers. Founded in February of 2009, we meet on the second Monday of every month at SB-Boardgamers and play 18xx! We normally have enough 18xx players on those evenings for two or three 18xx games to be played. The SFBay-18xx email list is used to coordinate and schedule sessions and games to be played. The primary purpose of the group is to teach the 18xx to new players, and thus evangelise and expand the hobby, so there's usually a teaching game running each month (usually 1889), as well as another game for the sharks.

The purpose of this geeklist, and subsequent lists each month, is to keep track of the games we play and to afford a central venue for discussion of the games we have played and want to play. A master geeklist tracks each of the monthly geeklists:



Additionally to the geeklists, an email list is used to coordinate specific games and meetings:



For the sake of completeness, the sub-lists will also include the other 18xx game playing that many of the same people get in during the month in these geeklists. As such they will include 18xx gaming we play on many other Mondays at SB-Boardgamers, plus games at Silicon Valley Boardgamers, Boardgame Addicts of the Peninsula (BAP), the SF Bay Area/Los Altos Games Day, Endgame Oakland, and random other gaming events.

Other 18xx gamers in the Bay Area are absolutely encouraged to join the discussions and to list the games they play!
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1. Board Game: 1889: History of Shikoku Railways [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:1211]
J C Lawrence
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5 Nov 2012 -- 3-player: Aliza Panitz, Ron Sapolsky, J C Lawrence

As I recall, I bought the biggest private for face-value, despite already having the largest private income, and then rode the sell-in value to victory with a blistering train-rush. Or was that the game a few weeks before?
 
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2. Board Game: 1843 [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
J C Lawrence
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Wrapping up after only only 6 weeks, and featuring one of our ex-players (Mike Calhoon) was the first PBeM game of 1843:



The game's mailing list: http://groups.google.com/group/1843-playtest-aardvark

 
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3. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:522]
J C Lawrence
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12 Nov 2012 -- As requested, Aliza can tell the story for this one.
 
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4. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:522]
J C Lawrence
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12 Nov 2012 -- 3-player: Aliza Panitz, Ron Sapolsky, J C Lawrence

My IC was given a little room to breathe, which is all it ever needs, and bought both the first brown and the first gray, was continuously over-stuffed with trains, never ploughed or half-paid or withheld, and otherwise kept the hammer down.

 
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5. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:522]
J C Lawrence
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19 Nov 2012 -- 4-player: Ron Sapolsky, Eric Flood, Aliza Panitz, J C Lawrence

I bought no privates and floated the IC with priority. Aggressive track and slow trains seemed to doom my position early while the rest zoomed ahead to significant share advantages. But, I quickly got 2 4/6Ts into the IC (which included ploughing for $450 when I was low cash and low-shares on the table -- seemingly putting me even further behind) and that advantage and the resulting train rush brought me back into contention as everyone else's money poured into trains. A few oversights on their parts with portfolio building gave me the win by ~$7.

Sigh. Perhaps this will be the last of 1846 for awhile?


 
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6. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:522]
J C Lawrence
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24 Nov 2012 -- 5-player: Juho Snellman (visiting from Switzerland), Eric Flood, Dave Peters (first play), Aliza Panitz, J C Lawrence.

A longer description this week in hope of drawing comments.

Companies tended to par high ($100) with my IC parring at $112. Eric had deal, so Juho was last. I drafted the MS on the first pass and then numbers on all the next passes, on the last round passing three privates to Aliza when she didn't want to take any. Finally the Mail Contract, which I'd passed on at every opportunity due to my late positioning in priority, worked its way down to $60 before Dave bought it[1].

I got the MS hoping to either do the GT+MS pair, which can be rather obscene with the MS placing Port Huron in OR1.1, the GT buying it in probably with 2x2T and then upgrading Detroit and running for $21 in OR 1.2. Or, which I didn't expect and had been interested in trying for a long time, I got the IC+MS pair and could try exactly the same pattern except even more profitably due to the IC's extra share of capital.

Aliza's NYC parred at $60 and bought 3x2T to go with her Lake Shore. Dave's GT bought 2x2T, Juho's PRR bought 2x2T, and the B&O bought a 3x5T. The IC then bought 3x5+4T and the MS, ran for $25/share (because I forgot we were already in green or it would have been $28), doubled jumped beyond anyone's reach, and that was that.

Meanwhile Aliza's NYC ploughed three times in a row in order to pay for token and trains as they rusted out from under her...but when she did finally get to run, she paid money out hand over fist, and to all 6 of her shares of the NYC.

My IC bought the first 4/6 with a half pay in OR 2.1.

We called the game on time just as the gray trains (which I'd explicitly delayed as I was running 3/5T+4T+4/6T in the IC for $64/share and treble jumping through the market). When the IC finally sold out at $270/share, it had just under $2,000 in the treasury and was busy building an E/W route for my new C&O.

Juho's paraphrased comments AIR (all errors mine):

- We sell privates (especially my buying the MS in OR 1.1) faster than he's used to.
- We buy and burn trains faster than he's used to.
- Our track patterns and tokening are both more aggressive and less constructive/supportive than he's used to (eg our dividends were far lower than he expected at similar game stages).

I suspect that he was most bemused by Aliza doing nothing but ploughing for the first two full sets of ORs...and yet coming out with a solidly strong position.

[1] I consider the the Mail Contract to be simultaneously over-priced and under-priced. It is capital intensive at all the wrong times and thus hard to justify, but if you get the tempo right, which is a fragile and delicate thing easily mussed by others, it pays for itself and more in a trifle. I normally snap it up as I'm good enough at the tempo games to make it work, but being late in priority put me in a somewhat more fragile position and so I opted to play safe given the increased natural volatility of a 5-player game.

 
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7. Board Game: 1817 [Average Rating:8.63 Overall Rank:2040]
J C Lawrence
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25 Nov 2012 -- 4-players: Aliza Panitz, Juho Snellman, Eric Flood J C Lawrence.

Playtime was about 8 hours, which included a fine dinner of Patxi's, and not counting that we called the game on account of time with only the final set of ORs to run.

From the private auction I got Pittsburgh and the the two big mail contracts for $55 under face. I don't recall the other player's holdings except that Juho was very light on privates, Aliza was heavy, Eric had three mine tokens and ran all western companies that never saw a mine until the last third of the game, and I exited the round with the most capital under control.

Aliza floated Charleston and Blacksburg (and had two mines). Juho took Albany, North NYC and Scranton. Eric floated Cleveland, Loisville and Cincinatti. I floated Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and South NYC -- amazingly, Baltimore was left open! (Unsurprisingly my South NYC company grew up to a 5-share company in MR1.1 and tokened Baltimore in OR1.2)

Long and short of it: I ran my companies backward every chance I got, ploughing and ploughing and buying each other in acquisition for almost as much as everyone else was paying in dividends. Ultimately this put me behind in shares, but ahead in density and behind in loans. This was not a bad place to be except that the loan interest was hovering at $25, and Eric in particular was maxed out on loans across the board and had a considerable share lead -- this was looking like a solid third place showing for me. Then, as the train rush hit and interest climbed to $45, I caught up in shares while keeping density, ending the game with 60% of a 5-share company with a 5T running for ~$420 and a 2-share company with 4T+6T running for $630 and then ~%460 with just the $6T, plus other shares -- it was all the difference in the world.

The two other tricks along the way were buying 50% of Juho's Black company (North NYC, Albany, Scranton, Baltimore IIRC) as Eric shorted it through the floor (Juho barely managed to keep it alive, but when he did it rebounded like a rocket!) and shorting Aliza's Red Stripe with two 3Ts, 5 loans and no cash...but only shorting it twice to Eric's 7. I didn't believe the company (or Aliza) would survive, but just in case she did, I wanted to be sure I could cover the shorts and dividends. Aliza however did, barely, manage to save her company, and I was able to cover my shorts and buy two more of her shares. Meanwhile Eric, alas, was left with four shorts (two black, two red stripe) that he could never cover. (I'd helpfully bought all the matching shares)

We called the game just as the 8Ts hit and only a final set of 3 ORs with little to no track to lay and no changes in dividends forecast...but it was midnight, $work was tomorrow, and Eric had a long drive back to San Francisco. With over twice the cash of any other player plus the most dense portfolio and almost all my other shares at the top of the market, I was the clear leader. Juho was solidly in second ahead of Aliza and Eric, and Eric and Aliza both thought they were each ahead of the other.

ObNote: Aliza is sitting in my seat at the end of the table for most of the pictures (got her better into the shot). Her position was actually on the corner with the red and green stripe companies:












The big lesson of the night was that the 4Ts were amazingly good!
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8. Board Game: 1843 [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
J C Lawrence
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Campbell
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30 Nov 2012 - 5-player: Aliza Panitz, Juho Snellman, Daniel Barnes, Tim Skirvin, J C Lawrence





And farewell to Juho!
 
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