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1870: Railroading across the Trans Mississippi from 1870» Forums » General

Subject: Convince me to buy 1870 rss

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Hermus
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I've always been a train fan, since my brother and I had a model railroad when we were kids. So I'm naturally attracted to any game with a railroad theme. My first purchase was Ticket to Ride. Fun game, but not much gritty railroading flavor (ptooey! that engine grease is bitter!). Next I purchased Railroad Tycoon. After one play I really like this game, and it ALMOST slakes my railroading thirst. However, I can think of two additional features I'd love to have in a train game--location in a geographic area I'm familiar with (I grew up in Missouri, now live in Florida), and simulation of actual railroads.

So I'm now gravitating toward 1870. The map represents an area I'm really interested in, and I'm drooling over the prospect of buying stock in and operating actual railroads I grew up around, like the MoPac and the Katy. I'm not that intimidated by the complexity of the game, I've played my share of complex games. The main thing holding me back is playing time--I'm seeing reviews and session reports that tell you to expect 8-10 hours playing time for this game. I seriously doubt I'll be able to interest my fellow gamers in a train game that takes that long.

Can anyone shed some more light on this for me? Are there additional features of 1870 that would make this game irresistable for me? Are there ways of shortening playing time without sacrificing too much of the game's substance?

Thanks...
 
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Scott Nicholson
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I was in the same boat - I liked Age of Steam and it's ilk and was curious to try the scary 18xx games.

I would suggest, instead of 1870, that you try 18AL. That's the one I bought and cut out, worked through the rules, and introduced to my group with no prior experience. It played in about 4 hours the first time, and I really enjoyed it. I've now introduced many people to 18xx through 18AL. Some of us went on to try some of the others (incuding 1870, which I didn't like), but it was complex enough to give you a baseline without being overwhelming.

I think 1870 as your first experience might turn you off of the series. So, I won't convince you to buy 1870, but instead push 18AL. (I've heard that 18GA and 18SCAN fill the same role.)

 
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Philip Yaure
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Buy it, or I'll bit you, and I've got sharp teeth. Or maybe I should get a rabid dog. Or perhaps a bunch of Killer Bunnies. Hmm, I could have some fun with this one....
 
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Devin Smith
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I would second the recommendation for 18AL. Alabama takes about 3 hours even with my somewhat AP-prone group.

18FL is also available 'real soon now' from www.deepthoughtgames.com if you'd rather have a game set somewhere you're familiar with. It's a linear-stock-market game, though, which means that there will be less stock market shenanigans and more cross-investing. Florida's also a bit of an awkward shape for a train game.


1870 is definately possible as a first 18XX, but I'd strongly encourage the use of 18AL as a 'starter'. It's availabe from John David Galt in a week or two, for a reasonable sum of cash. There's a link to his site from the 18AL BGG page.
 
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J C Lawrence
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snicholson wrote:
I would suggest, instead of 1870, that you try 18AL. That's the one I bought and cut out, worked through the rules, and introduced to my group with no prior experience. It played in about 4 hours the first time, and I really enjoyed it. I've now introduced many people to 18xx through 18AL. Some of us went on to try some of the others (incuding 1870, which I didn't like), but it was complex enough to give you a baseline without being overwhelming.


I'll second this but extend the list to 1825 (take your pick of the units, I can discuss if needed), 18GA and 18VA.
 
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Hermus
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Thanks everyone for your comments. 18FL looks very interesting.
 
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Ben .
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clearclaw wrote:
I'll second this but extend the list to 1825 (take your pick of the units, I can discuss if needed), 18GA and 18VA.


I'm interested in this one, as the 1825 geography obviously appeals to me.
However, as an owner of AoS (which focuses on the operational side), I want to have an 18xx game which really emphasises the cutthroat stockmarket side of the 18xx line (for which people always laud 1830), and my understanding is that 1825 errs more towards operational than economical gameplay.

Is this correct?
 
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Ed Holzman
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None of the 18XX games are really terribly complex. The rules are usually very straightforward (even if the rules for 1830 are somewhat poorly written) and there is very little in terms of fiddlyness to worry about. Your first few plays will end up being devoted to determining where the best potential routes are located and which companies represent the best investment. Even then, these are not sure things, as every game session can vary immensely from the last session. The big lure these games hold (for me) is that they do offer great replay and minimal reliance on chance.

The length of play of 1870 depends upon a number of factors (number of players, experience of players, strategy chosen by the players, AP potential of the players, etc.). As you can see, these factors are heavily dependent upon the players involved. A game of 6 newbie players can potentially take the 8-10 hours mentioned as you feel the game out (unless someone goes bankrupt), whereas a 4 player game of veterans can be squeezed out in around 4-6 hours.

I will echo the recommendation of trying out one of the "state" games or smaller 1825 units as a way to ease into 18XX play. They offer all of the drama and competition of the larger games in a smaller package.

People seem to have this impression that every game of 1830 WILL involve duplicitous dealings, backstabbings, and devestating stock market ploys. While there is always the POTENTIAL for some of these things to happen, it is not guaranteed to happen. I have played with groups that were very friendly and cooperative and I have played with groups where buying more than 20% interest in any company that you did not run was a death knell (either for you or them). It all depends on the group.
 
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Bill Byrd
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My advice is get 1870 and 18AL.



Some comments on comments...

The playing time of 18xx games in general has more to do with the number of public corporations than on the number of players (of course, the *type* of player will have a significant impact). 18xx game play alternates between Stock Rounds (where players act as independent agents) and Operating rounds (where players act as directors of the corporations). Stock rounds will tend to be longer with more players, while Operating rounds will be shorter with more players. 1870 has 10 corporations and really needs at least 4 players, while 18AL has 6 and plays very well with 3, 4 or 5. All this being said, in my experience the bigger factor on play time is the overall way in which a particluar game session unfolds strategically. I've played 1870 in 5 hours and I've played it in 12. (Look especially at 1856, or any other title with a borg railroad for extreme examples of this).

18xx can be daunting to learn without experienced help, but 1870 and 18AL have good rulebooks and an amazing online community if you need help.

Now, 1825 has a linear stockmarket and rules that force it into a kinder, gentler mode of play (corporations can't close, and players can simply dump a bad corp into receivership). This might make it a better learning game (the debate continues) but it has far less (i.e., zero) replay value for folks like me who want the complexity of the 2D stockmarket.




 
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Trevor Dewey
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Bearcat89 wrote:
None of the 18XX games are really terribly complex.


I would disagree with this statement.


Quote:

I have played with groups that were very friendly and cooperative and I have played with groups where buying more than 20% interest in any company that you did not run was a death knell (either for you or them). It all depends on the group.


I would say that both these types of play are indicative of bad play. Being too friendly and co-operative means that whomever is in the lead at the beginning will keep his lead until the end. Dumping a good company (LPS in 1856 or MoPac in 1870 is classic example) onto someone because he has 40% is shooting yourself in the foot.

As to the original poster. I think 18AL is a decent design for a short 18xx game - but I can't recommend it to learn on. 1830 remains the game to start with. If you can't get a copy off of ebay - I would currently recommend 1889 from deep-thought games.

1870 and 1856 should really only be played after you've got a good handle on the 1830 style of play. I recommend 1856 as the first game to play after 1830.

1832 should only be played after you're comfortable with 70 and 56.

Finally the long games: 1841 and 1837 should only be played if you discover you're crazy for 18xx. They are _far_ too long for the casual 18xx player.

I don't play euro-style 18xx so no recommendations there. Also, the games listed above do not represent all 18xx games out there - you can usually tell from the designer how complicated the game will be and where it'll fit on the scale above.

1856 remains the "best" 18xx game on the market in that it remains one of the easier 18xx games to learn but one of the hardest to master.

Edited for clarity.
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