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1846: The Race for the Midwest» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 1846 Teaching Game at WPI SFS Gaming Weekend rss

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Mike Anastasia
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Last weekend I attended to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Science Fiction Society's Gaming Weekend. Thanks to Eric's generosity, I had a copy of 1846 in hand which we played twice over the course of the weekend. This session report is for the Friday night game that I opened to any newcomers to the 18xx genre. I don't have very detailed notes, but here goes what I remember:

We had four players - I've played 1846 less than ten times, Austin and Alex who had never even heard of 18xx, and Chris had a bad experience once with 18Mex but I convinced him to give this a go.

We removed the C&O major company, the O&I private, and the Tunnel Blasting private because we didn't have a full 5 players. In the private draft, Alex took the Michigan Central by accident thinking it was the Michigan Southern, the C&WI, and the Meat Packing company for $10 below list price. Chris took the Mail Contract and the Steamboat company. I took the Lake Shore Line and the Big 4. Austin took only the Michigan Southern.

During SR1, Austin opened the NYC, I opened the Grand Trunk, Chris opened the B&O to synergize with his Steamboat, and Alex opened the Erie. All these were opened between 80 and 100 on the market, which led to an early game where companies had a fair bit of money but none of us owned very much of them. On the second go round the table, I also opened the IC for $40.

I don't have detailed notes of what happened, but a few events and trends were prominent in the game. As I'm told is typical of 18xx with new players, the train rush went very slowly. Only one green train was purchased in OR1, and the yellows lingered for a very long time. I did not help the situation by driving the IC into the ground - it closed just after the 3rd stock round, having withheld dividends almost every turn and using its entire treasury to buy a 2 train away from the GT before the first brown was bought. Another event that significantly shaped the mid and late game was laying a gentle curve in the hex due east of Chicago that didn't connect to Chicago. Though we didn't realize it at the time, this left the game with one less entry point into Chicago, so only 3 corporations would get tokens there. The B&O also used the slow train rush to great effect, squeezing a massive amount of extra income out of the steamboat company.

In the end, the C&O, Erie, and NYC railroads were the only ones able to obtain and run two permanent trains, in part because those companies still owned many of their own shares in the mid and late game (I really should have done something about that instead of opening the Pensylvania after the IC closed) There was very little cross-investment all game long, so it turned into a straightforward race. The C&O put Chris firmly in the lead of that and when the bank pool finally drained, he had the game.

Final scores:
Chris - 5332
Austin - 5063
Alex - 4619
Mike - 4117

As far as teaching goes, I feel like I did an ok job of explaining the mechanics of the game, but I'm still getting a handle on how to make good decisions in 18xx, so my attempts to convey strategy, how to approach the train rush, how to manage capitalization, etc, were not remotely up to the task. I certainly didn't make great strategic decisions myself, although in part that was because I wanted to experiment in this unique setting where my experienced 1846ing friends wouldn't be able to tell me in advance how my mistakes would cost me the game.
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Paul M
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How long to play?

I like trying new things in a game like this, even if they fail.
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Eric Brosius
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Thanks for the SR!

I'm not convinced that it's possible to convey much about the strategy in someone's first game. Playing a game and seeing how things turn out is far more instructive.

What was the reaction of the other 3 players? Did they want to play again in the future?
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Mike Anastasia
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ipgyst wrote:
How long to play?


We were supposed to start at 7pm, but we were delayed in getting organized. I think the game play started between 8 and 9, and we finished counting the scores at 3am.

Eric Brosius wrote:
What was the reaction of the other 3 players? Did they want to play again in the future?


I think the late hour made everyone a little cranky, but we all had a good time. Alex decided to run off to bed prior to the last set of ORs, but he was excitedly hovering around the game the next evening asking questions and trying to understand strategy. Chris I think particularly enjoyed the constructive leanings of 46 compared to his past experience with company theft and looting - so 18xx overall might not be his style, but 1846 probably is something he'll try again in the future.
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Steve Carey
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MyNameIsFourteen wrote:
I think the late hour made everyone a little cranky, but we all had a good time.


Same here - we had a session finish at 2am on Friday, and yet the game swirled around in our minds so a new game was back on the table Saturday night. Love it!
 
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