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1830: Railways & Robber Barons» Forums » Strategy

Subject: 1st play tonight. Need a few pointers rss

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Glenn Margewich
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Tonight we play 1830 with 4 players. We'd plan to use it as a learning game. Please forgive my ignorance regarding the "big picture", but we would like to be pointed in the right direction to start:

1) Private Company initial auction. We plan to use the simplified auction in the rules where the privates are grouped. SV+MH = $130, CS + DH = $110, CA = $160, and BO = $220. An auction is required to choose a group, however we have NO idea what a typical auction goes for. Can you suggest a reasonable range of auction bids to get us started?

2) The idea of having a company dumped on a player seems preventable by never owning more than 10% in an opponents company. Is this as simple as it seems? Is the risk of owning more than 10% worth potential gains, generally?

3) Basically speaking, do players "help" each other float companies with share purchases?

4)Any other newbie mistakes pointed out would be appreciated.

Thank you



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Travis Dean
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I'm an 1830 newbie, so I don't know anything. Take this with a grain of salt. Besides, JC will probably come on and give you all the information you need.

glenn69 wrote:
Tonight we play 1830 with 4 players. We'd plan to use it as a learning game. Please forgive my ignorance regarding the "big picture", but we would like to be pointed in the right direction to start:

Yay! Good luck and have fun!

glenn69 wrote:
1) Private Company initial auction. We plan to use the simplified auction in the rules where the privates are grouped. SV+MH = $130, CS + DH = $110, CA = $160, and BO = $220. An auction is required to choose a group, however we have NO idea what a typical auction goes for. Can you suggest a reasonable range of auction bids to get us started?

I don't know how often people actually use that version of the auction. I don't know if it's ever used outside of new games. (I honestly don't know. I assume not, but like I said, I'm a newbie and don't know any better.) That said, I have wondered if this might be better for first time players since the private auction is difficult to do well. First, I'll speak to how much privates go for in a normal auction, then I'll speculate on good going prices for this type of auction.

Privates, from what I've read, should sell for approximately 120% face value (I think the range was either 110%-120% or 120%-140%, but I forget what). This depends heavily on the experience of the players. For experienced players, C&A might be worth $210, but for inexperienced players, it might be worth $170. So I would say the 120% rule is a good one to use, until you become more familiar with the game. The C&A private is probably the best/easiest to use, whereas the B&O is the most difficult to use because it requires significantly different initial gameplay strategy if you get it.

Now for the auction I see above, this is probably how much I'd be willing to spend on each private pairing:

First pick:
$30 inexperienced, $60 experienced
CA = $160

Second pick:
$20 inexperienced, $30 experienced
CS + DH = $110

Third pick:
SV+MH = $130
$20 inexperienced, $40 experienced

Fourth pick:
$5-10
BO = $220

Except for B&O, this should leave enough cash to float a company on your own. B&O needs to take a different strategy as previously mentioned. Honestly, I don't know what B&O should do for good play, but I have a few suggestions below.

glenn69 wrote:
2) The idea of having a company dumped on a player seems preventable by never owning more than 10% in an opponents company. Is this as simple as it seems? Is the risk of owning more than 10% worth potential gains, generally?

Correct. Generally. Also, the company that is last in turn order can never be dumped on you trainless. It might be about to be trainless, but it won't be completely trainless and broke.

glenn69 wrote:
3) Basically speaking, do players "help" each other float companies with share purchases?

Not if they don't have to. In 4 player game, you don't need help, so don't expect help. $402 is the key amount of cash on hand necessary to float a company by yourself, so during the auction for private companies, make sure you don't spend so much that you can't float a company. That said, if two people are strapped for cash, or in some cases any given player will help to float companies. I don't know when a player should or shouldn't help to float a company.

glenn69 wrote:
4)Any other newbie mistakes pointed out would be appreciated.

- Don't play with paper money. Use poker chips. There are other options, but even just poker chips will be a huge improvement.
- Train rush. Don't be afraid to buy trains. Rule of thumb: If you can afford a train, buy it. I think it's common enough to buy 2-3 2 Trains in the beginning. If players don't train rush, the game will progress painfully slowly and feel stagnant. You may get bored. YMMV

- B&O Private. I mentioned this one is difficult, here are my comments and thoughts on it:
1. You could set the IPO low enough that you can float the B&O and start running it. This will immediately close your private, though, when you buy a train, and you can't ever sell the private anyways, so you'll probably be behind the other players who are still generating private revenue, and will be profiting when they sell their private companies.

2. Par the company at $100/share. Typical train of thought is to not float it until you can purchase a 5-train with it, a permanent train. And make it a successful company, pay dividends, and inflate your stock price. That means you won't be floating any company on your own in the beginning of the game. With one exception, if you act before the player who won C&A and got the PRR share, you can float the PRR. Otherwise, you should probably work on trashing stock of other players, and generate revenue enough to float a company in the second stock round. Trashing stock (buying and selling) is risky and difficult to do well. You are basically making a loss by buying stock from IPO and selling for less (since you drop in stock price after not running in the first operating round), and the stock in the open market will be sending dividends to the company. You could help sell out a stock in the first stock round, which will increase the price and effectively give you a net 0 loss when you sell, but you HAVE to make sure you have priority deal before the other player so you don't get dumped a bankrupt company with crappy trains.
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Glenn Margewich
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Travis, thank you. You gave us plenty to think about. If you are a newbie, then I failed to accurately describe my experience level
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Kevin Whitmore
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glenn69 wrote:
Tonight we play 1830 with 4 players. We'd plan to use it as a learning game. Please forgive my ignorance regarding the "big picture", but we would like to be pointed in the right direction to start:

1) Private Company initial auction. We plan to use the simplified auction in the rules where the privates are grouped. SV+MH = $130, CS + DH = $110, CA = $160, and BO = $220. An auction is required to choose a group, however we have NO idea what a typical auction goes for. Can you suggest a reasonable range of auction bids to get us started?

Good luck! 1830 is a "10" for me. It took me a few looks at this game for it to achieve my full appreciation. So my first piece of advice is to be patient with it. It may take some time for you to see all of this game, and why it is so cool.

I have never played with the packet option, so I fear I cannot give any advice on your stated question.

glenn69 wrote:
2) The idea of having a company dumped on a player seems preventable by never owning more than 10% in an opponents company. Is this as simple as it seems? Is the risk of owning more than 10% worth potential gains, generally?

Yes, you are correct, you can never have a company dumped on you if you only own 10% of it. But I would encourage you to look deeper. If you hold the Priority Deal, you can also arrange to never have a company dumped on you. If you don't want the risk, simply sell down to 10% or less as your first stock transaction.

But even more, look at what the company in question is doing. Is it a player's only company? This is important as buying locomotives across from a sister company is a real threat. Are the trains likely to rust soon? The president of a company, especially in a newbie game, is likely just trying to make money. Often the best way to make money is simply to run the company well. If that is what is going on, you want more than 10% to enjoy those profits.

Being dumped on can happen, and it can sometimes hurt your position. But often a company that gets dumped is still viable, it just needs an infusion of capital. If a dump does happen to you, it may just be a short term set back. It isn't necessarily a game losing event.

glenn69 wrote:
3) Basically speaking, do players "help" each other float companies with share purchases?

Alliances are often non-existing, and if they happen, they will be fleeting. Never try to fund a company unless you are prepared to do so alone. if you can obviously do it alone, sometime others will join in. But do NOT count on the kindness of fellow players.

glenn69 wrote:
4)Any other newbie mistakes pointed out would be appreciated.

I hesitate to say this, because i don't ant to deter you. But playing on week night may not be a great plan. Explaining the game will take some considerable time. You will be playing late into the night if you attempt to play a full game. I would suggest viewing this first session as an "in depth" training session, and then schedule a game for a weekend afternoon/evening. My early games took 6+ hours to conclude. I now can play 1830 in about 3 - 4 hours. But with no experience, I suspect you may have more game than time available on a weeknight evening.

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PJ Killian
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glenn69 wrote:
Tonight we play 1830 with 4 players. We'd plan to use it as a learning game. Please forgive my ignorance regarding the "big picture", but we would like to be pointed in the right direction to start:

1) Private Company initial auction. We plan to use the simplified auction in the rules where the privates are grouped. SV+MH = $130, CS + DH = $110, CA = $160, and BO = $220. An auction is required to choose a group, however we have NO idea what a typical auction goes for. Can you suggest a reasonable range of auction bids to get us started?


Check section 2 of this document: http://www.18xx.net/1830/1830c.htm. There's some reasonable (in my limited experience) auction prices there. There's no shame in using the simplified auction procedure for a first game, but I expect that the fixed prices will skew the game a bit. As a general rule, private companies are most valuable as a thing to sell to your first railroad (taking money from the railroad treasury and putting it into your pocket), secondarily as a small but not negligible income stream in the early game, followed (distantly) by the value of being able to determine when key hexes get opened, followed (again, distantly) by the special powers they give you, most of which are sucker plays for beginning players.

Quote:
2) The idea of having a company dumped on a player seems preventable by never owning more than 10% in an opponents company. Is this as simple as it seems? Is the risk of owning more than 10% worth potential gains, generally?


Yes, you can avoid being dumped on by not owning more than a single share. The trick is that a big chunk of your final score is determined by stock appreciation, so a player that keeps money in his/her treasury will be worse off than a player that takes that same amount of money and invests in corporations that are paying dividends. Knowing the telltale signs of when a stock dump is coming and how to avoid getting dumped on (especially knowing the rules governing Priority Deal) will make you a better player as well as making the game more fun for you.

Quote:
3) Basically speaking, do players "help" each other float companies with share purchases?


Unlikely in a four-player game, at least in the opening.

Quote:
4)Any other newbie mistakes pointed out would be appreciated.


Off the top of my head:

Know the rules for closing private companies -- I screwed this up in my first F2F game.
Use poker chips if you have the option. If it's possible to arrange the table to have each player have part of the bank within reach, it will cut down on downtime.
New players tend to be overly conservative about buying locomotives; if it feels like a toss-up between buying or not, you're probably better off buying. Some locomotives are better than others, though.

Quote:
Thank you


Have fun!
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Travis Dean
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glenn69 wrote:
Travis, thank you. You gave us plenty to think about. If you are a newbie, then I failed to accurately describe my experience level


I've played one each of 1800, 1830, and 1870. So 3 18xx titles total. I'm currently playing by email a game of 1830, so soon 4. But I have read a lot of material. The links and suggestions Kevin and PJ shared are also great resources.

Kevin had a good suggestion about gameplay. In your first game, playing it all this evening will be difficult, you probably won't finish. My first game of 1830 took probably 7 hours for 4 players.
 
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Eric Flood
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glenn69 wrote:
Tonight we play 1830 with 4 players. We'd plan to use it as a learning game. Please forgive my ignorance regarding the "big picture", but we would like to be pointed in the right direction to start:

1) Private Company initial auction. We plan to use the simplified auction in the rules where the privates are grouped. SV+MH = $130, CS + DH = $110, CA = $160, and BO = $220. An auction is required to choose a group, however we have NO idea what a typical auction goes for. Can you suggest a reasonable range of auction bids to get us started?


CA is most valuable (for new players, $190 - $210 is reasonable), B&O is what you are all fighting not to get through the whole private offering. Two problems with winning B&O is all your liquidity is tied up in stocks which just sit there until they are opened, and you lose priority.

Quote:
2) The idea of having a company dumped on a player seems preventable by never owning more than 10% in an opponents company. Is this as simple as it seems? Is the risk of owning more than 10% worth potential gains, generally?


Yes. It is also generally safe to own multiple shares of the company owned by the player to your left, so long as you do not give them priority for next round.

Quote:
3) Basically speaking, do players "help" each other float companies with share purchases?


No. In 6p it is common, but 6p is for experienced players *only*

Quote:
4)Any other newbie mistakes pointed out would be appreciated.


Echoing poker chips. Also, spreadsheet the game after the Stock Round in which a D is bought.

Reserving a presidency of a company you cannot float is uncommon but not foolish. Buying a 3rd share of a company you cannot float is pure idiocy (exception for B&O, to buy-and-sell a 3rd share so you can buy two additional shares the following SR and float it).


Start companies at $68-$71 initially, increasing as the game progresses.

Always buy trains, only withhold if you can buy a train immediately with the funds, time yourself (including selling shares of your own companies) to grab as many 5Ts as possible.

Watch the OO's south of NY.
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The 3Ts and 5Ts are the best. Buy them if you can. The 4s are the worst trains in the game, especially the later ones, though the first one is okay because it rusts the 2s. The 6Ts are reasonable, as are the 2Ts (about average) though the 2s are cheap and don't pay much, so it is less important if you mess up here. The Diesels can be amazing, or can lose you a bunch of money - it depends on how many times they run and whether they manage to get huge routes.
 
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The only big risk is having a beginner game lasting 11 hours

This is an inherent flaw of 1830 when played with only beginners. Getting the 6T out is hard for first timers. The latter it is bought, the longer goes the game.

If the 6T is bought, the 3T are gone, and you are sure the game can finish in a reasonable time from here.

To help the 6T to be bought :

Make sure ALL companies gets started at some point.

Be aware of the possibility, for a president of two companies to shuffle trains to force one of his companies to go trainless, thus forcing him to buy a train out of pocket, but forcing the other players to do so as well. (The 6T is ok to buy this way, but the Diesels gets more expensive).

----
At some time, players may ask when do this game end (if it doesn't end with bankruptcy). For the short answer, once some diesel are bought, players stop spending money and only make dividends. At this stage, they suck the economy of their country dry in two sets of Operating Round.
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Samuel Hinz
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I'm more often than not hoping someone will dump the company on me. It's nowhere near as bad as it seems.
 
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