Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Brain Sweat Reviews 1862 rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Mark Huberty (General Trashy Meeples the Ambigamer)
United States
Woodbury
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The classic 18xx family of train games represent an apogee in economic gaming. Beginning with Francis Tresham's watershed publications of 1829 and 1830, the 18xx lineage has blossomed into a gaming lifestyle boasting dozens of diverse titles. Rich decision spaces including considerations of track laying, portfolio management and stock market manipulation have captured our imagination and have continued to challenge prospective robber barons for four decades. One of the most recent additions to this storied bloodline is 1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties. I have recently had the opportunity to try out 1862 and my first impressions are the subject of this blog post.

1862 brings a number of interesting new elements to the gaming table. One of the first things that grabs the player's attention is the presence of multiple train types and their respective permits. Local, Express and Freight trains each generate revenue in very different ways and will have different demands for effective track placement and tokening. Each company is randomly assigned a permit for one of these train types during set-up and may only operate that type of train unless it acquires additional permits via mergers. The random assignment of permits and the random collection of initial companies demands careful valuation of companies that is different each game and offers a refreshing change to the more scripted openings of other 18xx titles. For this reason, I would argue that 1862 is somewhat more accessible to new 18xx players as veteran players lack the advantage of immediately knowing which companies are viable. The fact that different train types and combinations of permits play very differently from each other and during different phases keep gameplay fresh and strategic diversity high.

Perhaps the most significant feature of 1862's gameplay is the merger. Mergers are the means by which companies acquire additional permits and the primary avenue for financial manipulation. For instance, a fully owned marginal company can be absorbed by a lucrative partially owned company with an option to buy the odd share at a discount to upgrade one's portfolio. Or, when combined with refinancing a struggling partially owned company, one can inject capital and late-model trains into a more viable company. I stumbled upon the latter tactic in my previous game and found myself with 80% of a company with two permitted H trains of different types immediately following a brutal train rush that obsolesced most of the other rolling stock in the game. This allowed me to profit immensely in the final three operating rounds and pumped my stock price up significantly. The heart of this game seems to be in the appropriate timing of the mergers and this is an art I have yet to master and so I will keep coming back.

Eastern Counties also offers two different ways to start a company: the conventional partial capitalization of the stock round and the government funded full capitalization of the parliamentary round. I feel there is plenty to explore even here, as one can use parliamentary funded companies to funnel capital to a private company and one has to weigh the relative value of high initial spending power versus the capacity to generate revenue for the company coffers during operating rounds. A private company combined with a local permit, for instance has an impressive capacity to generate operating capital.

Now to compare features common to all 18xx games. As many of us like to see, the train rush is brutal in the final phases. Our game saw maybe 80% train obsolescence and several companies forced to refinance in the final rounds. The map of East Anglia is extremely small but there are enough hubs on the map that, at least in the three player game, track upgrades and minor route diversions prevent much of the token angst. It should be noted that we weren't pushing the game much in this account. There also isn't much room for stock shenanigans in this one as the market is the pseudo-linear one of 1860, this 18xx is an operating focused title but a very good one at that. The game plays effectively at player counts of two and three and we're going to give four a go shortly. Our three player game ran approximately four hours.

1862 provided a highly enjoyable train gaming experience and is a welcome addition to the 18xx family due to the considerably different feel offered by the many new features. Kudos to Mike Hutton on the design and recommended to anyone looking for an 18xx title more of the 1829 line. Thanks for reading and until next time, happy gaming my friends.

Postscript: Played with four players. Game once again ended with nationalization after approximately 6 hours. Train rush was even more vicious with four and tokening was much more aggressive this time, especially around London.
13 
 Thumb up
2.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rick Granger
United States
Unspecified
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
At the moment, this is my favorite 18xx title.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Huberty (General Trashy Meeples the Ambigamer)
United States
Woodbury
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mine as well
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
A small handful of plays over increasing protest and I was done: too tactical. It hasn't been played, except one time by request by someone who had never played it, in over a year.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benson Propst
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is my favorite 18xx title (well it is tied with 1817).

The 4P game is supposed to be the most cut throat (and I have only ever played with 4 players).

The mergers and the different types of trains makes this game really shine.

Mike Hutton is my favorite 18xx designer, as his titles (though off the beaten 18xx track) seem to push the boundaries of what an 18xx can be.

He is currently working on 1833.33333333/Kent.

Have you tried his other published title, 1860?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Yeah, 1860 fights for being my favourite 18xx. Also in that mix outside of my own designs are '17, '49, and '73. (Rough question ATM as I'm in the hot'n'heavy stage of '20's design and it has consumed me almost entirely)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.