Nathan, Erin, Chris (me) and Gare played 18AL today. This was Nathan's first 18xx game. Erin, Chris and Gare have all played a bit of 18xx, but not a lot.
Erin bought Tuscumbia Railway for $20
Erin bought South and North Alabama Railroad (coal field token) for $50
Gare bought Brown and Sons Lumber Company (lumber terminal tile) for $90
Chris bought Memphis and Charleston Railroad (train name chits) for $125
Nathan bought New Decatur Yards (half-price train purchase) for $125
Nathan got a deal on the New Decatur Yards, in part because we all wanted to start companies in the first round and in part because he was the newbie.
Chris opened the M&O at $60
Gare opened the WRA at $60
Nathan opened the ABC at $60
Erin opened the L&N at $70
Starting money was $500. Certificate limit was 12.
Chris spent $125 + $360 = $485.
Gare spent $90 + $360 = $450.
Nathan spent $125 + $360 = $485.
Erin spent $70 + $420 = $490.
We all bought six shares of our own companies. I wanted to try something new and hadn't started with the M&O before. I thought I might be able to do something with the Pan American Nashville Mobile +$40 bonus chit. Gare wanted to try the WRA with the lumber terminal. Nathan took the 'easy' ABC, partly because it was the one I demonstrated during the rules explanation. Erin took the L&N which can open strong for a quick $90 run, or can charge to Birmingham for the destination.
During the first two operating rounds (ORs) Nathan bought two 2 trains. In the third operating round, Erin opted not to buy the first 3 train, because that would guarantee that the WRA could token Birmingham, locking her out. Unfortunately for her, I had the priority and decided to buy the 3 train with the M&O, which would allow me to open the ATN in the following stock round at $60 by buying in the Memphis & Charleston RR private. That allowed Gare to token Birmingham with the WRA. It meant that everyone except Erin got a second train and we all bought in our private companies. Meanwhile, she was poor and didn't have the second train.
In the following stock round, I opened the ATN at $60 and Nathan opened the TAG at $70. This had a critical effect on the game, leaving us undercapitalized and reluctant to buy more trains. We ran quite a few rounds with the ATN and TAG running a 4 train each and everyone else running a 3 train. Nobody had a good enough incentive to buy the last 4 train, which was a poison pill, because they couldn't then afford to buy a permanent train.
I had a chance to leave the ATN in the yellow, which would have let me and Erin hold 2 extra shares and Nathan and Gare to hold 1 extra share. If I'd done that and withheld a few times, I could have blown it open and bought a 4 and 5 train. I decided the current situation was in my favor, so declined and we all had to sell a few shares. The stall continued.
We upgraded just about every yellow tile to green in hopes that the brown tiles would open up the board. The stall continued.
Finally, it was apparent that the L&N would top out at 300, ending the game, within 5 ORs. This meant the 4 trains were permanent, because it was next to impossible for anyone to buy the 7 and delay-obsolesce them before the L&N topped out. Thus, I bought the last 4 for the M&O and Nathan bought the first 5 for the TAG. Those were the last trains purchased. We finished out that operating round with one train each, but with the higher red/grey values and a couple of brown tiles.
With so many green tiles out, nearly everyone was able to hit Montgomery + Lumber + Dothan + Phenix City for $90. The game went another two ORs and the bank busted before the L&N could top out.
Final runs and values:
L&N ran for $22 with a 3 train ending at $270 per share.
WRA ran for $21 with a 3 train ending at $190 per share.
M&O ran for $37 with a 3 train and 4 train ending at $190 per share.
TAG ran for $46 with a 3 train and 5 train ending at $135 per share.
ABC ran for $25 with a 4 train ending at $120 per share.
ATN ran for $23 with a 4 train ending at $120 per share.
Erin (6 L&N, 3 WRA, 1 M&O, 3 ATN) $2740 stock + $1870 cash = $4610.
Chris (2 L&N, 6 M&O, 1 TAG, 5 ATN) $2415 stock + $2281 cash = $4696.
Gare (2 L&N, 6 WRA, 2 M&O, 1 TAG, 1 ABC, 1 ATN) $2435 stock + $1916 cash = $4351.
Nathan (1 WRA, 1 M&O, 6 TAG, 5 ABC, 1 ATN) $1910 stock + $1982 cash = $3892.
In retrospect, Gare or Nathan probably should have taken the plunge and bought the last 4 train, even though it might have meant paying for a permanent train out of pocket. Nathan was doing fine on cash, but behind on stock value, a common experience for new players.
I've played 18AL eight times, and this is the second time I've seen such a pronounced stall at the last 4 train. Both times, the companies were opened low and were cash poor. I suspect if I'd waited another round before buying the three train, the ATN and TAG would have opened at higher par values and had enough money to buy the last 4 and a permanent train. With all six companies capitalized at 600 and 700, it was rough going.
- Last edited Mon Mar 5, 2007 4:00 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Mon Mar 5, 2007 1:43 am
zippy grey wedge owner
Good report! I'm new to 18xx, having tried 18GA, 1830 and played a few games of 1856. Seems there aren't enough strategy and session reports, and yours is a welcome addition. More!
Thanks. I suggest you join the 18xx yahoo group, where there are lots of archived discussions of strategy and sessions (and many, many rules discussions!).