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1846: The Race for the Midwest» Forums » General

Subject: Historically accurate rss

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Chris Wilczewski
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Just curious how historically accurate is this game? I mean I realize that the track paths won't be the same, but in terms of things like acquiring the old defunct railroads in the area, the company names, or when companies couldn't afford trains, did CEOs really come out of pocket for that?

 
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Eric Brosius
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The historical content is in the struggle to create corporations that will be able to bring goods from the west to the east coast cities.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Limited liability corporations came about in 1860 (and in England no less -- it took a while for the rest of the world to follow suit). Until that point investors in a company were also personally liable for that company's debts and losses. Of course they also got their share of the profits as well...at least sometimes. As partial owners of the company they personally owned everything: both the successes and failures.
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Stephe Thomas
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If we're going to be picky, limited liability is considerably older than 1860--15th century England if you happened to be a monastery. Certain Crown monopolies and trade guilds gained the right somewhat gradually, but limited liability for ordinary share companies came about in 1855 in the United Kingdom (not just England). By 1860 the idea was much more widespread, and many European countries and most of the states of the US had it.

But JC is right--before then, investing in a corporation could be a very dangerous thing to do.
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Tom Lehmann
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A historical overview, including the sources I used when designing the game, is provided. Obviously, there is selection in terms of what details to keep and what to leave out. But, I believe all the key points are covered.

That being said, I am using the overall 18xx "system", which is by no means a simulation. Track wasn't communally owned, for example, although freight interchange took place, and so on.

I would suggest discussing the 18xx system in general in some other forum, such as an 18xx group.
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Jim Knight
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maisnestce wrote:
If we're going to be picky, limited liability is considerably older than 1860--15th century England if you happened to be a monastery. Certain Crown monopolies and trade guilds gained the right somewhat gradually, but limited liability for ordinary share companies came about in 1855 in the United Kingdom (not just England). By 1860 the idea was much more widespread, and many European countries and most of the states of the US had it.

But JC is right--before then, investing in a corporation could be a very dangerous thing to do.


Hence in novels of the period merchants were always standing at the dockside anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ships from the Far East carrying their goods!
 
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Edwin Nealley

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It was even the main gag for an comic opera in Victorian days:

Some seven men form an association
If possible all peers and baronets
They then proceed to make a declaration
To what extent they mean to pay their debts

That's called their capital, if they are wary
They will not quote it at a sum immense
The figure's immaterial it may vary
From 18 million down to eighteen pence

I should put it rather low
The good sense of doing so
Will be evident at once to any debtor

When it's left for you to say
What amount you mean to pay
Why the lower you can put it at the better!

W.S. Gilbert

Of course this is humor, and the amount of Capitol with which you fund in 18xx is blood, but the sense is here for privately funded companies with Limited Liability.
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David Damerell
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maisnestce wrote:
But JC is right--before then, investing in a corporation could be a very dangerous thing to do.


... although the 18xx-ism where anyone who owns 10% of the corporation is perfectly safe and the largest shareholder is on the hook for the whole of the problem has no historical basis.

18xxes are games, not simulations - you don't found companies in 1825 by the Railway Mania method of producing a laughably optimistic prospectus, going bankrupt, and having the creditors run the railway without the crippling debt burden. The map (and any incentives given to companies to develop in particular directions) is as historical as they get.
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Chris Wilczewski
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The main question I had was about the CEO bailing the company out - I didn't know that LLCs weren't really a thing during that era. Pretty cool that it reflects, generally, the business environment at the time.

Without going too far off topic, could anyone recommend an article or website I could learn more about why LLCs became a thing in the first place?
 
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