Recommend
16 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

18SS» Forums » Reviews

Subject: 18SS – familiar on the outside, different on the inside, but still 18xx rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ron
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
“It's all in the mind.” ― George Harrison
badge
Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Our group had the pleasure to try out 18SS recently. We played two games, the first one was aborted after two and a half hour, because two of the four players went bankrupt and dropped out of the game. The second game was played until the end. We used the rules translation provided by Jeffrey Smith
Jeffrey Smith
Australia
Rosanna
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb

here in the file section. Thanks, Jeffrey!

I hereby assume you are familiar with the concept of 18xx games. If not, go and buy 1830: Railways & Robber Barons, play it a couple of times, and then come back here. meeple

18SS is set in a fictive area, obviously somewhere in Japan. The game features 15 companies, all of them come with a 40% director’s share (which counts as two certificates) and three 20% shares counting as one certificate. You need to buy 60% to open a company, and once opened, it receives full capitalization, which is the par price times 5 (as there are only five certificates per company). So money is tight, but on the other hand, trains are cheap. Also, don’t bother about shareholding limits: there are none. Buy as many as you can afford!

Let’s have a look at the trains of 18SS:

Seven 3-Trains (250 Yen),
six 4-Trains (300 Yen),
eight 6-Trains (450 Yen) and
fifteen 8-Trains (600 Yen).

The game comes with seven 4-Trains, although as the rules said to use only 6, we decided to do so (and we all agreed that 6 is a good number for 4-Trains). The 6-Trains kill the 3-Trains, and the 8-Trains kill the 4-Trains. No surprises here, except the low prices of these engines. But given that the companies receive only 5 times the par price as capitalization, it fits perfectly. The 8-Trains also have a special power: they can re-use track that you already used with another train. Although neither of us managed to provide two trains for one company. I suspect the idea behind this is the famous Shinkansen. A nice idea, but I have yet to see how to put two trains in one single company ...

Talking about par prices, you have a choice of 70, 82, 100 or 122 Yen. And here we encountered a slight problem with the game – where to mark the par prices? There’s no table to show them, except the normal stock chart. But that would be very inconvenient. A slight annoyance. On the other hand, it could be a translation problem and there are no par prices, just current stock prices. Well, we used small pieces of paper with the par price written on it and put them directly on the initial shares.
EDIT: There was a translation error - all shares in the game are always traded at the current market price; no par prices here.

You might have wondered by now, where are the 2-Trains? Easy answer: there are none. This game starts directly in the Green Phase, with 3-Trains and green tiles available and two Operation Rounds after each Stock Round. Yes, it omits that boring Yellow Phase and jumps straight into the action. Companies are allowed to build two tiles in their turn, which includes two upgrades (although you cannot build and upgrade the same hex in a single round). So the board quickly fills up with track, especially with so many companies around. The omission of the Yellow Phase makes this a very quick game; you can immediately sell your privates and run trains on quickly developed good routes. But there’s another catch: the whole game features a train limit of only 2, so buying two 3-Trains means you desperately need another company to buy one of the trains out, otherwise you can’t buy another train (until your 3-Trains are finally scrapped by the 6-Trains). Although with 15 companies around, there’s enough room for train shuffling!

Also, it’s allowed to pay out half dividends, and when you pay out, full or half, regardless how many Yen, your share price will always rise. And don’t think much about holding back money for tokens – companies have two or three tokens, and they are all free! You don’t have to pay for them, just put them down.

But now comes the weirdest thing, and let me quote the rules here: “Stations of other companies will not affect track laying or train service in any way”. Wow. That’s something new – no more blocking out? No more aggressive tokening? Woo-hoo, look at me, I run my train through any city, regardless how many tokens there are and to whom they belong! The only condition – as usual – is, that you need one of your own tokens on your route.

Now, when you look at the board, it’s pretty wide open with plenty of hexes to build. Although the map features a fair amount of cities, with 15 companies and 36 tokens (which cost zilch to build) in the game, even the 3-space brown cities fill up quickly. But with the tokens-don’t-block rule, that’s in fact no problem at all. At the beginning of the game, you can find more lucrative routes in the southern area of the board; when the brown and grey tiles come out, the northern part becomes much more valuable. So if you are operating a southern company, just be sure to keep one token in reserve for the end game, as you will likely need it in the second half of the game to put it in a city in the northern half of the game board. That “P”-city in the middle of the map is a real blocker, and the southerners have to build a route around it to harvest the rich cities of the north in the end game.

Another interesting side effect of the tokens-don’t-block rule is that the 6 and 8-Trains basically all run for the same revenue, which is 600 and 680 Yen respectively. That saves a lot of time in the end game, and – combined with the omission of the Yellow Phase – ensures that a full game can be played in two hours (provided you don’t have slow players on the table and use poker chips).

The bank consists of 8,000 Yen. So once the companies are open and all trains are bought, the game is more or less over. Don’t expect those 8-Trains to run often!

So if you look for a cut-throat 18xx filler game playable in two hours, you have found it! You have to throw a few of your 18xx habits overboard, but that feels refreshingly different in 18SS and provided no problems. We all liked it. And we surely will play it again – probably as a quick nightcap after a couple of other 18xx games.

Thanks for reading (or simply: どうも有難う). meeple



Thanks to user BeyondMonopoly for the empty game board image.
19 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Fryer
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Huh, nice write up. Sounds weird, but hey, I'm weird too - as long as the game was a fun investment of time, then that's great!

If it's that short, I'll have to laminate and cut my copy then and get it to the table...

Thanks for the info on the game!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
“It's all in the mind.” ― George Harrison
badge
Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tonyfryer wrote:
If it's that short, I'll have to laminate and cut my copy then and get it to the table...

Yes, it's worth the effort!

tonyfryer wrote:
Thanks for the info on the game!

You're welcome meeple
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tyler McLaughlin
Canada
Medicine Hat
Alberta
flag msg tools
Talk
badge
Words
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ron, I have always liked your reviews. You do a great job of creating excitement and you can sense YOUR excitement for the game in question in your writing.

Knowing how easy this will be to get to the table now, (again, thanks Jeff) I'm certain to try this one very soon.
3 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher M
United States
Flowood
MS
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review. Where can I find this game?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Copies can likely still be ordered through agents in Japan. I imported a bunch of copies in 2011 in a group order from Yoichi Saito at BoardWalk. If they are still available, the kits are lightweight printed paper in plastic bags. Track tiles for instance are generally black ink printed on light weight coloured paper (as show below):







Thankfully, rebuilding the map and track tiles in ps18xx and generating more reasonable components in XXPaper is pretty easy.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
“It's all in the mind.” ― George Harrison
badge
Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
e.e.goings wrote:
Ron, I have always liked your reviews. You do a great job of creating excitement and you can sense YOUR excitement for the game in question in your writing.

Thanks, Tyler modest

Deaddogdays wrote:
Nice review. Where can I find this game?

I got mine from this store in Japan. The owner is a very nice guy and they can communicate in English; to save shipping, I also ordered multiple copies:

Hobby Games BOARDWALK

Ota Bldg.4F 1-7 Saiwai Kita Okayama 700-0903 JAPAN
TEL:81-86-224-4064
FAX:81-86-224-

URL:http://www.boardwalk.co.jp/okj-
E-Mail:okayama@boardwalk.co.jp

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeffrey Smith
Australia
Rosanna
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Great review! I'm so glad you managed to try it (I haven't managed to play mine yet blush )

These j8xx games are really creative. I love how they fill in the gaps between other 18xx; together they'd form a neat training programme.

I ordered my copies from Boardwalk just a few months ago, so they're definitely available. Saito-san speaks English and is a pleasure to deal with.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kimmo Leivo
Finland
Siilinjarvi
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I ordered all the available titles (1891, 18SS, 18NK and 18SY) from Mr Saito in January.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Theiss
United States
College Station
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sweet review.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel D'Cotta
Singapore
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
PzVIE wrote:
Another interesting side effect of the tokens-don’t-block rule is that the 6 and 8-Trains basically all run for the same revenue, which is 600 and 680 Yen respectively.


Does this make operating all the 15 companies very similar to each other?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
“It's all in the mind.” ― George Harrison
badge
Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SilentNSly wrote:
PzVIE wrote:
Another interesting side effect of the tokens-don’t-block rule is that the 6 and 8-Trains basically all run for the same revenue, which is 600 and 680 Yen respectively.


Does this make operating all the 15 companies very similar to each other?

Absolutely! As soon as the southern companies have access to the north in the second half of the game, they're in the same feeding grounds and - of course depending on trains owned - all earn more or less the same. So share values of shares owned are really important in this game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
lychenus
msg tools
yes, the game is easily very short. but is this still a good game? 90% into finishing the game i stopped and read the rules. i am somewhat disappointed with it.
 
 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.