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Subject: 18XX question rss

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Jim Carvin
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I wasn't originally planning to make it to the WBC this year but it turns out that I'm able to make it for either the first three days or the last three days. In the past I would have chosen the last three so that I could just do open gaming. However, my gaming tastes are shifting a bit thanks to 1846 and a few print-and-play games(1800 & 18AL). I'm very eager to try out some other 18xx games so I've opted to come the first three days.

So I'm looking for any advice on how to approach this. I believe, from what I've read, the GM is encouraging shorter 18xx games for the early games. Is that true? Which titles will likely be played and which game rules should I read to get prepared? Any other advice is welcome too.

I'm sure others may have the same questions since GMT's version of 1846 seems to be reeling in a bunch of new 18xx players. I have no delusions of winning a game in the tournament but I'm more than happy to take my lumps while learning the ins-and-outs of the games while having some fun and meeting gamers I may not normally have met in the open gaming area.
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Glen Pearce
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Welcome to the shark tank, err, the 18XX tourney at WBC. There will be very likely a LOT of 1846 played, but other titles are available too. Do not be discouraged or disheartened by the caliber of other players there, use it as a learning experience. Take it from me, I finished last in most of my games there until recently and learned from that enough to actually make the finals (and not finish last there too!!) 2 years ago.

Oh, and if you get the chance to play against the nearly-undefeatable Bruce Beard, try to take notes of what he does and try to figure out why he did what he did when he did it, the more you can do that, the better your game will become (it definitely helped me).
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Jim Carvin
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Thanks Glen. I'm more than happy to jump into the tank! zombie

I should probably play 1846 against people outside of my normal circles (all of which are also 18xx newbs) but I wasn't planning to. I'm hoping to give some other 18xx titles a try somewhere in complexity (if that's the right word) above 1846 but below 1817.
 
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Richard Irving
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This tournament features many players who will send you to the poor house with a smile. Do not be afraid to ask rule questions.

The GM gives you a card to choose which 18XX game you'd like to play for that round. I usually write "any" on my card and end up playing a game I have never played before.

18XX is a lot like hex based wargames, once you learn one, most share similar rules, so learning a new game is a matter is a matter of learning differences from games you already know:
- Differences in set up/distribution of the minor assets,
- full vs. partial capitalization (When a company floats, how money does it start with (Full = 10x par stock price, Partial = the value opening shares that have been sold.)
- where dividends of unowned shares: 1830 the shares in the bank pool pay their dividends to the company and the unsold shares in the initial offering pay nothing; in 1870, this is the reverse.
- Whether the company can buy back shares to collect dividends or re-offer them.
- Whether loans are allowed and the and the consequences of default. (In some games, a possible strategy is to start a company, take all of the loans you can out, buy trains which are sold to a more viable company you also control, and then default on the loan and let the government take over.)
- Etc.

These rules may not seem like much during reading/learning can have major effects on tactics and strategy.
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Thumis Dalidalisa
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You might also look at the open gaming geeklist (a link is in the forums a few items down) to find a non-tournament game like you want.
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Jim Carvin
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Kolumel wrote:
You might also look at the open gaming geeklist (a link is in the forums a few items down) to find a non-tournament game like you want.


Thanks, I did see Max's list but there's just 1846 on there at the moment and I won't be there Tuesday (though I hope to play Food Chain Magnate). I'm not sure what time I'll have Saturday or Sunday if I'm just playing 18xx. Though I'm not sure about 2 games of 18xx each day, we'll have to see if I can hack it. Monday...anything goes.
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Richard Irving
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Quote:
I believe, from what I've read, the GM is encouraging shorter 18xx games for the early games. Is that true? Which titles will likely be played and which game rules should I read to get prepared? Any other advice is welcome too.


Some 18XX games take about 3-5 hours (1830, 1846), some take 6-8 hours or longer (1870 is a particular culprit). At the WBC, some games run a bit longer than in the wild. (Though often they'll pay out the final OR's on a spreadsheet when all that happening is draining the bank.)

The GM is merely encouraging "shorter" games in the first heat mainly so they get done with ample time before the second heat of the day, so he won't have to adjudicate an unfinished game. The second heat can go as late as needed to complete them.
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Eric Brosius
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Hi, Jim! Glad you're going to be able to make it after all.

There has been more and more 1846 at WBC in recent years, and the release of the new GMT edition amplifies that trend. As Rich said, you can write "1846" on your preference card and you will almost certainly get into a game of 1846. Let the GM know about the fact that you're new and would like to try it. If there are more than one table of 1846, which I expect, you can play several times and meet mostly new opponents each time.

The other game that is common at WBC is 1830, since many people learned it long ago and it's the one they're most comfortable at. For the games other than 1846 and 1830 (namely, 1861, 1862, 1880, 1856, 1870, 18EU, and 18NY,) there may be 0 or 1 tables at a given heat, so it's more likely that a person might not be able play a particular one.

The tournament depends on welcoming new players in order to grow and thrive, and I agree with the comments above that people will welcome you. In fact, after playing 1846 once or twice, if you want to try a new one, as Rich often does, people are supportive of that and won't be impatient with you (at least, not in my experience.) However, some of those other titles are quite a bit longer, so you might want to ask how long a given title runs at WBC before listing it on your card.

[Edit: here's a link from last year with play counts by title:

http://www.boardgamers.org/yearbook16/8xx.html

1830: 14 plays
1846: 8
1861: 4
18Dixie: 3
1880: 3
18NY: 2
1862: 2
1856: 1
18EU: 1]
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Eric Engelmann
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jcarvin wrote:
...
I'm very eager to try out some other 18xx games so I've opted to come the first three days...


I'll point out that the 18xx gamers run a wide range of 18xx games in open gaming every day after the 18xx tourney is completed.
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Christopher Yaure
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As I read the comments about the play of 18XX and the attitudes of its players, I am coming to the conclusion it is more of a wargame than a euro:

1. The better player is much more likely to win
2. Most players care more about having an opponent than winning a game
3. New players are considered a resources, not a burden

9 days until the best 9 days of the year!
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Rahul Chandra
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actuaryesquire wrote:
As I read the comments about the play of 18XX and the attitudes of its players, I am coming to the conclusion it is more of a wargame than a euro:

1. The better player is much more likely to win
2. Most players care more about having an opponent than winning a game
3. New players are considered a resources, not a burden


From my limited 18XX plays I think the conclusion is correct, but I don't see how those 3 statements connect to it!

How important is bringing a copy of 1846 (probably want to play in the tournament, might want to play an open game)? Trying to leave luggage weight/space for games shopping, but not lose any important play chances, so tough to decide which games to bring. If I do bring it I'd have to be using mini poker chips rather than full ones, too...
 
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Eric Brosius
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Rahul, in theory you need a copy to be sure of playing in the tournament, but in practice I'd be very surprised if you need one for 1846. I expect there will be many copies there.

If you want to play it in open gaming, make friends with the people who are playng 18xx games in open gaming and ask them. I'll bet you'll be able to get into a game.
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Eric Brosius
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actuaryesquire wrote:
1. The better player is much more likely to win
2. Most players care more about having an opponent than winning a game
3. New players are considered a resources, not a burden

4. There are many different titles, with somewhat different rules, but most of the maps use hexes.
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Andrew Drummond
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actuaryesquire wrote:

3. New players are considered a resources, not a burden


Is this really a thing???

While I admit I have put some strategic thought into how to best win a game against a new player, is it really a "Euro" line of thought to discourage new players?

I know in previous tournaments I have GMd, I have tried my very best to encourage as many people as possible to play the game. Feels like we're always fighting the Century cap and we need as many as possible to ensure our game comes back next year.

Over and above that I love sharing my favourite games with other people too.
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Christopher Yaure
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Andrew - many WBCers in all types of games are happy to see new players trying and enjoying their favorite games. One complaint, however, I only seem to hear from players in multiplayer euros - that a new (or less superbly skilled) player was in a seat that advantaged an opponent (frequently the new player is sitting to the left of the disadvantaged complainer and to the right of the advantaged opponent).

8 days until the best 9 days of the year.
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Henry Dove
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sigh, two years in a row I can't make it. My only real time to play live 18XX against great players.
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Scott Saccenti
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DoveBar wrote:
sigh, two years in a row I can't make it. My only real time to play live 18XX against great players.


Was hoping to see you there Henry. You'd better make Frog Days!
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Rahul Chandra
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actuaryesquire wrote:
Andrew - many WBCers in all types of games are happy to see new players trying and enjoying their favorite games. One complaint, however, I only seem to hear from players in multiplayer euros - that a new (or less superbly skilled) player was in a seat that advantaged an opponent (frequently the new player is sitting to the left of the disadvantaged complainer and to the right of the advantaged opponent).

8 days until the best 9 days of the year.


This is a problem in almost every multiplayer game, not exclusive to euros. As well, the closely related problems caused when players don't think they can win but any action or inaction will still affect the others.

One thing I like about Titan is the effects of these are minimized (it's hard to be stuck in the game with no chance for a long time yet also unable to just fairly concede) but they are still there.

That said, since nothing much is at stake I don't expect to see many complaints about it. Last time I was at WBC I played one heat of Small World, had to teach a new player (no advice) and he got a resounding first place in that game (to my resounding last place, it wasn't close in either direction). On the other side, my first-round Sekigahara opponent was very friendly and patient with my "saw half the demo" level of knowledge.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
Is this really a thing???

While I admit I have put some strategic thought into how to best win a game against a new player, is it really a "Euro" line of thought to discourage new players?


I think it is the idea that with a generic new person, there is a struggle to get on the same page in terms of what games to play. We see "conversion" threads on here all the time.

So, general new players might not do you any good. For 18xx, however, this isn't a concern. They turn up to play 18xx and the groups are dedicated specifically to that game.

In terms of the strategy issues with new players, I agree an issue exists buy I have absolutely no sympathy or tolerance for whining about it anymore.

We all choose to play multi-player games and we get what we get. If someone doesn't want to deal with this, then they should stick to 2P games...plenty of them to choose from at the con.

The particular problem at our convention is that many of those games don't fit neatly into the schedules of those chasing the most wood, so they have to play the multi-player euros. I don't think they take enough responsibility for their choice to do so, though.

Quote:
That said, since nothing much is at stake I don't expect to see many complaints about it.


The WBC is the greatest convention in the world, to my mind, and as Christopher always says, it is the best week (9 days now) of the year.

However, people bitch and moan about losing because of other players, specifically new players, all the time. It is the one real negative of the week for me.

I usually just tell the whiner they made the choice to play with strangers of varying skill levels. "Suboptimal" moves are part of that tapestry.

The vast majority of people are awesome and understanding, and I have a great time playing with them, but I always run into a few rotten eggs that aren't so awesome during the week. The issue is always, "I lost a chance at wood because that idiot didn't make the move he was supposed to."

Grinds my gears.

Kevin
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Michael McKibbin
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natsean wrote:
Quote:
Is this really a thing???

While I admit I have put some strategic thought into how to best win a game against a new player, is it really a "Euro" line of thought to discourage new players?


I think it is the idea that with a generic new person, there is a struggle to get on the same page in terms of what games to play. We see "conversion" threads on here all the time.

So, general new players might not do you any good. For 18xx, however, this isn't a concern. They turn up to play 18xx and the groups are dedicated specifically to that game.

In terms of the strategy issues with new players, I agree an issue exists buy I have absolutely no sympathy or tolerance for whining about it anymore.

We all choose to play multi-player games and we get what we get. If someone doesn't want to deal with this, then they should stick to 2P games...plenty of them to choose from at the con.

The particular problem at our convention is that many of those games don't fit neatly into the schedules of those chasing the most wood, so they have to play the multi-player euros. I don't think they take enough responsibility for their choice to do so, though.

Quote:
That said, since nothing much is at stake I don't expect to see many complaints about it.


The WBC is the greatest convention in the world, to my mind, and as Christopher always says, it is the best week (9 days now) of the year.

However, people bitch and moan about losing because of other players, specifically new players, all the time. It is the one real negative of the week for me.

I usually just tell the whiner they made the choice to play with strangers of varying skill levels. "Suboptimal" moves are part of that tapestry.

The vast majority of people are awesome and understanding, and I have a great time playing with them, but I always run into a few rotten eggs that aren't so awesome during the week. The issue is always, "I lost a chance at wood because that idiot didn't make the move he was supposed to."

Grinds my gears.

Kevin


The way I look at it, if a player is not good enough to deal with a sub-optimal player or two in the heats, they they probably don't deserve to advance to the elimination rounds anyway. Truly talented players will find a way to win regardless of the competition.
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Dan Boyle
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Surely it goes both ways too - I've certainly been on the benefiting side of a suboptimal move before. People like that are going to whine no matter what. And if they win, they're probably going to gloat.
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Curt Collins
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Quote:
The way I look at it, if a player is not good enough to deal with a sub-optimal player or two in the heats, they they probably don't deserve to advance to the elimination rounds anyway. Truly talented players will find a way to win regardless of the competition.


I think the thing people have to come to realize (and it takes a while for some of us) is that the best player, no matter how good he or she may play, doesn't always win. This goes double or triple for games where inexperienced opponents can skew results. IMO the heats are the hardest round to get out of.

New players can certainly put a game out of reach for a truly talented player. You just have to accept that there is an additional layer of luck that playing with random people brings. Sometimes you get lucky and benefit from this, sometimes you get hosed. It happens in finals sometimes, and there's nothing you can do about it.
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Eric Brosius
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People who play in a single group, or play online, are often playing in a "hothouse" environment where the conditions are much less variable than they are in the wild. They see the same thing over and over, and learn to optimize their play for that specific environment.

When they get to WBC, people do a much wider range of things than they are used to, and rather than enjoy the diversity, they complain about it.

One very strong player at WBC, David Platnick, often goes way off book in one of these games, and throws people for a loop. I remember him being the Governor at the start of a 4-player game of Puerto Rico and building a Hospice. I also remember him playing The Princes of Florence and building nothing in his principality except three Forests.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
In terms of the strategy issues with new players, I agree an issue exists but I have absolutely no sympathy or tolerance for whining about it anymore.

We all choose to play multi-player games and we get what we get. If someone doesn't want to deal with this, then they should stick to 2P games...plenty of them to choose from at the con.

The particular problem at our convention is that many of those games don't fit neatly into the schedules of those chasing the most wood, so they have to play the multi-player euros.


That's a good point. It's a lot easier to come up with a less time-intensive format for 3+ player games, since you can chop down the field much faster when only the ratio of wins to player is 1/9 or even 1/4 instead of 1/2.

Quote:
When they get to WBC, people do a much wider range of things than they are used to, and rather than enjoy the diversity, they complain about it.

One very strong player at WBC, David Platnick, often goes way off book in one of these games, and throws people for a loop.


Playing "sub-optimally" in certain ways can be a smart play for a lesser player. I mean, you won't win playing dumb, but you also aren't going to win any upsets if you play right into the meta of the higher rated players - because they already know how to beat you every time in that meta. It would be like if Rice tried to play smash-mouth gridiron football against Alabama. Your best hope is probably to try something outside the script.

Quote:
The way I look at it, if a player is not good enough to deal with a sub-optimal player or two in the heats, they they probably don't deserve to advance to the elimination rounds anyway.


Mostly true, although sometimes a player of any skill level just has the ability to take another down with him and there is little that can be done. It's rarely that bad, though, but I did play a game of Britannia one year where one player, although he knew the rules, clearly had no clue how to play. I don't mean "wasn't very good at it" - I mean, I'm not very good at Britannia myself. I mean, he had absolutely no rhyme or reason behind anything he did and mostly just randomly attacked as much as he could without any regard to the board situation or his own (or anyone else's) scoring chart. He ended up particularly picking on one guy over and over and didn't even seem to realize that he was doing it - he wasn't being angry or vengeful or petty about it. This move ensured that neither him nor his target had any chance to win. Me and the other player both felt pretty bad for the poor target and tried to subtly suggest other courses of action without being pushy about it, but to no avail. That was 4 hours of completely no fun. I finished 2nd and I wouldn't have enjoyed it one bit even had I been 1st.

Again, let me say, this type of thing doesn't happen much. But it does happen. I understand complaining about that, as opposed to "well this one turn he should have done this, but he didn't, so I couldn't win!" Well if his move would have let you win, then from his point of view why the heck should he have made it?
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Christopher Yaure
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Thumbed for this line:
Quote:
Well if his move would have let you win, then from his point of view why the heck should he have made it?
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