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

Subject: Experience with the simplified variants? rss

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Dave Berry
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The rulebook recommends that people new to 18xx start with the Simple Express game, and 18xx players new to 1862 start with the Simple Freight game. I'm wondering whether people here have tried these simplified games and what you thought of them.

Back when 1862 came out, our group tried the Simple Freight game, and we didn't find it particularly helpful. The mechanics worked but it wasn't enjoyable and it didn't actually simplify the areas of the game that we found complicated.

I think the flow of the standard (non-simplified) game actually works well for introducing the three different train types. At the start, each company has only one type of train, so when you're running that company you can focus on how that train type works. Later, as companies merge, you get to learn how they work together. In your first game, you'll almost certainly make poor choices of which companies to start, but that's true of any game. On the positive side, you'll learn about all three types of trains and how they interact, making you better prepared for the next game. So I'm really not convinced the simplified games work well as introductory games.

If anything, the presence of these simplified variants make the game more complicated for the first-time group, as they have to decide which variant to play and work out how to change the setup accordingly. So they face more decisions right from the off.

It may be that other groups found the simplified games to be helpful in learning the game. I'd be interested to hear about other people's experiences.

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Paolo Russo
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Roma
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Sorry I never even tried the simplified variant, because it looked to shallow and meaningless for me. I mean, if I want a one-kind-of-train game a pick a different 18xx title.

Plus first time was very hard to get around all the choices among the different variations.

So if I can vote, I vote to eliminate the variant as they are today. Hoping in a better introductory idea.

Ps. I love this title in its entirety
 
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Bill Jaffe
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Return the title back to 18EA, and ditch the STOLEN 1862 title from Ohley's game on the US.
 
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Alex Mauer
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bigbillthecollector wrote:
Return the title back to 18EA, and ditch the STOLEN 1862 title from Ohley's game on the US.


Another county heard from. That’s quite the non-sequitur.
 
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Stephe Thomas
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bigbillthecollector wrote:
Return the title back to 18EA, and ditch the STOLEN 1862 title from Ohley's game on the US.
While I don't entirely disagree with the sentiment, the situation is somewhat more complex.

I came back from one of my trips abroad, some time in the 90s, with a copy of 1869: The Golden Spike. It was thoroughly broken. Chris Lawson redid the map and some components, and he called it 1862 (which is the year of the transcontinental railroad act). Chris and I continued to develop it. In due course Helmut came out with his own 1862 (named after that same act, though as the game ignores so much history and geography he could have picked almost anything). Chris & I decided (after some grumbling) to rename our game, though we could not agree what to. He favoured 1863 (which is when they started digging) and I went for 1845 (which is when the matter was first seriously proposed in Congress). For a while our game was known as 1854+/-9. Chris eventually cut the Gordian Knot by making a new map labelled 1848 (which is when the first train steamed into Chicago).

Meanwhile, O&O were working on a game set in Australia. They called it 1855, which is when either trains first ran or a train company first formed (I forget which) in Oz. In what then struck me as rather a strange move, at the last minute they renamed it 1848, which as far as I know is a year of no significance whatever in Down Under railway history. To this day I have no idea why they decided 1855 was so wrong that they had to change it, or why 1848 was so right that they had to pick it despite knowing that it was already taken. In any event we're done changing the number, so when we just call it The One True 1848.

Having said that, it's not as if ours was the first game to be called 1862. I encountered one such in a game store in Mountain View, CA, in about 1992 and very nearly bought it. Fortunately I looked more closely before I ended up with a US Civil War game in which the railroads were just a way of moving stuff about the map, with no significant economics attached.

In the case of 1862/18EA, 1862 is at least a date of some significance in the area. (It's also the date that trains first ran on the Isle of Wight, so why that game is called 1860 is anyone's guess. But I digress.) Changing the name at the last minute, from something unique to something already taken, resulting in ditching all the momentum gained while playtesting, stuck me (and still strikes me) as a wayward decision. I compromise by calling the game 18EA and its designer 1862.
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Bleicher
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maisnestce wrote:
bigbillthecollector wrote:
Return the title back to 18EA, and ditch the STOLEN 1862 title from Ohley's game on the US.
While I don't entirely disagree with the sentiment, the situation is somewhat more complex.

I came back from one of my trips abroad, some time in the 90s, with a copy of 1869: The Golden Spike. It was thoroughly broken. Chris Lawson redid the map and some components, and he called it 1862 (which is the year of the transcontinental railroad act). Chris and I continued to develop it. In due course Helmut came out with his own 1862 (named after that same act, though as the game ignores so much history and geography he could have picked almost anything). Chris & I decided (after some grumbling) to rename our game, though we could not agree what to. He favoured 1863 (which is when they started digging) and I went for 1845 (which is when the matter was first seriously proposed in Congress). For a while our game was known as 1854+/-9. Chris eventually cut the Gordian Knot by making a new map labelled 1848 (which is when the first train steamed into Chicago).

Meanwhile, O&O were working on a game set in Australia. They called it 1855, which is when either trains first ran or a train company first formed (I forget which) in Oz. In what then struck me as rather a strange move, at the last minute they renamed it 1848, which as far as I know is a year of no significance whatever in Down Under railway history. To this day I have no idea why they decided 1855 was so wrong that they had to change it, or why 1848 was so right that they had to pick it despite knowing that it was already taken. In any event we're done changing the number, so when we just call it The One True 1848.

Having said that, it's not as if ours was the first game to be called 1862. I encountered one such in a game store in Mountain View, CA, in about 1992 and very nearly bought it. Fortunately I looked more closely before I ended up with a US Civil War game in which the railroads were just a way of moving stuff about the map, with no significant economics attached.

In the case of 1862/18EA, 1862 is at least a date of some significance in the area. (It's also the date that trains first ran on the Isle of Wight, so why that game is called 1860 is anyone's guess. But I digress.) Changing the name at the last minute, from something unique to something already taken, resulting in ditching all the momentum gained while playtesting, stuck me (and still strikes me) as a wayward decision. I compromise by calling the game 18EA and its designer 1862.


Nice to hear that story. Given the obvious problem of limited number of years existing and the number of 18XX games being released and in development, there will never be a way to avoid that, so unless people go creative (I loved the "1854+/-9"), I would simply accept that any standard 18xx title is more likely than not to be already being used by some game being developed somewhere...
 
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J C Lawrence
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Campbell
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There will come a time when the number of games called "1839" exceeds the number of that year...
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Breno K.
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We sort of call games by their location

18China, 18Australia, 18Sicily...
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Stephe Thomas
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BrenoK wrote:
We sort of call games by their location
18China, 18Australia, 18Sicily...
Yes, but "18USA-from-Boston-to-Chicago" is a bit of a mouthful and might mean 1830 or 1817, or plausibly several others. 18USA is at least easier to say, but it might mean 1827jr or any of the versions of 18C2C, with 1862 and 18US (plus I think the johnny-come-lately 18USA) occupying strategic scale points in between.
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Randy Brown
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In answer to the original post, I would not recommend the single train-type variant under any circumstances. Playing with locals and freights at least keeps the track building tension in the game, so that is an option (not mentioned in the variants). I agree with Dave that players will tend to learn how their trains run as the game progresses.

Mergers and recapitalizations are a bit trickier, but you can probably wait until the second set to explain them (with a little bit of sign-posting about connectivity). I like your suggested variant in the other thread.

RB
 
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