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Subject: An Awkward game of 1846 rss

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Avery Bailey
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Maybe it was because we were tired from the holiday (or the game of 18CZ just prior). Maybe it was because of the addition of a new player. Something was in the air last night that led to the most uncomfortable game of 1846 I've played.

To start, all 4 took 2-3 privates resulting in nearly every player having between 200 and 260 capital to start the game. Our newer player had a company dumped on him the previous game and his better company stolen in the only other game he played so he parred remarkably low to buy-up to 50%. Another player was trying a cross investment strategy so he parred his own company low to save money to spend in other companies. A third decided he was going to float 2 majors in SR1, then changed his mind 1/2 way through the SR as he realized he wouldn't be able to execute both strategies because of under-funding. The fourth bought GT and owned the MS. Nearly everyone bought at least 1 share in someone else's stock.

The first OR, the GT operated and only bought 1 2T (saving his money for a 3/5 to get the E/W in OR2) knowing that the NYC was going to be snapping up 2-3 of them. But, that didn't happen. The NYC ended up buying 1 2T and the Big 4. He didn't purchase a 2nd or 3rd 2T from the bank (I think he was afraid of getting train locked and with already having 70% of his company bought through cross investment not being able to raise capital for a Permanent). The PRR and B&O both parachuted out and spent most of their capital on that and making early connections. After OR1.1, a 2T still remained in the bank pool.

OR1.2 saw the GT again forced between buying the 2nd 2T or issuing to afford a 2T and 3/5. He wasn't the only one with unexpected desicions. Companies were issuing shares left and right to buy Green Trains, teleport tokens, Private Companies and even in some cases just to lay because of their comically low funding.

In SR2, the final two companies were bought at parred around 60-70 so the owners could prevent take-overs. After the majority of the table dumped their early cross investment to buy into something new, what resulted was 5 of the 6 companies with stocks in the Pool, mostly poorly funded, and only holding 1-3 of their own stocks.

OR2 came and went without anyone buying a brown train as the only company was in a position to do so was crushing it with 2s and had no incentive to do so.

SR3 saw a player make a run at trying to takeover 2 different companies which finally resulted in one of them having enough cash to buy a Brown. No other company could buy a 4/6 or 5 train without withholding for a round (or in one case 2). The GT was able sneak a brown train with 5 dollar to spare by paying 1/2 while still double jumping (which was probably the turning point in this unusual game). The B/O was unable to last through the train "rush" (more of a crawl) and closed, dropping the maximum stock certificates and sending it's cash to the C&O in a train dance that left the C&O with a solid route to Chicago and an E/W to St Louis.

Now that each company had no money, no shares, and two green/brown trains it became clear that no one would be able to even consider gathering enough money to break us into grey. Quickly, all of the brown cities were snapped up and thus begun the battle of brown track upgrades to dodge token blocks and basic cities to find E/W Routes, paths to Chicago with now "permanent" 3/5 trains. This lasted two ORs and thanks to the B&O Closing, nearly everyone was at paper limit since SR3.

The 4th Round of ORs ended with less than 200 in the bank, but a couple players wanted to see the game through. Mercifully, the guy who knew he would drop to last place after another full round of ORs broke the bank by selling a share of the NYC for $270. We ran the final OR5.1, and the game finally ended.

This was the 1st 1846 that I've played where green wasn't broken until OR1.2 and brown wasn't broken until OR3.1. This was by no means a well played 1846 (quite on the contrary). It did make for a new experience as all of the companies had to try and dance around low funding, limited income, and fighting off the dropping share price due to everything being stuck in the Pool. Without Grey Trains, it was fun to see people have to get creative on track lays to figure out how few cities they could pass through instead of how many.

Anyway, I normally don't post many session reports, but this one felt unusual enough to post. With all the session reports generally focused on how quickly they get to Grey trains, I would change it up by showing how a couple early game choices/mistakes can doom the fate of the table to never getting to greys.
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Thanks for the Session Report! Another answer to the people who claim that every game of 1846: The Race for the Midwest comes out the same!
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lychenus
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Unfortunately just because everyone decides to refuse buying trains does not mean it is a reasonably reachable game position.

The counter example is, lets enforce the very old outdated 1830 rules where the first company shares have to be bought out before the next one is opened. Where the buy-in ratio for all privates would be 1.0-5.0x.

Would it be another game rather than the 1830 we know today? Likely yes. But does it mean such scenario is reproducible in every count of players when those restrictions are lifted? Mostly no. Not logically possible.

This just shows the Unstable Nash Equilibrium. However, the Strong Nash Equilibrium is still obviously train rushing. As seen in Prisoner's Dilemma. This could easily be explained in terms of train rusting.

Everyone could pass in the private session, making the bank to be broken during ISR, or lets just not float any company. Look this shows every 18xx game is different!

It is very hard to produce an scenario where everyone's income is similar, too hard to distinguish, where nobody would be at the burden of rusting the train. By simple theory of measure space and probability.
 
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Roel van der Hoorn
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Avemo3 wrote:
To start, all 4 took 2-3 privates resulting in nearly every player having between 200 and 260 capital to start the game.


Either every player had exactly 2 privates, or not every player had at least 2 privates. There are always number of players times 2 privates in the game.
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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RvdH83 wrote:
Either every player had exactly 2 privates, or not every player had at least 2 privates. There are always number of players times 2 privates in the game.

thumbsup

Is it possible that you used all 10 private companies even though it was a 4-player game? (Note that (per the setup instructions) you remove one orange dot private and one blue square private in a 4-player game.) If so, this could explain the low capital amounts you report.
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Oedipussy Rex
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I don't understand the reticence to issue shares, especially in the first OR. I can understand not issuing more shares than necessary, but I find the benefits of the extra money/trains outweighs the drop in stock price at the end of stock rounds. Yes, I lose $40-$60 in total value, but I'm gaining much more in payouts.

 
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Avery Bailey
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RvdH83 wrote:
Avemo3 wrote:
To start, all 4 took 2-3 privates resulting in nearly every player having between 200 and 260 capital to start the game.


Either every player had exactly 2 privates, or not every player had at least 2 privates. There are always number of players times 2 privates in the game.


You are right.

The person with MS must have had just that one cause the 3 piled up were C&WI, Tunnel, and O&I.

We definitely didn't have MC or Steamboat.
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Avery Bailey
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OedipussyRex wrote:
I don't understand the reticence to issue shares, especially in the first OR. I can understand not issuing more shares than necessary, but I find the benefits of the extra money/trains outweighs the drop in stock price at the end of stock rounds. Yes, I lose $40-$60 in total value, but I'm gaining much more in payouts.



The issued shares and combined with the cheap stock pars ended up with companies having low stock value so it was difficult to get funding into companies and traction to force the train rush. Certs were cheap and gobbled up quickly. I was at paper limit before the first 4 train came into the game (likely the reason I won. It certainly wasn't because I ran my company well).

As far as my strategy attempt:

A couple of the players that played before had a (limited)history of parring high and pushing trains, so I parred low hoping I could get the most cash/liquid assets on hand by getting a ton of certs. I would then start a new company at a high par, and use it to push the trains hard and run the lesser company with a 4/6 on an E-W Windsor to Chicago. But, instead everyone else parred low because I guess that's what they thought we were doing things this game.

Then in OR 2, the final 2 Companies were started by Barons with limited assets/liquidity. So, instead of boosting the corporate funding to push trains a bit, they just added more much into the water for everyone to slog through.

My scheme to drop old stocks and start a new company was blocked and instead I was made into an investor and operator of a company I started to run only a 4/6 and certainly not prepared to turn into a giant on it's own. I ended up with 30% of the 1st and 3rd companies and 50% of the 2nd best.

I initially began buying shares in the companies to take them over, but instead ended up with a robust portfolio of 3 the Three companies who finished with Brown Trains (C&O got 2 thanks to my funding).
 
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Bill Gallagher
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lynnech wrote:
The counter example is, lets enforce the very old outdated 1830 rules where the first company shares have to be bought out before the next one is opened.

The only 18xx game I know where that is the case is the original 1829. (A modified version of that happens in 1853.)
 
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Eric Brosius
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A modified version of this also occurs in 1835, and in its descendant 2038: Tycoons of the Asteroid Belt.
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Avery Bailey
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Eric Brosius wrote:
Thanks for the Session Report! Another answer to the people who claim that every game of 1846: The Race for the Midwest comes out the same!


My group has played 1846 6 times and each has been wildly different. We are finding the Grand Trunk's early E-W through Chicago tough to stop (especially if they skip South Bend), so it's often one of the top two companies. This wouldn't have been the case last game had anyone been able to push a 7 or an 8/9 to rust his 3/5 and 4.

I think my group is finally starting to come around that early cross-buying can be an attack more than a boon in these incremental capitalization games.

I think the issue that 1846 is going to run into for our group is that it might not have enough chrome. I have been enjoying the creative space that '46 has provided while getting my feet wet in 18xx. It lets me try a very different strategy each game without too much extra to consider and without quite the time commitment. Most of my group likes the bells and whistles, though.
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Eric Brosius
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Avemo3 wrote:
We are finding the Grand Trunk's early E-W through Chicago tough to stop (especially if they skip South Bend), so it's often one of the top two companies.

This is a common perception in new groups. But although Grand Trunk can be strong, it's by no means dominant once you learn the game well.
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Avery Bailey
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After a half dozen plays, it would seem that the GT would have a real tough time if it gets tokened out of Detroit. Also, like any other company, if you want to slow it down early, buy it's shares.
 
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Eric Brosius
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Avemo3 wrote:
After a half dozen plays, it would seem that the GT would have a real tough time if it gets tokened out of Detroit.

True. If it starts in SR 1, it can't be tokened out of Detroit as long as it places a token in OR 1.1. But if you try to start it later in the game, this can be a problem.
 
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Mark G.
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Quote:
After OR1.1, a 2T still remained in the bank pool.


It's been a long time since I've seen that happen locally. My local groups buys trains much more aggressively. We've played 50+ times (give or take, not everyone in the local group has played in everyone of those games).

I agree with Eric, the GT is not dominant. I can be good sure, but it's not an automatic ticket to winning.

Want more bells and whistles? Try 18USA: mergers, loans, short selling, etc. It's my favorite. Only problem is that it takes up at least 5 more hours to play than 1846 takes us (we typically play 1846 in 3 hours).
 
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Eric Brosius
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I've seen one game (out of 218 times I've played) in which no green train was bought before SR 2. It was an unusual game in which we were all being very stubborn, thinking that this anomaly would help us more than it would help our opponents.
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MidLifeDelta wrote:
I agree with Eric, the GT is not dominant. I can be good sure, but it's not an automatic ticket to winning.


Especially because it can very easily become a poorly paying company in the late game (yeah, it is great that it can get a E-W so early, but by that time there are brown and grey trains available, other companies will probably earn much more money).
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J C Lawrence
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Part of the problem per se is that there's generally not time (or pool room) to sell down an under-performing company and run it out through the end-game on a bare presidency. Its hard to get enough time for the president to divest and for the company to raise capital for its nearly immediate trainless-ness. That said, the basic pattern has the company buying up its own shares in OR2.2, the president selling down as much as they can in SR3 and buying enough good-enough shares that they can cover the company's looming train requirements in OR3.[12].
 
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Avery Bailey
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MidLifeDelta wrote:


Want more bells and whistles? Try 18USA: mergers, loans, short selling, etc. It's my favorite. Only problem is that it takes up at least 5 more hours to play than 1846 takes us (we typically play 1846 in 3 hours).


We played 1822 for the first time last weekend. Lots going on there. I think that will hit the table again, but certainly not with 6 players (how many we played it with). 18CZ is our most played and 18Scan is the newest to the group. We just got a copy of 44/54, so I'm certain that those will come out soon.
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Mark G.
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Avemo3 wrote:
MidLifeDelta wrote:


Want more bells and whistles? Try 18USA: mergers, loans, short selling, etc. It's my favorite. Only problem is that it takes up at least 5 more hours to play than 1846 takes us :) (we typically play 1846 in 3 hours).


We played 1822 for the first time last weekend. Lots going on there. I think that will hit the table again, but certainly not with 6 players (how many we played it with). 18CZ is our most played and 18Scan is the newest to the group. We just got a copy of 44/54, so I'm certain that those will come out soon.


1822 is a favorite of my local group of players.
 
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Avemo3 wrote:

The issued shares and combined with the cheap stock pars ended up with companies having low stock value so it was difficult to get funding into companies and traction to force the train rush. Certs were cheap and gobbled up quickly. I was at paper limit before the first 4 train came into the game (likely the reason I won. It certainly wasn't because I ran my company well).


I've been toying around with ideas lately, and I find that even if you par at $60 and get 4 shares, getting a brown train before the end of OR 2.2 is completely doable. I think your group is just stuck in a group-think rut and you aren't exploring the possibilities in every scenario. There's no "wrong way" for a game to go.
 
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Avery Bailey
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Each game has played out very differently. Last night we played and 4 corporations had 2 permanent trains before the bank broke (2 of the 4 we're running 2 E-W routes with 2 7/8s). That game took about 6 hours.
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