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Subject: Hey, how about more comments to go along with the ratings? rss

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Brad Miller
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Get 1856.

Still in print.

Not as long as 1870.

Not as expensive as 1830.

No year-long wait from Deep Thought.
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Eric Jome
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Real men play 1835.
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J C Lawrence
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Windopaene wrote:
Get 1856.


I love 1856 but it suffers to the point of being broken due to cross-financing collusion. In short:

PlayerA buys 20% of CompanyX.
PlayerB buys 20% of CompanyY.
PlayerA buys 40% of CompanyY.
PlayerB buys 40% of CompanyX.
PlayerA sells 40% CompanyY.
PlayerB sells 40% CompanyX
PlayerA buys 40% (initial) CompanyX.
PlayerB buys 40% (initial) CompanyY.


The result is that both CompanyX and CompanyY are fully capitalised and both PlayerA and PlayerB have an enourmous advantage over any player who didn't so collude. There is no reason at all for PlayerA or PlayerB to not do this as there's no penalty for defaulting and all the benefits in the world for carrying through. The general result is that 1856 doesn't get played any more...
 
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J C Lawrence
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BrenoK wrote:
Route-focused or stock-focused, high or low screwage, nasty or bland train rush, scripted or free-flowing map...


That doesn't seem a useful taxonomy. I see 4 basic types of 18xx:

1) Where's the free money?
2) Run good companies
3) Put things together well (typically mergers)
4) Timing

My general preference order is 4>3>>1>2 (I've a lazy dislike of Run Good Companies games -- you should be able to win by running utterly crappy companies too!). Most 18xx are some mixture of several of the above, but usually resonate most strongly on only one or two aspects. 1856 is clearly a Free Money game. The 1825s are timing games. 18Mex (which we've been playing a lot recently) is a Free Money and Timing game. 1830 and 1889 are Free Money and Timing games. Etc.
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Chester
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clearclaw wrote:
Windopaene wrote:
Get 1856.


I love 1856 but it suffers to the point of being broken due to cross-financing collusion. In short:

PlayerA buys 20% of CompanyX.
PlayerB buys 20% of CompanyY.
PlayerA buys 40% of CompanyY.
PlayerB buys 40% of CompanyX.
PlayerA sells 40% CompanyY.
PlayerB sells 40% CompanyX
PlayerA buys 40% (initial) CompanyX.
PlayerB buys 40% (initial) CompanyY.


The result is that both CompanyX and CompanyY are fully capitalised and both PlayerA and PlayerB have an enourmous advantage over any player who didn't so collude. There is no reason at all for PlayerA or PlayerB to not do this as there's no penalty for defaulting and all the benefits in the world for carrying through. The general result is that 1856 doesn't get played any more...

I don't get it. You can't sell shares in the first stock round, correct?

What is to stop Player C (D and E?) from purchasing some inexpensive shares of one of these dump-offs? Sure, its nice to get your 50% capitalization early, but I don't see this as a fool-proof plan.

Collusion is a part of the game...whether its building track, withholding tokens, or cross-financing. But in my group, I can't see how this type of a deal would occur regularly. You need to play with people that don't trust each other that much, JC.
 
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J C Lawrence
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cornjob wrote:
I don't get it. You can't sell shares in the first stock round, correct?


Then do it in the second or later SRs.

Quote:
What is to stop Player C (D and E?) from purchasing some inexpensive shares of one of these dump-offs?


Nothing at all, and they are welcome to them. 1856 is a Free Money game -- control of that fad wad of Capitalisation is far more important, especially in the early game, than dividends. If they really want to suck up those shares, just move all the cash over into your second company and dump the train-less cash-less company on them.

Quote:
Sure, its nice to get your 50% capitalization early, but I don't see this as a fool-proof plan.


I believe that you're under-estimating the value of control of company capital (as I often do).

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But in my group, I can't see how this type of a deal would occur regularly. You need to play with people that don't trust each other that much, JC.


Think about it a bit. There's no trust involved. Both the above players are acting strictly in their own personal best interest.
 
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Mikko Ämmälä
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BrenoK wrote:
Yeah, I already have 1856 and 1870. I want to expand my collection. If you click my profile, you'll find a few games that I've already ordered...



18VA could be a nice addition as it is my favourite of "shorter" 18xx games and plays wonderfully with both 3/4 players.

.mikko
 
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Runs with scissors
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I've only played 18xx games a few times, but here are my comments. I think that your wishes about comments could be expanded to most games. If I had played these games more, the comments would be more detailed. Probably reading session reports, geeklists and reviews is the way to get the information that you are looking for. Slow and tedious, especially if English isn't your first language. Sorry, but I don't have a better suggestion.

1856: Railroading in Upper Canada from 1856
Rating after 1 play. I enjoyed the game immensely, but feel like I caught about 40% of what was going on, while playing against 5 expert stock manipulators. Looking forward to more plays. It's a good introduction to train games. One of the experienced players had a notebook PC on the table with a spreadsheet to keep track of dividends and payouts which apparently significantly reduces the downtime and game length.

Oh yeah, and the best part. One of the players went against his normal strategy, dumping a couple of couple of companies on the two expert players unexpectedly, and hosed them most delightfully. Yeah Cavedog, I'm talking about you.


1861: The Railways of the Russian Empire
Rating based upon one play. A kinder gentler 18XX game. Unfortunately what I enjoy most about the 18XX games is that they are neither kind nor gentle.

The game ended up being a train race, and slowed down a lot towards the end as everyone tried to optimize their moves.

Steam over Holland
Tentative rating after 1 play. As an introductary game, this plays very well with three. With more players the board gets much tighter, and I'm not sure that I'd want to play it with 5.

With 2 experienced players and a novice, we played a 3 player game in 2.5 hours including time to learn the game.

The one aspect to this game is that the trains seem rushed. In midgame some of the threes only got one round before they were obsolete, I can't imagine what it would be like with more players. There is not enough time to loot and dump a company which is one aspect that makes it good for newer players, but the stock market is not moribund as it seems to be in 1861.

Therer are a couple of player aids built into the board, turn sequences, and phases which are really helpful to new players.

I, the newbie, won by a comfortable margin by getting two good routes going and milking those. In the beginning I had 2 twos, and one three, and the ability to run three routes seemed to position me so solidly that nobody could catch up even as I choked towards the end.

More experienced players are still going to want to gravitate towards heavier 18xx games, but I like this one, and the fact that you can get a game in on a weeknight.
 
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J C Lawrence
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autumnweave wrote:
More experienced players are still going to want to gravitate towards heavier 18xx games, but I like this one, and the fact that you can get a game in on a weeknight.


The 1825s also play easily on a school night. Our monthly 18xx group here has mostly been playing 1889 and 18Mex (we're kinda stuck on the later ATM). Most of the other smaller stage games, 18GA, 18VA, 18TN, 18AL, 18FL, 18Scan, etc also fit comfortably in a school night.
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Devin Smith
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JC: You keep insisting there's no risk to buying another guy's share in a mutual-collusion scheme.

You're wrong.

You buy a share of me. I am now $65 richer. Thanks. Oh, you wanted something for that?

Alternatively, the simple rule to prevent the collusive mutual cap. schemes is 'if you do it, I'll hit you upside the head'. Or you can use the Berliner solution, as advocated most vociferously by Robert Jasiek, and disallow sales of a company that hasn't run.

You're letting a simple, solvable problem detract from your enjoyment of a very good game.
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Devin Smith
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Re: The topic of the thread
Generally, 18xxers leave their game-specific rating comments on the various games. Some are pretty thin on commentary, I'll admit.

Heck, I didn't even realise that '18xx' had an entry/forum all of it's own.
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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clearclaw wrote:
Think about it a bit. There's no trust involved. Both the above players are acting strictly in their own personal best interest.


Why shouldn't I let the other player buy more stock in my company than I do in theirs? Even a single share's difference can be the difference between having enough for another train or not. I'm aware of the possibility of the other player stealing my company, but that's just additional tactics - it doesn't make it impossible.

While the advantage to following through may be higher, this gets you something for nothing.
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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BrenoK wrote:

Quote:
Heck, I didn't even realise that '18xx' had an entry/forum all of it's own.

Yeah, I was about to suggest the creation of one when I decided to look for one and found it. Pretty cool, huh?


Yeah, though it's unfortunate that we can't subscribe to the creation of new threads in this forum like you can for a game. I've put in a request to add that, but I'm not holding my breath.
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J C Lawrence
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Excalabur wrote:
JC: You keep insisting there's no risk to buying another guy's share in a mutual-collusion scheme.

You're wrong.

You buy a share of me. I am now $65 richer. Thanks. Oh, you wanted something for that?


I trust to your self interest. If you don't want to

Quote:
Alternatively, the simple rule to prevent the collusive mutual cap. schemes is 'if you do it, I'll hit you upside the head'.


Shrug. We choose wo to (not) play games with.

Quote:
Or you can use the Berliner solution, as advocated most vociferously by Robert Jasiek, and disallow sales of a company that hasn't run.


Which is a fine solution, except that it kills much of the ritual stock-trashing that occurs in the early middle game (players with spare cash simply cycle across all open companies, trashing their share values). I don't find 1830-esque, games, and 1856 in particular, nearly as interesting without the that ritual phase.

Quote:
You're letting a simple, solvable problem detract from your enjoyment of a very good game.


Shrug.
 
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J C Lawrence
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dyfrgi wrote:
Why shouldn't I let the other player buy more stock in my company than I do in theirs? Even a single share's difference can be the difference between having enough for another train or not. I'm aware of the possibility of the other player stealing my company, but that's just additional tactics - it doesn't make it impossible.


Look again. The companies change hands twice. It is your company at the time you come to make that decision.
 
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J C Lawrence
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BrenoK wrote:
Isn't there timing in all 18xx's? And free money on 1830? Where?


Private sales along with the other ways of moving company treasuries to personal cash are the biggies (1832 has a really weird private in this regard).

Yes, timing is a portion of all 18xx, but some have it more than others. The 1825s for instance are nearly pure timing games as everything centres on owning the right shares at the right times. Other 18xx have other focuses.
 
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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clearclaw wrote:
dyfrgi wrote:
Why shouldn't I let the other player buy more stock in my company than I do in theirs? Even a single share's difference can be the difference between having enough for another train or not. I'm aware of the possibility of the other player stealing my company, but that's just additional tactics - it doesn't make it impossible.


Look again. The companies change hands twice. It is your company at the time you come to make that decision.


Sure, they change hands twice - if I choose to buy that many shares in your company. If I stop early, presumably you also stop, not wanting to give my company capitalization for free.

There's also the issue of, if playerA has enough money to buy *5* shares of companyY, then after playerB sells the 4 he has in companyX, playerA may just buy another share in Y. Whoops! Now A has presidency of both X and Y, which are both heavily capitalized, and B just has 2 shares in Y - a very dangerous position to hold. Maybe one of the other players will scoop up X.

Another way to break the symmetry is for playerC to buy a share in either X or Y and dump it, thus making IO share purchases in that company immediate losses. Broken symmetry is bad for such trades.
 
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J C Lawrence
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dyfrgi wrote:
Sure, they change hands twice - if I choose to buy that many shares in your company. If I stop early, presumably you also stop, not wanting to give my company capitalization for free.


Quite, except for the fact that at the time you come to make that decision, it is your company.

Quote:
There's also the issue of, if playerA has enough money to buy *5* shares of companyY, then after playerB sells the 4 he has in companyX, playerA may just buy another share in Y. Whoops! Now A has presidency of both X and Y, which are both heavily capitalized, and B just has 2 shares in Y - a very dangerous position to hold. Maybe one of the other players will scoop up X.


Not quite so easy. You'll almost certainly lose CompanyX to another player while I go off to buy up to 4 CompanyX (not quite 100%), sell them and then go float my own company. If you follow that route I gain position on you simply due to my shares being better than yours.

That said, I've seen the pattern I listed down with more than 2 players, specifically with three players forming a loop. The fourth player in the game, who negotiated poorly, simply had no chance, instant dead-last loser, and so drove themselves bankrupt as fast as they could.

Quote:
Another way to break the symmetry is for playerC to buy a share in either X or Y and dump it, thus making IO share purchases in that company immediate losses. Broken symmetry is bad for such trades.


Yep, that can be done, but it doesn't matter much. Control of the 100% capitalisation is worth more than a step or two on the market.

Caveat: In the 4 player game mentioned above, the third player bought up a four shares of all the companies being cycled among the other players and sold them all, post-cycle, driving down their share values even further, and then proceeded to float his own 50% capitalised company. This wasn't a problem. Two of the players immediately setup to pull their companies into the yellow and brown and use their big treasuries as train feeders for their next company. The third player predicted the fourth player's drive for bankruptcy and instead went for cash and the short game (and the win).
 
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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clearclaw wrote:
dyfrgi wrote:
Sure, they change hands twice - if I choose to buy that many shares in your company. If I stop early, presumably you also stop, not wanting to give my company capitalization for free.


Quite, except for the fact that at the time you come to make that decision, it is your company.


What is my company? The situation I'm talking about is A has 2 X, 1 Y. B has 2 X, 2 Y. A can either buy a share of Y, or sell the share of Y and buy a share in X. The same can be said for A (2 X, 0 Y), B (1 X, 2 Y), as Devin mentioned above. So A's company at this time is X.

clearclaw wrote:

dyfrgi wrote:
There's also the issue of, if playerA has enough money to buy *5* shares of companyY, then after playerB sells the 4 he has in companyX, playerA may just buy another share in Y. Whoops! Now A has presidency of both X and Y, which are both heavily capitalized, and B just has 2 shares in Y - a very dangerous position to hold. Maybe one of the other players will scoop up X.


Not quite so easy. You'll almost certainly lose CompanyX to another player while I go off to buy up to 4 CompanyX (not quite 100%), sell them and then go float my own company. If you follow that route I gain position on you simply due to my shares being better than yours.


Assuming, in this case, that by "you" you mean playerB, no, you won't buy any shares of X - you've already sold them this round. Maybe next stock round, but by then the capital positions will be different and taking it back will likely be impossible - A can simply buy more shares.

And even if A loses companyX, A still gets a fully or nearly fully capitalized companyY and B just gets most of his money back. That seems like a good deal for A - well capitalized company *and* screw over another player?

clearclaw wrote:

Quote:
Another way to break the symmetry is for playerC to buy a share in either X or Y and dump it, thus making IO share purchases in that company immediate losses. Broken symmetry is bad for such trades.


Yep, that can be done, but it doesn't matter much. Control of the 100% capitalisation is worth more than a step or two on the market.


Probably true, though losing that money may result in one fewer share. Dropping back to, say, 82 from 100, on 4 shares, is 72 bucks. I suppose you could pick up a share from the open market instead, but then you don't add more capital to your company *and* you don't get as much income from the open market shares into the company.
 
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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I definitely agree that having more information on individual game pages about what sort of game they are - with whatever taxonomy each individual writer chooses to use - would be useful. I often read the "which game should I buy" threads on the 18xx Yahoo Group, even though I'm often not the sort of player the asker is, just because they tend to be filled with that sort of information.

Many 18xx games also have rules available, which is useful for determining what's what, but it's hard to find a quick, broad overview of a game.
 
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