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1856: Railroading in Upper Canada from 1856» Forums » General

Subject: Shortening 1856 rss

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Brian
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Friends,

This past weekend, my group started our second game of 1856. Ten hours later, we still had not finished, but called the game anyways. This was a four player game.

Part of our problem was one player in particular. Every phase of every turn, he needs to be reminded of his options. Often requiring specific recommendations lest he completely screw his position - particularly tile placement. The guy just doesn't get it. He seems to have no idea what tiles can be placed where. And I mean no idea at all. No matter how many times we try to explain it. He'll try to place city tiles where there are no cities, tiles with track that don't line up to any other track at all, or track tiles leading off to nowhere with no thought for the future.

Okay, I'll stop ranting now. Not inviting Pokey should shave about two hours off play time.

I know there are various tips and tricks for shortening play time, but they are scattered across the various 18XX forums in many disparate threads.

How about some specific tips for shortening 1856 play time?

All of us have played a few games of 18AL and/or 18GA so are familiar with the game mechanics. (All of use except Pokey that is.)

We use poker chips instead of paper money.

We won't be bringing a computer to the table.

Playing some other 18XX game is not a tip for shortening the play time of 1856.

Oh, and if anyone can offer advice on how I go about un-inviting Pokey, I'd love to hear it. I don't want to alienate him. He really is a good gamer and one of the group's most reliable players. He's also a good friend of mine.

thanks,

b.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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Some options:

Run the last few rounds on paper.

Strongly encourage *everyone* to plan their turn while others are playing.

Track train runs on paper or using a chart - this will help with the next OR, when you can say "I ran for 120, two cities were upgraded, I run for 140 this round."

Bring calculators to the table.

Use a payout chart (shows that dividend 70 pays 42 to a player with 60%, etc.)

Take lots of loans. Eat the candy. You know you want it.
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Jason Weiss
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In my experience this game should take 4-6 hours with reasonably experienced players and closer to four when everyone knows the game well. Pokey may be more of a drag than you think. May I suggest taking more loans so you need to declare bankrupcy when the 1st four train is bought, that tends to shorten the game quite a bit. In seriousness, you probably are not playing that aggresively and pushing the game forward with loans.
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I've got an 808 and a 303 and a record collection like the ABC
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Try reducing the bank to $9000. It won't be exactly the same game, but you'll probably have a better time.
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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Not inviting Pokey might shave even more than 2 hours off play time. I find that slow players make others play slower, especially when they need lots of advice. If I'm advising someone else, I can't plan my own next turn.
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J C Lawrence
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TheCat wrote:
Run the last few rounds on paper.


Absolutely.

[q[Strongly encourage *everyone* to plan their turn while others are playing.

Track train runs on paper or using a chart - this will help with the next OR, when you can say "I ran for 120, two cities were upgraded, I run for 140 this round."[/q]

Print out a simple racetrack and extra company tokens. Use it to record each company's dividend. As each tile is laid by any company have the directing player, have each director update their dividend as appropriate. Only allow routes to be recounted if there have been significant updates to the track or stations which may require significantly different routes.

Note: Such a racetrack also speeds stock rounds.

Quote:
Bring calculators to the table.


Damned right and give all players paper and pencil to help track and re-calculate as necessary.

Also actually pay dividends after the company has finished running, and make the directors do their own arithmetic for their shareholders. When a dividend is paid the director announces the dividend and then states how much is paid to each of their shareholders. The banker then simply pays out that much rotely. Any player may of course cross-check the arithmetic -- on their own time and without delaying operations.

Done well this reduces operating rounds to less than a minute per company:

XYZ company lays this track, no station, runs for $3 more (moves dividend marker up), pays $D, and buys a Q-train! I get $R, Bernie gets %S and Boffo gets $T. Next company!

Quote:
Take lots of loans. Eat the candy. You know you want it.


Yep.

Also, lose the diesels and make then 8-trains.

Note: Bill Dixon games (and 1856 is one) are automatically among the longer 18xx.
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Chester
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Our group records the value and pay-out for routes for each company once we get past about the half-way point of the game (where there becomes a bit more stability in routes). Each subsequent track build that affects the value of the route can be added to the prior total, instead of having to refigure each time.

Once its clear which set of operating rounds the bank will be emptied, we play completely on paper.

Normally just making the bank smaller speeds up an 18xx game, but it also changes the nature of the game (since the tempo is affected) so I'd be less enthused about doing that. I think you'll cut too much meat off the bone.

I really don't see what strategy you can employ that is going to counter the slow player you describe.

Our group recently played a 4p game, with 3 new players, game explanation, poker chips....in 6 hours, teaching time inclusive. And we were kind of lollygagging and chatting, not really trying to go fast.
 
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Scott Petersen
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Great thread, love the suggestions. My main goal is to find people I like playing with and play at the same pace as me. Not a luxury everyone has. I have found that there is no way to make a slow player faster. Some people just "get it" and some don't when it comes to adding up runs and laying tracks.

Sometimes, if it doesn't affect other players, I take my turn and pay out my shareholders while another company is thinking. I'm not recommending that for all groups though.

I also try to guess when the bank will break and try to talk the others into multiplying the last sets of rounds out. If someone complains, I suggest that everyone can upgrade one or two tiles, then we multiply the last set of rounds out. That's not a proper way to do it, but the main interest of the game is the beginning and middle, not the drawn out endgame.
 
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Brad Miller
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cornjob wrote:
Our group records the value and pay-out for routes for each company once we get past about the half-way point of the game (where there becomes a bit more stability in routes). Each subsequent track build that affects the value of the route can be added to the prior total, instead of having to refigure each time.

Once its clear which set of operating rounds the bank will be emptied, we play completely on paper.

Normally just making the bank smaller speeds up an 18xx game, but it also changes the nature of the game (since the tempo is affected) so I'd be less enthused about doing that. I think you'll cut too much meat off the bone.

I really don't see what strategy you can employ that is going to counter the slow player you describe.

Our group recently played a 4p game, with 3 new players, game explanation, poker chips....in 6 hours, teaching time inclusive. And we were kind of lollygagging and chatting, not really trying to go fast.


You better tell me you won this time Chester!
 
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J S
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In my experiences, there aren't that many people who are dying to try 18xx. The play time and complexity are intimidating to many, so I'd just help the guy out and maybe talk to him offline about the game/strategy so he might play a bit quicker during the actual game. Maybe you have a plethora of 18xx players in your area and it's irrelevant if you boot this guy from your group, but I'm lucky if I can get a game in once every six months. If he's your friend, I'd try to look for other alternatives than "uninviting."
 
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Bruce Murphy
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opks22 wrote:
In my experiences, there aren't that many people who are dying to try 18xx. The play time and complexity are intimidating to many, so I'd just help the guy out and maybe talk to him offline about the game/strategy so he might play a bit quicker during the actual game. Maybe you have a plethora of 18xx players in your area and it's irrelevant if you boot this guy from your group, but I'm lucky if I can get a game in once every six months. If he's your friend, I'd try to look for other alternatives than "uninviting."


If he's floundering, you should probably make an effort to give him a go at a shorter, simpler 3-player 18xx and see if he picks things up. Much the opportunity the other folks had.

B>
 
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Brian
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Thanks, guys. Great advice.

I especially like the dividend track idea. I've printed one up as well as an extra token for each company (I have many wooden bits left over from my PnP 18AL/GA games).

I've been doing most of the accounting for all the companies simply because I can quickly do the calculations in my head. Providing a calculator is probably the way to go. I also have a printed payout chart, but everyone just looks at me come time to calculate payouts. I really should make the other players / allow them to calculate there own business on their own time. I can see that and the dividend track cutting a significant per centage off the play time.

I want to add that I feel kinda bad for complaining about Pokey. He really is a good friend and a good gamer. He often takes a bit longer to catch onto a game than the rest of us and I occasionally get frustrated. He has had as much exposure to 18XX as any in our group - at least three games of 18AL/GA and now two attempts at 1856 - about 20-30 hours. (I see that this was unclear in my original post.)

Anyways, with these tips, I think we can even include Pokey and still get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.

Thanks again,

b.
 
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Christopher M
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I'm really glad pokey will be included in the future. As my group's pokey, I see this as a victory for all the pokeys of the world.
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J C Lawrence
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FWLIW when we play larger games (though this usually means 18C2C), we make the operating player responsible for all money movement, with a small exception if they happen to run multiple companies in a row.
 
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Chester
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Windopaene wrote:
cornjob wrote:
Our group records the value and pay-out for routes for each company once we get past about the half-way point of the game (where there becomes a bit more stability in routes). Each subsequent track build that affects the value of the route can be added to the prior total, instead of having to refigure each time.

Once its clear which set of operating rounds the bank will be emptied, we play completely on paper.

Normally just making the bank smaller speeds up an 18xx game, but it also changes the nature of the game (since the tempo is affected) so I'd be less enthused about doing that. I think you'll cut too much meat off the bone.

I really don't see what strategy you can employ that is going to counter the slow player you describe.

Our group recently played a 4p game, with 3 new players, game explanation, poker chips....in 6 hours, teaching time inclusive. And we were kind of lollygagging and chatting, not really trying to go fast.


You better tell me you won this time Chester!


I did. The first time I've ever won any 18xx game. Maybe I am learning?
 
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