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Subject: Player Collusion and Negotiation in 18XX rss

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Jesse Dean
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So my group played 1856 last night and found it to be pretty fun and entertaining despite its rather great length. One point of contention was how much player negotiation should be a part of the game.

One one hand for those who are engaging and verbose, adding a negotiation element adds an additional element of fun and enjoyment to the game.

On the other hand for those who are a bit more introverted, and there are some introverts playing board games, believe it or not, it can be more difficult to effectively manage negotiations.

On the other hand (eek! three hands!) adding a negotiation element can add considerable time to the game length, up to an hour or more and can turn the game into something it wasn't neccessarily intended to be.

So what I am wondering is what the common among other 18XX groups out there. How much impact does negotiation have on the game? What are the limits? How do you roll?
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J C Lawrence
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doubtofbuddha wrote:
So my group played 1856 last night and found it to be pretty fun and entertaining despite its rather great length. One point of contention was how much player negotiation should be a part of the game.


Some 18xx physically can't function without negotiation. For instance in 6 player 1830 no player starts with enough capital to float a company. The only way any company will be floated is if players cooperate to float, and that requires negotiation. For this reason some people will never play 1830 with 6 players and for the same reasons others will never play 1830 with anything but 6 players. Happily, neither set plays with the other! FWLIW I like 6-player 1830.

More simply there are ample opportunities in the 18xx to negotiate about the speed of the train rush, cooperative/tragic track lays, about company dumps and other stock manipulations etc and some players get into that in a big way. FWLIW that hasn't happened in our games, or the the games I've heard about elsewhere. When it starts to happen the players start complaining that this isn't Diplomacy.

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On the other hand (eek! three hands!)...


That would be the gripping hand.

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So what I am wondering is what the common among other 18XX groups out there. How much impact does negotiation have on the game? What are the limits? How do you roll?


Most of the 18xx players I play with will negotiate to float a company if that's required, a little during the game, and perhaps a little for track and stations or even cross-train purchases etc, but it isn't a big deal. Common consensus seems to mostly stick to that line: Not really a negotiation game, negotiate when forced or only lightly.

A few exceptions may illustrate:

1) 6-player 1830. 'Nough said.

2) An 1830 game in which I was faced with either bankruptcy or giving away a company containing a 5-train. I negotiated with another player to buy a soon-to-be-dead 4-train out of his company so that I could hand that off instead, keeping my 5-train. Ultimately he said, "No", and I went bankrupt rather than hand away the 5-train.

3) 1830 (again), the NYNH&H floated first, the B&M second, but another player bought out all the B&M shares, so that its stock rose and it operated first. Bastard! It is such a terrible thing to run early in 1830; later is so much better. Having the stock sell out put the B&M in a terrible fix as NYNH&H no longer had an incentive to lay the baseball on the double pips just north of NY. If they didn't, the B&M was DOA but the NYNH&H broke out to the north in interesting (if slower) ways. If they did lay the baseball, then the B&M and NYNH&H both made good money but long term track-development might suffer for it. So, we negotiated and the NYNH&H laid the baseball. It was touch and go however -- especially as I'd been stupid enough to buy two 2-trains (which then never ran, of course).
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Chester
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I just like hearing stories of Clearclaw getting shafted in 18xx. Tell the one about when you went bankrupt again! :)
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Ron K
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'80' maxlength='250'> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="15%" align="right"><b>Avatar OverText</b></td> <td width="85%"> <input type="text" name="overtext[avatar]" value="Train Game anyone?
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clearclaw wrote:
Most of the 18xx players I play with will negotiate to float a company if that's required, a little during the game, and perhaps a little for track and stations or even cross-train purchases etc, but it isn't a big deal. Common consensus seems to mostly stick to that line: Not really a negotiation game, negotiate when forced or only lightly.


Same here. Cooperation is driven by pointing out mutual gains and undermined by past practices (dumping or stock bashing).

-Ron

PS: 1830 on the PC is not nearly as fun and involved as 1830 in person. I have many 18xx titles and have played many more but find 1830 still to be the best of the bunch for an under 4 hour fun session. Very, very clean rules and the tile choices help contain the route calculations for Diesels.
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Chris Shaffer
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I think you'd get a more robust discussion if you asked this question on the 18xx YahooGroup. Most 18xx players don't frequent BGG.
 
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TheCat wrote:
I think you'd get a more robust discussion if you asked this question on the 18xx YahooGroup. Most 18xx players don't frequent BGG.


Hmm, there are a lot of 18xx players who do frequent BGG and a lot who don't bother with the 18xx YahooGroup.
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J C Lawrence
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cornjob wrote:
I just like hearing stories of Clearclaw getting shafted in 18xx. Tell the one about when you went bankrupt again! :)


He did a three-company shuffle in order to pull the money and the permanent train out of a company so that his third company was forced to buy a train. When that third company bought the diesel, he dumped the shares in the first company in order to finance it, so I became the director of a trainless company -- which was also in the brown. I then had to either buy a diesel I couldn't afford, or to shift a 5-train into the company and watch it be taken away from me immediately (I didn't have priority).
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J C Lawrence
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flapjackmachine wrote:
TheCat wrote:
I think you'd get a more robust discussion if you asked this question on the 18xx YahooGroup. Most 18xx players don't frequent BGG.


Hmm, there are a lot of 18xx players who do frequent BGG...


No, not really. All the numbers are on the mailing list side.

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...and a lot who don't bother with the 18xx YahooGroup.


True, but they're not on BGG either.
 
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Jesse Dean
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I have looked at the 18XX list, and would rather just post here. Besides if there is no 18XX discussion here then it causes people to go to the list, rather than actually having discussions here, because they assume no one wants to talk about 18XX. By actually having and encouraging discussions here, maybe BGG can become a more active site for 18XX discussion.
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J C Lawrence
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BrenoK wrote:
I actually prefer the BGG format in which you see all the replies in one page, neatly organized.


The choice of interface is up to you. I use an NNTP newsreader to read the 18xx mailing list. You could also use GMane:

http://news.gmane.org/gmane.games.railroad-18xx

Or any of a half dozen other choices for your interface.

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I'm all for increasing the amount of 18xx discussion on BGG.


Sure, but I'm not at all in favour of reducing traffic on the 18xx list or removing focus from there -- not least because few to none of the participants of that list, among the most skilled 18x players in the world, will migrate to BGG should the 18xx mailing list decline. BGG simply has little to offer them.
 
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Jesse Dean
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I am not trying to reduce the overall level of traffic on the yahoo list by discussing 18XX here. (Though I share Breno's preference for the BGG discussion format.) However, I do think that by discussing 18XX on BGG, we are increasing its exposure and the potential for 18XX to increased the size of its audience. Discussing the game on a relatively obscure mailing list on yahoo does not do that.
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Scott Russell
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We sometimes make deals regarding not placing tokens and occasionally track.
 
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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I marvel at how 'provincialism' could be shown in a positive light. 18xx is a wonderful system. What good could possibly come from hiding all the good traffic in obscure email lists? I'm genuinely curious here...
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Michael Webb
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derk wrote:
I marvel at how 'provincialism' could be shown in a positive light. 18xx is a wonderful system. What good could possibly come from hiding all the good traffic in obscure email lists? I'm genuinely curious here...


It makes perfect sense to me for the same reason that dedicated Magic, Chess, and Go forums exist. If people play a single game or series as their main hobby, then a site like BGG, which caters to people who "specialize" in, at most, one category of games is not as useful. If you stay in your own area, then the people who show up are more interested in your specific topic, likely have more experience with it, and all discussions remain on the topic that you're interested in. Labeling this perfectly rational behaviour as provincial is bordering on, if not passing into, condescending territory.
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J C Lawrence
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derk wrote:
I marvel at how 'provincialism' could be shown in a positive light. 18xx is a wonderful system. What good could possibly come from hiding all the good traffic in obscure email lists? I'm genuinely curious here...


This is one of the cases of an exclusive democracy. We normally think of democracies as being all-inclusive. In this case the public electoral system is instead segregative. The membership have deliberately and explicitly chosen for their ivory tower. Read the archives. BGG has been discussed, more than once, but the interest and perceived value simple isn't there. No, this isn't provincialism. Instead they've built one of the finest capitals around, just of a rather small country.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
cornjob wrote:
I just like hearing stories of Clearclaw getting shafted in 18xx. Tell the one about when you went bankrupt again!


He did a three-company shuffle in order to pull the money and the permanent train out of a company so that his third company was forced to buy a train. When that third company bought the diesel, he dumped the shares in the first company in order to finance it, so I became the director of a trainless company -- which was also in the brown. I then had to either buy a diesel I couldn't afford, or to shift a 5-train into the company and watch it be taken away from me immediately (I didn't have priority).


laugh This makes me so happy

I may print it out and keep it with me at all times!
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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The second 18xx I ever played was a 6-player PbEM 1856. Coming down the home stretch, I had what I thought was a nice portfolio, including 5 shares of the CA. I was not the President, and I assumed that the CA and its 5-train would get dumped on me if the game lasted long enough (the President of the CA did not have another railroad; the Wellend had stayed out of the CGR with only a 4, and its President was unable to survive a forced train purchase.)

The CA had a much higher share price than the Wellend (it had started late at 100, the Wellend had started early at 65.)

A more experienced player would have seen it coming. Instead of going bankrupt, the Welland bought the 5-train out of the CA, which was then dumped on me *trainless*.

There were two consequences: (1) the original President of the CA finished second in that game, and me third. (2) I developed a deep and abiding fear of owning two shares in other people's companies.

If this had been F2F instead of PbEM, I assume I would have witnessed the negotiations that led to this collaborative keel-hauling, and perhaps I would have gotten a clue in the stock round previous, when I could have done something about it.
 
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Shane Beck
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In a three player 18EU opening stock round, if the third player runs out of money too quickly the other two will collude to set the bids for the remaining companies at very low bids. Generally a player with 6 companies will beat a player with 4 in that game.
 
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Luiz Cláudio Silveira Duarte
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BrenoK wrote:
In our group we have come to this agreement: you can encourage people to do what you want them to do, spout out convenient facts and details about that possibility, but you cannot offer to do something in return.


Now, Breno, what you mean is that YOU encourage people to do what YOU want them to do...
 
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