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Subject: Everything I Played: Chicago Express at BAP games day rss

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Chris Ferejohn
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Originally posted at http://EverythingIPlayed.blogspot.com. It's something between a review and session report, so I'm just posting it in general.

A nearly identical remake of Wabash Cannonball, this game simulates the westward expansion of the railroads from the northeast to Chicago. Rather than each player taking charge of one railroad, players can buy shares of 4 different railroad companies via auction and are repaid through periodically paid dividends. From what I understand, the 18xx series of railroad games work in a similar fashion.

The only luck in the entire game is in determining who starts the first auction for the first share. Other than that, everything is completely deterministic. They key to the game is in understanding how to value shares at auction, and this can be very tricky to do, particularly at the beginning of the game when the manner in which the companies will expand and develop is so unknown.

Either my poker experience gave me a leg up in these kinds of expected value decisions or I blundered into enough correct decisions that I was able to pull off a tie in my first game (2 of the other players were new to the game as well). Actually, I made a bad decision my final turn that probably cost me the solo victory, but I was pretty happy to do as well as I did in my first game of this.

Chris 64
John 64
Aliza 59
Sean 54
August 44

Game Time: 90 minutes
 
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J C Lawrence
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cferejohn wrote:
From what I understand, the 18xx series of railroad games work in a similar fashion.


Umm, no. A few key differences in the 18xx:

- shares may be bought and sold (and a determined market price)
- market activity determines stock value, not auctions
- presidents of companies have both advantages and liabilities
- bankruptcy is both possible and sometimes attractive
- shares are part of net-worth at the game end
- management of trains is a big portion of the 18xx
- management of routes and route access is a big part of the 18xx (not mere connectivity
- clear early-game, mid-game and late-game portions, each of which require substantially different postures and management
 
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Devin Smith
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All clearclaw said is correct. However, in "feel", they are similar. The kinds of interpersonal interactions, and evaluations of correct moves in both games are more similar than either game is to most others.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Yes, I didn't mean to imply that they were the same, but the fundamental idea that rather than each player controlling a single rail company (as in many other rail-themed games from Ticket to Ride to Steam to the Crayon Rail series), each player may have an interest in multiple companies at the same time.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Excalabur wrote:
All clearclaw said is correct. However, in "feel", they are similar.


I disagree. Chicago Express at heart is a near-pure auction game (in not dissimilar veins Modern Art or Medici) where the items being auctioned are fractional deltas to player incentives and game-length control (which I admit are far different than the other games I mention). The 18xx are capitalisitic wet dreams, exercises in the iterative management of capital growth through investment returns. They share a train theme and some components called shares, but that's about it.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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clearclaw wrote:
They share a train theme and some components called shares, but that's about it.


Well, OK, but if I were going to describe either one in one sentence, that sentence would be some variation on "it's a train game with shares." At the very least they are thematically very similar, and for some people that can make them "feel" the same even if the mechanics aren't all that similar.

Quote:
The 18xx are capitalisitic wet dreams


FTW!
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Bruce Murphy
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With shares, but without a share _market_. Steel driver has shares

B>
 
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