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

Subject: Canadian Suicide rss

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Jesse Dean
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18XX games have been getting quite a bit of play locally lately. And while some have grown tired of certain aspects of the games, particularly their length, we are still able to get a reasonable amount of players whenever they hit the table. This Sunday was no exception, as we had five people ready to play 1856: Doug, who had played 5-10 times previously, David, Mike, and I, who had each played 2 times, and Will, who had played once. Our seating order was David, Doug, Will, Mike, and I.

The private auction was fairly typical. All the companies were purchased at face value or face value +5 except for the port company, which went for $95 and ended up in the hands of Doug. David got the tunnel company, Will got the bridge company and the $20/$5 private, Mike got the Kitchener private, and I got the Canada Company.

During the first stock round Mike passed on starting a new company, I started the LPS, David started the GW, Doug started the WR, Will started the WGB, and then Mike proceeded to use his financial muscle to take over the GW. Later I asked him why he had not taken over the LPS, and apparently he was under the impression I had enough money to buy 4 shares (I did not, I was $10 short). David was not very happy about this, but decided that since he had already invested the money into the GW, that he might as well take advantage of the potential earnings it would provide.

The early game went about as expected, with the LPS setting up double shipments to Sarnia/Port Huron, the GW building towards Detroit, and the WGB building towards Brantford. Doug was stuck in an awkward position with the WR when he discovered that both of the tight curve tracks were missing when it came to his turn, forcing him to use a wide turn to get at Niagara Falls instead. This was the first of several situations in this game where the lack of the right tiles (or tile upgrades hurt an individual for a reasonable amount of time). Surprisingly enough, considering his relative 18XX experienced compared to us, the person who was most frequently affected by this was Doug.

Mike started his second company very early, bringing the CA into existence before the 3 trains were fully out. He also started his third company before any of us started our second company. This made us hesitant to buy into any of his companies; for fear that he was going to drop a trainless company on to us during a subsequent stock round. He still drew some capital, however, as people were no longer able to invest in their own companies. The LPS, WGB, and WR are all ended up fully invested. David, Will, and I all invested in the WR, but only David ended up invested in the LPS (after he dropped his shares in the GW), and only Doug invested in the WGB.

Eventually the 4 trains came out and were bought up, and the second round of non-Mike companies were capitalized (Mike started his third). I started the CV, seeing ample opportunities for big profits in Toronto, Mike started the TGB, and David started the BBG, and Doug decided that the THB had enough synergistic opportunities with the WR to be worth starting. Unfortunately for him, when he did so neither of the green 00 tiles was available, resulting in the THB sitting there, waiting for someone to buy a 5 train so that he could do something with it. Fortunately, for him, Mike did so, upgrading Kitchener, and the THB was able to eventually operate after one turn of sitting idle.

When the CGR formed, the WR (which had a high share value), the CA, the GW, and the TGB were all folded into the government. I used some of my own money to save the LPS, figuring that even with a single four train, it was better to keep it around for its share value. Will also saved the WGB with money in its treasury.

The next stock round ended up being particularly interesting, as it occurred right about the same time that Chinese food was delivered for David, Doug, and Will, resulting in Doug and Will (at least) being rather distracted. I, however, saw the writing on the wall and realized that the 8 trains were going to arrive soon and result in a forced upgrade of the LPS and WGB. I certainly did not have the money to pay for an 8 train without a massive stock sale, so I dumped the LPS on David (for $225 a share) and started the GT. Doug and Will were distracted by his Chinese food and did not notice that WGB was afflicted by the same condition as the LPS, so priority passed by Doug twice and Will once before Will realized what was up and dumped the WGB onto Doug and started the CPR.

At this point, Doug was convinced he was dead in the water and had no hope of winning. He was also convinced that, without this particular event he would definitely have won the game, thanks to his majority control of the THB and large amount of stock in the CGR. So he set himself up to be destroyed. He offered to led David’s LPS buy a five train (which he gladly agreed to), and was thus left with two trainless companies, leaving him bankrupt in short order. Despite this, because of the WGB’s share value, he did not come in last place. The final scores were:
Jesse: 1875
Will: 1712
David: 1451
Doug: 1030
Mike: 587

While I would like to think my victory was about great positioning and play, I am uncertain that I would have won if the game had been able to continue. Granted, I was in a stronger position than any of the others at this point in time with both David and Doug having to take a hit to buy 8 trains, Mike stuck with a relatively low amount of shares, and Will in control of only the very isolated CPR, but with the CGR having three permanent trains, and my ownership of the company consisting of one share, I doubt I would maintained my position for that long. Still it was a fun game, and it reminded me of all the reasons that I find 1856 to be my favorite 18XX game, even after playing 1830, 18AL, and Steam Over Holland.
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Kevin Nesbitt
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Agreed... 1856 is an excellent 18XX game, maybe even the best pick of the bunch.
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Devin Smith
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I don't understand your first SR: why would you start a company that another player can take over? If everyone passes, the guy with the most money makes the least, so force him to start a company first.

You also saw the un-value of companies at the formation of the CGR: at the time of formation, any companies without a permanent train have an $1100 liability hanging over their head that has to be taken into account.

I'm also interested by the choice of starting companies: why the WGB? Is this common in your group?
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Jesse Dean
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I think most of this was inexperience. David has only played two 18XXs, the rest of us have played a little bit more. Doug is the only one who is really experienced.

So basically it never even occurred to any of the rest of them that a company could be taken over. The only reason Mike even noticed it is because I pointed it out to him after our second game and he decided to put the plan into practice this time due to his large cash reserves.

Yeah, fortunately David was sitting to my immediate left, so there was a very, very low risk of him dumping the LPS on me. I still think I made the right move in saving it, however, as I still made more from it then I would have made in getting extremely reduced in price shares of the CGR. Though I suspect I should have spent some time buying some shares up (because of the money that was in its treasury) rather than immediately starting the GT. Though in the end my lack of shares in the CGR may have caused me to win, since I didn't suffer a huge drop in my portfolio value when Doug was forced to sell his stock.

WGB has been started in two of our three 1856 games. I think it is an awful idea, but I haven't really talked to Will about that yet. I probably should mention that to him, since both time he has played he started a company in the middle of the board...
 
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Ben Foy
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An 1856 start is different than any other start. Its a dance where the player who got the least (in terms of privates) has the advantage. I find this to be fair. Taking over a company is very powerful. Passing in the beginning makes sense. BTW, you can't sell shares until at least one company has opened and operated.

WGB is one of the weaker companies, it can be good but starting it early doesn't make much sense. I don't like the WR but its a reasonable company to start. The WR can be very good if it gets both tight cities. Which is why someone always uses one. Usually the 3 western companies start. The 2 companies adjacent to Toronto can be extremely profitable if both are started.
 
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Not really Ryan Leaf
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Excalabur wrote:
I don't understand your first SR: why would you start a company that another player can take over? If everyone passes, the guy with the most money makes the least, so force him to start a company first.


I'm the player who had the GW taken over... and like Jesse said, I had no idea that Mike could do such a thing. Obviously, it wasn't my intention to start a company that would be taken from me. The idea of everyone passing until the one with the most money starts a company is interesting.

Excalabur wrote:
I'm also interested by the choice of starting companies: why the WGB? Is this common in your group?


I agree with this... and both times that Will has started this, he has made the least amount of income per operating round for virtually the entire game. Come to think of it, I've never invested in one of Will's companies.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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I don't like starting the WR at the beginning of the game. However, if you choose to do so, you simply must ensure that you operate early enough to guarantee yourself a tight city.
 
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Jesse Dean
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TheCat wrote:
I don't like starting the WR at the beginning of the game. However, if you choose to do so, you simply must ensure that you operate early enough to guarantee yourself a tight city.


Yes. He failed to start at a time when he could insure he could get the right tile (twice) and he suffered for it.
 
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Not really Ryan Leaf
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he actually was making good profits in the beginning of the game: LPS and WR were the two cash cows. However, I saw the writing on the wall and dumped his stock before the 4 trains hit because he was stuck in such a poor place with little funding.
 
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Ben Foy
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RyanLeaf wrote:
he actually was making good profits in the beginning of the game: LPS and WR were the two cash cows. However, I saw the writing on the wall and dumped his stock before the 4 trains hit because he was stuck in such a poor place with little funding.


WR isn't a good, long-term company. It runs for good $$$ in the beginning and goes into the government. It needs help if it starts late. My strat is to use my starting company to build a nice route for my second company. WR is worthless for that.
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Jesse Dean
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I was thinking that was the way to go... I started the LPS and when Mike took the GW and started the CA it sort of killed my main potential second round companies. I think next time I play I will probably start the CPR, CV, or GT in order to be able to set myself up for one of the other two as a good second company... Though I guess starting one of the eastern or western companies and going for one of the centrals could also work.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Who cares who builds the starting routes for the second tier companies as long as somebody does? The starting companies are going to fold into the CGR. Forget 'em. Pick your second/third companies to match each other. The first company is a throw-away.
 
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Ben Foy
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doubtofbuddha wrote:
I was thinking that was the way to go... I started the LPS and when Mike took the GW and started the CA it sort of killed my main potential second round companies. I think next time I play I will probably start the CPR, CV, or GT in order to be able to set myself up for one of the other two as a good second company... Though I guess starting one of the eastern or western companies and going for one of the centrals could also work.


1856 is very well balanced. The 2 companies that can make the most (i.e. the LPS and the WR) can benefit a secondary company the least. So its a hard decision, go for early cash or long-term development. Its not obvious at all, which makes 1856 a good game. Note: I also play with the optional '8'.
 
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Ben Foy
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clearclaw wrote:
Who cares who builds the starting routes for the second tier companies as long as somebody does? The starting companies are going to fold into the CGR. Forget 'em. Pick your second/third companies to match each other. The first company is a throw-away.


You can't expect to have a pre-built route for your 2nd company. If it happens thats good. Using your first company to build track for your second company is sometimes the way to go. I don't care about my first company, I want to get the most use out of it before it goes away.
 
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Will Pirnasch
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Well, I'm the one that started 1856 twice with WGB, and the reason is - as Jesse correctly guessed - inexperience. The first game, I had of course no idea at all what was happening, and took just anyone company. Second game, some good stuff was gone when it was my turn, and somehow the WGB looked ok to me, I just did not know what really to look for. I realized about in the third turn that the red hexes at the border are the money-makers.
However, it can't be that bad, as I made still second place from that - clearly inferior - starting point.
 
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Devin Smith
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The issue with the WGB isn't that it's in the middle, it's that it has nowhere to go. It has only two tokens, it's destination is in the middle of nowhere, and it has no way to run two trains in the 2nd OR unless magic happens with the... waterloo and saugeen? the K/W private.

There were more mistakes made than yours, so it's not surprising that you did well. Games that end in bankruptcy are often about avoiding the damage when the player implodes.

Regarding keeping the LPS when it went into the Gov't: If you had someone to dump it on then keeping it was totally reasonable. However, the point remains that a company without a permanent train when the government forms has to find $1100 (or so) in the near future, or go into the government. The latter is often the better choice. Most experienced 1856 players expect to put at least one (likely their first) company into the government, and perhaps more. Note that this has the side effect of making CGR shares pretty good, since the CGR often runs for giant heaps of cash in the endgame. ($1000/OR is reasonable.)
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