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Subject: Better game than many have said, good game for beginners too rss

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Sean Shaw
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This is a review of 1829 Mainline produced by Mayfair.

This is a startling game that is actually quite good. After seeing soem reviews and comments that put the game in a bad light, I just had to come and say some pretty positive things about this game.

In summary, it's a game that follows the 1829/25 framework or the Tresham ideas of 18XX rather than that set out by the 1830 stock market idea. In addition it also adds in some card game ideas similar to poker, Gen Rummi, and Solitaire into the 18XX game.

This means that for many hardcore 18XX players that have learned and loved the 1830 type games (concentration more on stock market and financials in that field) and much less to a degree of the 1829 line (concentrates more on track laying as the stock market is much more benign) could go WTF...and be completely turned off from the first game. This game plays so differently with such a different strategy that hardcore 18XX gamers (ESPECIALLY of the 1830 line, 1829/25 lines see some similarities) may think it's completely screwed up. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. The more I play this game, the more I like it!

I'll extrapolate upon this below...

A summary of the review is as follows

Components - 4
Rules Presentation - 5
Gameplay - 7
Personal Tilt - 8
Replayability - 6
Useability - 6

Final Score - 6


Components - I was somewhat surprised with the components in this game, being a higher quality than I've seen in many 18XX games. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise however as Mayfair has shown in some of it's other games that it puts in higher grade components in their 18XX line.

The company tokens are interesting in that they are like small miniature tiddly winks, or small colored plastic disks defining companies by a color instead of a symbol. This could be problematic for someone who is color blind or if you play in low level lighting.

The trains are on plastic coated cards, and the share cards have a nice sheen to them as well, though a little slick which seems to make them want to stick together occasionally.

The stock board is basic cardboard, but the main board is mounted. Finally you have some paper money which seems to be printed on slightly thicker paper then usual.

18XX has never been completely about the best of components, with plastic and wood abounding, but they do their job.

It scores a 4.

Rules Presentation - The rulebook is straightforward and actually one of the EASIEST 18XX rulebooks I've ever read. Most 18XX rulebooks seem to be more a morass of highly concentrated rules which can be hard to follow at times. Reading through this book has you set up and play while reading it, meaning you can start playing probably 5 minutes after opening up the game.

Unfortunately, Tresham occasionally has vague portions in his rulebooks which appear to leave gaps open to interpretation, and this rulebook is no different. This can lead to a few gamestopping moments during the first game as all the players decide how they are going to play such and such a rule.

The rulebook has three variations of play, 3+ players, 2 players, and solitaire playing (and this is a BIG bonus...solitaire playing of an 18XX game...that's waaaay cool).

Overall the rules are nicely put together...and though nothing to jump and shout about, nothing to cry home about either.

It scores a 5.

Gameplay - The gameplay differs from other 18XX games in that there are random elements regarding card draw found in Mainline which are NOT in the other 18XX games (at least none of the others which I've ever run across or played). At the beginning of the game share cards are shuffled and dealt to each player (the number varies dependant on how many players). The rest of the cards are placed in a draw pile. From the shares in their hand each player may buy shares to own, they may also draw a card from the pile and decide whether or not to buy that share or not. If they do not buy the share it goes in the discard pile. Once they discard a share card this way, their turn to buy shares is over. If a company has enough shares out, it starts up, it's chips are placed out, with one going on the stock board, and the player with the most shares runs the company.

If a player has more shares then the current company president, they take over the running of the company. Hence, some of the game is holding cards in your hand if you have them, and seeing someone discard a card since they don't fear whether you will take it or not...and other strategies somewhat similar to rummi. In fact, the card play in whether you will be able to take over a company, or not can mean that the ownership of companies can switch quite often at the beginning of the game. This slows down near the middle and is practically non-existent at the end.

It's also in a way sort of like bluffing at times, when you try to discern whether you want to start off a company this turn, and if you do if someone may have more shares, or try to take it from you.

It's also this random card play that can turn off a Hardcore 18XX player at first, as it's so different then the typical buying and selling of stock. Overall, it turns out that it is actually mostly balanced with the companies, and because of the randomness and the way the discard pile works it's rare that someone will completely control a majority of the stocks in a company (aka, own over 50% of the stocks in a company). There are card limits, which also come into play in whether you decide to sell (normally near the end of the game if you see an opportunity to buy a good stock from the draw pile, or one at the top of the discard pile which you may also buy).

Stocks that are sold on the other hand do NOT go into the discard pile, but are sold to the bank. Stocks may be bought and sold from the bank more freely (the same with trains), but it normally is a mistake to sell a major company to the bank at the beginning of the game, especially when people are more prone to start up a company.

Once all stocks are sold or bought, the companies actually get to run. The companies have NO limit on HOW MANY yellow tiles they may lay down, as long as they obey certain rules (for example, if you run into a station or city...your track laying turn ends). You can instead also upgrade ONE tile only for a track laying turn instead. Most choose the yellow track layin gat first. This can make for rather long tracks at first, but these long tracks may actually NOT be beneficial in the long run. This is because they have several types of trains, the trains that can run through small towns with no penalty and pick up points for running through, and Express trains which go through as well, but pick up NO points from small towns, and only get points from Cities. Express trains however can normally go further, and also have the ability to score the major cities twice if you go with the more expensive Express trains, meaning that you can rack up MORE money via these Express trains with a short route, rather then a long winding route that has few cities...but a lot of small towns. Trying to maximize how to lay your track is perhaps one of the biggest things in this game, and where the rest of the strategy outside the card play lies.

Next off, the president decides whether to pay off the shares to the share owners, or keep the money in the company. If he distributes to the share holders, then the stock price goes up by one space, if he doesn't it goes down by one space. Hence the stock market still plays a role, but the changes are not going to be as drastic as say a game of 1856 with it's selling and buying as well as distribution or not.

Trains are also bought off the market, or sold to the bank...but trains are always sold for $180 to the bank (least price for a train, which means you probably are going to think twice before selling a $450 train to the bank for $180), or you can barter and sell them to other players.

When a company maxes it's stock price, OR the bank runs out of money OR if you set a time limit and that time is up...the game ends.

No phases, no rusting, no exceptions really...all in all a pretty simple 18XX game. Not as simple as the beginner game of 1856, but probably a step up in the learning curve. So if you don't want to play the game 18EZ which I actually think is a good learning game for 18XX by the way, I'd say using 1856 beginner rules and then trying these rules will be a good introduction to 18XX games. Just be aware that the stock rules are SOOOOO different in 1829 mainline that it gives it a completely different feel...however it will give new players an idea of stock market manipulation and stocks as well as more complex track laying strategies as the much of the strategy of the game lies with the track laying. It also has familiar concepts found in common card games such as bluffing, matching groups of cards together (to get majority stocks) that will be easy to grasp and learn.

The gameplay works surprisngly well and the game flows rather smoothly. I find that once the rules are down pat, it actually seems to move more quickly than other 18XX games in it's feel. At the same time, though the box says we should be able to finish a game in under 2 hours...I think it could be impossible unless you are playing the solitaire game (in which case it could be possible if you are REALLY quick).

It scores an 7.

Personal Tilt - The first time I played this game, I was almost in shock. I thought I hated the game. The cards seemed so random that I couldn't even grasp the strategy. At first it appeared as if who ever got the company down first would win...and hence the game was broken. However, I was darned if I had just paid $60 and just going to give it one play. So I tried it again that same night (actually the first game was on an afternoon which some of us got done with work early during, so the second was that night). At the second game I started to see the charm and the strategy that could be found in the game. The third game things really started to click as I separated out what I had learned from other 18XX games and started to relearn for this game. Then I moved to solitaire, and a few other games, and what at first had turned me off to the game, really started to turn me onto the game. The rules were actually pretty awesome, and the game started to get a little addictive. It's different...I mean really different...the cards mean that you have a completely different way of playing and strategy...but once you get over that, at least for me, you start to really like these dynamics of how it flows. I can't say it's my favorite 18XX game, because it's not, nor can I say it's the best game out there, because it's not, but it's actually quite good. I'd even say that it's up on the higher end of the 18XX games, probably because of how drastically different it is, and yet it's still 18XX.

On a side note, I've also tried the Stock variant posted in the files section here

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/25190

or direct link to the file

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/download/2unuh72ocp/1829GL...

And I have to say it works pretty well with 1829 mainline, and makes it more comfortable for the old timer 18XX gamers at first. It misses the interesting dynamics of the card strategies...but at the same time restores a more familiar stock game that 18XX players are more familiar with.

Overall, it's actually a pretty good game.

It scores an 8.

Replayability - I'd say with the two player variant, the replay value is pretty low...however with the basegame rules, it has an okay replayability. The randomness means that you never know which companies will come into play, whether there will be a major player pop up midgame, or even which order companies will come out in. This makes for decent replayability.

It scores a 6.

Useability - I would say this game is much easier to introduce new players to only beaten out by 18EZ, 1856/70 (due to the beginner rules), and...well that's about it. It's pretty easy and simple to grasp the rules. On the downside, this game is pretty much restricted to 1 to 4 players. It says more on the box and in the rules, but I find if you want everyone to have a nice chance to run a company and get more involved (and since the game is MORE about laying track then being a stock baron and tyrant of economics in the stock game it's pretty much more necessary to have people run companies) than you want to play with a maximum of 4 players with ALL the companies in play (meaning shuffled into the share deck). There is a two player game that also works well, and the one player game is basically you playing against yourself trying to beat your former score. I really enjoy the fact that you can play this game solitaire, and have picked up playing it that way since my opportunities to actually play 18XX are less then what I desire normally. It's also a way that you could adapt to other 18XX games to play them solitaire (I have NOT attempted this yet by the way, but have thought about it).

Overall, average useability.

It scores a 6.

It's final score is a 6.

Overall, it's a fine game. It took me by surprise when I played it, and as I said, at first I didn't like it. I had spent $60 on it though, and didn't like the idea that I had let it go to waste. Later plays opened up that it was a pretty good game...with the right number of players. If you play with 5 players it restricts the stock shares more, which means that it becomes more of a broken game that can be pretty predicatable on who will win within the first 5 turns. You REALLY need the fewer players so that you can have the card manipulation for players to have the ability to steal companies, and own companies much more easily.

I also really like the solitaire option, and the track laying can get rather interesting and is the focus of the game.

It's another charmer by Tresham, and if you've played it before and gave up on it, I'd suggest to try it again and try to see the charm in the game. If you'd like to learn how to play 18XX games, I'd say this could be a good entry point, though there are several things that are so different that you'd have to relearn some of the dynamics for other 18XX games. However it is a good entry point if one wants to learn more about 18XX games, and still has relatively easy attainability (aka, still on the market in some places).
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Bill Gallagher
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I purchased the game from Mayfair at Origins. I wanted a shorter game that I could use to introduce the 18xx genre to new players. I have yet to get the regular 18xx crew to try it though.
 
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J C Lawrence
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GreyLord wrote:
This is a review of 1829 Mainline produced by Mayfair.


1829 is not produced by Mayfair. It is sold by Mayfair as part of their long-standing partnership with Francis Tresham, much like they've long imported and sold the various bits of 1825, but they do not produce it themselves.
 
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jim b
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Thanks for this review.

I've seen mixed reports about this game, and it's good to hear a fresh perspective.

And, it's always good to support the live ones - this is one of the few active 18xx titles (along with the 1825s), where the designer remains heavily involved.

(DTG & Helmut Ohley's titles are the only other commercial 18xx that come to mind, as truly 'active' titles.)
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jimb wrote:
And, it's always good to support the live ones - this is one of the few active 18xx titles (along with the 1825s), where the designer remains heavily involved.
...
(DTG & Helmut Ohley's titles are the only other commercial 18xx that come to mind, as truly 'active' titles.)


The pool of active and involved 18xx designer list is perhaps larger than you think. Most of the designers actively support their games on the 18xx list (exception: Francis Tresham). Off the top of my head:

Bill Dixon (1832, still working on his unification game?)
David Hecht (currently working on 18Ardennes)
Mike Hutton (Currently working on 1860v2 and assisting 1812?)
Helmut Ohley (Runs Double-O along with Orgler)
Lonny Orgler (The other side of Ohley)
Tom Lehmann (most recently 1846 and 1834 due out RSN)
Ian Wilson (1861, currently working on 1812)
Mark Derrick (Runs Chatanooga Rail Fest, not clear if he has a design in the pipe)
Klaus Kiermeier (Currently working on 1873)
Francis Tresham (Yeah)

I'm sure there are more. On the other side: Wolfram Janich does seem to have faded back, but he only seemed to become visible around the times he had new designs in-hand. Carl Burger died, which rather put a crimp on finishing 1831. Mark Frazier has pulled back due to family commitments (but says he'll be back). Alan Moon has seemingly abandoned the 18xx. Federico Vellani & Manlio Manzini have disappeared (though I heard the latter is still active?). Oh, and the the Japanese crowd live in a somewhat incestuous world all their own, with a host of local games that the rest of the world only see from afar.
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jim b
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clearclaw wrote:
Most of the designers actively support their games on the 18xx list (exception: Francis Tresham). Off the top of my head:

Bill Dixon (1832, still working on his unification game?)
David Hecht (currently working on 18Ardennes)
Mike Hutton (Currently working on 1860v2 and assisting 1812?)
Helmut Ohley (Runs Double-O along with Orgler)
Lonny Orgler (The other side of Ohley)
Tom Lehmann (most recently 1846 and 1834 due out RSN)
Ian Wilson (1861, currently working on 1812)
Mark Derrick (Runs Chatanooga Rail Fest, not clear if he has a design in the pipe)
Klaus Kiermeier (Currently working on 1873)
Francis Tresham (Yeah)

I'm sure there are more. On the other side: Wolfram Janich does seem to have faded back, but he only seemed to become visible around the times he had new designs in-hand. Carl Burger died, which rather put a crimp on finishing 1831. Mark Frazier has pulled back due to family commitments (but says he'll be back). Alan Moon has seemingly abandoned the 18xx. Federico Vellani & Manlio Manzini have disappeared (though I heard the latter is still active?). Oh, and the the Japanese crowd live in a somewhat incestuous world all their own, with a host of local games that the rest of the world only see from afar.

This is great.

Deep Thought Games publishes many of these. (For reference, DTG's designers include Mark Derrick, David Hecht, W.R.Dixon, Yasutaka Ikeda, Tom Lehmann, Gary Mroczka and Lonny Orgler.)

Helmut Oakley offers his games 1844/Switzerland and 1848/Australia on his web-site (also, his PnP titles 18FR and 18NL).

Heron Games has 1829 Mainline and the 1825's (all by Francis Tresham).

Vendetta is selling Bart van Dijk's Steam over Holland. (SoH is also available PnP, as 18IR.)

Many of the others are hard to find - either because of language barriers, or inadvertent stale links in the 18xx sites, etc.

Would you mind providing link(s) where these other(s) may be available, too?

[Btw- I noticed Mayfair is still selling 1856 & 1870 on their site, too.]
[addendum- added links for SoH]
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GreyLord wrote:

I also really like the solitaire option, and the track laying can get rather interesting and is the focus of the game.



Would you, or someone else, elaborate on this further? Thanks.
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Riptcord wrote:
GreyLord wrote:

I also really like the solitaire option, and the track laying can get rather interesting and is the focus of the game.



Would you, or someone else, elaborate on this further? Thanks.


Uh? The solitaire part or the track laying? The solitaire is actually quite cute and involves a patience (Card-game) -style of share shuffling in a market to matching companies while you try to buy enough exposed shares to float and make money from various companies on the board.

On tile laying, Mainline permits multiple yellow tile lays provided you don't hit a city or use a sharp bend. This permits a bunch of routes to open up really quickly.

From the 18xx differences page at fwtwr.com: "1829 Mainline You may lay any number of yellow tiles as long as the track laid is continuous. This continuous route can be traced through pre-printed track in a brown board hex. Track laying must finish if a connection is made to an existing large station. It must also finish if a tile of types 3, 6, 7 or 115 is laid. If the Midland, NER or NBR need to lay a tile on their home hex when they frst operate, this lay is in addition to any other tile laying activities for that round."

B>
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jimb wrote:
Would you mind providing link(s) where these other(s) may be available, too?


In terms of public markets, I'm not sure there is much else. Wolfram Janich continues to actively sell games, but has no website; he sells only by email (I'm thinking about making an order FWIW). Lonny Orgler has delegated all sales to Helmut Ohley & Double-O games. Most of the Japanese games are available only in-person and by pre-arrangement at the Japanese 18xx game-meetings.

In terms of future titles (off the top of my head):

- Tom Lehmann and John Tamplin have already publicly stated that DTG is looking at Tom's 1834 as their next game.

- DTG is also already looking at David Hecht's 18Ardennes, Mathew Campbell's 18Neb and Todd Vander Pluym's 18Kit (tho this latter seems to have fallen off the rails.

- AIUI Klaus Kiermeter is still hunting a publisher. DTG is clearly a possibility, but there's some question that the game may need more development. (BtB I'm very likely to be making a copy of 1873 RSN)

- I'm not sure where Ian Wilson is heading with 1812, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is JKLM.

All the other games I'm aware of are also too larval to predict much of a future for.
 
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thepackrat wrote:
Riptcord wrote:
GreyLord wrote:

I also really like the solitaire option, and the track laying can get rather interesting and is the focus of the game.



Would you, or someone else, elaborate on this further? Thanks.


Uh? The solitaire part or the track laying? The solitaire is actually quite cute and involves a patience (Card-game) -style of share shuffling in a market to matching companies while you try to buy enough exposed shares to float and make money from various companies on the board.



Sorry about the lack of clarity; I was in a hurry.
blush
I am interested in hearing more about the solitaire aspects of the game. Sometimes it can be difficult to get the "right" people together for this type of game.
 
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thepackrat wrote:
Riptcord wrote:
GreyLord wrote:

I also really like the solitaire option, and the track laying can get rather interesting and is the focus of the game.



Would you, or someone else, elaborate on this further? Thanks.


Uh? The solitaire part or the track laying? The solitaire is actually quite cute and involves a patience (Card-game) -style of share shuffling in a market to matching companies while you try to buy enough exposed shares to float and make money from various companies on the board.

On tile laying, Mainline permits multiple yellow tile lays provided you don't hit a city or use a sharp bend. This permits a bunch of routes to open up really quickly.

From the 18xx differences page at fwtwr.com: "1829 Mainline You may lay any number of yellow tiles as long as the track laid is continuous. This continuous route can be traced through pre-printed track in a brown board hex. Track laying must finish if a connection is made to an existing large station. It must also finish if a tile of types 3, 6, 7 or 115 is laid. If the Midland, NER or NBR need to lay a tile on their home hex when they frst operate, this lay is in addition to any other tile laying activities for that round."

B>


As he said. Basically you lay out $2000 for the game, and as he described above, the shares are laid out in 7 stacks (in piles like solitaire where you have seven cards in the first, six in the second, five in the third, etc. on down to one in the last), one stack for each of the companies allowed in play for the solitaire version (so in another 18XX game, probably however many companies are available you'd put them down in that many stacks probably). The bottom card is laid up so you can see it and is available. You can buy any shares that you can see what they are (so at the beginning, the bottom card of each stack). You can move the cards to matching share companies and put them below, and as you do, the next card under is shown face up.

Otherwise rules pretty much follow as the normal game rules, but only with you playing. The goal is to break the bank, or max stocks on a company in as few turns as possible. Then you play a second time to try to beat your score from the first time.
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clearclaw wrote:
jimb wrote:
And, it's always good to support the live ones - this is one of the few active 18xx titles (along with the 1825s), where the designer remains heavily involved.
...
(DTG & Helmut Ohley's titles are the only other commercial 18xx that come to mind, as truly 'active' titles.)


The pool of active and involved 18xx designer list is perhaps larger than you think. Most of the designers actively support their games on the 18xx list (exception: Francis Tresham). Off the top of my head:

Bill Dixon (1832, still working on his unification game?)
David Hecht (currently working on 18Ardennes)
Mike Hutton (Currently working on 1860v2 and assisting 1812?)
Helmut Ohley (Runs Double-O along with Orgler)
Lonny Orgler (The other side of Ohley)
Tom Lehmann (most recently 1846 and 1834 due out RSN)
Ian Wilson (1861, currently working on 1812)
Mark Derrick (Runs Chatanooga Rail Fest, not clear if he has a design in the pipe)
Klaus Kiermeier (Currently working on 1873)
Francis Tresham (Yeah)

I'm sure there are more. On the other side: Wolfram Janich does seem to have faded back, but he only seemed to become visible around the times he had new designs in-hand. Carl Burger died, which rather put a crimp on finishing 1831. Mark Frazier has pulled back due to family commitments (but says he'll be back). Alan Moon has seemingly abandoned the 18xx. Federico Vellani & Manlio Manzini have disappeared (though I heard the latter is still active?). Oh, and the the Japanese crowd live in a somewhat incestuous world all their own, with a host of local games that the rest of the world only see from afar.


WOW. for once I'm completely in the dark. The Japanese play 18XX, and they have their own independant community apart from everyone else overseas with variants that are specific to the Japanese?

Could you tell me more?
 
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Riptcord wrote:

Sorry about the lack of clarity; I was in a hurry.
blush
I am interested in hearing more about the solitaire aspects of the game. Sometimes it can be difficult to get the "right" people together for this type of game.


Well, as I hinted at, think of cards arranged in a patience-style triangle with only the bottom card (share here) of each column available. You can move shares onto matching shares in another column (Privates can only be bought, not moves) and turn over newly exposed shares, you can also buy anything that's at the bottom of a column.

This is a cute way of doing variable availability of shares, but it's not what I'd consider fantastically replayable, nor a great substitute for the market in other 18xx games. Cute seems a good word.

B>
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Thanks Bruce and Sean.
 
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GreyLord wrote:
The Japanese play 18XX, and they have their own independant community apart from everyone else overseas with variants that are specific to the Japanese?


Yes.

Quote:
Could you tell me more?


1886
1890
1891
1897 (4 versions)
1899KP
18SY
18TK


Plus 18NK and 18SS (on which I have no data).
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GreyLord wrote:
WOW. for once I'm completely in the dark.


Look at your avatar.
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Sean Shaw
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Raiderjakk wrote:
GreyLord wrote:
WOW. for once I'm completely in the dark.


Look at your avatar.


LOL
 
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GreyLord wrote:
WOW. for once I'm completely in the dark. The Japanese play 18XX, and they have their own independant community apart from everyone else overseas with variants that are specific to the Japanese?

Could you tell me more?


That's basically all there is to tell. You can find their games on the 18xx wiki page: 18xx
 
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This game seems always to be compared with other 18xx games. It would be very interesting to read, how it competes with other well known German games like Power Grid, Puerto Rico or El Grande.

Any comments on that?
 
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brauerle wrote:
This game seems always to be compared with other 18xx games. It would be very interesting to read, how it competes with other well known German games like Power Grid, Puerto Rico or El Grande.

Any comments on that?


Yes. What? The reason it's compared with other 18xx games is that, market aside, it uses pretty much all the same mechanics and rules. If you don't like those other aspects of 18xx games, then you're not going to like mainline very much.

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Sean Shaw
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brauerle wrote:
This game seems always to be compared with other 18xx games. It would be very interesting to read, how it competes with other well known German games like Power Grid, Puerto Rico or El Grande.

Any comments on that?


As stated above, it's easiest to compare it to other 18XX games. Sort of like it's probably easier to compare Caylus and Agricola then Caylus and Runebound. It would be a longer article such as the review above. I'm not really in the mood to do a full blown write up, but I suppose I could do a short summary of 18XX in general to those you listed above.

Power Grid and 18XX have the most in common since they both are train games (well, PG is at least related to the traingame phenomena being a rail game from the Empire Builder type games). However it's far different being more of a connect a set line, and earn your money via creating power plants and powering cities, so vastly different in feel. It does have the market, but that's for resources, and as such isn't quite the focus on economic stock manipulation like an 18XX. Far different game. The closest similarity is the Phases...which would be VERY LIGHT phases in comparison to an 18XX type phase...with new rules coming into effect each phase.

It's the only one that has any similarities to 18XX in any way really and really a very different game in style and substance.

Puerto Rico and 18XX's similarities would be more in line with...well...hmm...can't think of any really. Completely different. I suppose most 18XX has no luck (mainline excluded of course) where as PR's only luck would be the draw of the tiles. Otherwise, 18XX you're trying to make money, in PR it's VP. I suppose you could say in PR you are building up the island and in 18XX you are also building something, the tracks...but in the 1830 line that's secondary to the economic/stock manipulation that is going on...soooo...

El Grande is the one that is the hardest in comparison...No idea what to say on this one...except 18XX isn't about area control really like El Grande is (or maybe I should say area influence).

Really very different games which would take a while to compare and contrast due to the vast number of differences. I think someone who enjoys financial sides of a Euro or other game could find much to enjoy in an 18XX game. If you enjoy bidding mechanics such as in Princes of Florence there are 18XX games with intense bidding...at least for privates in some 18XX games and you could enjoy that.

Sorry, not really in the mood for a full on comparison of the games to 18XX...hope that a short summation works...but post above mine works best in saying they are really very different in the focus and how they work.

With the 1830 line precedent I actually think they may have more in common with other train games (hence why PG actually has a few similarities in comparison to other games with it's bidding for plants, it's resource manipulation though hardly comparable to the stock mechanic, and it's phases) than Euros...and train games probably have more in common with Wargames (especially the more in depth 18XX games) due to approach and how the rules are written as well as the AH and other old time Wargame producers being behind some of the old 18XX games (well, particularly the 1830 game) than Euros in many instances.

Not that 18XX is all that similar to wargames at all, I just see them as being more related in the context then to Euros as far as rules complexity (AND THAT'S MY PERSONAL OPINION...WHICH MEANS NO ONE ELSE may even have anything remotely similar since we are all different). It's hard to cage it in comparison to other types of games and I feel even my breif attempt above is probably a failure to put into words any type of comparisons I may feel even remotely exist.
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J C Lawrence
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Power Grid, Puerto Rico and El Grande bear about as much relation to the 18xx as they also do to Tichu: ie not much. The 18xx are capital management games. The 1830-branch focus on direct capital manipulation and the 1829-branch on portfolio management, but they remain capital management games first, foremost, and last. In a broad sense they are the games, writ very small, that your financial advisors play as they move your retirement investments among metals and futures and stocks and shares and bonds and hedge funds etc - just with the added bonus that they also get to run some of those investment vehicles. The 1830-branch in particular are essentially capitalistic wet dreams, as well as paeans to the economic theorist Joseph Schumpeter's notions of creative destruction. While there may be other German-style games which attempt such simulations, I don't know of them.
 
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Thanks for your answers. I myself know the 18xx system because I'm playing these games from time to time.

My questions regarding the comparison of Mainline with other German games was not meant in this way. I know that gameplay-wise they are very different. What I like to know is how the compare in levels of fun. Mainline seems to be at an equal complexity level like some of the mentiond Germans, so it competes with them.
On a normal game evening where I choose to play Power Grid or Amun-Re with non 18xx players - could I also play Mainline or is it not as good as these games for the normal crowd.

Thanks,
Michael
 
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Fun is such an intensely personal value that I've no idea t all how to judge an answer.
 
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This is all subjective in personal tastes. Powergrid is one of my top favorite games, though not my top train game. I'd probably play PG any day over 1829 mainline...but then I'd play PG over a LOT of other games any day...so my assessment on that is probably not the best to go by.

Amun-Ra is okay...but I'd rather play 1829 mainline anyday over Amun-Ra...so once again probably not the best assessment to go by.

1829 mainline will take longer than many of the Euros, at leasts the first few times you play, if not always.

If your group doesn't mind heavier Euros, they could handle this easily. It's much less rules intensive then something like say, Revolution: The Dutch Revolt.

If they could handle Puerto Rico intially they could probably handle 1829 Mainline.

Is that the type of info you were looking for?
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