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Subject: 18AL - A Review rss

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Ricardo
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18AL as an introductory game to the 18xx series works really well, smoothing the way for the newer players.


With a smaller game map the players will try to avoid each other for a bit at the start but pretty soon everyone gets close and personal making it easy to turn someone's life close to hell or someone's company with a low revenue which is pretty much the same in this game =).



Since its a print & play game talking about the components is a bit irrelevant because each will make its own thus the quality will be different but the one's I played with they were awesome and the artwork looked amazing, it's really good giving it quite a bit more colour than the originals or the others 18xx's.

The way the stock market moves was a bit dumbed down and it's now pretty straightforward, there's only two options or the company gets the money or the players do, and the stock goes down or up depending on the case (referring to the value of each individual share). When there's no remaining shares on the market the company moves a space up the chart (which means an increase on the shares value). Unfortunately there's also a rule that you can only have 12 shares in total, but if a company is in the yellow (low-cost share) then it doesnt count towards the total.



The best rule in my opinion and probably the most damaging is that the player has to put up the missing money if the company needs to buy a train and doesn't have it, this leads to the endgame if the player doesn't have enough money, and due to the smaller number in trains this can happen really quick if one isn't paying attention.
Another endgame possibility is the bank running out of money since it starts only with 8000$.

The tile laying is about the same as usual, you can place up to 1 tile for free (or paying the cost on the map) but with the strategic difference that now the players want to pass through the small towns since they don't count as a stopping point but we still collect its money.

One significant change and one of the main reasons that makes the game smaller lengthwise is that there's less trains on the market to buy only 2 5's, one 6 and one 7, this can lead to a quick rusting of trains in more than one company if we're not paying attention.



Conclusion:

18AL is a pretty solid game capturing the feel of 18xx series very well, as a bonus it can be used for when time is not too much or to try and attract fans to the series. Although I would prefer a bigger game map, that's just my personal "flaw" because I love big maps but without the empty spaces some have in them that just go to waste. And with Koryo's redesign your eyes can also feast on a great game without losing any information.




PS:I would like to thank
Cory Williamson
United States
Austin
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Filipe Cunha
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
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for letting me use their pictures and to
Manuel Pombeiro
Portugal
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that's quickly becoming a DIY expert for showing me the game.
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J C Lawrence
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My general problem with 18AL is that the stock-market is flat, the map is flat, the privates are mostly flat, the various company positions are almost flat...leaving few real or significant decisions left to be made in the game. It doesn't play itself, but there's very little colour in the game. With 3 players its worse as everybody gets two companies, thus removing even more decisions. With 4 players at least there's some asymmetry.
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Ricardo
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Yes the stockmarket is pretty bland but I think it was made to be that way. I approched the review from a new player's perspective, and how it could be used to show the ropes to someone interested in learning the game system.

It has flaws and doesn't go too deep for a really experienced player like say 1861 might, but it offers enough choice and depth for someone who's trying to get into the 18xx series.
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Zé Mário
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DalimThor wrote:
It has flaws and doesn't go too deep for a really experienced player like say 1861 might, but it offers enough choice and depth for someone who's trying to get into the 18xx series.


Yep, and for those who simply do not have the time for the big 18xx's.

Good review.
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Manuel Pombeiro
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Great review Ricardo!!!

And until now there have been a total of 5 new people to the 18xx genre learning the game with this copy, from a total of 9 players that have played it already!!!

It is a great way to introduce people to the 18xx games.
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