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Subject: Which 18xx for beginners? rss

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Wes Makin
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I didn't get a chance to play an 18xx game at Gamestorm, and I've been "meaning to" for three years now. Which of the 18xx's (available for purchase in a reasonable fashion,) would be best for a group of beginners?
 
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Dave Eisen
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I probably shouldn't speak, never having played it, but that sort of thing has not stopped me before.

I have only played 1830 and love it and suspect it is the best game of the lot.

That said, it is somewhat long, somewhat harsh, and perhaps not best suited for beginners. Not to mention that it is out of print and I only have my copy because I bought it on eBay.

You might consider 18GA. Smaller and shorter game, probably best with fewer players. I have read the rules and while they are not the same as 1830, the differences are not in any way going to affect the flavor of the game. Looks like it would serve this purpose well.

It is sold by a fellow named John Galt out of California as a kit designed by Mark Derrick, you need to do a little arts and crafts to put together a working game. But anyone not quite as incompetent at kindergarten as I should have no problems with it. And it looks to be very well made and an attractive game once this is done.

Dave Eisen
 
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Steve Zamborsky
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Who is John Galt?
 
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Mark Watson
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I just started playing 18xx games. I purchased 1825, which I really quite like. It is not too long and very expandable. While I would like to have time to play 1830 or 1856, I don't think they would make it onto my table very often.
 
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Joe Casadonte
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I, too, just recently purchased 1825. My group runs hot and cold on really long games, so it wasn't until 1825 Unit 3 came out that I took the plunge. Unit 3 is 2-player only, and I knew I wouldn't have trouble getting that on the table. Assuming we liked it, of course.

So I bought it, and we liked it, and we bought all of the rest of the 1825 Units and kits. Blew my gaming budget for 3 months! We've played Unit 3 numerous times, and Unit 2 once. I hope to get it to the table again soon.

We also played 18Scan last night, and I've read through the rules to 18VA, and played 1830 on the computer. So I have only a limited amount of experience. Given that, my recommendation would be for 1825, as it is somewhat simpler than many of the others seem to be. It is also, as Mark says, very expandable. So, if you find your group likes it, you can buy more! It is available from Mayfair directly:

http://www.mayfairgames.com/mfg-shop/0450-0479/qps/0473.html

I can recommend Unit 3 for 2P (though it is 2-player only). Not sure about the rest as for optimal players, and all that. The system seems very good, as a whole. Many hard-core 18xx players dis it, though, as being too "simple". YMMV.

18VA looks very interesting, and I've bought a copy of it, though I don't have it yet. It seems to have a nice mix of different elements, with just a little more complexity thrown in. You can get a nearly-professionally-produced copy from:

http://www.18xx.info

There are several others there, as well. If you're handy with the arts and crafts, there are a number that are available for download. Let me know if you're interested, and I'll scare up a link or three. And if you're masochistic (and wealthy ) there's always 18CSC:

http://www.designsice.com/

I don't think it plays well with just two, though.
 
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Chris Farrell
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It depends a little bit on what you're looking for. But 1830 and 1825 are the no-brainers.

1830 is longer, has a bit more chrome, and is more tactical. 1825 is a lot shorter, very streamlined, and is a bit more strategic. 1825 is a no-brainer if your background is eurogamers in my opinion, and with expansions it can be built up to a pretty meaty, longer game with a lot of variety. Old-school gamers who like longer and more cutthroat games (6 hours, with the possibility of being reduced to a last-place position after 3) should look at 1830, which is also an excellent game but a more exacting one.

I haven't played all of the gamekits, but I have played a number of them, and have never played one I would even come close to recommending over 1830 or 1825. In my opinion, the gamekits are the things to move on to once you get hooked on the system. I played 18EU recently after it was getting a bunch of positive buzz around here (http://homepage.mac.com/c_farrell/iblog/C2097221587/E4909378...), and was rather unimpressed.

I like 1856 a lot, but it is a pretty involved game. If you play 1825 or 1830 and like it, though, I'd definitely recommend checking it out.
 
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Wes Makin
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So it looks like 1825 is the correct answer; as my group(s) tend to avoid 3+ hour games. (Which leaves my Ad. Civ. and Diplomacy boxes fairly dusty...)

The follow up question becomes which Unit (One or Two) plays better with two players? (I know Unit Three is a 2-player only, I want the flexibility...)
 
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Chris Trimmer
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Nate Sandall
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Is Mayfairgames.com the cheapest place to get the 1825 games and expansions or are there other places that carry it? At $50/unit the jump to a used 1830 on ebay is not that much. Also, the number of expansions to 1825 is almost mindboggling - which to use and not use and for how many players etc?
 
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Joe Casadonte
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Cavedog_pdx wrote:
Is Mayfairgames.com the cheapest place to get the 1825 games? Also, the number of expansions to 1825 is almost mindboggling - which to use and not use and for how many players etc?


In my limited researching of it, they were the cheapest. As for which to buy, I can only guess:

Unit 1 does 2-5 people on its own, I believe. With the regional expansions come the minor companies, more space and more tiles, so you can probably handle 6 or 7 (though I don't know that for certain).

Unit 2 does 2-4 by itself. It can be combined with Unit 1 for 3-6 people (and then you can add the regional kits), or combined with Unit 3 for 2-5 people (or was it 3-5?).

Unit 3 is specifically 2P only, but can be combined with the others.

If you only want to get 1 unit, and you have more than 2 players, I'd get Unit 1 with some of the expansions. If you know that you'll be only playing it 2P, go with Unit 3 (obviously). If you're willing to get 2 Units, I'd probably get 2 & 3, so you can play it 2P when desired, but also go up to 5P when desired.

Just some random thoughts from someone who has only played Unit 3 (many times) and Unit 2 (once).
 
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Mark Watson
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I created a geeklist on that topic, hoping to have someone answer those questions for me:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

As for ordering 1825: It sees like it must be done through Mayfair. The local game stores can't get the game in and websellers like (the canadian) Germangames.com couldn't order it either.
 
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Chris Farrell
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It might be slightly cheaper to order from Heron Games and pay the shipping from the UK, especially if you order a lot:

http://www.fwtwr.com/store/list.asp?xCat=1825

Sadly, they are currently out of the 1825 base games. But he'll probably have it back in stock at some point; you could write and ask. I've ordered there and been happy.

For 2 players, you may want to get 1825 Unit 2 - it's a smaller game than Unit 1 and so probably a bit more manageable with 2 players, but it works pretty well with 2-4 and could be combined with Unit 3 for an interesting 5 or even 6 player game. However, Unit 1 is far more flexible, a little more open, supports a wider range of players (2-5 with just the basic set), has 3 regional (mini-map) expansions for variety, a bunch of minors or minors you can add, and is the most plausible candidate for extending to phase 4 for a longer game with bigger trains.

Mark, I'll add some comments to your geeklist on the mini-expansions.
 
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Tim Franklin
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Likewise at Leisure Games in the UK (http://www.leisuregames.com/), who appear to have all units and all expansions bar K3 in stock. Nice people to deal with, but might be a bit pricy for shipping outside UK & Europe.

Edit:

Also, thanks to everyone for the hints, I've been intrigued by 18xx myself and doing a bit of reading the last couple of days. That makes "where to start" a bit clearer.

Is there much of a community around these games for PBEM, Vassal, etc? I found a few references / player lists, but they all seemed a good few years old. (Still buying the game, obviously, not looking to freeload, but I don't see it getting much table time.)

TTFN,
Tim.
 
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simon craddock
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Wes as you are from Portland you may be interested in an 18xx con
taking place there in the net couple of months.If you are drop me a line and i
will try to find the details for you.
 
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Sebastian Sohn
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