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Subject: My first impression of 18XX rss

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General Norris
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So I finally played 1830 as my first 18XX.

And it was fun. Sure, even tough we were playing with a Diesel-less variant, we took very long but everyone on the table had fun, and it was obvious we were playing very slowly. And god bless Poker Chips, without them we would have taken 2 hours more. I knew they were important, but holy crap, they are amazing!

Something that surprised me was how simple the game was. Sure, I knew the game has an undeserved reputation for being complex, but it's lighter than, say, Automobile. And besides the initial auction, which is kind of weird, the rest of the game is easy to understand, you won't get yourself out of contention unless you play with experts, a newbie game is unlikely to have blowouts.

Our game saw a lot of buying and selling shares in other companies and no company was dumped, even tough it was close once and it's effect was nticiable. I really enjoyed this kind of gameplay, which is highly atypical in 1830 where getting more than a share in someone else's company is very risky. This confirmed the reasons why I plan to buy 1825 Unit 1, I'm now completely sure I will like it.

So, give it a try! 18XX are fun games!
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Why did you decide for 1825 unit 1 as your next 18xx?
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Be assured that 1825 will give you a whole new 18xx experience, compared to 1830!

Welcome to the club meeple
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General Norris
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Romtos wrote:
Why did you decide for 1825 unit 1 as your next 18xx?

Actually first, since I don't have any! Someone on a boardgame forum invited me to a game, and I gladly joined


Some reasons:

1) It's short enough to be played with other games on the same evening
2) It supports 2 players depending on the Unit (I'm not sure Unit 1 does, I'm also getting Unit 2 when it becomes availble again)

I'm not opposed to long games and after playing two Arkham Horror games back to back, I know how easy is to make room for a 4 hour game but the lenght will put most 18XX as "arrange a play" games, while 1825 is short enough to push it to the table as I would with any other game.

Two player support is also interesting to me because it's easy to find another crazy person to play with you. And given how simple the game is, the opportunities are many. On the very least, it means that the game won't be a flop, it will see some play.

3) I enjoy routebuilding, and 1825 has more of it than the 1830 branch.
4) I like to dedicate my money to benefit from my opponent's moves, which is more direct in 1825 because there's no dumping companies
5) I like a lively stock market, it's fun. 1825 has a very lively one compared to the risky 1830 branch, with more portfolio management and timing.

I think I also enjoy dumping companies, but leeching seems more fun to me.

I also compared it to other 18XX. 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight has a lot of what I want and is readily availble so it was a very solid option. Sure, it's a poor introduction to 18XX because it's weird, but I planned to burn it to death, not to use it a stepladder so it was fine by me. However, since I'm currently groupless, 1825 will be an easier sell.

1830 is the best intro for the 1830 branch, readily availble with the reprint and once you get the hang of it, not longer than 4 hours, similar to Arkham Horror. 1889: History of Shikoku Railways is a shorter 1830, but you have to wait one year to get it and at the end of the day, I would take 1830 over it.

1846: The Race for the Midwest is a game that I can see beating 1830. I'm not exactly sure on how similar or not they are, probably not much, but I heard 1846 offers both stock market manipulation and a good Train Rush, which are the most interesting things of the 1830 branch to me, and with
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speaking so highly of it, I'm intrigued (Note he plays his games a lot, something I really appreciate). It's also short (3 hours) and very replayable, while being heralded as one of the best titles to get newbies on so it looks very solid.

I also considered other games, like 1865: Sardinia, which is beautiful but the mines, dragons and other tweaks make it not as accesible as other games. I also considered 1812: The Cradle of Steam Railways, which is a shorter 1861: The Railways of the Russian Empire, but 1861 is divissive, and apparently more focused on trackbuilding than in portfolio management or market manipulation. It's interesting, I might check it out sooner or later, but it's easly beaten by 1825 and 1830.

Then we have some P&P games which I could have made, but decided against it. Steam over Holland is seen as a good intro but experts kind of look down at the title for being so focused on the train rush and so little on anything else, which is not something I want, I want a game that evolves as you play it, not one that gets stuck on the same tale.

18AL is pretty sure, but many regard it as stale and bland, with very few revisiting it. 18GA is apparently a better option than 18AL but it still seems to lack raw power over 1825 and 1846 so it's out.

There are also some other games, like 1800 (heard it's terrible) or 1886 (Barely any comments, doesn't look as interesting or with as much raw power as 1825, 1830 or 1846) but they didn't strike a chord.

1853 is purely about building and it's very long. Not what I'm looking for right now, but I keep it in my mind if I get regular 18XX goodness.

Hope that helps!

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You should keep an eye out for games here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/492594/18xx-play-by-email-ga...

I've found it a great way to play longer games -- especially when your friends arms aren't terribly twistable.
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General_Norris wrote:
And god bless Poker Chips, without them we would have taken 2 hours more. I knew they were important, but holy crap, they are amazing!



OK, this is a stupid question, but I keep hearing this in various threads and I wonder why. I'm assuming it's harder to handle paper and to count out the right amount quickly? I just have a hard time believing that the difference is this huge.
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golden_guy_1999 wrote:
General_Norris wrote:
And god bless Poker Chips, without them we would have taken 2 hours more. I knew they were important, but holy crap, they are amazing!



OK, this is a stupid question, but I keep hearing this in various threads and I wonder why. I'm assuming it's harder to handle paper and to count out the right amount quickly? I just have a hard time believing that the difference is this huge.


1. You can very quickly look a a stack from the side and see how much money it in it without shuffling anything.

2. You can very easily pick up 2 or 3 or 4 chips directly from the side of a stack or the bank without having to count out individual chips.

The combination of 2 and 3 means that you can reasonably have people do some of their own banking.

(less) 3. You can much more easily dump things neatly back into a bank when returning chips than when piling notes.

B>
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I've only ever played 1830 (mostly solo) but really enjoyed it. I don't really "get" the train rush aspect and my stock market manipulation is pretty tame. Undoubtely the main problem is I'm just not really understanding the possibilites around dumping stocks and looting companies, but I'd sure like to see more of that.

So, along those lines, the commentary above on the various 18xx titles was very interesting. Are there more threads or geek lists like that? Something that compares each title in terms of things like track laying, train rush, stock market manipultation, othe aspects that are realtiviy common to all of the titles?

I have a copy of Bullfrog Goldfield on the way as somebody recommened it as a good combination of 1830 and Silverton, which is the other railroading game I really enjoy, though it has no stock market to manipulate.
 
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There are lists that compare the *rules*, but no list I've heard of that compares game length, game complexity, "run good companies" vs. "loot and pillage", route-building versus financial chicanery (not quite the same as the previous), etc.
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Morganza wrote:
There are lists that compare the *rules*, but no list I've heard of that compares game length, game complexity, "run good companies" vs. "loot and pillage", route-building versus financial chicanery (not quite the same as the previous), etc.

I would really love to see a geeklist like that. It would be very interesting! There are more kinds of games than it looks at first glance.

EDIT: This is an order. Gogogogogo!
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golden_guy_1999 wrote:
OK, this is a stupid question, but I keep hearing this in various threads and I wonder why. I'm assuming it's harder to handle paper and to count out the right amount quickly? I just have a hard time believing that the difference is this huge.

It's that huge. It's very noticiable in other games, but here the effect is incredible.

Basically, moving paper money around is slow. You will take around a second per bill, and when the game is about moving money from a side to the other, it adds up very quickly. Poker Chips can be picked up in groups and make change very fast to do.

Think of it like removing shuffling in Dominion. Really, I did not think poker chips would be so awesome, now I really, really want chips for all my games.

For comparison, I expected that using Poker Chips will turn Automobile (1hr) into a 45 minute game. A similar level of efficiency would reduce 1830 from 4 hours to 3, and there's far more time lost changing money in 1830 than in Automobile.

blockhead wrote:
I don't really "get" the train rush aspect and my stock market manipulation is pretty tame.

As far as I could see in my game, the Trains are there to change the speed of the game to your benefit or detriment. It seems that it ties into the long-term planning against the inmediate benefits of the game, which is very interesting.

For example, how much money should I invest in my first company? Sure, investing a lot will probably mean I get to reap benefits faster but with the train rush you are forced to think how much you can get now so you still get money later.


It's like a level to change the state of the game and keep the game lively instead of just being about creating the biggest ball you can in the first two turns of the game.


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General_Norris wrote:
Morganza wrote:
There are lists that compare the *rules*, but no list I've heard of that compares game length, game complexity, "run good companies" vs. "loot and pillage", route-building versus financial chicanery (not quite the same as the previous), etc.

I would really love to see a geeklist like that. It would be very interesting! There are more kinds of games than it looks at first glance.

EDIT: This is an order. Gogogogogo!


Great, I'm not the only one! So come on you 18XX Experts, break it down for us. And if you're not into following orders, how about I offer 10gg?

Thanks! In advance!
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General_Norris wrote:

... I plan to buy 1825 Unit 1, I'm now completely sure I will like it.


I love 1825. But you may be surprised at the rather Spartan components, especially compared to the deluxe new edition of 1830. I recommend checking out the download area for 1825 on this site, and printing out some company charters, at least. I have also opted to print out company tokens on sticky paper and apply them to wooden discs. This elevates the game for me.
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blockhead wrote:
General_Norris wrote:
Morganza wrote:
There are lists that compare the *rules*, but no list I've heard of that compares game length, game complexity, "run good companies" vs. "loot and pillage", route-building versus financial chicanery (not quite the same as the previous), etc.

I would really love to see a geeklist like that. It would be very interesting! There are more kinds of games than it looks at first glance.

EDIT: This is an order. Gogogogogo!


Great, I'm not the only one! So come on you 18XX Experts, break it down for us. And if you're not into following orders, how about I offer 10gg?

Thanks! In advance!
Matched... That's 20 Twenty big GG tip total My 10 plus the quoted above.
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General_Norris wrote:

Something that surprised me was how simple the game was. Sure, I knew the game has an undeserved reputation for being complex, but it's lighter than, say, Automobile.


I would disagree with this. But, to each his own.

BOb

(And yes, poker chips are the bomb. I abhor playing board games with paper money and bring my set to every game night/day.)
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Kevin_Whitmore wrote:
I love 1825. But you may be surprised at the rather Spartan components, especially compared to the deluxe new edition of 1830.

Surprisingly enough, I like the look of it! I think it looks much better than most 18XX, must be the color palette, since the background is brown instead of the ugly green 1856 uses. The tiles also look crisp and colorful.

Quote:
I recommend checking out the download area for 1825 on this site, and printing out some company charters, at least. I have also opted to print out company tokens on sticky paper and apply them to wooden discs. This elevates the game for me.

I plan to do that too! A bit of color can go a long way, tough the plastic circles used for company tokens look great to me.


pilotbob wrote:
General_Norris wrote:

Something that surprised me was how simple the game was. Sure, I knew the game has an undeserved reputation for being complex, but it's lighter than, say, Automobile.


I would disagree with this. But, to each his own.

BOb

I mean in the rules-sense and exceptions. I can explain myself if interested, tough. I may be exagerating a bit, it's probably around the same complexity as Automobile, not less.
 
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cooler king wrote:
blockhead wrote:
General_Norris wrote:
Morganza wrote:
There are lists that compare the *rules*, but no list I've heard of that compares game length, game complexity, "run good companies" vs. "loot and pillage", route-building versus financial chicanery (not quite the same as the previous), etc.

I would really love to see a geeklist like that. It would be very interesting! There are more kinds of games than it looks at first glance.

EDIT: This is an order. Gogogogogo!


Great, I'm not the only one! So come on you 18XX Experts, break it down for us. And if you're not into following orders, how about I offer 10gg?

Thanks! In advance!
Matched... That's 20 Twenty big GG tip total My 10 plus the quoted above.

The framework of the list you want might already exist:

18xx games - brief summaries of the game and ratings by numbers of players
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cjfoster wrote:
cooler king wrote:
blockhead wrote:
General_Norris wrote:
Morganza wrote:
There are lists that compare the *rules*, but no list I've heard of that compares game length, game complexity, "run good companies" vs. "loot and pillage", route-building versus financial chicanery (not quite the same as the previous), etc.


I would really love to see a geeklist like that. It would be very interesting! There are more kinds of games than it looks at first glance.


Great, I'm not the only one! So come on you 18XX Experts, break it down for us. And if you're not into following orders, how about I offer 10gg?

Thanks! In advance!
Matched... That's 20 Twenty big GG tip total My 10 plus the quoted above.


The framework of the list you want might already exist:

18xx games - brief summaries of the game and ratings by numbers of players


This is fairly complex, more complex than it may first appear. At the simplest level the 18xx fall along four relatively simple dimensions:

1) Run Good Companies. This is simple enough, get companies, build routes, run trains and do so better than your opponents.

2) Where's the Free Money? This is most commonly money from selling privates to major companies, but there are other variants like 18OH's connection bonuses, 1843's ports (though they're more minor) etc.

3) Put Things Together. This is usually mergers or shell corporations, but can also be running pairs of companies in mutually supporting ways.

4) Timing Games. Do and or get the Right Thing at the Right Time.

All 18xx are some mixture of those four. Few (none?) are purely and solely on one axis. Instead they have various balances of the four dimensions, and their weight on the four dimensions will vary on the specific game, across the course of the game, and of course on the player's predilections. However, the games still have a bias and will generally trend to be heavy on one axis, and then to have some mixture of the others.

However those aren't the only dividing lines among games. Some are heavily biased towards dividends and others to stock appreciation, and yet others to some balance of the two. Some games are massively focussed on the exponential curve of money begetting more money begetting even more money, and other games make that a more minor system among more critical concerns (like liabilities/vulnerabilities or route building or asset density etc).

And then there are the families within the 18xx, starting with the big divide between the 1830 branch with its focus on market control and prediction as expressed through the juggling of liabilities verses opportunities, and the 1829 branch with its focus on portfolio building. And then there are the newer families, or at least outlier sets, like 1860 or 1846 or most of the David Hecht or Ian Watson games which borrow lightly from both the 1830 and 1829 branches and create something rather different in their own right.

And then there's volatility, the balance between investing and exploitation and arbitrage and leverage, the degrees to which the games represent creative destruction, etc etc etc.

That all said, if y'all want to start layering your thoughts in this area onto my geeklist, please go ahead.
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I have heard good things about the 1829/1825 (Units) but find them very hard to track down - are they in reprint? Mayfair had them but is currently showing them as all out of stock.

Of the more readily available versions, I am very much enjoying 1853 (India) and 1856 (Canada). 1856 is similar to 1830 in some respects (stock market mechanics) but has different capitalization rules (including connection bonuses). The privates are there and some have quite useful powers. It is billed as a somewhat less "cutthroat" version than 1830. The playing time can be as long as 1830 however.

1853 is sometimes referred to as the "Engineer's 18XX" as the route building aspects (standard vs narrow-gauge track/engines) are more prominent, and the stock market is simplified emphasizing portfolio building rather than price manipulation (the stock track is linear and works somewhat similar to 1846, and in fact is roughly similar to the stock market approach Martin Wallace adapted for Steam Barons). There are several "free money" mechanics available in 1853 but take quite different forms from those in 1830 - the game starting auction involves committing to connecting several cities which returns a bond set aside at the beginning, the game provides for a "mail run" which helps capitalize the rail lines and there are bonuses for building into certain mountainous areas. The first is not really free money but can be critical when returned at a key time (and everyone has to put aside something), the others are free money for the rail lines (not personal cash) so again the emphasis on efficient and effective company operation. 1853 can also be another longer game.
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1829 has not been in print since the 1980s when the inventor started putting his 1853 sets together. As regards 1825 Unit 1, 1825 Unit 2, 1825 Unit 3 and 1829 Mainline, these games are literally put together in small batches at the inventor's home and are still available [from time to time].
 
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Bubslug wrote:
Of the more readily available versions, I am very much enjoying 1853 (India) and 1856 (Canada). 1856 is similar to 1830 in some respects (stock market mechanics) but has different capitalization rules (including connection bonuses). The privates are there and some have quite useful powers. It is billed as a somewhat less "cutthroat" version than 1830. The playing time can be as long as 1830 however.


The huge thing about 1856 is the loans, and the inflection point midway through the game where companies that are too deeply in debt are absorbed into the government merger company.

The "connection bonuses" are merely the release of escrowed capital, unlike 1870 and similar games where there is actually a bonus for making a connection.

Quote:
I have heard good things about the 1829/1825 (Units) but find them very hard to track down - are they in reprint? Mayfair had them but is currently showing them as all out of stock.


Pretty much the only way to get 1825 is to import it from the UK; they are intermittently available as Francis Tresham makes more.
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Re: My first impression of 18XX (Now with 18XX descriptions!)
clearclaw wrote:
That all said, if y'all want to start layering your thoughts in this area onto my geeklist, please go ahead.

Seems fair to me! I'm willing to put another 10GG for those comments.

Perhaps some kind of standarization would be desirable? A rough draft from the top of my head, just to get an overall idea. We can also use the 4 axis JC proposed or just comment on several aspects.

1825 Unit 1 - Southern England

Similar to: 1829, 1853
Accesibility: Beginners (How availble it is would also be nice)
Lenght (Standard/Poker Chips/Moderator): 3h/2h/1.5h

[b]Stock Market:
Linear stock market with multiple jumps. No dumping, the game is about portfolio management.
Trackbuilding: Very limited tileset, very focused on track lays.
Train Rush: Tame, but getting the right traisn in the right companies is very important, timing is very important in this game.

Comments: This game is a cool game for cool people. Very based around X and Y with very few Z. If you like Z, you are not cool.

How to get: Francis Tresham makes the kits availble from time to time. Check out Spirit games, Northumbria games or Mayfair's wensite for more info.


Thoughts?






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abrocker wrote:
I like 1825 Unit 1, but I much prefer Unit 2.

Reasons: Unit 2 will work with two players and it offers shorter overall game play. I think it allows for that beginner oriented game with a more streamlined feel.

Also, I think Unit 1 soured me after I played around 4 hours and were still a few hours from the end. To be fair though it was with 2 new players.


You completely missed the point.
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blueatheart wrote:
You completely missed the point.


You're right. I missed the point of that being a question about the formatting of content. Sorry. Removing my post.
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I like the format, or something similar. Afraid I don't know enough to know what the pertinent attributes would be.

I started reading through Clearclaw's list last night. I had no idea there were so many variations. And, after awhile, I began to not care so much. Without a regular group of dedicated players, and with so many of those titles being rare to unavailable, I didn't see the point. Odds are high I'll never even see most of those games, let alone play them..

So, my offer of GG still stands and if the decision is to add more info to the existing list I'll happily lay the GGon clearclaw, cause that is one impressive body of work. But as non aficionado, I need a more streamlined set of recommendations. Difficult I know, as I probably can't very well articulate what I want....
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