Jason Hinchliffe
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I picked up Railways of the World a while back, and I love the game. Planning and building my network is great fun, and doing it in a way that doesn't tip off other players to the multiple 7 link deliveries I'm about to make is a wonderful challenge.

That said, the economic side of the game is leaving me wanting. Usually, bonds aren't a huge issue, and the money isn't tight enough for my liking. I understand that the game is meant for a lighter audience, so I don't fault it for that, but I need something more.

Here are my criteria:

Non-negotiables:

1 - Must be a train game. I love trains. Yeah, I'm a geek, what are you looking at!?

2 - TIGHT MONEY. I want spending to hurt. I want the decisions to be agonizing. There needs to be the possibility that my investment will be a bust.

3 - High interaction. I want to be able to screw other people over. Preferably very badly, and preferably in a multitude of ways, both subtle and overt.

4 - Low to no luck. I'm ok with a bit of luck in my games. Luck is a factor in real life, so I don't mind it in economic games. (Sometimes shit happens you just can't plan for, both good and bad).

Preferences:

1 - Stock market of some sort. I like investing and watching my money grow.

2 - Plays in under 3 hours. My favourite game overall is Dominant Species, but I rarely get to play it due to length. I'm ok with that, because I'd rather plan an amazing game infrequently than a mediocre one all the time.

3 - Plays well with 2,3 or 4 players. (More is nice, but rarely necessary).

Here's some games I've researched that I'm thinking about:

1 - Age of Steam

Apparently has very tight money, and can be very cutthroat, but I fear it's too similar to Railways. I don't feel like dishing out money for a game that is essentially just a meaner version of something I already own. Also, from what I understand, there's no real investment in the game, just taking on debt like in Railways.

2 - 1830: Railways & Robber Barons

Seems to have the vicious stock market I want, tons of ways to screw people, but I fear it may have a few drawbacks. First, I've read it's LONG. Like, all day long. I have kids and a business and finding over 5 hours to play a game is challenging at the best of times. Also, I read the focus is mainly on the market, and less on the network building. Although I want to manipulate markets, I also really enjoy planning a network, and I don't want that to be an afterthought.

3 - 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight

This is my current leader in my head. I really like the sound of it. Dynamic market, plays reasonably quick, works well with 2 or 3 players etc. My only fear is that I read it's a really difficult game, even for an 18XX, and not appropriate for someone new to the system. I'd hate to sit down with my wife to play it, and have her be turned off by that.

-----------------------------------

So...your thoughts? Are my fears well founded or is it much ado about nothing? Are there other options I am missing? I'm really leaning towards and 18XX game, due to the markets, but there are SO MANY OF THEM I'm not sure where to begin, or which ones I can even find.

Your help is greatly appreciated here.
 
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Matt Drown
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Have you played Chicago Express?

Not sure on 2 player fun, but 3-6 all work well.

Interaction, stock market, tight money, no random factors, plays in under 90 minutes, so you can play a couple times.

Has a couple expansions to change the game around.
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Billy the Hut
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I don't know any railroad game that meets all your criteria, but then I don't know every railroad game. However, I'm a fan of the Empire Builder style games. A nice one of these is Lunar Rails. It demands you be more careful with your cash. The luck factor isn't as high as in some games of the same type, and although I wouldn't say there is a great deal of interaction, you can stick it to other players if you want to.
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Matt Davis
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I'd look at a short 18xx, like 18AL or 18GA. It depends on how dynamic of a stock market you're looking for, though - Chicago Express is a good suggestion as well, but there the stock market is not exactly a market. Valuing and fighting for the opportunities to invest are a HUGE chunk of the game, yes, but it's like Acquire in that you buy the stock and hope it grows in value enough to help you win, rather than actively trading stock and manipulating the market.
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Carc >> BSG
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I'm going to suggest you check out Silverton. There's a market in there that is partially determined by how much has been delivered in the last turn and you can fight over claims as well as routes.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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I like 1860 for what you want. Nice game, you can play it in two hours, has a stock market, good two players. You can't play Silverton in two hours unless you have a lot of experience with it.
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The Honorable Mayor McCheese
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I can say this without a doubt, you need to get Age of Steam. Also, if you can find others in your area who either play 18xx or are interested pick up 1830. You will undoubtedly love both of them. They are very different games but are related in good way also. I am a huge train game fan (if you look at my collection you will see quite a few) and 18xx and Age of Steam are at the top of my favorites not only for train games but all games.
Edit: 1860 has some significant differences from other 18xx (in great ways mind you) so I don't think it would be a good introduction to the system. That isn't to say that you couldn't learn how to play 1860, it would just be easier to learn "standard" 18xx first.
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Jason Hinchliffe
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Wow, thanks a ton for the suggestions guys. Looks like I'm about to spend too much money.
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Hugh G. Rection
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clockwerk76 wrote:
Wow, thanks a ton for the suggestions guys. Looks like I'm about to spend too much money.


Well, you did ask for situations where decisions are painful and money is tight.
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Railways was made as a simplified version of Age of Steam so they are pretty redundant.

1830 is around 4 hours long, though the first games will probably take far more so you probably can't fit in. Given a 3 hour limit you have several 18XX to choose from, tough.

1825 Unit 1 and the other two units play in two hours or so, making them one of the shortest 18XX. Unlike most games of the series, this is part of the 1829 branch (in fact a remake of 1829 itself) and they are more focused on portfolio management and timing than whacking other players with bankrupt companies.

1846: The Race for the Midwest plays in 2-3 hours and is noted by it's huge replayability and ease to access. It's downside is having to order it from DTG games which probably means you have to wait a while.

18AL and 18GA are PNP and easy for newbies but the more I read about them, the less keen people seem on them. Similarly the pricey Steam over Holland is often touted as a good intro to 18XX but many feel the game is too focused on the train rush, to the detriment of other aspects of the game.

18Al and 18GA were part of a series that is easy on newbies and quite short that is apparently best realized on 18TN (And it's older brother 1851: Kentucky & Tennessee) and 18MEX so you can read about them.

1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight is regarded as one of the best 18XX titles and had a reprint recently but it's a weird mixture of the 1829 branch and the 1830 branch so it'skind of esoteric. People say it's a bad intro to 18XX but I think you better get a good game and play it often than using games as if they were an escalator. Like the 1825 series it's one of the few games that work well with 2 players. The bad thing is: It lasts between 3 and 4 hours so it's outside of your time.

There's also 1812, which is a shorter 1861: The Railways of the Russian Empire. It's kind of divissive in gameplay, for some reason. 1889: History of Shikoku Railways was touted as a shorter version of 1830 and with enough fun for playing it over and over so it's a good alternative.

Don't bother with 1800, it's boring.


So, what would I pick? Well, I was in your situation and I'm going to get 1825. It's out of stock everywhere but a new print is coming soon. Other than that, I would get 18TN or 1860, because it's good and easy to find. 1889 is a lesser alternative to me because I would rather take 1830.

Hope that helps! I'm a 18XX newbie myself so I have researched the topic a lot.

EDIT: Oh, I forgot. If you want to play 18XX, you need Poker Chips, they make the game go much, much faster. 1830 would take at least two hours more without them!



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Jason Hinchliffe
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General_Norris wrote:
Railways was made as a simplified version of Age of Steam so they are pretty redundant.

1830 is around 4 hours long, though the first games will probably take far more so you probably can't fit in. Given a 3 hour limit you have several 18XX to choose from, tough.

1825 Unit 1 and the other two units play in two hours or so, making them one of the shortest 18XX. Unlike most games of the series, this is part of the 1829 branch (in fact a remake of 1829 itself) and they are more focused on portfolio management and timing than whacking other players with bankrupt companies.

1846: The Race for the Midwest plays in 2-3 hours and is noted by it's huge replayability and ease to access. It's downside is having to order it from DTG games which probably means you have to wait a while.

18AL and 18GA are PNP and easy for newbies but the more I read about them, the less keen people seem on them. Similarly the pricey Steam over Holland is often touted as a good intro to 18XX but many feel the game is too focused on the train rush, to the detriment of other aspects of the game.

18Al and 18GA were part of a series that is easy on newbies and quite short that is apparently best realized on 18TN (And it's older brother 1851: Kentucky & Tennessee) and 18MEX so you can read about them.

1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight is regarded as one of the best 18XX titles and had a reprint recently but it's a weird mixture of the 1829 branch and the 1830 branch so it'skind of esoteric. People say it's a bad intro to 18XX but I think you better get a good game and play it often than using games as if they were an escalator. Like the 1825 series it's one of the few games that work well with 2 players. The bad thing is: It lasts between 3 and 4 hours so it's outside of your time.

There's also 1812, which is a shorter 1861: The Railways of the Russian Empire. It's kind of divissive in gameplay, for some reason. 1889: History of Shikoku Railways was touted as a shorter version of 1830 and with enough fun for playing it over and over so it's a good alternative.

Don't bother with 1800, it's boring.


So, what would I pick? Well, I was in your situation and I'm going to get 1825. It's out of stock everywhere but a new print is coming soon. Other than that, I would get 18TN or 1860, because it's good and easy to find. 1889 is a lesser alternative to me because I would rather take 1830.

Hope that helps! I'm a 18XX newbie myself so I have researched the topic a lot.

EDIT: Oh, I forgot. If you want to play 18XX, you need Poker Chips, they make the game go much, much faster. 1830 would take at least two hours more without them!





Thanks! Luckily, I've got lots of poker chips.
 
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Jason Hinchliffe
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Hugh_G_Rection wrote:
clockwerk76 wrote:
Wow, thanks a ton for the suggestions guys. Looks like I'm about to spend too much money.


Well, you did ask for situations where decisions are painful and money is tight.


LOL. The "What game do I buy?" meta-game seems to be all the game I need!
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Kentaro Sugiyama
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I think that Baltimore & Ohio is right up your alley.

It is between Chicago Express and 18XX in terms of complexity. It distills all the essentials and fun of 18XX, without the track/station laying element. There is stock manipulation and screwage, money is as tight or as loose dictated by group-think, and no luck. It scales from 3 to 6 players. With practice, a 3-player game "should" clock in at under 3-hours. Simply a great game.

I've been impressed with the train games Winsome Games puts out. Their games are well polished, no-compromise, in-your-face, train-gaming through and through. Unfortunately, they are a small outfit, putting out limited print runs, and are famously minimalist in components. Still, the focus is on the excellent game play.

CE, B&O, German Railways, Paris Connection, and New England Railways are Winsome designs licensed to Queen Games or Eagle Games, so these are commercially available.

If you're willing to look (or signup on the yahoo groups), other very good Winsome designs are: Pampas Railroads and Prairie Railroads.
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Hugh G. Rection
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clockwerk76 wrote:
LOL. The "What game do I buy?" meta-game seems to be all the game I need!


And the expansion, "Where Do I Put All These Damn Games?"
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1830 is the place to start with 18xx, especially now that its widely available. There are tons of great other 18xx titles, some shorter, some with other chrome. I've enjoyed several of them, but if you're just starting out I think the discussion is a little esoteric.

Chicago Express is a good game, but I actually prefer American Rails. Kind of the same game with another level of refinement.

Baltimore and Ohio is a good game, but I think its skeletal if you are comparing with 1830 or another 18xx title. It has its place, but I see no reason to try and substitute a scaled-down (inferior) game in place of 1830 when by your description that's what you really want to play.

Age of Steam is a great game. Its shorter and more accessible (easier to get on the table) than 18xx. They are not interchangeable. I do think that's a good choice for you, too. It also has a LOT of replayability with all the expansion maps floating around.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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There's no way unless you use the old DOS computer game to get a game of 1830 done in three hours. That's why I recommended 1860. That game is playable within two hours, so the first time it would still fit within his 3 hour requirement.
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