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Subject: What if I could only have one train/stock game... rss

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Tom Stewart
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I will preface this by saying that I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to game collecting (relatively speaking). As such I try to only acquire games that are markedly different from anything I own. That said...

I have a dedicated group that meets monthly for ~6-8 hours. We like deep games, but not games that require many sessions to fully understand/appreciate (Chess and World in Flames are both deep in strategy, but one requires much dedication up front before actually enjoying the game). Typically we prefer several shorter 2-4 hour games, but we do occasionally play a single full-day game.

I have been somewhat interested in the 18xx line of games for some time now. I do not know anyone who plays 18xx games so the only info I have to go on is from BGG. From here I targeted 1830 - only due to the fact that from my limited research, it seemed to be very popular, and a recent reprint makes it easily available. I was a little concerned over the playtime, 5-8 hours is long by our standards. Then I stumbled onto B&O, and its great reviews. I was excited about it, but then I got conflicted for two reasons. ONE, I have read that this game is much lighter than the 18xx series, and have read by some that B&O is not nearly the same experience as an 18xx, and that with only an hour or so more they recommend just playing 18xx (I would have guessed there was more than an hour difference - I wonder which 18xx version they are speaking of). TWO, I do have Railways of England and Wales (RoE&W). I have played the shares version once, a long time ago, and thought it was pretty fun, although certainly not much of a stock manipulation game. So:

1) Can anyone describe the differences between B&O and RoE&W? For players who tend to like deeper games, does B&O clearly offer a superior experience to RoE&W (superior experience defined as offering tougher tactical decisions, more of an opportunity to plan and execute long term strategy, interaction with other players, ...fun)?

2) Is the time required to fully comprehend 1830 (or any other recommended 18xx) MUCH higher than for B&O, or are the rules/mechanics pretty straightforward?

3) Does B&O offer game depth/experience similar to 1830, just in a shorter time, or is it basically a simpler game with less tough-decision making and less rules overhead that plays faster?

In a nutshell I am trying to gather enough info to decide between B&O and 1830 (or other suggested 18xx titles), or whether RoE&W offers an experience that is ~ 80% or so of these others, and having it as my only train/stock game is a fine alternative. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Scott Petersen
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I think you should get 1830.
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Cole Wehrle
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BrenoK wrote:
1830 only takes 5-8 hours if it's an all-newbie table. With an mildly experienced group, it can be played in 4 hours. That's why B&O's 3 hours make it seem like less of a great deal, and that's why in my group it only saw play for 2 or 3 matches, even though everyone thought it was a good game. 18xx is just better.


I can attest to this. I played this game twice a few months ago with the same group. The first play was six hours, the second was 4.5.

There are lots of little tricks you can use to speed it up. Poker chips and a dividend tracking board are a minimum.
 
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I'll think of something witty to put here...
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Quote:
We like deep games, but not games that require many sessions to fully understand/appreciate


? I thought deep means it takes many sessions to fully understand, unless you're just talking about rules complexity.

I've not played the Railways of Eng & Wales stock game (I've played it in 'normal' mode) but I've heard that it's not such a great stock game and has some problems like a 'Do nothing' strategy. Read through the negative comments http://boardgamegeek.com/collection/items/boardgameexpansion...
Also it's pick up and deliver which is a key difference.

I think between B&O and 1830, 1830 is the better game, but it is longer. 1830 is more interactive and more unforgiving and has a 2D, non linear stock chart, with things like the yellow zone, certificate limits, more screwage etc. I also prefer full capitalisation to incremental cap games (let me know if I'm not making sense).

Have you considered Chicago Express? That takes 1 hour, or were you specifically looking for a longer game?
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-=[Ran Over]=-
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Poseidon is super good. It's 18xx light and takes 2 hours to play when you have at least one person who knows how to play.

This was not my first 18xx and it's not the best at what 18xx does, but it's really, REALLY good for getting the feel of 18xx in 2 hours.
 
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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My recommendation is 1846: The Race for the Midwest, if you are willing to wait for a copy from Deep Thought Games (but it's no risk waiting, because you don't pay until he tells you he's ready to make and ship your game, and you can cancel at that point.)

Here's my explanation:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/665386/1846-a-fine-intro...

The thing about the 18xx games is that, because they have minimal luck, differences in the rules from one game in the series to the other make big differences in the play. I love 1846: The Race for the Midwest and several other games in the series (though 1846: The Race for the Midwest is the most accessible to beginners,) but I don't care for other games in the series at all. Way back when, I played 1830: Railways & Robber Barons a few times, disliked it, and thought I didn't like the series.

Baltimore & Ohio doesn't quite meet my expectations. I don't insist on any rule being one particular way rather than another, but it's important that the rules as a whole fit together to make a good game.

Of course, there are many people who really like 1830: Railways & Robber Barons, so my opinions aren't universal.
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Chris Shaffer
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I agree with Eric. If I could only own one of 1846, B&O, and 1830, I would buy 1846. That said, I think they are all three very good games and will happily play any of them on request. I'm glad I own all of them.

As the ratings show, Poseidon is not beloved of the 18xx crowd. I doubt I will ever play it again.
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J C Lawrence
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TheCat wrote:
I agree with Eric. If I could only own one of 1846, B&O, and 1830, I would buy 1846.


Conversely, I would take 1830 without hesitation.

Quote:
That said, I think they are all three very good games and will happily play any of them on request. I'm glad I own all of them.


I also own all three but have no interest in playing either B&O or 1846, and find 1846 an unpleasant affair.

Quote:
As the ratings show, Poseidon is not beloved of the 18xx crowd. I doubt I will ever play it again.


Likewise.
 
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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clearclaw wrote:
I also own all three but have no interest in playing either B&O or 1846, and find 1846 an unpleasant affair.


As I understand it, because it is too constructive!
 
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J C Lawrence
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Eric Brosius wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
I also own all three but have no interest in playing either B&O or 1846, and find 1846 an unpleasant affair.


As I understand it, because it is too constructive!


No, rather because it is centered on exploitation of synergies and relentless adherence to compound growth (ie the snowball). I find both uninteresting and distasteful. Those are not the parts of the 18xx I find interesting, they're the taxes necessarily paid (and minimised) while getting to the interesting bits.
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josnack
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Similar question six years later. Any particular reason to seek out B&O for a small collection in 2018? I'm drawn to it but am not sure why, especially since its reputation seems mixed and I can't read the rules anywhere. I also already own the GMT 1846 (unplayed). Whichever of those two I settle on will probably get played once a year or so, perhaps less, when we feel like something longer than Chicago Express. Does one or the other seem better suited to casual, infrequent play without a devoted group? Recommendations to look elsewhere? Thanks for any input.
 
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