Blorb Plorbst
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I'm in the middle of an email game that was advertised as a game for new players. I've played 1830 about a half dozen times and several of its single state cousins and equal amount so I consider myself new but somewhat versed in the shenanigans that can occur. I've had the great fortune to play several times at GenCon with some exceptional players. I also enjoy encouraging new players to get involved and as people pass worthwhile advice on to me, I like to pass it on to others.

Two of the 5 players are playing their very first game of 18XX so I expected the game to be unusual. I opted to not fight over the D&H once it hit $90 and settled for the B&O at cost. I hoped that I could play the market for several rounds before operating the B&O as 5s became available -- even open a company on cash if things moved (expectedly) slow. It was a new position for me but I've seen others create a strong game for themselves with it.

Problem is, the player to my right got the C&StL and the M&H and has some experience at the game. He (we'll call him player R) started buying into the B&O right away. A clever move as I was forced to open it holding only 4 shares vs his 3 and him with priority on me. I liked his move, a lot (by like I mean appreciated the cleverness). He was able to earn almost equal shares and would (likely) be able sell off before me at a profit. In the 3rd SR, he bought a 4th share and, instead of waiting for the inevitable dump in the next round, I bought a 5th and dropped the whole thing on him (I'd bought 3 2 trains and 3s were available) and opened the B&M which had favorable track to run 3x 3 trains - doubled into NY, no less. I hoped that the table could rust his 2s quickly. They didn't. soblue

Perhaps an over reaction on my part (in hindsight, likely) -- B&O had enough cash for R to loot and buy a 4 train but I figured waiting would leave me 4 or 5 shares in the crapper and forced to live with a 4 train until I had to buy a D out of pocket. On top of which, R would get a new company that he could sell his privates into and one round later open a late game runner. And in the process push trains even faster. As Clearclaw has encouraged, if you're not winning, change something - now. And I've taken that to heart (as a side note, this philosophy has completely changed my win record in Power Grid)

To me, R's forced open of the B&O was an acceptable reason to "help" (I didn't need that kind of help!) someone open another company.

In another recent, more aggressive, game of 1830 I started the B&M in a late SR with all the remaining companies subsequently getting bought out. I figured I'd use my remaining 4 shares worth of money to do a little trashing before floating. The player to my right, who did not get a new company started because of lack of PD, had a different idea. when he bought the first share of the B&M, I thought "Oh, that was nice. He'll help me open and free up some of my cash!" When he bought the second, I realized his plan and we went 5 and 5 before he trashed it (you can see the results here)

Again, not the kind of "help" I needed.

My understanding of the game is to never, ever help anyone open a company. It grants them easy access to a treasury that can be looted in a variety of ways. But I've experienced 2 distinct instances where "helping" has cost me - and was the correct move by my opponents (I believe). I'm curious when other forms of helping float a company might be advantageous and am interested in other, more experienced peoples', thoughts.

Also, I'd be curious on thoughts of my selling off the B&O (as above). Good move in a bad situation? or terrible?
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In the first stock round with the B&O, he bought stock, doesn't "force" you to open it... it allows you to sell it actually. I assume you par'ed it at $100? You sell the Pres cert after he has two. Sure, you lose a bit of money.

Of course, it really depends much on the situation, who has how much money. Could you have got priority, etc.

BOb
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Blorb Plorbst
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pilotbob wrote:
In the first stock round with the B&O, he bought stock, doesn't "force" you to open it... it allows you to sell it actually. I assume you par'ed it at $100? You sell the Pres cert after he has two. Sure, you lose a bit of money.

Of course, it really depends much on the situation, who has how much money. Could you have got priority, etc.

BOb


Can't sell shares in the first OR but I suppose I could have let him take it and sold in the second OR for a $20 loss provided he didn't do before me -- with the $30 earned from the private I suppose it would have only been a $10 loss: $180 sale price + $30 revenue on the cert - $220 cost of private.

Didn't even think about that - I was thinking about holding on to it at that point. It might not have even floated considering his available cash. DERP!

Edit:
Of course he would have got it running in OR3 at the latest and chock full of money. Don't know how much that would have improved things vs. what ultimately happened.
 
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Peter Mumford
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How many times did the 2s run? It sounds like someone was stalling on trains when they should have been rushing.
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J C Lawrence
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CrankyPants wrote:
Problem is, the player to my right got the C&StL and the M&H and has some experience at the game. He (we'll call him player R) started buying into the B&O right away. A clever move as I was forced to open it holding only 4 shares vs his 3 and him with priority on me.


No, you were not forced. Defending the B&O presidency was not a terrible idea, but it certainly isn't the only good response. If you do defend the presidency you also don't have to buy a train with the B&O. It doesn't naturally have a route and you can not buy a train and continue to collect the private income for a round or so while you await better trains. This is not to say this is a good idea, but it is in some rare cases a pretty decent idea.

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In the 3rd SR, he bought a 4th share and, instead of waiting for the inevitable dump in the next round, I bought a 5th and dropped the whole thing on him (I'd bought 3 2 trains and 3s were available) and opened the B&M which had favorable track to run 3x 3 trains - doubled into NY, no less. I hoped that the table could rust his 2s quickly. They didn't.


Two 3Ts is a recipe for a diesel. A 3T and a 4T is a recipe for a 6T -- and is thus generally better. You may have done well to hold back on buying one of the 3Ts by one OR and to then pickup the 4T in the next OR for only a modest loss in income and a far greater hit to his and other's positions.

In this particular case, unless I read it wrong, he only had enough cash to buy 3 shares. That's enough to threaten the presidency, but not enough to open it. An interesting position. I'm not entirely sure what I would have done. Letting him take the presidency is certainly attractive. He's out of the running, you have a a few rounds of private income coming, and you get to sell your presidency...things are indeed good. Except he's sitting immediately to your right and can thus sell before you do. Still not so bad. If he buys and then dumps it back on you, you can now buy those shares on the cheap with only $100 extra needed to float the company. Not too bad -- especially now that most of those pesky 2Ts are out of the way.

This is BTW a basic variant on another common B&O tactic, which is for the B&O player to buy a B&O share in SR2 and sell it, and if the company is not threatened, buy and sell another share (at a $10 loss) in SR3. Yeah, the stock price goes down, but he now also needs even less capital to float the company and secure his $1000 in capital.

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As Clearclaw has encouraged, if you're not winning, change something - now. And I've taken that to heart (as a side note, this philosophy has completely changed my win record in Power Grid)


Good show! Another principle I recommend is embodied in the statement, I'm completely happy to end the game with a score of only $1 -- just so long as everyone else has less. Several locals (eg Adam (ideogram)) have commented that the games they play with me are so different in character and level of competitiveness, and thus so much more interesting, due to this simple attitude.

Quote:
My understanding of the game is to never, ever help anyone open a company. It grants them easy access to a treasury that can be looted in a variety of ways. But I've experienced 2 distinct instances where "helping" has cost me - and was the correct move by my opponents (I believe). I'm curious when other forms of helping float a company might be advantageous and am interested in other, more experienced peoples', thoughts.


Principles follow the Law of Leaky Abstractions: they are great in the general cases but fail in the details and specifics. In the general case it is a wonderful principle to never help another player float a company and a newbie should never do it until they think they understand damned well why not (and are thus about to be proved horribly wrong -- which is a fine way to learn).

But...if this principle is followed religiously then 6-player 1830 (the most wonderful form of the game to my mind) simply doesn't work, and a whole host of interesting and clever tactics in 6-player and smaller games are lost. There are many other cases in which the principle falls down; most of them center on details of timing, numbers of actions, allocation of liquid capital across players, who loses how much in the requisite stock trashing and control over the final location of priority. It can be a detailed and complexly subtle affair. Sometimes it is a matter of getting someone to defend their presidency and actually float the company rather than securing the presidency to float in the next SR. Sometimes it is forcing out the B&O a round earlier so that it sucks up the trains you don't want to buy and the capital pressure on all the other players is larger and faster than they can withstand unscathed. Sometimes it is a matter of forcing them to commit and thus to not use their liquid capital for other more nefarious activities. Sometimes it is just a simple question of timing and yeah, they get a free share's worth of capital to play with a round earlier than they otherwise would, but you're also a step earlier in the progression than you otherwise would be too, and sometimes that's really important. Sometimes its just a question of costing another player an extra $10, or as we saw in Monday's game, an extra $70 that then proved to be a hinge-point in the game.

Sometimes...it just depends. The principle is just that: a principle. It is a guideline that is almost always right, right all the time up until those few times when it is dead wrong -- and one of the tricks to being a good player is being able to know when which is which. These cases are not inherently common, but they do happen, and they should to be well understood.
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Blorb Plorbst
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photocurio wrote:
How many times did the 2s run? It sounds like someone was stalling on trains when they should have been rushing.

I was the only one pushing trains hard with three 2 trains bought by the B&O (4 would have been better, considering) and three 3 trains into the B&M (really trying to break 4s vs player R). NYNH bought two 2s instead of the usual 3 (my usual, that is) then a 3. PRR bought one 2 and one 3. NYNH and PRR parred at 76 in SR1, BTW.

5 players, FWIW.

B&O's 2 trains ran once in OR2 then twice in OR3 (after I dumped it) @ $170/$200. We're in the middle of SR4 and they're going to die before they run again but B&O will get a 4 train from its treasury -- so $0/$140(likely?).

With B&M, I ran a $0/$250 in OR3 and expect a $310/$250 in the next set of ORs (5s will force a discard of one 3 train)

Unless PD get's gifted to me I don't expect to get another company opened since only the CPR remains unopened and all the action is to my right -- I might act to hand PD to my left hand, who's in a tight spot.

Over all, it's a very unusual game as there are a few new players acting (understandably) erratically. My sell off of the B&O resulted in some interesting complications that I would not have anticipated based on my previous experience.
 
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Thumbs up for the tag! laugh
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nicktaruffi wrote:
Thumbs up for the tag! :laugh:


Thanks. It's what I find myself thinking any time I see a question on 18XX tactics pop up. He's terrifyingly good at this and capable of explaining it in an approachable fashion - my experience is that very few people are both. The fact that he so reliably shows up to give us these strategy discussions is awesome. I tagged it because I was certain he was going to show up and dispense 18XX wisdom - within minutes, he did.

I think I learned more in the two or three games of 18XX I played with him in San Jose than I have in all the games I've played with my local buddies. It's a shame I'm not commuting out that way any more.
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clearclaw wrote:
In the general case it is a wonderful principle to never help another player float a company and a newbie should never do it until they think they understand damned well why no (and are thus about to be proved horribly wrong -- which is a fine way to learn).


Experience is something you can't get until just after you need it.
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Dr Lucky wrote:
nicktaruffi wrote:
Thumbs up for the tag! laugh


Thanks. It's what I find myself thinking any time I see a question on 18XX tactics pop up. He's terrifyingly good at this and capable of explaining it in an approachable fashion - my experience is that very few people are both. The fact that he so reliably shows up to give us these strategy discussions is awesome. I tagged it because I was certain he was going to show up and dispense 18XX wisdom - within minutes, he did.

I think I learned more in the two or three games of 18XX I played with him in San Jose than I have in all the games I've played with my local buddies. It's a shame I'm not commuting out that way any more.



Yes, he's soooo passionate and dedicated!
I'd love just to WATCH a game with him involved, let alone PLAY with him!

 
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Dr Lucky wrote:
It's a shame I'm not commuting out that way any more.


We'd love to see and play with you again. Kublacon?
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clearclaw wrote:
Dr Lucky wrote:
It's a shame I'm not commuting out that way any more.


We'd love to see and play with you again. Kublacon?


I'm certainly not going to make Kublacon this year. We had a baby a few months ago and my wife would object to me taking off for the weekend.

I will get in touch next time I'm headed out towards the south Bay to see if I can get a game in.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Shucks.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
[q="CrankyPants"]
Quote:
As Clearclaw has encouraged, if you're not winning, change something - now. And I've taken that to heart (as a side note, this philosophy has completely changed my win record in Power Grid)


Good show! Another principle I recommend is embodied in the statement, I'm completely happy to end the game with a score of only $1 -- just so long as everyone else has less.

Principles follow the Law of Leaky Abstractions: they are great in the general cases but fail in the details and specifics. In the general case it is a wonderful principle to never help another player float a company and a newbie should never do it until they think they understand damned well why not (and are thus about to be proved horribly wrong -- which is a fine way to learn).


I also think this clearclawism is excellent, and changing the game has really shocked my local opponents a few times (non 18xx) and led me to several wins I would not otherwise have accomplished. Remember the "Now" part, that is important, don't let the strong get any stronger without having to adapt and hopefully make mistakes you can capitalize on.

I include the second part about "never say never" because you must make sure you are not actually winning despite yourself before your change the game, or another hard, but excellent lesson is sure at hand.

I suggest that anyone reading this, if you have not tried this strategy of changing the game in a significant way if you are not winning, try it out and see what happens.
 
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