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Subject: Should I get B&O ? rss

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C. J. Robinson
United States
Kalamazoo
Michigan
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I have Chicago Express, should I get B&O?
 
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Matthew Galer
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Atlanta
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I find the two are very different games - what is it that you like and/or dislike about CE?

One thing to keep in mind is the playing time for B&O is 3-4x longer than CE (if not more).
 
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Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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"It's not hard to design a game that works, the real challenge is making one that people want to play again and again."--Martin Wallace
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Palladin wrote:
I have Chicago Express, should I get B&O?


Depends what it is you like about CE.

However, my stock answer for this is that if your group has any interest in 18xx whatsoever, B&O will likely be obsolete as soon as you play one of those titles. Playing B&O in the 120 minutes it states here on BGG is really, really ambitious to the point of fiction (it's a 3-4 hour game, likely longer your first time through); there's quite a bit of calculating, and I think getting playtime even near 120 minutes is probably only possible with experienced players at a lower player count. But you can play 1889, 18AL, 18MEX, or 18GA in the same time as B&O, and there's more going on in all of those titles because B&O's stock market isn't terribly interesting, comparatively. It's not that B&O is a bad game, but if you're moving up the Train Complexity ladder, you'll play B&O once or twice, move on to 18xx, and never look back. There's just way more game in 18xx, and in the same amount of time.

There are alliances in B&O, and there's a "control the timing of the game" in B&O, so if that's what you like about CE, those features are certainly in B&O. B&O is more complex than CE, but only has 4 pages of rules, which is huge, so explaining the game is quick and clear. It is a simplified version of 18xx (no track upgrades, tamer stock market), but there's still a lot of calculating and bookkeeping in-game.

On paper, it looks like a game that sits comfortably between shorter train games and 18xx, and that's technically true, but it leans closer in complexity to the simpler games and closer in playtime to the longer games. It's a weird game.

(For reference, my 18xx group won't touch it because we'd rather play 1889, and my Train Group meets on weeknights and we don't like running the risk that we won't finish a game of something, instead preferring Chicago Express and New England Railways.)
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C. J. Robinson
United States
Kalamazoo
Michigan
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Very complete and helpful response.
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I agree with Johannes. The 18xx games "Jones theory" B&O. My personal favorite is 1846.
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Dave Eisen
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I have to agree as well. Which is a shame as B&O is in fact very different from 18xx games and is interesting in its own right.
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Chris Shaffer
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I will dissent. With one of the computer moderators to calculate possible run amounts, B&O can easily be played in 120-150 minutes by experienced players. At that length, it has enough interesting features that it hits my table every now and again. I play lots of 18xx, and while they are similar, for me they scratch somewhat different itches.

I certainly think B&O is on par with many of the short 18xx state games, like 18AL and 18FL, which have very limited replayability.
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