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1856: Railroading in Upper Canada from 1856» Forums » Reviews

Subject: 1856 - I REALLY like this game rss

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Gregg Lutz
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1856 is one of my all time favorite games, if not my favorite. I have been board gaming seriously for a little over a year, but off and on for nearly 3 years. 1856 was my third non Milton Bradley game. The first two were Railroad Baron and Empire Builder. I recognize that my actual gaming experience is limited. I do feel I have played enough of the Euro-games to understand that while fun, Euro-games in general can not match the level of complexity and optionality that 1856 and other 18XX games offer (Die Macher – another of my favorites – falls outside this generalization – I am sure there are others). I have begun to play some other 18XX games and really enjoy them. See my reviews of 18Scan and 1846. I hope to try 18Mex sometime soon.

For instance the 3, 4, and 5 player 1856 games are distinctly different in style and strategy/approach to being successful. The 6 player game, I have only played one, seems to be very similar in style to the 5 player game.

This is where the line between strategy and review gets blurred. Brian Bankler(Bankler) http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/90092 does a great job of reviewing 1856 and I don’t want to cover ground already well covered so I want to focus on some of the techniques and strategies I employ to be successful. I have now played 1856 well over a dozen times with a wide variety of outcomes. At least twice I went bankrupt, won 3 or 4, and was competitive in the others but just didn't get over the hump. Those where I was competitive and I could not get over the hump were those games where I allowed a powerful private and public combo early.

I don’t think enough focus has been applied to the importance of “Priority” and the value of the private companies in combonation with the public companies. Taken individually the Flos, W&S, and CC are non critical. Their income and tile lay options are interesting and sometimes useful but rarely critical. The Great Lakes, the Niagra Falls, and St. Clair all have potentially critical roles that can be played in combination with Public Companies.

The combos of Niagra and Wellend, LPS and St. Clair, and Great Lakes with any of LPS, GW, or Welland are powerful. This is where jockeying in the Private auction and engineering first stock round priority comes into play. I feel that allowing LPS and Great Lakes together is a starting position that all players should not allow a strong player to have. I personally feel that the Great Lakes Shipping Company should sell for no less than $120 to any player. Anything under that is a steal. The Great Lakes Company has the potential to be useful to LPS, GW, and WR as soon as phase 2 starts.

There are a couple ways to guard against a solid combo gaining too much of an advantage early.
1. The playing of a #5 Tile is generally key to the success of leveraging +10 for off board locations early. This means if a powerful combo exists, then players must use up the #5 tiles before the powerful combo can get to them. There are two of them.
2. LPS or WR get going faster by getting to play green tiles and being able to buy the off board +10 bonus from Public Companies. Try to prevent this by selecting to buy those private companies into public after they have operated in the second OR or delaying their purchase another set of OR’s.

If you have not gotten the hint yet that you often must work against your fellow gamers to be successful in this game or other 18XX games, please note: you have been warned

I nearly always bid on the Great Lakes Company the first round of the private auction unless the price is already above $125. AS the private auction develops pay close attention to who will have priority. Make deals to prevent the owner of the Great Lakes from getting LPS or WR. Jane, I will buy St. Clair if you open LPS next. I have done this and won with that type of strategy.

Some other hints:
Pay attention to priority. After the first stock round Priority is most useful in the late middle and end game because during those stock rounds you want to get the first pick after the OR of those companies that are generating the best Revenue or of opening your second or third company.

Pay attention to phase control. If you can initiate a phase and it clearly will hinder an opponent more than yourself, you should initiate the phase change. Also, being the person who buys the first six train is often better than not.

Count on the fact that there will be the second issuance of CGR Shares, that way if only ten go, you will be happily surprised.

I have never seen the person who opened the WR as their first company go on to win the game. I have seen them come in second a fair amount though

Give me a call and I'll teach how to play!




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Trevor Dewey
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g3lutz wrote:

r instance the 3, 4, and 5 player 1856 games are distinctly different in style and strategy/approach to being successful. The 6 player game, I have only played one, seems to be very similar in style to the 5 player game.

I nearly always bid on the Great Lakes Company the first round of the private auction unless the price is already above $125. AS the private auction develops pay close attention to who will have priority. Make deals to prevent the owner of the Great Lakes from getting LPS or WR. Jane, I will buy St. Clair if you open LPS next. I have done this and won with that type of strategy.


I have never seen the person who opened the WR as their first company go on to win the game. I have seen them come in second a fair amount though



3 random comments:

1856 is probably the best 6-player 18xx - everyone can run a company at the start.


I agree that the port is the "best" private in the sense that you'll usually use the port. However, the tunnel/bridge are the "best" in the sense that you get to rape them for the most. A common tactic is to just run your company backwards until 3 are out then rape for the maximum (200). It's all a matter of style.


I've never seen a person open the WR and not come in last or 2nd to last. There are just too many ways to screw with the WR.

 
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Chris Rudram
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Oddly, just played this, and while we didn't open enough companies, the WR player won by a fair margin.

 
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Gregg Lutz
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I hope you enjoyed the game!

I will allow that my thoughts on the WR could be part of a group think (Right or wrong, it is a popular group think). The group you play with has a fair amount to do with the outcome of any 18xx. Style of play and experience are all part of the 18xx series gaming experience. For my group, getting ALL the rules right for the first game of an 18xx is often a challenge

You may find as you play more games that the path the game follows and then the outcome of the game morphs from the first game you play. This has been true of every 18xx game I have ever played. It is part of why I like them so much.

 
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Charles Neal
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I had no idea this game has such a following, and an international one at that! My copy was purchased about 12 years ago and sorry to say, it's been sitting on the shelf for the last 10. Being a model railroader and living in the area the game represents, it was hard to resist buying it. My long-suffering wife played it a couple of times to humour me.

For me the trick would be getting enough players to reach critical mass and make it worth playing. Also my interest was more in running trains and not so much the economics.
 
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Jason Martin
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cgneal wrote:
I had no idea this game has such a following, and an international one at that! My copy was purchased about 12 years ago and sorry to say, it's been sitting on the shelf for the last 10. Being a model railroader and living in the area the game represents, it was hard to resist buying it. My long-suffering wife played it a couple of times to humour me.

For me the trick would be getting enough players to reach critical mass and make it worth playing. Also my interest was more in running trains and not so much the economics.


I am pretty sure there are many games involving just the train runnings. PS, have you ever checked out Railworks the PC game?
 
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JR
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Anjohl wrote:
I am pretty sure there are many games involving just the train runnings. PS, have you ever checked out Railworks the PC game?


Funny you should mention that. I just bought and downloaded it from Steam last night because it was on sale. I won't be able to put much time into it for a while because I need to read lots of documentation to figure out how to play it and I'm currently pretty roped into a game of Fallout 3, but I'm keen to give Railworks some time in the near future.

There's a free add-on being distributed through Steam today, BTW.
 
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