I had a chance to play 1867, a game set in Canada that offers minor and major companies, mergers and transformations.
In Stock Round, players may start minor companies (they don’t have shares and always pay 50/50). To do so, they first choose where the home station will be (it’s not fixed), then put the company on auction whose winner becomes the president. This idea is neat, it offers more than one layer of planning.
Every Stock Round is followed by a set of two Operating Rounds and two Merger Rounds. In Merger Round, minors can be merged together (up to 10 of them, I wonder if it ever happened; in our game we saw only one merger of 3 and several of 2). Minor can also be transformed into normal public company (major). There is 15 minors and 8 majors, so make sure that you merge/transform you minors (if you wish to) soon enough. I didn’t — I always tend to get rid of minors too late because I feel that the payout is good and then I’m chased by the train rush. But in this game the consequences are not very harsh, you even get a compensate when your company closes due to lack of train.
You are also paid when the privates close. And as I sad before, you can’t go bankrupt – a company in need of train takes a number of loans or closes if it’s not enough. In Stock Round, the price goes down only if it is the president who sells shares. The game feels too gentle for my taste.
Other thing I didn’t like was virtual lack of Stock Rounds that were basically replaced by Merger Rounds (only late in the game we started to buy single shares in others’ companies). For me it was the most solitaire-feeling 18xx game I’ve played. The privates aren’t inspired: one blocks a hex and others increase the value of one city.
There is a national company in the game. It only places stations and buys trains (game clock; the game ends soon after first 8-train is bought), so it’s not burdensome to manage.
Even if I wasn’t impressed, I feel that the game might be suitable to present the idea of minor companies, mergers and company transforming in friendly environment.
Note: the ruleset is the same as in 1861 (the map and stock market are different).
Game length: 5h 15min
(previously posted on my miniblog)