New games: 1836 and 18IN

Do you remember what we wrote last year about Winsome Games? Then John Bohrer announced that he was ending the release of games and in 2018 was to appear for the last time a series of 3 titles from his publishing house. In the meantime, a cover of 1836 came to the Internet 2 weeks ago. So it looks like this year, we will be able to try to sign up for one of the most limited 18xx games once again. Unfortunately, we do not know anything about this game yet (except that the author is Eddie Robbins), so we are waiting impatiently for more details.

 

Gary Mroczka made another surprise. This author produces his own games and you can only buy them through the eBay platform (directly from him). A few days ago, his new 18IN (Indiana) was on sale. This title would be almost as mysterious as 1836, but Jared Davis played it already and we have description and some pictures from him. The game was available in the first five copies, which were sold within a few hours. The next ones will probably appear soon (they was available yesterday).

Jared compared 18IN to 1861/1867. Below I give his description of the mechanics and the first impressions and photo from the game. Thanks, Jared

18IN is definitely in the 1861/1867 vein. I think it’s just Gary’s take on ’61. In large part it’s the same, but there are a few differences. I don’t recall everything about 61/67 off the top of my head, so forgive me if I’m misremembering, but I believe these are some of the differences in comparison to 61/67:

  • There is a 3 hex train (called a T-train, or interurban train) that can be bought in phase 3, and rusts in phase 6. This is an extra train, in that it doesn’t count toward the limit, and you must still own a standard train in order to run the T-train. It can use the same track that other trains used in that same turn.
  • There are 8 major corporations that exist in the game, and they have their own home stations. When a minor converts, or 2-4 minors merge, they must also be connected to the home station of whichever major they are going to become. The major then gets it’s home station, the home stations of the minors, and if it has enough tokens left over, then it will also replace any other tokens that have been placed by the minor(s). A major gets 3 total station tokens if it was converted to from a single minor, but if multiple minors merge, then it gains an extra token (for a total of 4). Just like ’61, major companies can be started separately after a certain phase, which in 18IN is phase 4.
  • There is no loan interest that has to be paid each round, but loans must be repaid if a minor converts or merges with other minors.
  • Normally a company can only take 1 loan per turn, which will move the company token one space to the left on the stock market, but if a company goes into emergency fundraising for a train, then any additional loans after the first move the loan token to the left 3 times on the stock market. If a company’s token ever moves to the far left of the stock market, then it is immediately nationalized.
  • At the end of its turn during an OR, a major company can redeem or issue shares.

Even though it seems to have been inspired by ’61 and ’67, 18IN is very much its own beast. Overall, I enjoyed it. The group that I played it with, which is not the group of experienced players I usually play with, really liked it as well. I really like the map. The map is small and tight. There can be some very cutthroat tokening that happens, which can really affect which major corporations you can merge with. Both getting tokens in certain locations, and correctly timing a merger, looks to be very important.

There are some large payouts toward the end of the game, especially with the 5D trains. Getting the timing right to get a 5D train, and even getting a second, can be big. It’s definitely a money-fest toward the end of the game. So, if you don’t like that kind of thing, then you probably wouldn’t like it here either. Having said that, I felt like the game ended at a proper time, and the end-game didn’t drag on. There was a $220 difference between first and second in our game, third place was about $1000 behind, and fourth was about $2,500 behind.

Based on my first play, I feel like this is a solid game, and I’m really looking forward to playing it more. The current version of the rulebook does have some problems, as there are some things that contradict each other, but I reached out to the designer, and he has been very responsive in answering my questions. I will be posting a file to the BGG page for the game, which will contain clarifications to rules that I received from the designer, and which will hopefully help anybody else that has the game that may have some of the same questions I had.

 

Photo from Jared game:

Few photos 18IN from eBay:

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