Story by Piotr Starnawski (3rd place in our competition, congrads Piotr)
“Last Christmas you gave me 1830 and the very next day, other games went away.”
December 2018 I was asked by a friend of mine what game could they get me. They knew I was into board gaming hobby and that I would be happy if I got a nice one for Christmas. I thought it was a good opportunity to get ask for 1830. Why have I chosen that game in particular?
Games that brought me most joy and fun, ordered by time are: Power Grid, Food Chain Magnate, Indonesia. Anyone can spot a pattern? Direct player interaction and running a business was slowly but surely becoming my favorite flavor of boardgame. And often the longer you are in any hobby, the more focused and specific your taste becomes. Thus, my taste development has led me to more and more blogs and posts saying that the obvious next step is the 18xx family of games. Being an informed consumer, I’ve found that for a reasonable price I could try this new world of games thanks to the wonders of Mayfar’s 1830.
Holiday season came and went, and a big blue box sat on my games shelf, eying me warily. The 3-6 player count imposed a challenge “I dare you to find at least 2 more people as crazy as you!”. So, I did just that. A friendly blue-themed social media portal saw a post, where some random person (that would be me) invited other random people (identifying themselves as board-gamers) to play 1830. I did not expect much. Certainly not expected to have 6 people over for 2 games in 1 evening! Turns out, there are more people out there that actually enjoy running and ruining railway companies.
It’s May, 5 months after 1830. If anyone offers me any 2h+ game, in my mind I would rather play an 18xx. 2h you say? I could do a brisk 1836jr in that. 3h? 1849. 4h-5h? A quick 1830, or maybe 1861. You have a whole day? Well, me and my friends have just played 1817 and we can do that in 8h (Dare I say “just” 8h?). I’m not saying other games are bad. I am saying, that for me the mix between planning you play through running a company and reacting to other players play through the stock-market results in a perfect match to my personal gaming preferences. Even in the era of plastic-heavy kickstarters, these often home-brew games are still being played. They just are that good.
5 months is not a lot of time. On the other hand, I’ve met new people I enjoy spending time with. I’ve entered a community dedicated to their hobby, where people all around the world discuss the new designs and find a forum to share their experiences. I’ve started making PnP games, which results in tens of little laminated triangles that can be found in the hard-to-reach corners of my office. I host 18xx games almost every other Sunday, enjoying every game session. I’m trying to make a local 18xx group to bring even more people in. By any means, I’ve grown since December and 18xx-games have grown on me.