This is Łukasz Koper’s story in the competition due to our 2nd anniversary.
“Four eighteens only in my car” – a cautionary tale!
One needs to be careful. Especially when you are entering the middle age crisis and there is no cabrio waiting for you in the garage. I have realized that I don’t have a fancy car yet but why not to get interested in… trains? The machines that are hiding beautiful, not to say wonderful, steam beasts deep inside. The machines which had been taking people breath away and ignites theirs imagination through the entire XIX century. Thank you James Watt for your brilliant invention that revive them.
Generations seemed to be fascinated with railway also during 80’s and 90’s which I personally remember. Every kid in Poland had or dreamed to have a PIKO train. After they grow up, they hand it over to their children just to keep a reason to still play with it. I had one as well. When I put it out I felt like Lord and Master, father of the land. Later I exchanged it for computer games and first edition of Railroad Tycoon. All those good memories about sleepless nights. Nights spent on delivering coal to ironworks so it can melt steel, to move it further to the factory. All those money streams floating. The competitors left behind or even go bankrupt.
Years later I have abandoned computer games and I started to play RPGs. Railway became a foggy memory. All free time I spent on a weekly gaming nights. But soon also that has ended. Grown up people after universities went to conquer the world, and the limited amount of those who stayed were busy with everyday problems. I needed to find some substitution. In 2005 friend of mine became an owner of Game of Thrones the Boardgame (still it is a mystery for us how he got even interested in board games).That was it! Soon we got to know more titles: Game of Thrones CCG, Power grid, Agricola. Before we have even noticed we run out of place. We wanted to try every single title. It was of course not possible but we kept trying. Every week we tried a new title. Hardly ever we were coming back to old ones. Either we didn’t like it or something new was already waiting in the queue. It seemed that I have everything I needed. But one day in October anno domini 2018 I have been listening one of the old episodes of Gradanie podcast and heard the magical word “osiemnastki” and “ciężkie kolejówki”. I started to think and all good memories of PIKO trains and Railroad Tycoon came back to me. Funny thing is that the guys even didn’t like those kind of games but it didn’t matter. I just needed to find out what it is. Strange how one word can change a whole life. But how to find the answers I am seeking? I didn’t have much time that day and trying to find some answers using google didn’t succeed. I had a bright idea to send the request to my wife: “Life and death matter. I need to know what are those”. That was enough. Soon after I received a link to “18XX” on Wikipedia. That was a breakthrough. I was in 7th heaven. For a start I chose 1846 as it was suggested to be the best as a first game to try. Next one was 1830. That is how my adventure started and I hope it will last for ages. At the beginning my dream was to have 4 different 18XX games, just as in Niedzik song “Four eighteens […] in my car”. I was such an optimist. I already know that it was just a start. The list of games that are bought and/or are in the waiting list to be bought is already exceeding the original plan (and I am new to business). I am afraid that cabrio will have to wait and I will have to buy a pickup car instead to fit them all.
If you want to get the feeling of 18XX games and you have an access to Spotify, please use following link: https://open.spotify.com/album/50aCr83mi5PzJWDz6OFfti?si=p5sxgfLcQamv3Idl6de-VQ.If you manage to last till end of this album it means that these games are for you 😉. But seriously I strongly recommend to play at least one of them. And be prepared that you may give up other board games and that each day without 18XX, will be a lost day. But don’t come back to me and complain then. I did warn you, haven’t I?
 Ambiguous word. The main stream meaning: a teenage girl, the word used in a sexual context. In the text it mean 18xx games.
 A very hard game with a railway theme. Podcast is broadcasted in Polish and there is no good translation to English that’s why the author leaves the original word in the text.