The 18 Los Angeles Story

Today something about the new set of 18xx games, designed by Tony Fryer, we wrote about them here. Meanwhile, I received an article from Tony in which he described why he created a game based on the mechanics of 1846.

I invite you to read it.

And I will also tell you that  the token and sticker sets for the whole set will appear in our store soon. I cannot wait, but it will be a very large set so we ask you for a moment of patience.

A Magazine Game

Early in 2019 I decided to author a small 18XX game in order to submit it to a project that was aiming to create an annual train gamer magazine. I really liked the idea of a “magazine game” as I recall various war games being delivered in this manner during my youth. Additionally, since childhood I’ve made my own games, so, 18 Los Angeles was born.

In authoring 18 Los Angeles, I had these design goals in mind:

1. Be an entertaining game to play, at least to some players. No game, regardless of the genre, will be entertaining to all players.
2. Be a shorter game to play.
3. Fit into a magazine layout. To me, that meant that the map must fit on an 11×17 layout and that the rules should not consume too many pages of the magazine. Being based around “McGuffins” to the core rules of a popular 18XX title assists in this format.
4. Be as economical as possible to distribute in a magazine format. If possible, don’t create a need for cardboard components.

To reach those goals, my approach was to author a game based on an idea I had been brewing for some time now – making an 1846-based game. The 18XX genre has many 1830-based games. Perhaps the most known titles these days are published by Winsome Games, but several famous game designers have produced 1830-based games: Chris Lawson, David Hecht, and Helmut Ohley to name a few. Why are there many 1830-based games in our genre? I believe this is due to two reasons:

• 1830 is a great and classic game where simple rules provide an abundance of depth and current.
• 1830 is ubiquitous in the collections of 18XX gamers.

Producing a game based on 1830 affords the ability to produce a game inexpensively since players can utilize many of the components of the copy of 1830 in their collection. Additionally, with the exceptions of the rules McGuffins for the derived game, the majority of players will already understand the core rules as they are 1830’s core rules.

With GMT’s successful printing of 1846, I believe that it is reasonable to think that the above is now also generally true with regards to 1846. 1846 has the added advantages of being thought of as a more “friendly” game about operating great companies and is considered by some portion of the population to be a good introductory game to the 18XX genre. In my opinion, 1846 is a fantastic game.

For the magazine submittal, I took the step of having players utilize ALL of the components of their copy of 1846 (except for the game board itself). That way, no cardboard punch boards would be required to be included in the magazine for 18 Los Angeles. In this case, the companies are just “colors”. The B&O is not really in Los Angeles, it’s just “the dark blue company”. Similarly, with the private companies, the Ohio & Indiana is not in Los Angeles, but it is used on the 18 Los Angeles map as it occupies hexagon C10. This would keep the content of the magazine low and meant that players will not have to have any print-n-play capabilities.

18 Los Angeles

Since the magazine project is not going to happen, I have created a version of 18 Los Angeles as a stand-alone game that has all of its own components. This version has significant differences from the original submittal.

An 1846-based game, the McGuffins in 18 Los Angeles are lots of city hexagons packed into a small map, hopefully creating some congestion in rail traffic and competition for tokens. Additionally, there are freight and passenger trains that can share track, which is helpful in the congestion. Priority Deal is determined at the beginning of a stock round, not the end of the previous on, in ascending order by the amount of cash each player has.

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