Covid vs 18xx – Competition Results


Here are the best texts, congratulations to the winners!

First place: Graham Walker

About 6 years ago my gaming group in Prague caught the 18XX virus. You would think this would be great news for someone who had been itching to get into the 18XX hobby, except for one glaring problem. I just got a new job that was taking me away to the Netherlands.
Since I still subscribed to the group’s BGG page, over the course of 6 years I was continually taunted with “Who’s up for 18XX this weekend?” posts. But, as Covid took it’s hold on the world, I noticed a new and very intriguing post on the group’s BBG thread “Given Covid, anyone up for online 18XX?” It didnt take me long to respond. 
Using Board18 with all the associated spreadsheets, webpages and Slack integration proved rather daunting for a first timer but after a few games I got the hang of it. We started with a few games of 1830, moved on to 18 Chesapeake, 1882 and finished with the wonderful 1880. I was hooked! 18XX was everything that I was hoping it would be…and more!
Fast forward to the summertime with restrictions being lifted our family holiday took us to the Czech Republic so I was able to get my first face to face games of 1862 + 18 Chesapeake in. Even achieved my first win (18Ches )…hurrah for me
Given that I was officially an 18XX veteran now and with the renewed Covid restrictions in place, this Fall I was able to convince my original gaming group back in Canada to dip their toes into the 18XX world via We are now at least  20 games into the hobby and have between 1 and 3 games going on pretty much constantly.
In the meantime, I have purchased 18CZ and pre-ordered 18 Ches, 1882, 18DO and 1817 as well as the excellent 18CZ upgrade pack and trays from your railsonboard webshop.
So, as horrible as the Covid situation has been, I have to say that the silver lining has been my ability to FINALLY find my way into this amazing subgenre of gaming and that I have now introduced many others to it also. 
I have a very good feeling that I will be enjoying 18XX for long, long time.

Second place: Thom Barchet

Interestingly enough, COVID-19 has had a positive impact on my 18xx life.  I got really interested in 18xx during grad school, but my game group couldn’t (or wouldn’t) dedicate more than 1 hour to a single game, so my 18xx games languished in a closet for many years.  On the plus side, the timing (2009) allowed me to get some of the great titles that I otherwise would not really be able to afford these days including a complete 1825 set, which I hold as one of my favorites due to a largely sentimental attachment (I know there is a missing piece up north in the picture, but it fell off the end of the table :D).  


Fast forward to 2019, I was completely burnt out working in management consulting.  I left that work in November 2019 and took some time to recover before starting a new job…in March of 2020.  I only spent 3 days in the office before being sent home to work remotely due to COVID.  I had been pretty isolated before COVID due to the job search, soloing some board games, including 18xx, but once everyone else was home, I was able to find ways to connect with other people, and I became more aware of the thriving 18xx community. really lowered the hurdle for people to organize and get into games, and I know I’ve played more 18xx in the past months than all of the years before COVID.  My wife has started to play async games as well, and I never expected to see that.  I wouldn’t say that COVID has been a positive experience for me overall, but I know that once this passes, I’ll be able to find the local folks via Slack/Discord/BGG and there will be face to face games again soon.



Third place: Vince Alvarez

I’m Vince and I live in China. As you know Covid-19 originated here, luckily I live in the southern part of China (near Hong Kong) and not near the epicenter. 
At first it was pretty scary, I wasn’t sure how bad the outbreak would be and how much it would effect my life here—I even seriously considered leaving China and returning to the US for a short time while it resolved here, just as a few friends had. I ended up staying here during the pandemic which ended up being a more prudent choice. 
Our lockdown was short but complete, and everyone took it extremely seriously. In all we stayed in our homes for most of February and a little bit of March. We have been back gaming since about the middle of March, including weekly live sessions every Sunday with 8-15 people in attendance. While we don’t always play 18xx games every week, we have gotten a few games of 18Chesapeake and 1846 played since then. It’s been nice to be able to return to the clacking of poker chips during live sessions. 
One silver lining to this is that the number of virtual games of 18xx that I’ve played has gone way up. I I have gotten to play with some people that I was hoping to see at conventions or during my planned travels this year. Getting to see and talk with the buddies I’d normally only see once a year has been nice, and I’ve also been introduced to a bunch of different titles as well. Titles that I’ve wanted to try for a long time (1824 and 1849) but also titles I’m always happy to play (1848 and 18Chesapeake).
This has not been a good year by any stretch of the imagination. My mom is a nurse and recently contracted COVID, it was something that I was fearing all year. Luckily, she made a speedy recovering and should be back at work about the time you’re reading this. My province of 120 million people has been pretty successful—since Covid began we’ve had less than 2000 total cases and less than 10 deaths. Even still, I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over for my friends and fellow gamers as well so that we can all return to some sense of normalcy, gaming conventions included. 
Thanks for running this contest, it has been a nice opportunity to reflect on the year and think about what I’ve been grateful for this year. I’ve added a few pictures of the plays from this year (I often forget to take pics during games) and pic of my collection (missing most of my small box games) and an illustration my girlfriend did for me of an alternate art for 1880.

Leave a Reply