All-Aboard Games has announced the preorder campaign for 4 more re-published games. Again, all are mass-produced editions of games previously hand made.
2020 has seen the largest announcement of new 18XX titles in history. Perhaps COVID has delayed the production and delivery of some of them, but the list is over 20. Of course, 5 are PnP from TraXX, and many are reeditions or mass-production editions of previously existing titles, but it’s clear this small boardgame niche is growing rapidly.
2021 seems to be an exciting year as well. All-Aboard Games (https://all-aboardgames.com/) has launched the preorder campaign of its ‘wave 4’. This company, which produced hand-made 18XX for years, started producing them massively last year, making their titles more affordable and grouping them into waves. Here, ‘more affordable’ means that they are produced with better quality and there is not a long list of pending orders. It also means international shipping has better rates and no extra custom taxes for EU countries. However, AAG games are still expensive when comparing their prices with what we can see from all the other current publishers (a bit less considering shipping is included). Either way, there are nearly no other options if you want to get their titles.
So, let’s explore what they are offering now.
1817 is one of the most innovative and amazing 18XX titles, and has inspired 3 other games: 1817NA and 1817WO (shorter games, never printed, but available as online games), and 18USA. The latest is even bigger than 1817, uses a different map, and includes some changes in the rules. Specifically, it adds some randomization of the map and private companies during the setup, making each game different.
If you liked 1817, you will most probably like 18USA, a game that appeared in 2017 as an expansion for 1817. Now, you can preorder a complete copy ($185 for USA, $200 for international) or the expansion for 1817 ($60/$70). Map and rules are available at the legacy AAG website.
1822: The Railways of Great Britain, created in 2016, started a new short line of 18XX games that includes two expansions and even two new games: 1822CA (Canada) and 1822MX (Mexico). In previous waves, All-Aboard Games has offered 1822 with its two expansions and 1822MX. Now, it’s time for the Canadian one.
Its map covers all of Canada and is even bigger than the one included in 1822, and there are 70 companies (private, minor, and public). It seems like an interesting addition to the series.
Prices are $150 for USA, $165 for international. Map and rules are available here.
1837: Rail Building in the Austro-Hungarian Empire
This is an ‘old’ 18XX, developed in 1994 using 1835 mechanics. Its author, Leonhard “Lonny” Orgler, created or co-created many other 18XX titles afterwards, including, among others, 1824, 1854, 1848 (now to be re-published by GMT), 1880 (soon to be re-published), 18CZ and two new kids in the block: 1840: Vienna Tramways and the now in preorder phase 18Mag: Hungarian Railway History.
Prices are $120 for USA and $135 for international. Map and rules are available here.
This 18XX, created in 2011, is still available as a PnP in the BGG and has been hand made by All-Board Games and by Marflow Games for some years. As with some other games published by Marflow Games, such as 18Ruhr or 18Rhl-Rhineland, it is set in Germany (in this case, in the Harz Mountains) and has some differences when compared to the typical 18XX, as mines are a crucial part of the game. There are 15 independent mines, later combined into mining companies, and the railway companies get profits when they connect those mines.
Prices are $110 for USA and $120 for international. Map and rules available here.
In previous waves, All-Board Games has included some entry 18XX titles. In this case, I think the four titles announced are for serious 18XX players.
- 18USA: if you like 1817, I think 18USA should be part of your collection. It brings the randomization aspect, which promises more replayability.
- 1822CA: 1822 is a nice series. I believe it is great to have at least one of the three games in your collection. Having the three of them may only make sense for collectors or people that enjoy this series a lot. 1822: The Railways of Great Britain and 1822MX are still available at All-Board Games (as most games of previous waves).
- 1837: this is an old 18XX -the first one developed by Lonny- that never was in any top list. Its map is very similar to the one that appears in 1824, a game re-published in 2020 and coauthored by Lonny. 1824 costs around €70 and is available right now. I’ll try to get more information on potential changes for this edition and how it compares to 1824 in the coming weeks.
- Harzbahn 1873: the good news is that this game is now being published massively by All-Board Games. Perhaps this is what the game needs to succeed, as it includes interesting concepts. At first, it made me remember 18DO: Dortmund, set to appear in the first quarter of 2021.
2021 is only beginning and we already have 4 more 18XX games to buy. I wonder how many 18XX titles and COVID vaccines will appear this year…