We interview Leonhard “Lonny” Orgler, a prolific 18XX designer again. He brings some details on 18Mag, 1837, 1840 and 1880, news about playing online their titles and an insight on his new developments.
1. First of all, we want to thank you for this interview. The first question is topical. The campaign for your last game has just ended: 18Mag. What does this game offer?
Here is what Patron, the guys behind 18xx.games, say. I can’t say it better:
This is a SUPER different game:
• Some track tiles are double-sided.
• All trains are available at the start.
• No trains ever rust.
• 13 player-owned Minor companies are the only entities that build track, run routes, and buy trains.
• Some minors start with “terrain tokens” that can be turned in to pay for all terrain costs on a single tile lay.
• Share companies sell “services” to the minors (additional tile lays, terrain costs, token costs, trains, route upgrades).
• Up to three services can be bought each OR by each minor. Price of services is a function of phase and number of services already bought.
• Share companies all effectively start in receivership with a randomized share price. The first player to own two share of a share company becomes president.
• During the OR, share companies only token (if they have a president) and pay dividends (controlled by president).
• Share company tokens add 10Ft to revenue of city. They block as normal.
• Players start with no cash, minors start with 50 Ft and a 2 train.
• Players choose minors and a subset of stock for free during an initial draft round.
• Minors can scrap trains prior to running route. They are not required to own a train.
• Minors always split dividends with owner 50/50.
• Each new train type purchased advances the game phase.
• Game end triggered after 4th train type has been purchased. Last SR will take place after OR where last train type was bought. Then there will be three last ORs before the game ends.
2. On the other hand, 1840 is about to go on sale and 1837 is on pre-order at All-Aboard Games. What do these other titles bring us?
1837 was my first game, self-published in 1994. The only 18xx games I knew were 1830 and 1835. I wanted to create a larger game, and this was the result. Back in those days the rules show some bugs. Some experienced 18xx-players fixed that, and I sold the rights to All-Aboard-Games to publish it. It shows the Austria-Hungarian empire on a large map with many, many minor companies and 10 major companies.
In 1840 every player owns a mother-company which owns up to three lines. The line companies lay tracks and run tramways. The mother companies manage all the income and buy new tramways.
3. We know from earlier interviews on railsonboards (see the first and the second) that you and Helmut Ohley shared the rights to 1824 and 1848 respectively. The latter is on the GMT P-500, while you self-published a new edition of 1824. Why haven’t you done the same with 1837? Why AAG? How much is left of that original 1837 and how many novelties will someone who approaches this title for the first time find, even if they already know the original game? Won’t it be redundant for the player who already has 1824? Will AAG publish any more titles with your signature?
I sold 1837 to AAG before I founded my one-man company “Lonny Games” and started to publish my games by myself. I don’t think that I will sell another title to AAG. But AAG will sell my board games as a reseller.
Yes, 1837 and 1824 show both the same country on the map, and the company names are similar. But they are two different games apart that 18xx titles all show similar aspects.
4. Let’s get on with the present. The proliferation of 18xx games in 2020 has been staggering, despite a bad year due to covid. New titles have appeared, games that were very difficult to get have been republished, the general quality is improving, and there are new KS and new publishers. Are we in the prime of the 18xx? How do you see the current situation now and in the near future?
I am very proud because I believe that I started the 18xx hype via kickstarter. There were one or two titles on KS before I launched my first campaign with 18CZ. Now I fear that the market might be too overstuffed. But this is valid for the whole board game industry. Competition stimulates business. People will start to look for good titles and good quality. I try to sell very good quality both in material and in playfulness.
And yes, quality improves. In former years I sold gamekits where people had to cut out the tiles by themselves. This is not possible nowadays.
5. Many new titles are variants of 1830, 1817, or some other widely recognized titles. Do you think there is room for innovation without losing the essence of the 18xx family?
As long as I have new ideas I will develop new 18xx-titles. And believe me: I have enough ideas in my drawer for the next years.
6. Although 18xx games do not stop being published, the one that everyone misses is 1880. In some bgg forums they take its reissue for granted, but time passes and fans can not enjoy one of your most recognized titles. Will a new edition of 1880 be a reality or just a frustrated dream?
1880 will be reprinted. I was promised this for the past three years, but for 2021 I am very positive.
7. Let’s put aside the 18xx family for a moment. A deluxe edition of the award-winning Russian Railroads is advertised on social media. What can you tell us about this edition? Can you advance something about the new expansion that this edition will contain?
Due to several reasons I sold my rights on Russian Railroads to the publishing company. I was not involved in the latest developments. I only know that the new expansion is called “Asian Railroads”.
8. Russian Railroads has been a great success. Are you considering designing another board game that is not an 18xx?
Of course I have ideas for games aside from 18xx games. But my time is limited and I am full in the 18xx business. Maybe some day I will publish other games.
9. You are certainly a prolific author. What projects do you have in the short term that you can tell us about?
I am working on three more 18xx titles right now. One is finished, and I am waiting for the response of a game company because I want to use one of their games for the theme of it. Then I work on a Spanish 18xx game with Enrique Trigueros (one of the interviewers). He is very keen to have all the aspects of Spanish railway history right. It is an interesting project, and now, as the kickstarter campaign for 18Magyarország is over, I will have more time for it. I don’t want to say much about the third project right now.
10. What do you ask of a new boardgame when someone proposes a game play to you?
I love Euro games. I love games without luck as a challenge to find a good (or the best) way to win. I love lucky games as a funny entertainment. I like word games because I love to play with (my mother) language. I love good card games because of the interaction.
11. You recently appeared as a supporter on 18xx.games. There you can already play the alpha version of 18Mag. Will we enjoy other Lonny’s games at 18xx.games?
Yes, I already gave permission for all my games. They already work on 1824, and maybe 1840 will be there soon, too.
12. Finally, do you want to add something for our readers?
I want to use the opportunity to say thank you to all my supporters and customers. The board game community is a very likeable group of people. Although there are enough nerds who find strange leaks in a ruleset (I remember a discussion if it is possible to sell a train for a negative amount, i. e. to give away a train plus some money, and since then, most of the 18xx rules contain the passus that a train has to be sold for at least $1. they mostly do it with a blink in their eyes. And I know many friendly supporting guys.
Thanks for the interview.
This is interview has been realized by email by Francesc Sistach and Enrique Trigueros. Beside being 18XX lovers, and as Lonny has explained, Enrique is working on a new 18XX along with Lonny.