Thanks to a friend who now lives in Australia, I have both 1848 editions. The old one was prepared by the designer and the new one by GMT. The differences between them are huge. The new release is new artwork, a beautifully illustrated box, and a really good accomplishment. The old edition has a cheap cardboard box and components, half of which I made anew because the original ones were of poor quality. The old edition was worth a fortune, while the new one is available in all good board game stores at a very affordable price.
I made a small comparison of both editions because 1848 is a cult game. It was unavailable for a long time and now, thanks to GMT, everyone can play it.
If you don’t know GMT boxes yet, they are one of the best boxes I have come across. A solid, thick box perfectly protects all components and looks beautiful on the shelf.
Both editions can boast of equally decent cards. I was able to test the cards from the old edition. On one of them, there was a cup of water for a long time, which spilled around the cup and onto the card. When I noticed this, I was down. I was sure that I would have to throw it away. I put it between the handkerchiefs in a thick book and left it there for a few days. You know that after this ‘treatment’ you cannot see anything on it and the card is indistinguishable from the others!
I won’t test it on a new release, but it seems to be just as well done.
In my opinion, both versions have an equally well-prepared graphical map.
But the new one has described all phases of the game with all changes. Such a description is much more elegant and legible than the table on the charters, which shows the phases of the game and the changes between them. A big plus for a new release and an idea for us and our future games.
In the old edition, the tracks tiles had glossy laminate and were cut crookedly. They were included in the game in a cut-out sheet, so they were made by the first owner. I prepared them from scratch. I reduced them slightly in relation to the grid on the map. In the new edition, the tracks are the same size as in 1846, but there are slightly smaller than the map hexes, so lifting them is not a problem.
They are printed on normal, slightly thicker paper. I know we don’t hold them in our hands, but in my opinion, they could be of better quality. The ones that were in 1846 I put in covers for comb binding. It was enough to fold the foil in half and insert the card inside. But in 1848 the charters are wider, and it won’t be that easy.
The original cardboard tokens immediately went to the box with various unnecessary game accessories. Likewise, paper money. Wooden tokens with stickers from our store replaced them very well.
I also have to mention our trays which do a great job. Playing with them is a pleasure. Thanks to our stickers, even assembling the game has become very easy 🙂 See more here: https://cube4me.com/product/1848/
1848 Australia is one of my favorite 18xx games. It is a relatively short time game because each of my plays lasted about 4 hours. Plus: multiple strategy options to choose from, fast train rush, and various ending options. For me, this is a must-have if you like 18xx.
Finally, I left a few thoughts from the last game.
One of the companies has a special feature. It can be started only from the 6th phase of the game, or when the route between Sydney and Adelaide is built (which has not happened to us yet). Only recently have I realized how cleverly this is thought out by the author. It happens very often in 18xx that no one has money to buy the most expensive train. In this way, 4-trains can run several ORs before being rusted. Meanwhile, in 1848 there is a company that someone can start up in the 6th phase only. Thanks to this, its owner can afford to buy a diesel or an 8-train. As a result, the train rush is much faster, and the mechanism of absorbing the weakest companies by the Bank of England is much more effective.
For this reason, BoE has absorbed one company in our game. I sacrificed the second myself, knowing that thanks to this my other company will be able to make even better profits, having two permanent trains. Overall, even though my opponents had more of a stake in the BoE, my profit from the other company was higher than their BoE income.
Great edition and great game 🙂