1849 in my top5 18xx games

Recently, we had the opportunity to return to this title several times and each time this title surprises us positively and we discover something new in it. It is not an easy game, because we always forget something and bend the rules a bit, or we make them difficult for ourselves. Still, the mechanics in the game offer so many possibilities that it is certainly one of the best 18xx titles for me.

What do I like about it and what do we forget about?

Game time:
As for the 1849 game, we mainly play it during evening meetings when we have less time and when there are 3-4 players at the table. The game is so short that we played it twice in one night! We finished the first game about halfway through when it turned out that someone was already a winner or a loser. The game restart was very quick then and we could start another one within 5 minutes.
The second full game took less than 4 hours each time and almost all of my dozen or so games lasted less than 4 hours.

Random distribution of companies:
Companies come out in random order and only in that order, they can be launched. As a result, the first round of bidding for private companies is different every time, because we try to influence the order and position ourselves in the best possible way before the first stock round.
Sometimes it turns out that no set can guarantee the success and startup of your chosen company. In my last game, for the first 3 operational rounds, only one company was up and running! Because no one wanted to run the second-largest company and they all said “no bid”. It changed the gameplay considerably and thanks to that, the first company that operated was able to build an interesting route to Palermo.

Possibility of closing companies:
Entering the last lowest field on the stock exchange closes the company which can be restarted in the next round. This is an interesting exception in 18xx games, because in other titles, the company being closed is eliminated from the game. In 1849, this option offered additional possibilities: restarting at a higher value. Closing companies can also be very painful when we get too close to the field where the company is out of the game and we have polite colleagues;)
+ a volcanic eruption may also cause the disappearance of one of the companies.

Selling shares by the corporation (+loan issuance):
The capitalization is incremental, but companies can issue shares (up to the stock exchange capacity – of 50%). So in the initial stage of the game, we can get 1000L for the company’s cash (at the company’s price of 100L)! On top of that, there are loans from the brown phase and higher issue prices. All this gives a lot of possibilities, e.g. it may be tempting to buy a good train for the second company for all of it and to close the first one, or vice versa, there are many possibilities and during the game, you will have to make difficult choices.
On the other hand, a lower value on the stock exchange (67L) and buying shares by other players only gives (67 * 5 + 59 * 5) = 630L. This amount is enough only for 2-3 weak trains and the purchase of private companies, then comes a moment of reflection when we realize that the company’s cash is empty.

Very well thought out the number of trains:
Train rush can be very painful. We had games when 4H-train only went once! There are only three relatively cheap permanent trains, then it’s horribly expensive 16H-train, which drops 8H-train, but also unlocks the weak but cheap R6H-trains.

Electric trains:
It’s a variant and we’ve only played it a few times, but it makes the end of the game very interesting. During our last meeting, Michał from Olkusz started the company at the highest possible rate (216L). Unfortunately, his capital allowed him to buy only 3 shares. I calculated that if I sold a large part of my shares, I will be able to buy 4 certificates and take over the company. On top of that, other players joined which resulted in the company being sold out and it had 2,160L ​​in its cash! The company bought the first electric train and a second train for my first company. It was one of the most interesting stock rounds at the end of the game!
Electric trains double the income of the four largest cities on the island <- it’s easy to forget!

Possibility of trading stations between companies:
So even more options for gamers who like unconventional gameplay!

What we forget:

  • to discard some trains depending on the game variant;
  • that stock prices only rise when the dividend is greater than or equal to their price!
  • that shares fall at the end of the stock round if they are on the stock exchange (this is the new rule for us!)
  • that the route must have at least two cities and the port is not counted as a city!
  • that private company are closed not on the brown phase, but only from the 12H-train;
  • that loans can only be taken in the brown phase;
  • that the shares cannot be issued in the first company’s OR;

You can see the list goes on and on. I think this is partly because we are reading the abbreviation of the rules too quickly. It seems to us that we have played this game recently and we remember everything. Meanwhile, it has some exceptions to the rules. Nevertheless, we had a great time, which is the most important thing.

I’d like to know the 1849 game as well as I know 1836jr. This title definitely deserves it!

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