18xx day: 1846 and 1889

Tommy came from Vantaa to join me, Olli and Robert for a day of 18xx. We chose two shorter games, 1846 and 1889, to make sure we could actually finish two games during the ~9 hours we had. We expected to use four hours per game and that worked out pretty well.

We started with 1846. This is a fast 18xx, yet we took about 4.5 hours with it. I can see how experienced players could push this to three hours, but less than two? That sounds unreal, because the route calculations can get very tricky. The worst we had was Illinois Central running two 7/8 trains (visit 8 cities, count 7), which was complicated to calculate when everybody still kept changing the routes and adding tokens.

I started PRR and Big 4 and used the PRR teleport token right away to secure a path to Chicago (I had the Chicago token minor, too, but didn’t actually use it). Then just some connecting tiles and a key token and I was clear. However, my runs (a single 4/6, most of the time) weren’t that good even with the East-West connection and my stock portfolio was really weak thanks to the expensive minors, so it wasn’t a huge surprise I lost. Final scores: Robert 7006, Tommy 6755, Olli 6428, me 5659.

1846 post-game situation
1846 board after the game. See the nice PRR East-West I built?

Next up was 1889, the Japanese 1830 variant with a small map and relatively few complications. This was a much cleaner game than 1846 and a good change of pace. We were able to finish this one in just three hours, thanks to much faster operating rounds. Not that there wasn’t plenty of thinking!

At some point, Tommy dumped a company to Olli, who was then managing three weakest companies, which meant lots of thinking about how to best juggle assets. Eventually Olli did just fine, he did have to buy one train with his own money, but it only cost him 400 or so. I too bought a train with my own money, but that was only 200. I did well with the train rush, with some help from friends.

This was a good game, and I’m definitely interested in playing it again. I’d like to give Rails a go as a moderator, the automatic route calculation would be a nice feature. Final scores: Robert 5482, Tommy 5448, me 5360, Olli 4599

1889 after the game
1889 board after the game.

1889 is a much cleaner game than 1846. I like 1846, but there’s lots of detail in it… It’s an interesting game, but as a newbie game, it has lots of moving parts. It would take some serious effort to make it run faster. 1889 felt compact enough and by the end, the map was developed enough that when we hit the final ORs, we could just calculate the income for the first OR and multiply it by three to get the final OR results. In 1846 there were some changes right until the end, dragging the game a bit longer.

Both of these games are good, though, and will remain in my 18xx collection. I’m trying to prune it a bit, and looks like I’m mostly focusing on the 1829 branch, with 1825, 1853, 1846 (somewhat) and 1860.

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