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I got 1846 problems but a Navvy ain't one of them
#1
Preface
This is all Groo's fault.

The situation: my aunt is spending a couple weeks with her sister-in-law (technically she's also my aunt, being my uncle's wife, but that's another story) and I'm house/dog sitting. There are things that need to be done but the weather has been rainy or cold, or worse, rainy and cold. So I've been playing solo board games. Why solo? One, I can't leave the dogs alone for too long. They may be house-trained, but they're not that house-trained. 2) I may play boardgames with those people but I don't want them in my house let alone invite them into my aunt's. So now you guys get to ignore a game session.

The game: 1846
You can find a pdf of the rules here. 1846 is part of the 18xx group of railroad games and is considered one of the more accessible games for beginners, and while the accessible part may be true, but I like it because it's a tight game with broad strategic opportunities. Some 18xx are about the stock manipulation to screw over the other guy, 1836 being the king, others are about running a strong train corporation. In 1846, the stock manipulation is mitigated, but can still affect the outcome, and many a game has been won by the person with the poorest performing corporation. In fact, it's possible to win without owning a corporation at all.

1846 is a 3 to 5-player game, although there is a two-player variant written by the creator, Tom Lehmann, is out there on the interwebs (Yes, that Tom Lehmann), so I'll be performing all players. I could go the easy route (pun) and do a three-player game, but I have plenty of time (forecast says the temperature won't be getting above the 50s until Wednesday) and besides, this way all options will be in play.

The Cast
To try to avoid one giant wank-fest where my personal biases run the show, each "player" will have an overriding motivation that decides their actions. My biases will still lurk, but I'm hoping to keep it at a minimum.

Abigail - Never met a train she didn't like. Loves building track and running routes. Will open a new corp. if possible.

Ben - More shares are better than fewer. Will sell a good share if it means getting two.

Charlotte - Disruptor. Will place a token or lay track if it slows or ruins another's plans, even if it slows or ruins hers.

Dennis - Looks for the best immediate run. Isn't worried about two or three operations later. Or even the next, for that matter.

Ephram - Train pusher. Will do what he can to keep the trains breaking.

As it worked out, the player order is alphabetical. Imagine that.


Up Next: Round 0, Private Company Draft
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Maybe I got it rite this time.

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#2
Unlike (most) other 18xx games, instead of a fixed bank size and initial starting capital that varies with the number of players (usually by dividing a fixed amount by the number of players), 1846 has a fixed starting capital for each player and a bank size that depends on the number playing. Another difference is that with fewer players, corporations and privates are removed from the game. This, being a 5-player game, has everything in play with the full $9000 bank. Also unlike (most) 18xx games, 1846 uses a draft system to distribute the private companies instead of an auction. In the draft, starting with the last player and going in reverse order, the players get a random selection of private companies and number cards, chooses one, shuffles the rest, places them on the bottom of the "deck" and hands the deck to the next player. This is described on page 4 of the rules. Following is the process in the game with a brief explanation of the choice. Listed are only the companies, not the numbered cards, which will only be mentioned as "Pass X" where X is the number of passes made to that point. There are only a number of passes as the number of players. If, in this case, 5 passes have been made, then a player must select a private, unless it is the last company remaining.

The Companies: (descriptions and abilities are on page 12 of the rules)

Michigan Central (MC) $40, Income: $15
Ohio & Indiana (O&I) $40, Income: $15
Lake Shore Line (LSL) $40, Income: $15
Chicago & Western Indiana (C&WI) (Which always looks like "Chicago and Wisconsin" to me) $60, Income: $10
Meat Packing Company (Meat) $60, Income: $15
Steamboat Company (Steam) $40, Income: $10
Tunnel Blasting Company (Tunnel) $60, Income: $20
Mail Contract (Mail) $80, Income: $0
Michigan Southern (MS) $60+$80 debt (otherwise known as $140)
Big 4 (Big4) $40+$60 debt

Ephram: Mail, Meat, C&WI, LSL, Big4. A hand of seven and five of them are companies. A lot of options but really only one easy pick for a player in the 5th chair. In a five player game, Chicago can become highly contested. C&WI guarantees a spot regardless of which corporations remain to be chosen from after everyone else has had their pick. Choice: LSL

Dennis: Tunnel, MS, MC, O&I. With a good income and the cheaper cost to build certain locations, Tunnel Company isn't a bad choice. Choice: Tunnel

Charlotte: Mail, Big4, LSL, Meat, Steam. LSL provides easy access to two key cities, but a token in the middle of the board wins out. Choice: Big4

Ben: Steam, O&I, MC, MS. No intention of using, but the potential for a profit of $45, maybe $60. Choice: MC

Abigail: O&I, Meat, LSL, Mail. Two free track in the middle of the board. Choice: O&I

Ephram: Meat, Mail, LSL, MS, Steam. Chicago being one of the cities affected by the company, a perfect match for C&WI. Choice: Meat

Dennis: Steam, LSL. If you haven't played 1846 you don't understand how automatic the choice is. With both Steamboat and Tunnel Blasting, he will open Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Grand Trunk Railroad if B&O is already take. But it won't be. B&O is rarely opened early by a player who doesn't have at least one of these two minors. Choice: Steam

From here on out the options are MS, LSL, Mail, or 5 passes

Charlotte: MS and Mail  are out: too expensive. LSL can be good but... Choice: Pass 1

Ben: Money spent on privates is money not spent on shares. Choice: Pass 2

Abigail: A private train company? Yes, please. Granted, O&I isn't as good a fit for MS as it is for Big4, but it can work. Choice: MS

Ephram: Already spending $120. Choice: Pass 3

Dennis: An extra $10 for every city visited by a train? If only it weren't so expensive. Choice: Pass 4

Charlotte: Didn't take one last time around. Why would she now? Choice: Pass 5

Ben: If he must take one (and he must), make it the cheaper of two evils. Choice: LSL

At this point the only choice is Mail Contract at decreasing cost. Note that this is likely one of my personal biases at work. Mail Contract is a good company in the long term, but it can hamper the early game with it's high cost. Yes Big 4 and MS cost more, but they get a better RoI early with track lays and tokens. I almost never pay full price for Mail and rarely pay more than $50.

Abigail: nope

Ephram: Not at $70

Dennis: At $60 he'd have $240 to start a corporation. Four shares at an opening price of $60 should be low enough to get 2-trains (preferred for a Steamboat/B&O strategy), but with $300 he can get a fifth share, which makes up for the loss of $2/share. Pass

Charlotte: Price is down to $50. That's a $30 profit when bought in. Not bad. Pass.

Ben: Not even for $40

Abigail: Hell yeah, she'll take it for $30. Wait. $210 in privates leaves only $190 to start a corporation. Let's see, Illinois Central at $60 is three shares and first round capital of $240, with another $150 for issuing shares for a total of $390.... Yeah, ok.

Ephram: drat.


Next: Stock Round 1
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#3
(04-09-2018, 07:04 AM)Oedipussy Rex Wrote: Preface
This is all Groo's fault.

Funny and touching, like a clown with a restraining order...
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
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#4
Clowns are funny? Since when?

Stock Round 1
Capital:
Abigail - $190
Ben - $320
Charlotte - $300
Dennis - $300
Ephram - $280

Abigail: As discussed above, opens Illinois Central (IC) at $60.

Usually IC starts at a high share price because it gets an extra share's worth of starting capital from the bank. It's often started low because the player opening it has spent too much on privates, so the extra money helps to make up the difference.

Ben: Opens New York Central (NYC) at $40

$40 is the lowest a company can start. I have done it and managed to win, but it wasn't easy and I don't recommend it. Opening so low can be an invitation for another player to buy the company out from under you. However, Ben has enough money to prevent this.

Charlotte: Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) at $100

Going for the big money. With the $300 from selling three shares and another $270 for issuing another three shares in the operating round, the corp. will have $10 more than if it had sold four shares for $70 and issued another four at $60. In addition, with two more shares remaining in the treasury, the corp. will get more income with each operation.

Dennis: Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) at $60

I had this long dissertation about how getting to this price that involved what had been opened already and what might be opened at what price, examining what is, what will be, and what might be. It boils down to opening at this price guarantees at least two cheap 2-trains. Unless Ephram opens a corporation at a lower price.

Ephram: Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad (C&O) at $70

Because C&O is bad. Its one saving grace is that it has the second easiest East-West run. But it's not as lucrative and there's a big gap between first and second. But I want to see if it's situationally good, and this looks like a good situation.

Abigail: flip

[color]Flip: when opening a corporation, prepay for all the shares you intend to purchase, take the shares, but place those you technically do not have yet face down. Then when it's your turn to take a stock action, you flip one share face up. Prepaying is not an obligation to actually purchase a share. You may take back funds for unflipped shares and use it for something else. The advantage of flipping is it saves time.[/color]

(Everyone flips and passes until only Ben is taking actions, the last of which is purchasing a share of B&O. Charlotte gains priority for the next stock round.)

Cert/Share count - Remaining funds:

Abigail: 2/3 - $10
Ben: 6/7 - $0
Charlotte: 2/3 - $0
Dennis: 3/4 - $0
Ephram: 3/4 - $0

Next: Operational Round 1.1 & 1.2
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#5
I played four sets of rounds and kept a fairly detailed account of the actions, but between taking care of the animals (including the death of my aunt's bird), doing various jobs around both houses, and sometimes taking over half an hour thinking through moves and strategies before making a move (something that would never be allowed in an actual game), I didn't complete the game before having to pack it up. So I'm putting an end to this thread for now and will continue it at another time with another game.
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#6
Yup. Dude, it's tough to find time to a) play a game and b) document a game with enough detail and drama to keep the forum entertained... at least I have the advantage of a single-player format out of the gate and the ability to basically stop anytime when life gets in the way.

Try, try again!
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
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