The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits


I played this with the local 18xx enthusiasts last night. I actually wondered if I had ordered this, but it turns out I had not. (I have pre-ordered 1848, but I should probably go and cancel under the theory that there will likely be 2+ copies here locally anyway). Some quick thoughts on 1862:

  • Our (5p) first game took 4h, not including a bit of rules reading. Should be able to trim an hour or so from this once the rules become second nature.
  • Lots of variability here. If my combinatorics are correct (unlikely) there are nearly 9 quadrillion possible setups, which means that if everyone on earth played a game a day, our nations would erupt into war and lose vast amounts of GDP without even making a dent in the chances of playing the same setup twice.
  • Some rules questions — Given that any player can apparently open up as many auctions as you like in a parlimentary round, why does the game open with two of them? We also spent a bit of time clarifying things, but overall it wasn’t bad given the sheer number of differences from a typical 18xx.
  • Things I liked:
    • The stock market double, triple, quadruple jumps let companies catch up.
    • Mergers as a dynamic are always interesting (see also,  Indonesia)
    • The novel train mechanism where some companies want direct routes and others want meandering routes, coupled with a tight board.
    • The “re-running track but no double counting cities” route mechanism, which rewards mergers (since companies get rights to multiple train types), which encourages mergers even though the financials force players to take a haircut in stock value after a merge.
    • The “two ways to capitalize”
    • The variable setup
    • The warranty rule (the ability to buy a few extra turns before a train rusts, but you must prepay).
  • Potential worrying aspect:
    • Somewhat nitpicky corner cases in rules (possibly)
    • It seemed like a reasonable strategy may just be “start fast cash company, buy up any IPO stock after it appreciates, then dump everything into the bank and start again.”

Regarding the last point, I was running away with the game when the train rush hit and had a company with a soon-to-expire D train, when another company got dumped on me. I could have dumped both for £2000 (maybe a bit shy, but certainly enough to found 1 or 2 big companies), but I decided to keep one and merge my new company with it to get two different permanent trains (an express and a freight). This was OK, but it meant I had ~5 less certs for 3 ORs, and despite having 70% of the best company I lost by 20% or so. I think if I’d just dumped everything and went for a boring two new companies route, I would have won.

It is early to make such a bold claim, but it is worrying. (I suspect a part of my problem is that you want to merge in ORX.3, not ORX.1, so you have timing to re-acquire a portfolio.

I take it as a good sign that Joe R. and Jeroen both rate this very highly.

Rating — Enthusiastic (and may even pick up a copy, and would certainly trade for it).

Written by taogaming

December 10, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Session Reports

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5 Responses

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  1. You can’t put a company up for auction in a Parliamentary Round once you’ve bought a company in that PR. In low player-count games, people often choose to start two companies, and if there were only one PR, they could only start one chartered company. The second PR allows someone to start two chartered companies at the beginning of the game. Note that if some companies are much better than others, given their location and permit type, you don’t want to wait until the Stock Round to start unless you have Priority, because non-Chartered companies don’t have an auction.

    You should read the series of strategy articles that Randy Brown (“discoking7”) is writing on BGG. Randy has played the game 93 times now, and based on my experience playing it with him, he knows what he’s talking about. In particular, ask him your question about whether there’s a dominant strategy (I don’t think so.) Competitive station placement is common in 18EA, especially when it comes to London, so later-starting companies often can’t get routes as good as the ones earlier-starting companies get.

    Eric Brosius

    December 11, 2019 at 4:51 pm

  2. See this thread especially.

    Eric Brosius

    December 13, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    • Regarding 1 auction per Parliamentary Phase …. that seemed logical but a close reading of the rules did not make it clear. The line “Each player may start an auction” implies once, but then it goes onto “After this, starting with the player to the left of the highest bidder, players resume the process of starting auctions. The whole Parlia-ment Round is over when all players successively decline to start an auction” which certainly sounds like “Oh, you keep going until nobody wants to.” A quick note like “Starting with the player to left, players who have not yet started an auction may choose to start one….”

      I’ve red some of the discoking stuff.


      December 13, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      • The line “A player who has obtained a Parliamentary Charter in this round may not start an auction” is in the middle of the section, and was missed.


        December 13, 2019 at 8:16 pm

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