1841 and 1854
Published: Sunday 2007-05-20.
I have played some of the “official” games in the 18xx series, 1856 and 1870, with different outcome. I like the idea behind the games, and thus I liked it when Sverre, from my Sunday gaming team, bought a couple of the “home-made” games that use the same mechanism.
Last Sunday we tried out 1841. The game has the same base as the other games, of course, but all the “fan” versions have one speciality or another. In 1841 it was how the stock market worked, there were both minor and major companies, and companies could merge and, in certain cases, split into two.
I started by playing the company that had the monopoly on building in Austria, which allowed me to build in my own pace, which fit me perfectly. With some luck I managed to fit the changeovers between different trains perfectly, and when my company was split into two (something which is predetermined by the game mechanics) I got to control both parts. I also managed to merge the two companies back together into one again, which gave me a huge advantage.
Despite that I didn’t get very good dividends on my shares at the end of the game since my companies didn’t run all too well, I managed to maximise the shares in my merged company, and had placed my money in those of the other companies that were doing well, so I managed to win in the end. If I recall correctly, that is the first 18xx game I ever win.
1841 is quite a slow game, and with six players, as we were, it took about twelve hours (with a break for dinner). A bit too long in my taste, but it did have some interesting mechanisms, which made the game more a share-juggling contest than a railway building one.
Today we tried out 1854, which in several way is the opposite of 1841. In this game it is not the shares that count as much as how good railway tracks you build. I managed to build myself the completely wrong way, even though I controlled the two companies that were building on the west side of the map, while the other three players were fighting over the east side. Unfortunately, it turned out that it was the east side that was the most lucrative.
I ended pretty well in my stock investments also this time, but since my companies didn’t pay out that much money, I lost big on capital, and ended last. Despite that I prefer 1854 to 1841, if not for that we finished in three hours less than 1841.
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