18xx

We played a 3-player game of 1830 last night.  I looked through my gaming log books and did a little compilation of my recent experiences with 18xx.  Back in the 1990’s the game 2038 came out, and I played it several times.  But this was before I really started tracking my gaming.  I began my formal tracking of games played in 2001, and I note I played 2038 once that year.

But for 2002 though 2006, Euros dominated my gaming, and I didn’t play any 18xx games at all.  In 2007, I finally played 1830 again.  I had tried to learn 1830 at a game convention back in the 1990’s.  That experience was poor, and I had not revisited 1830 prior to 2007.  But in 2007, it clicked, and I was now hooked.  1830 seemed like it had the same fun as 2038, but was a bit easier to play.  I liked it enough to play 3 complete games – which took 6 sessions to do. 

But come 2008, I regressed and did not really get much 18xx gaming done.  I did play 1829 Mainline once, but 2008 was mostly devoted to Agricola and various Martin Wallace games.

Come 2009, and I finally got into a full exploration of 18xx.  February was my sole sampling of 1853.  A foul ball.  I enjoyed it.  But my opponents disliked the set order and the regional restrictions imposed on each railway company.  March had me exploring the introductory game in 1829 -the granddaddy of all 18xx games.  The introductory game is too simple to excite 18xx interest.  Alex introduced me to 18EZ, which appealed on one hand – as it is intended as a teaching tool – but bugged on the other hand, as I like the historical context of other 18xx games, and it is not present in 18EZ.  FInally, also in March, I returned to 1830, confirming my love for the game.

In April we continued our exploration of 18EZ, providing input to the publisher.  (18EZ was in prototype form at that time.)  We also played 1830 again.  In May we tried 1856.  This has been my sole play of 1856.  While it seemed a worthy game, I realized I would need to play it multiple times to get comfortable with the game space.  In June I finally played 1829 Mainline a second time, and also got in a full game of 1829 – although we used the 1830 track building rules, which is a common variant.

In July I played my first game of 1825 – using Unit 1.  Sadly it didn’t go over too well.  The set order and the limited number of companies caused some of the players to feel they had no chance.  Later that month Joe Huber came visiting and brough 1846.  1846 was a big hit, and both Alex and I ordered it right after playing it.  1846 is made by Deep  Thought Games, which meant we both were doomed to wait a year before they would fill our orders.  We rounded out July with one more game of 1830.

In August I played 1825, Unit 3 – a two-player version of that game.  This was quite good, and it reassured me there was something of value in all those 1825 game sets I had tracked down.  Early in September we tried 1861.  A huge game and beautifully produced.  But of epic duration.  I liked it, but grew impatient for it to end.  Some of my frustration was around the fact that one of the players had only ever played a short 1825 game with me just a week or two before – and this massive game seemed like overload for the newbie.

I didn’t get back to 18xx until November, when I played a smaller introductory game, 18GA.  My final 18xx game in 2009 was good ‘ol 1830.

In 2010, I was a little slower to get into 18xx.  But in March I organized another 1825 game.  We finally tried 1825, Unit 2.  Which I felt was better than Unit 1.  Less processional.  In April we tried putting Units 1 & 2 together, and I realized I liked that even more.

In June, 2010, local copies of 1846 finally arrived, and it got some attention.  We played it once in June and again in July.  Also in July I organized another game of 1829 Mainline.  I finally realized that while Mainline has provided me hours of solitaire enjoyment, it has not been as good at providing as good of a multiplayer experience.  In August I organized another 1825 game, but this time I tried a heavily tweaked variant, to make it more like 1830.  Ultimately I felt this was a mistake, and I intend to play it as the author intended from now on.

Now it is December, and I finally got another 18xx game in.  Our game of 1830 last night was very much fun, and I am energized to play more.

So here are my totals:

  • 1830- 8 plays since 2007
  • 1825 – 5 plays since 2009
  • 1829 Mainline – 3 plays since 2008
  • 1846 – 3 plays since 2009
  • 18EZ -2 plays
  • 1853 – 1 play
  • 1856 – 1 play
  • 1861 – 1 play
  • 18GA – 1 play
  • 2038 – Multiple plays, but none since 2001
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