The Games You Want to Play – Part XI…

1846: The Race to the Midwest, 1846-1935

This is a member of the long-lived 18xx series of railroad games – which includes numerous iterations and has a devoted fan base. The most recent versions are produced by GMT. I believe that 1846 (and 1830) are considered to be the first of the “mainstream” or “modern” versions of the series and good introductions to the system.

Due to the popularity of the game with our attendees, we were planning to include it on the cruise’s gaming schedule or in the library, but I had never played it myself. That little quandary was resolved this past week and I must now count myself a big fan. I am looking forward to playing some of the others and I am told that 1830 should be near the top of my list.

I do not play train-themed games often, but have always enjoyed railroads – from train sets when I was younger to playing Railroad Tycoon on the computer (that dates me, I am sure).

After only a single play, I cannot comment too much on strategy, but only what appealed to me. The mechanics of the game are quite simple. You do not spend much time trying to remember how to play (though a simple card listing the order you can do things on the stock and operating rounds would be helpful to you), but focused instead on your strategy.

As a note, for those who want to focus more on building and running a railroad, there may be some other games you want to consider.Though you do get to do that in this game, it is just one component and the scale of operations is fairly high level. However, you are laying track, placing stations, and choosing from a half-dozen engine choices, so there is a good bit of operational work to be done.

The constant tension of being an owner of the railroad vs. the president of one or more railroads is an excellent result of the system. Do I invest more money in the railroad’s operation to help it grow (and see the stock price drop due to lower distributions) or do I make larger distributions (helping the price remain stable or increase, but starving the railroad of desperately needed capital – especially as new train engines become available and old models are phased out of use).

Oh, by the way, others players can invest in the railroads you manage, so being a top operator can help your competitors win (and they can takeover your railroad, if you let them get control of more stock). To win, you must have the highest net worth at the end of the game – what is the best way to get there?

Be sure to vote for this one for the cruise, though we plan to have it in the library!

How to Play: Normally, as you know, I try to provide a relatively short HtP for these games, but it does not appear that one exists. So, here is part 1 of a 5-part series…

Publisher’s Page:…

See you soon,

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