Stoke the Fire and Pull the Levers

I (Luke) wanted to share a short post about my thoughts having played 18xx games over this last year and offer a few persuasive words for those curious-or-new-to-18xx players to continue to invest in the system.

Since entering this part of the hobby, which for me has been akin to entering the proverbial rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, I’ve had no choice but to embrace the psychedelic and hypnotic trip that is train gaming in the 1800’s. These games are a hit – and if you haven’t tried them, you should… although I’ll warn you… it’s a money pit ;) Soon after exhausting the available offerings, one will find themselves searching for more intoxicating shenanigans by stooping low enough as to consider paying shipping and customs charges that are on par with the product itself. Once you’ve exhausted your money and become a desperate soul you realize that you are willing to consider learning how to make your own and, thus you enter the obscure and murky world of PNP options. This requires a capital investment but you soon realize that you are almost as happy to bask in the fumes of an 18xx game as you are to play them.

I’m a user and a pusher. To give some context. I ordered via P500 GMT’s 1846 and received it January 22, 2017. After reading the rules, following Eric Brosius’ excellent teaching guide, and asking a few questions on BGG I felt ready to teach it to a table of four (including myself). Since that time I’ve taught (using 1846 and 1889, which I prefer for this task) 16 players from my gaming community, all of who were brand new to the system. These teaching games make up the vast majority of my plays – something I’ve committed to in this first year in hopes of creating a community willing to delve deep into specific games in the future. I’ve also, very modestly, grown my collection to now include: 1846, 1849, 1860, 1861, 1880, 1889, 18CZ, and 18Scan. And, have additionally played the following: 1857, 18Mex and 18DO (Marflow prototype).

I’ve tasted the water. I took the pill. I’ve experienced tunnel vision and rode highs for days after playing certain 18xx titles. It’s both an addicting and all-consuming part of the board gaming hobby and I love it for that!

I’d like to offer my 2-cents on introducing and teaching new players the 18xx, which I will do in two following posts in the coming weeks: first, by talking about why I think 1846 is a great entry point and second, by talking about why I think 1889 is a great entry point. If you are 18xx-curious, or know someone who might be 18xx-curious send them this way. I’ve had a few experiences I’d like to share with others about these games and if a newbie is convinced it’s something they’d like to try I know a few people/suppliers they should talk to.

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