The Life and Times of Marc Voyer (or the impact of socks on 18xx)

I met Marc what seems like ages ago now and what follows is a piece written by him outlining his experiences as it relates to discovery of 18xx in the cardboard medium. Something funny I learned about Marc a while back was that for a very long time he was under the mistaken impression that 18xx existed only in the form of the 1830 computer game. Then he was invited to Fallcon....., but I will let Marc tell the story. What follows is a multi-part escapade through Marc and I meeting and some of the influences we have had on each other over the years. Also, this provides some pretty great insight into the design process of what is now 1882. (which is a bloody fantastic 18xx in the Winsome vein for those that haven't played it) I have very little interest in design, I have too many other games to try to play and even more I don't feel familiar enough with yet to move on... Anywho, I'll let Marc take over from here.

"Browsing BGG at some point in 2015, I was shocked when discovering a specific thread. It was a call for players to join an 1830 tournament at a local convention. Boardgaming popularity was on the rise, however 18xx was almost unknown in Calgary. There was no mulling it over, I instantly purchased a ticket. As an introvert, I am not a fan of large conventions, but this was an exception. That's where I met Tyler, a grand-master 18xx archivist, and architect of Hattanooga. We played a range of 18xx and a few splotters. I remember being introduced to one of Tyler's favorite games, Roads and Boats. That was quite deranged with 4 people. From the outside, it probably looked like we were playing twister with our arms and hands.

We also playtested one of my first “boxes of socks” with several others during Fallcon. Designs are like a 'box of socks', if socks were ideas. Have you ever bought a pair of socks, and after a period of time they mix with other socks? Eventually you may end up with some mismatched pairs. What about socks with holes? Achieving an organized, functional drawer of socks is a constant battle. Sorting out a box of ideas, throwing out the ones that don't work, and putting the right ideas in the right place is quite similar. I had this shiny new “box of socks” that also had “bells & whistles”, a horrid mess of a rule set, and was otherwise broken. It went public far too soon. Being new at this, in my naivety I assumed it would be a breeze. Boy was I wrong. On a positive note, the play testers agreed there was some interesting bits worth investigating. Fast forward to 2016. For design work, I accomplished very little. I had made some changes to my design early in the year and tested it, but I moved onto other things. Our local groups played quite a few non-18xx games. We did manage to play 1817 several times, including several games of it at Fallcon. In one particularly interesting game of '17, I was experimenting with how many loans and companies could be started in an attempt to dig my way out of a hole. Companies were sprawled across two tables. We were briefly captured by a cameraman, and aired on a nationally televised news broadcast. It may be the only nationally televised game of 1817 in existence! Surrounded by smiles and laughter, it was one of the most enjoyable games I have ever gone bankrupt in. I have a video clip of it saved somewhere...

Guests wandered the convention, some asking what we were playing. One comment was “It appears to be a cross between Poker and Monopoly”. In early 2017, I returned to designing. I dived back into that first box. I took a pair of scissors to the socks and turned them into hand warmers, bean bags, chia pets, dog chew toys.... and something unusual was born. More on that later. That reminds me... something else was born in 2017, Hattanooga! It's hard to believe its only the 4th year. I have met so many wonderful people there, I can't wait for May long weekend. Stay tuned for more..."

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