Recently I've played 18Ireland for the fifth time.
All four first minors were located near each other in the center. I immediately thought that it was cool because it would enable mergers. Then I started one of those companies and instantly put a tile so it denied access to my city to other companies. I told myself that it would hurt them more than myself–how mistaken I was. Long story short, I was unable to merge and eventually went bankrupt. Yet the main lesson of 18Ireland after my very first play was to always start companies that can easily connect to others...
Game was won by a player who decided to not buy any private. We were 5 players, so initial capital was of £200—just enough to open two minors. When everyone had started their own, he was indeed able to get two of them (not greatly placed, but not far from each other) for a minimum price. Later on, he got third one, located between two others, and merged them all into one company. This wasn't a game-winning move, that came later on when everybody was too passive and let him comfortably open another major company.
By then I and another player were already dying, but it took a few more turns until we wen bankrupt.
And here's a problem: groups I play with very rarely want to call the game when it is clearly determined. If it is just a question of several ORs, I don't mind it, but here we still had over 2 hours of (unexciting) playing before us. That's why I like that the rules of 1828 state explicitly that the game is over once the winner is known.
On the other hand, those bankruptcies were somehow amusing and made the game more remarkable than if we had called it early...
By the way, I have an impression that the last 2-train is poisonous (like the last 4-train in 1830). Finally I purchased it because I wasn't winning, but it only worsened my situation.
I'm still not sure what to think about the game. I thought that it didn't offer anything once all mergers were done, but two last plays had some interesting stuff going on after that, so I need few more plays to settle on this one.
Game length: 6h 20
(posted on www.railsonboards.com as well)
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