Another edition of my favourite boardgaming event: Belgian 18xx Convention. Winter ones take three days, starting on Friday evening and ending on Sunday afternoon. In terms of number of participants, the event was twice as big as the one last winter. At this rate, the next edition may have to be limited since we are approaching the capacity of the venue. This only makes the work of organisers, Luk and David, even more admirable. An impressive thing is that they made a games schedule for everyone and were actively updating it according to people's wishes.
Big thanks to David who, found us a place to kick off the convention earlier, like the last time (why play only one game on Friday if you can play two—or three—instead? ).
This time I've only played 5 games, but 3 of them are long and I wanted to try them, so the result is still satisfying. I also had an opportunity to chat with folks I know from previous editions and to finally meet in person some guys I've been playing online (on Board18). The event was great, everybody loved it and I'm already waiting for the next one will take place May 29 – June 1.
What I've played
Once again I started with a 4-player game of 1849. I enjoyed it like always. We ended up with only 4 companies in play (3 were killed during the play), since opening the next one available wouldn't be beneficial at that point of game.
Number of players: 4
Game length: 2h 30min
1830 with Lemmi, a computer moderator that takes care of everything except the map, tracks and station (I wrote a guide on how to use it: https://www.railsonboards.com/?s=lemmi).
I think I had an edge, having a ton of money at the crucial point of the game, but I overthought things, starting new company lower than I could have (I wanted to act after the others) and finally that $100 less was hurting me until the end.
Number of players: 5
Game length: 3h 30min
My first play of this 1817 variant. I did extremely poorly, but liked the proposed changes. The map feels more open and the stock market is much bigger (with more active stock value markers), so you can focus more on the market. I had an impression that the game was a little bit less elegant though, probably due to the fiddly setup.
Number of players: 6
Game length: 8h
Since I heard that in this one you have 6 types of 2-trains, I really wanted to give it a try, I always appreciate crazy ideas. The game is a mix of 1817 and 1862 with a random map. Unfortunately, the game isn't exactly suited for my taste since I prefer cash-poor ones and this is the opposite: you can produce a ton of money without any risk. That's right, there are no liabilities (like trains or loans), if you don't feel like owning the company anymore, you just sell all its shares. This results in quite a push forward race.
Even if overall this isn't something I'm looking for in 18xx games, I want to play 18MM again, mainly thanks to the random map, uneven company starting positions (that are bid on) and because I feel that it may actually be a good exercise of how to maximising your score when you don't have to worry about anything.
Number of players: 4
Game length: 4h
1841: Railways in Northern Italy
Finally I had a change to play this famous game where companies can buy shares of other companies (or even start them). Our game was surely full of errors and suboptimal play, but I loved it. 1841 offers a whole new system of financial shenanigans, I mean you can have a suitcase company that has a suitcase company that has a suitcase company I got a company (and its subsidiary) stolen from me by a company (which was a result of my inattention but was hilarious).
We were in the last phase, but couldn't finish in time, so we skipped the last set of ORs.
Number of players: 5
Game length: 6h (called one set of ORs early)
Games that were played during the convention: 1817, 1822, 1822CA, 1822MX, 1830, 1836jr, 1841, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860, 1867, 1868, 1883, 1889, 1893 Cologne, 18Africa, 18Ardennes, 18BL, 18CZ, 18Ireland, 18MM, 18OE, 18Scan, 18USA, 18VA, 2038, Rolling Stock
18DO, 18OL, 1993 (prototypes)
Marflow's table with upcoming 18DO
Three tables of 1883 during simultaneous teaching
Like always, there was a (monster) game of 18OE
(posted on www.railsonboards.com as well)