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from 3 customer reviews
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This extension of the 18xx game takes players to the trans-Mississippi Valley of midwestern America. 1870 combines the successful 18xx system with a new geographic venue and new custom rules while still allowing players to build railroad and enter into share speculation. The ability to engage in the infamous abuses of corporate power only add to the fun.
I have played this game four times in the last two weeks and am already hooked up in its exceptional game play. Based on its ground rules opportunities for innovative and creative strategies seems endless. The game seems to unfold in new phases as you play, and the game set up is always in balance. It also seems to work as a one to one game. The complexity in the game makes your brain spin as in a chess game, and you face not only one opponent but many. Stock rounds are often a game in itself and are the most crucial part of the game. If you dont watch you back you will certainly regret it. The winner is almost always the player with the majority of the shares in the most successful company.
It is easy to get confused about how to win this game. You can get caught up in the placement of track between cities, placing station markers to guarantee routes and close them off to other players or upgrading your fleet of engines. However, the real trick to this game is acquiring the most stock certificates.
Although the game is quite deterministic, the random element is thrown in by players' actions. If you play this game for the first time, anyone who has played it before will beat you quite badly and it will be a painful 12 hours until the game is completed. However, it is a great game if you want to understand how markets work and industries like computer networking and power distribution.
I bought this game with the excitement that comes from reading about the 18xx game series. This series of games has a devoted fan base. These same fans must adore the older Avalon hill games which are high on memorizing the rulebook and low on developing innovative strategies within a simple rule system.
The upshot is: the game feels like a one way ride down a track which has spikes on the side to further lessen your enjoyment.
The trains come out in a fixed order. Thus, you can miss the train you need. This has nothing to do with reality, it is merely an annoying rule that rule mongers will salivate over.
The stock rules are overly complex for what the game gives you in dividends of play value.
Also, with a number of players, one or two people may pretty much get left out of the game. Your initial setup leaves one with little opportunity, and a small opportunity missed in the start of the game is the end of it for you throughout the whole game. This sort of play speaks of a poorly calibrated rule system.
My overall experience was: I feel like I am being forced to play this game which was made to maximize rule obeyance and minimize player creativity. If you like sticking to arbitrary rules that have little bearing on reality you will like this game. If you enjoy having fun playing withing a game mechanic, you will feel like you are being oppressed.
I can recommend any other train simulation game over this one.