Sunday, 30 September 2012

1830: Railways & Robber Barons

"1830: Railways & Robber Barons" is a railroad operations and share trading board game, which influenced a whole industry of similar 18XX-games. 1830 is the original classic game designed by Francis Tresham and published by Avalon Hill in 1986. Lookout Games and Mayfair Games published a reprint lately, which this review is based upon.


The reprint comes with a double-sided game map, shares, play money, railroad tracks and lots of cards - and all of this in awesome premium quality and with a nice style representing the age of Railroads and Robber Barons... Also the rules have been improved in terms of accessibility, but nevertheless the standard variant with the "old" rules is still available and (in the long run for experienced players) definitely recommended.


At the beginning the players are bidding for the railroad companies. Then it is important to balance the main aspects of the game, the railroad management itself (route building) and the stock management. You have to take care of laying tracks and of establishing rewarding good transports as well as decide for the right trains and the right companies (due to technology reasons certain trains are taken out of the game and "better" ones are introduced). Another vital part of the game (maybe the most important) is the stock management, where you should not only aim for rising the value of your own shares, but also for driving down the value of your opponents stock. ;-) When a player goes bankrupt or the bank runs out of money the game ends and the most wealthy player wins. Money can be earned by either dividends, by selling companies or by rising value of shares.


I was thinking for years about buying the old classic boardgame on Ebay and I am more than pleased now with this reprint. Not only the quality and graphics are outstanding and adopted to nowadays premium standards, also the accessibility has been strongly improved. There is a game variant available to learn the main mechanics, as well as a simplified base version and of course the known and loved standard version. This makes it easy for inexperienced players to get into the game and the mechanics - to finally someday enjoy the complex tactics and fabulous gameplay of this masterpiece, where no element of luck is involved.

From the publisher: It is the dawn of the "Age of Railroading" in America. You're a wealthy investor and speculator betting that the new technology will revolutionize transport. Commerce will no longer depend on rutted roads and slow canals. Instead, it will ride the rails on swift, powerful "Iron Horses." 1830™ is an acclaimed railroad investment and building game covering the years 1830 to present. You and your fellow players become the stockholders of America's first railroad corporations. Since the largest shareholder becomes president, you compete for control of the strongest firms.

As president, generate revenue by building track and buying and operating trains-regardless of shareholders' needs. Meanwhile, you pay heed to the volatile stock market. You strive to invest in flourishing companies in order to earn healthy dividends. You try to buy stock in corporations that are rising in value, collect strong, and sell before the stock values drop.

2-6 players, 180-360min
Designer: Francis Tresham
Published by: Lookout (German), Mayfair (English)
Category: Auction, Stock Management, Route buildung, Strategy

1830 @

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