Monday, October 22, 2007

High finance in the Scottish lowlands

My turn to choose again, and I chose an 18xx game, my third playing of any game in the series. The first was last Christmas (1850?), and the second was a week or two back (18AL), and I wanted to try some more while it was still fresh in my mind. Eric has played quite a bit of 18xx, so I was hoping to give him a reasonable game, and not totally embarrass myself.

This one featured a totally different stock chart to the previous two efforts, and it took me a little while to get comfortable with it. (Here, a stock doesn't go down when sold.) I started fairly decently, but lost ground in the middle game when I spent so much time trying to figure out how and where to get the cash for buying the next train that I hadn't even spotted that Eric had bought it in his turn! I then spent too much time shuffling trains back and fore, wasting a fair bit of operating income for not much end result. I also spent time and operating income trying to block Eric's lines from running with the stations, in the mistaken belief that if the income was less than half the share price it went down a step. (Silly sausage, they only go down if they don't pay out - knowing the rules helps!) Learning the significance of the difference between a certificate for a single share and a certificate for multiple shares was also vitally important.

That last point was the crucial one, as I think that's where Eric made the difference. I was about the same in cash, but he was well ahead in the stock, and was a total of 10% ahead of me. Not too bad I guess, but I certainly played poorly.

18xx continues, for me, to be a game that I have mixed feelings about. An interesting game, for sure, but I'd have to play it consistently (at least once a month, probably more) in order to play semi-decently. So that puts it right in a difficult position (one also occupied by ASL) where I'd have to devote a large portion of my gaming time to do it justice. (Or at least justice where I'm happy that my involvement challenged the other players, and I wasn't just there making up numbers.) Given the large number of games available to be played, does it deserve the focus? Overall, I think the answer is 'Yes', I would like, and be prepared, to devote more time to it to get better at it, as well as investigate many of the different flavors available.

Let's hope that our October 18xx session is only the first of many such regular events.

Eric's choice next time. He's mentioned some wargame that I've never heard of before, so I hope I get a peek at the rules before we play!

No comments: