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1837 developing

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  • Lonny
    Hi everybody! Michael Bünker asked me to write a short history of developing 1837. Here it is: As a young greenhorn I was very fond of 1830 and 1835, so I
    Message 1 of 3 , May 2, 1999
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      Hi everybody!

      Michael B�nker asked me to write a short history of developing 1837. Here it is:

      As a young greenhorn I was very fond of 1830 and 1835, so I decided to develop a bigger 18xx-game.
      The first map I draw shows already the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, but the rules weren't quite different to 1835. That was not satisfying.
      So I tried to develop an independet 18xx variation and thought about things I could change. I invented the hexagonal stock market because it was something new.
      I sat hours and hours in the Austrian National Library studying the history of the Austrian Railways. The names of the Railways in the game are all names of existing railways (in the 19th century). And most of them werde build to transport coal, so I introduced "coal companies". They were needed to develop the map, and I wanted a large number of private companies where a player is director of several of them (which is a lot of fun I think).
      And I decided to introduce two different types of trains which act a little bit contrary. The fright trains trying to go through every small city they can reach and the normal trains trying to avoid the small cities.
      After a lot of game testing I thought it worked. I made 20 copies (that cost me a lot of money) and was very afraid that nobody would ever buy one. Friends bought two of them, with the others I went to the game fair in Essen, Germany. There the 18 remaining copies were sold very quick, and I got orders for a lot more.

      Since then I sold a lot of copies and many people told me they like the game. For myself I never played it anymore (can't tell you why), so today I am not really the best for questions.

      That's it.
      Leonhard Orgler (Lonny)
    • Michael Brünker
      ... Does it always start with a map? I think so. Sure I have many ideas I would like to see in an 18xx variant but I think the most variety in an 18xx game is
      Message 2 of 3 , May 24, 1999
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        Lonny wrote:

        > Michael B�nker asked me to write a short history of developing 1837. Here it is:
        >
        > As a young greenhorn I was very fond of 1830 and 1835, so I decided to develop a bigger 18xx-game.
        > The first map I draw shows already the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, but the rules weren't quite different to 1835. That was not satisfying.

        Does it always start with a map? I think so. Sure I have many ideas I would like to see in an 18xx variant but I think the most variety in an 18xx game is the map. This comes from my passion for 1829. There are at least 6 maps I know and each game is different from another because the map make the it a totally new game (the rules are the same except for some geographical neccessities). Another problem our group has is with 1830bonds because we
        have difficulties to play the game successfully. The rules are so new to us and if you try to play the game as you learned to play a successful 1830 you really get problems with the bonds. A new map would have been better because we would have appraoched to this game without the memories of 1830 and how to play it.

        > So I tried to develop an independet 18xx variation and thought about things I could change. I invented the hexagonal stock market because it was something new.

        It is a new element but was it necessary to enhance the game? The share price index and its new ideas are great but I think the smaller share companies are starting with a too poor share price (especially if you remember that you need 50% to start it) comparing it to the three larger share companies.

        > I sat hours and hours in the Austrian National Library studying the history of the Austrian Railways. The names of the Railways in the game are all names of existing railways (in the 19th century). And most of them were build to transport coal, so I introduced "coal companies". They were needed to develop the map, and I wanted a large number of private companies where a player is director of several of them (which is a lot of fun I think).

        I agree to you that you need a lot of companies to fill a large map with tiles. I don't like the imagination that less companies may lay more than two tiles because the thinking time grows and grows (particularly because you cannot plan your move while other players make their moves - too much changes) (I think Chris Lawson mentioned this first). And I agree to you too that a game only as a shareholder is less fun than a game with some
        corporations I control. But there are two problems: each additional company makes the game last longer and it makes it more difficult to balance those companies (I don't think that it is right to expect that the players will balance the game because a very weak company (as the Cuneo in 1841) would never be played and this leads to a less developed map.). (I referred this last sentence to normal companies, not to small 1835/37 companies which
        have to be sold before the game starts.)

        > And I decided to introduce two different types of trains which act a little bit contrary. The fright trains trying to go through every small city they can reach and the normal trains trying to avoid the small cities...

        This was the most important rule, I think, to balance the coal companies and the private companies and to devolop the map. The idea was not new (except for you, Lonny) but I don't think that it is important to create new elements. The most important thing is to mix ideas you like to make a GOOD (and balanced) new game. We all can create new things but are they worth playing it?

        Michael

        PS: I think 1837 is one of the best variants and I like it very much. Thank you, Lonny.
      • Steve Thomas
        ... To me, a new 18xx game isn t very attractive unless it makes me try a different way of playing. A game which is exactly like 1830 except for a different
        Message 3 of 3 , May 24, 1999
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          Michael Br�nker wrote:

          > Does it always start with a map? I think so. Sure I have
          > many ideas I would like to see in an 18xx variant but I
          > think the most variety in an 18xx game is the map. This
          > comes from my passion for 1829. There are at least 6 maps
          > I know and each game is different from another because
          > the map make the it a totally new game (the rules are the
          > same except for some geographical neccessities). Another
          > problem our group has is with 1830bonds because we
          > have difficulties to play the game successfully. The
          > rules are so new to us and if you try to play the game as
          > you learned to play a successful 1830 you really get
          > problems with the bonds. A new map would have been better
          > because we would have appraoched to this game without the
          > memories of 1830 and how to play it.

          To me, a new 18xx game isn't very attractive unless it makes
          me try a different way of playing. A game which is exactly
          like 1830 except for a different map isn't going to interest
          me very much. When I first heard about 1898 it did not
          arouse my interest since it was advertised as "1841 on a new
          map". Now I've played it, though, I like it more, since the
          revised tile types do add something to the game.

          On the other hand, it's nice to have a different map when the
          rules change since that way it's easier to keep the different
          games separate in the mind.

          > I don't think that it is important to create new elements. The
          > most important thing is to mix ideas you like to make a GOOD
          > (and balanced) new game. We all can create new things but are
          > they worth playing it?

          This is a very important design criterion, in my view. It's all
          very well to come up with some ideas, but to make a good game
          you need a small number of good ideas, well expressed. If you
          try too many ideas you end up with something like 1831. Too
          few and you get 1825.

          > PS: I think 1837 is one of the best variants and I like it very much. Thank you, Lonny.

          <AOL>

          Me, too!

          </AOL>

          Steve
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