1826 Private Company Variant

By David G. D. Hecht

The following variant arose from an online discussion of initial auction variations for 18GL and other 18xx games.  David G. D. Hecht, the designer of 1826, notes that this is "just something I ginned up on the spur of the moment, and there's no testing involved. For all I know it unbalances the game horribly!"  He has kindly given permission to post this variant.  David's original comments have been combined here with a more detailed delineation of the changes to the private companies than he gave in his original email in the 18xx Group.

In a message in the Yahoo! 18xx Group on 16 June 2009, Danny Victor asked:

"...If you deduct the value of the Belge and Alsace shares that go with the privates from the cost of those privates [since those can help form the Belge and the Alsace], you really aren't left with much extra cash in the game. What problems might that small bit of extra cash cause?"

David G. D. Hecht replied:

In that game, regarding those privates, that is not an issue. What *is* an issue is balanced development of the board. The Alsace got a private (to go with its presidency) because otherwise the eastern half of the board tended to be very underdeveloped.  In retrospect, it's possible it would have been better to make the Alsace private more like the [1870 game's] Frisco private: you get to start the company immediately, and you never get any private income.  Obviously then it would have been better to assign it a lower price (say f.160), and then maybe move the Paris private down to f.140 (and maybe only give it one share of Paris).  Or move the Alsatian all the way down to f.140 and leave the Paris as is.
 
For the Belge, the situation was more complicated: I needed to find a way to make the Belge startable for a single player. Perforce, I had to inject one or more shares of it into the start packet.  In point of fact, the complaint has rarely been about the Belge per se, merely that it is viewed as overvalued: I could have solved that problem by giving the private company a second payout (i.e. it would close when the Belge paid for the first time rather than when it bought its first train), which would (in effect) have made it f.20 more valuable. Another possibility would have been to swap it with the Algerian (the +1 train limit guy) which always seems to draw much more bidding.

So, if you wanted to try an 1826 variant with rebalanced privates, this is what'd I'd suggest:
 
P1 - Cost f.20, Revenue f.5, allows one river tile to be laid without paying the f.40 cost (UNCHANGED)
P2 - Cost f.40, Revenue f.10, provides a +f.10 bonus token (UNCHANGED)
P3 - Cost f.70, Revenue f.15, comes with a single share of Etat Belge (same as old P4)
P4 - Cost f.110, Revenue f.20, allows a company to increase its Train Limit by +1 (same as old P3)
P5 - Cost f.140, NO Revenue, IS the President's Certificate of the Alsatian, which launches on just the Presidency (similar to Frisco private company from 1870)
P6 - Cost f.160, Revenue f.25, comes with the President's Certificate of the Paris (UNCHANGED except for order in the sequence [now P6 vice P5])

By the way, you still get to set the starting value of the Alsatian wherever you like, so that's an instant f.80 profit if you set it at f.110 (f.220 - f.140)!
 
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This page originally posted on 17 June 2009. 
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