Aggressive 1841 Strategy

by Gregor Zeitlinger

From my observation and conversations with Robert Jasiek, the central question in modern (aggresive) 1841 is:


Controlling many companies with money printing machines (the ability to sell stocks) means controlling the train rush (having trains and killing trains of opponents) and controlling the tokens for the end game (where they are decisive).  Hence, modern 1841 is all about ruthless company control.

So, how do you control companies?


You can use an opening like the one described below and then use your 340-value company to aquire more companies. (Sell off shares in the 340 company, for example, to raise more money).

Maybe an opening strategy that I have employed successfully can help you understand how the merging can be used to your advantage:

1) open Genovese at 100, 2 Tokens, buy 5 shares (400 cash left)
2) buy 2 2-trains or 1 3-train (200 cash left)
3) after your 1st income (first opportunity to sell shares), sell 5 shares to the pool (700 cash left)
4) open a 340 company in the conservative zone
5) merge with that company
6) be happy about the cash that this company will be earning each turn, since for any unsold shares (not in the bank pool) the earnings will go to the company, a major source of income for 340 companies. (Opponents cannot buy out all the shares and if they do, you can start new companies with that capital).

This strategy should still work in version 2 of 1841.

The reasons why those numbers (share prices and quantity) were chosen:
1) The share price of Genovese is a low as possible for this strategy to work. If the share price were higher, merging the Genovese with it's daughter would not be (as) profitable.

2) The share price of the new company must be 340 in order to prevent opponents from seizing control of it (either directly or by one of it's companies). An opponent would need 912 to get your company (3*304). If you open at 216 and buy 3 shares, that's still not enough. 800 (= 4 * 200) is easily affordable by the opponent who hasn't bought (expensive) concessions.

I might add that you should not try the opening with the Novarese, as it is usually gets locked in during the time you want to merge. (It's usually better for the Genovese not to cooperate: too little gain for track building).

Here's another option.  In the following:
G = Genovese
A = company opened by G at 340
B = company opened by A at 340
C = company you open at 68
D = merger of G and A
E = merger of B and C
Actually, if you are using this opening, there are two plausible choices:
1) Don't open another company until the endgame. (I forgot to add that you should buy 3-5 tokens at 25 with A). In this scenario, you finance all trains by initial cash and funds received from shares still in the IPO (initial public offering).
2) Gain capital with the selling of A's IPO shares. Use this money to open another company (B). Buy 3, or better, 4 shares. This will protect the company in the short and medium run (from being seized).  If you have enough money open C and merge to E.
Note that merging A and B is doomed to fail. Never merge two 340 companies if you personally own stock in either of them!  (It may, however, sometimes make sense to merge two 340 companies that are only controlled by your companies in order to reduce the need for trains, for example.)

One might gradually buy shares in another player's company and perhaps take it over. If it is possible, it's great. But doing it speculativly is doomed to fail.
You can watch out for opponents who found companies that are easy to steal!

This usually happens when
- they set the share price too low
- they have dropped the share price by selling shares (but have left the money in the company)
- they have lost track of what they are doing when founding the 6th company (which usually happens to Robert Jasiek)

That way, you can sometimes seize a whole conglomerate of companies (a company that controls another that controls another, etc.)

You can yourself found companies that you cannot defend!  This makes founding them much quicker and you are able to sell shares (print money) much quicker.

The big question is: Isn't that suicide (or at least very risky)?
In most situations, the answer is yes.
In some cases, however, it is correct to use this strategy.

a) Desperation
You are lagging behind and have no other way of winning. You hope that your opponents won't recognize the bluff (that's how Robert plays Go ;-). Some players believe this strategy is unethical because it changes the balance of power of the leading players (usually because somebody takes away your companies - because he happens to sit after you).

b) Relative advantage
There are already attractive companies, virtually screaming for a new investor - but unfortunately, you are unable or unwilling to take them yourself.  In that case you might open a company that the potential investor (usually it is just one - the one that hasn't bought (expensive) concessions) would take if there weren't better alternatives on the market already. You better know that the investor is indeed acting rationally.

c) Poison pill
You might be able to make your company unattractive for others by shifting the trains/money to other companies. This requires extremely careful planning, because you do not want to shift trains around all the time.

Note: If more than one player is out for company control it can easily happen that all available companies are opened. It is also a useful strategy to prevent your opponents from merging (ironically you need a new company to merge).

PS: Company control can be exaggerated, of course. But until you do so, try to exercise it until you grow fond of it.   :)

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This page last updated on 13 January 2007.   If you have a game interest or question, you can leave a message by writing to "gamecorner".  I use