Strategies for 1841
Compiled by Lou Jerkich from comments
by Robert Jasiek
The text that follows is derived from
the email responses of Robert Jasiek in the 18xx Yahoo! eGroup on
January 1 and 2, 2007, to
questions by Lou Jerkich regarding the play of 1841. Much of the
text is verbatim from Robert Jasiek, but the statements in two
different emails have been re-grouped here into logical relationship
with each other. Some clarifications were added for the sake of
those not familiar with 1841 or 18xx games in general. At times,
the question to which Robert responded has been converted into the
first part of a sentence in which he has provided the answer.
There are two basic winning strategies:
a) tame play (bring your initial company through to the end).
b) aggressive play (print money, i.e. sell initial shares as quickly as
legal, launch daughters ASAP at 340 value, merge with privately bought
68-value shares, and iterate until you lose track of what exactly you
In regard to the starting value of companies floated in a four player
game with players who begin with L.840 in cash, 68 is lethal, 100 is
risky, 340 is inefficient. If the price is wrong, then the leech wins,
unless you scare him by withholding or buying the first 4-train, etc.
It doesn't matter much how many of the four concessions get bought by
the players. However, sometimes it can be a disadvantage to have the
wrong number and not be in a position to control the speed of train
development. The concessions for Ferdi and Genovese are the most
expensive ones. We bid around 95 in 1841 v.1 and a 4+ players game.
(With 3 players, all concessions are worth much more.) If you play full
rules of 1841 v.2, the Ferdi concession should cost considerably more
than 95. 120 is a modest first guess, in my opinion. The Ferdi is
already strong in v.1, where the daughters are minors. In v.2 they are
majors. This makes the Ferdi much stronger, so strong that we have
decided to play v.2 with the rule change that Ferdi spilts into minors.
Usually it doesn't matter whether you start two companies at game start
or focus on just one, if only you deplete any superfluous companies
ruthlessly. A company is superfluous if keeping it does not
generate dividends for you, the player, and if it needs a train that
you would prefer in another company. A superfluous company has
fulfilled its major purpose once you have printed its money and
depleted it. Depletion is one option; merging to generate a
well-funded company is another.
The optimum is to deplete a company of its assets and sell its shares
so an opponent
inherits it, but this requires careless opponents.
Merging away depleted companies is a useful option indeed. E.g., float
two daughters, print money with each of them, deplete both, merge them
(to get a high stock price), then merge that fusion with your (cheap)
privately owned company. You might also omit the last merger and simply
put a cheap permanent train in the daughters' fusion. If opposing
players have shares in it (besides the directly controlling mother),
One thing you should note: It makes a big difference whether the
Livornese is created out of 2 or 3 companies: either you halve your
shares or you get only a quarter.
Needless to say, the purpose of buying trains is to kill them. If
a company does not need to buy a train because it is without a route or
because all 8-trains are sold, write off the share values and simply
leave it depleted.
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