Compiled by Lou Jerkich from the Mayfair Games Rule Book and various other sources.

Note: This site is currently under construction. Changes should be expected.

No 18xx game appears to be free of rules ambiguities that need clarification. Moreover, no two 18xx games are alike, so there are always some differences between games that are worth noting. Section I in this compilation will deal with rules that are worth pointing out because they are easily overlooked, differ from other 18xx games (especially 1830) and otherwise are worthy of comment. Section II will eventually attempt to provide clarification of those rules that are ambiguous in some way or have frequently been misinterpreted. [Note that the many clarifications are already listed in the 1856 Rules Clarifications and Amendments, Version 1.1, by Steve Thomas.] Although not intended to be an article on 1856 strategy, occasionally strategic concepts will appear herein as part of the elucidation of a rule's significance. Quotes from the rule book are in bold reddish brown color.  When players need to agree before the game on which rule interpretation they will use, those portions of the text are marked in color (e.g, as in section 9 of the Private Companies [M5-3]).

Note on Citations:
The format for citing from the Mayfair Games Rule Book is M + page number + paragraph number. A "paragraph" may be of one or more sentences in length and any "bulleted" items, charts, or other lists count separately as their own paragraph. Section headings do not count as a paragraph. If the first word at the top of the page (exclusive of a section heading) begins a sentence, count it as paragraph #1. If it doesn't begin a sentence, then consider it the end of the paragraph from the preceding page. For example, M18-8 is Mayfair 1856 Rule Book, page 18, paragraph 8, which begins "Each company must pay $10 interest to the bank for each outstanding government loan it holds."

Since many of the clarifications derive from e-mails in the 18xx e-group, references to these will be in the format: 18xxE + date + name of sender.

Section I - Noteworthy Rules
In this section, the headings are those used in the Mayfair Games 1856 Rule Book. This Section may be of use as a review of key game rules, especially when introducing the game to a new 1856 player or after a long hiatus in playing it.

1. "The object of the game is to have the most wealth at the end of the game." (M1-4) Some players may forget this and overly focus on building a wonderful railroad system without regard to all the factors that impinge on their final assets.

2. The introduction to the 1856 game makes it quite clear that a company president may make decisions that will "not always be in the best interests of the company, but they are almost always in the best interests of the president." Furthermore, it is noted that while a presidency may change because someone else manages to acquire more shares of the company, "More often, the current president manages to plunder a company and then dump it on another shareholder." (M1-5) Quite clearly, players are expected by the designer to engage in some stock manipulation and plundering of their own companies.

3. "A game played by players familiar with the rules should require about four hours." (M1-8) While very experienced players or those using a computer moderator may be able to regularly play this fast, I suspect that this is not true in all groups. The next section of the rules attempts to deal with this issue.

1. "Considerate players speed the play of the game and make the experience more fun for everyone. In a game of this length, players should plan their stock purchases and company moves in advance of their turns, including, when possible, tile lays or upgrades and the routes their tains will run." (M2-1) A frequent lament in the 18xx E-group messages is that some players do all their decision-making only when it is their turn and not in between, resulting in games that are very long.

2. "All players are allowed to know how much money others have and what certificates they own....The company treasury is stacked on the charter in clear sight, but the amount in the treasury need not be made public. Players wanting clarification of any of this information, time their requests so as not to interrrupt another player's turn." (M2-2) Thus, a player's money is open to public knowledge. A company's funds do not have to be made public, but they can be divulged if the president wishes.

The Stock Market Board "also contains the open market, which is where shares sold by players and trains discarded by companies are placed..." (M2-3) The Open market in 1856 is equivalent to the "Bank Pool" in other 18xx games, such as 1830.

Of the $12,000 included in the bank, the $500 bills represent $7,000 of this (M3-4). Those who might consider shortening the game by removing the $500 bills should be aware of what a significant impact this will make not only on game length but also on player strategies. [Note: 1830 also has a bank total of $12,000, with all of the $500 bills representing $7500 of that total.]

1. Easily overlooked in this section is the definition of what a city is. Cities are "defined as large cities, small cities, and red off-board locations" that "a train may run to or through."(M3-5) In the Glossary (M27-8) is another definition: "A city is any revenue producing place on the board that is a large city, a small city, or a red off-board location. A large city is represented on the map by a large white circle...." The Glossary also defines a Red Off-Board Location (M28-14) as "One of several red hexes that represent cities not located on the map. The value of the location is printed in the hex and changes..." It is especially important to remember that red off-board locations should be considered cities when any rule refering to cities is examined or questioned.

2. Diesels "become available after the purchase of the first (not last) type 6 train." (M3-6) Since the alternate type 8 trains may be used in place of the diesels, it is important to remember that this rule would also apply to the type 8 trains.

3. Diesels (or type 8 trains) can be purchased at lower cost "with the trade-in of a type 4, type 5, or type 6 train." (M3-7) Most players will easily remember the trade-in for the type 4 train, but it can also be a useful strategy to upgrade to a diesel from a type 5 or 6 train in one company, thereby making a permanent train also available in the open market for one's second company that perhaps cannot afford a Diesel but can more easily buy the smaller train. This might be especially helpful if the player wanted to switch a type 5 or type 6 train between companies but the "wrong" one (the one owning the train) was moving first in the Operating Round.

4. Diesels "have no limit. Type 2 trains can be used to represent additional Diesels, if more than the six Diesel trains provided are needed." (M3-8) Note that the same would apply to type 8 trains if used in place of Diesels.

Once the starting order tokens have been taken by the players, the one who volunteers to be the banker is supposed to sit next to the bank tray. Since the bank tray is generally easy to move about, the banker effectively is the first to select a seat. Then "the other players arrange themselves clockwise in ascending starting number order around the banker." (M3-9) While this is a relatively trivial rule, it is nice that the rules reward the volunteer banker with the first choice of seat (nearest the refreshments, too, perhaps?).

1. "When a private company is owned by a player, public companies may not lay track in that private company's hex, even if the owning player is willing to allow track to be laid. Once a private company is owned by a public company, any public company may lay track in that private company's hex according to normal track laying rules." (M4-2) Although not likely to be overlooked very often, it is possible that an eager player may forget this rule, especially at Kitchener's OO tile location. In 1856, the three companies affected by this rule are the Flos Tramway, the Waterloo and Saugeen Railway Co., and the Canada Company.

2. Once the first type 3 train has been purchased, a private company can be bought by a public company at a price "limited to one-half to double the cost printed on the certificate, regardless of the price paid by the owner. A player may purchase a private company from another player in the place of their stock certificate purchase during a stock round for any mutually agreed upon price." (M4-3) In my experience, players rarely sell private companies between themselves, and when they do the seller is not likely to make a large profit. However, the limitation of twice the face value of the certificate when sold to a public company serves as a brake on excessively high bids for these companies in the Initial Stock Round.  Note that the private company cards are regularly referred to as certificates in various places in the rules, so when the sale of certificates is forbidden in the initial stock round (M8-10), this includes the private companies.

3. "All private companies are closed when the first type 5 train is purchased." (M4-3) Note, however, that two companies may close at an earlier point. The Waterloo & Saugeen Railway Co. closes when the public company that owns it either places a green tile #59 (OO) in the Kitchener hex or places a free token in one of the two cities on that hex (M4-5). Likewise, whenever its $20 token is placed, the Great Lakes Shipping Company also is closed. In addition, if the stock market token of a public company should fall into the Closed Section of the Stock Market before type 5 trains appear, then when that company is closed out and removed from the game, it "appears" that its private company must also close out. (M7-1).

4. "Each private company held by a player counts as one certificate towards a player's certificate limit." (M4-3) Although this is fairy standard for 18xx games, a new player may easily overlook this, so it is worth mentioning.

5. Flos Tramway: Although this private company has no special attributes (M4-4), the CPR may have less desirability as a starting company if one does not already control the Flos Tramway.

6. Waterloo & Saugeen Railway Co.: The public company that owns this private company can either place a token in a city in the Kitchener hex, place a green tile #59 (OO) on that hex, or do both of these actions, regardless of whether it has a legal train route connecting to this hex. "Both actions are in place of the public company's normal tile and/or station marker placement." (M4-5) Since this private company closes if either action is performed, if a player wishes to do both actions, he must do them in the same turn. This private company has attributes similar to, but not identical to, that of the D&H in the 1830 game.  The president of the public company owning this private company sometimes places the #59 tile in the Kitchener hex chiefly to foil competitors since only one tile #59 will then remain for use at either Welland or Hamilton.  

7. The Canada Company: The public company owning this private company may lay a track tile in the hex northwest of Kitchener "in addition to the public company's normal track lay. The company need not be able to trace a legal train route to place the tile. This action does not close the private company." (M5-1) This sounds like a better deal than the Waterloo & Saugeen Railway Co. provides, but in practice this free tile lay is of limited use. Although identical in atributes to the Champlain & St. Lawrence private company of the 1830 game, the out-of-the-way location of The Canada Company makes it usually useless for its owner unless it becomes part of a route that will later be used by diesels or 8-trains. However, if the WGB owns this private company, then it can reach its destination at Goderich in three Operating Rounds, which is as fast as any company can build a route to its destination in 1856 without help.

8. Great Lakes Shipping Company: A company owning this private may place the port token on any port city marked with an anchor symbol. (Remember that this includes red off-board locations marked with an anchor.) "The port token raises the value of that city by $20 for only the owning company. Once placed the port token may not be moved. This port token. if placed, is removed when the first type 6 train is purchased. Placement of this token closes the Great Lakes Shipping Company." (M5-2) Note that although this private company is closed when the port token is placed, the token itself continues to provide revenues and remains on the map until the first type 6 train is purchased. Since this port token is quite useful to so many different companies, this private company is regarded as the most important of the 1856 private companies, and it may well see more bids placed on it than any of the others.

9. Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company: "The public company that owns this private company may add the $10 bonus when running to Buffalo. Other public companies may purchase the right to use this bonus by paying $50 to the owning company. This right may not be purchased if this private company is owned by a player. The right may be purchased from the bank for $50 after the private company closes. Companies that have gained this right never lose it. The Canadian Government Railways gains this rght if any of its forming companies had this right." (M5-3)

Note that if the original public company that purchases this private company is closed out on the stock market, then the private is closed as well. Thus, other players would still be able to purchase this bonus, but only by paying the bank. Although this bonus seems tailor-made for the Welland Railway, most experienced players consider the WR a poor starting company since its early profits dissipate after the type 4 trains appear. It also may have difficulty obtaining the city tiles it most needs, and reaching its destination is both expensive and sometimes blocked by the actions of other players. The BBG is the only company with a destination (Welland) in this corner of the map, and it likewise is generally considered a poor starting company. Later in the game the THB may be able to use a route to Buffalo, and diesel trains (or perhaps 8-trains) may provide other companies with some interest in the area. Nevertheless, unless the owner of this private is operating the Welland Railway early in the game, little use may be made of the $10 bonus attached to this company. However, the owner of this private company may loot a public company of $200 by selling the Niagara Company to it. That may be its best use.

In a 6-player game, it is very difficult for the owner of this private company to start his own company right away, since its purchase price of $100 would leave him only $150, not enough to buy three initial shares of any public company. Buying only two shares runs the risk of not having enough initial shares to operate if the type 3 trains appear before one's own turn in the Operating Round. Even when starting any company with a par of $100, that public company may be foiled by other companies who start sooner at that same par value, and buy up all the type 2 trains.  In a six-player game, therefore, one or two players might find themselves concerned that they won't be able to operate a company of their own and may buy shares of another company.  Whichever company or companies receive this extra cash from shares sold in this manner, may naturally be expected to have an advantage during the rest of the game due to having more initial capital.  It may be in the interest of all players to avoid having their initial company buy more than one type 2 train, thereby giving all players a chance to start operating a company.  Otherwise, those who buys two 2-trains may see those who can't start their own company invest in their competitors lines, which helps those competitors.

There are three bridge tokens for the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company provided in this game. According to the game's original designer, Bill Dixon, the limit was intended to be three. Apparently Jay Tummelson, who wrote the rules for Mayfair Games, has said that no limit should be imposed. Players need to decide prior to the game which way they prefer to play. [The same applies to the St. Clair Frontier Tunnel Company.] My preference is for a limit of three. (I have never seen more than three needed in any 1856 game that I have played.)

10. St. Clair Frontier Tunnel Company: "The public company that owns this private company may add the $10 Port Huron bonus when running to Sarnia." Otherwise, the rules for this private are identical to that of the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company (M5-4). Note that if the original public company that purchases this private company is closed out on the stock market, then the private is closed as well. Thus, other players would still be able to purchase this bonus, but only by paying the bank.

The most likely companies to have an interest in the St. Clair Frontier Tunnel (due to their proximity) are the LPS, the GW, and the CA. All of these are considered favorable starting companies, especially the LPS which is adjacent to the Port Sarnia hex. Other companies that end up with diesels or 8-trains may also eventually have an interest in the tunnel. In addition, selling this private company to a public company can net its owner up to $200, so it is excellent for looting a public company. Nevertheless, for the very same reasons as given for the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company, it can be difficult for the owner of the St. Clair Frontier Tunnel Company to start a public company in a 6-player game.  The same circumstances that affect the owner of the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company in a 6-player game [see above] are applicable to the owner of the St. Clair Frontier Tunnel Company.

There are three tunnel tokens for the St. Clair Frontier Tunnel Company provided in this game. According to the game's original designer, Bill Dixon, the limit was intended to be three. Apparently Jay Tummelson, who wrote the rules for Mayfair Games, has said that no limit should be imposed. Players need to decide prior to the game which way they prefer to play. [The same applies to the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company.] My preference is for a limit of three. (I have never seen more than three needed in any 1856 game that I have played.)

"Public companies may not own shares in any public company, even their own." (M6-2) This is normal, but some games such as 1870 and 1831 permit some limited ownership of shares by public companies.

1. "For the public companies, a single certificate can represent 5%, 10%, or 20% ownership. The president's certificate, whether 10% or 20%, is considered a double share, but counts as a single certificate." (M6-3) A 20% certificate always represents a president's certificate in 1856. Only the CGR has 5% certificates, and when these are in use the CGR president's certificate is a 10% one.

2. "Each player is limited to a specific number of certificates, including private company certificates. Prior to the purchase of the first type 6 train, the limit is based solely on the number of players. After the purchase of the first type 6 train, the limit is based on the number of players AND the number of companies started AND available to be started." (M6-5) The emphasized "AND" that appears twice is my doing. Some players have been known to miss this important point (including my group). Page 6 of the Rule Book has both of the Certificate Limits Charts.

As an example, the certificate limit in a 6 player game begins at 11 certificates. If the CGR never forms, that limit will normally rise to 15 certificates after the first type 6 train appears, since 15 is the limit when 11 companies are either in play or available to be started. A company that has never had its president's certificate purchased is considered available to be started. Since the CGR can only form by replacing at least one other corporation, there can never be more than 11 companies in play or available to be started. However, if the CGR happens to form from three other companies, counting the CGR there will then be 9 companies in play or available to be in play. (Three companies would have been permanently eliminated by the formation of the CGR, and thus are no longer available.) If on the other hand, in a 6-player game the CGR forms from 6 companies, then only 6 companies would remain as started or available to be started. The certificate limit would therefore be reduced to 8. In essence, the inital certificate limit at the beginning of the game is equivalent to the limit for having 8 companies started or available to be started in the end game. The initial limit tends to rise in the end game unless the formation of the CGR occurs from 4 or more companies. Note that when a company is closed by entering the closed section of the Stock Market, this will also reduce the number of companies in play.

3. "If more than ten CGR shares are issued, each CGR share counts as only half a certiifcate. Players may hold up to twelve CGR shares and the open market may hold up to ten shares." (M25-1) This rule is based on 5% certificates being in play. Thus twelve 5% shares would equal the normal 60% share limit on ownership of a company. The CGR president's certificate (as are all president's certificates) is labeled as being worth two shares. Therefore, it always counts as one certificate. Consequently, owning 60% of the CGR when 5% certificates are in play means that the player will have one full certificate and ten half certificates, which is the equivalent of 6 certificates.

4. When certificate limits or a player's circumstances change, or when a stock market token moves out of the yellow or brown section of the Stock Market, the player may find himself holding an excess of shares or certificates. "When this occurs, the player must sell sufficient shares/certificates at the first opportunity in the next stock round to conform to the limit." (M6-6) Only under very special circumstances (see Forced Stock Sales on Rule Book page 20) does a player sell stock immediately in an Operation Round.

1. Closed Section: "Any time a company's share value token enters the closed section of the stock market, the company is closed." All tokens and shares are removed and that company cannot be restarted. The bank gets all the remaining cash of that corporation, and the open market gets its trains. Since the CGR cannot close, "If movement of the CGR share value token would move it into this area, that token stops one square short of the closed section." (M7-1) The closed section of the Stock market is a feature not found in all 18xx games. Players who deliberately enter the yellow or brown sections of the Stock Market must take some care to avoid a loss of stock value that would completely close the company.

2. Brown Section: "Certificates of companies whose share value tokens are in this area do not count toward a player's certificate limit. Also, companies whose tokens are in this area may be held in excess of the normal 60% share limits." (M7-2) A player who intends to convert a company into the CGR benefits from being in this area in two ways. While accumulating other stock certificates to replace what he will likely lose in the CGR conversion, the player can also increase his ownership in the company to be converted, thereby increasing his chances of becoming CGR president if he has competition for that role.

3. Yellow Section: "Certificates of companies whose share value tokens are in this area do not count toward a player's certificate limit." (M7-3) This is quite similar to the brown section, except that the 60% limit on ownership of a public company remains in effect.

1. "When bidding on a private company, the first bid must exceed the cost by at least $5; subsequent bids must exceed the current highest bid for that private company by at least $5. Bidding players must set aside the bid amounts. These monies cannot be used to purchase or bid on another company until that company is sold." (M8-7) These rules ensure players don't exceed their financial means during the bidding process.

2. "Players should announce the completion of their turn in a stock round and pass the priority card to the player on their left. Note that a priority card is not passed when a company with bid(s) on it is purchased." (M8-9) At the end of the stock round, the priority card should be with the person immediately to the left of the player who last bought and/or sold shares, since "the stock round ends when all players pass in turn." (M11-10) Auctions for items that have been bid upon occur outside the normal sequence of stock round play. Passing the priority card to the left when a player's regular turn is over especially helps in keeping track of who's proper turn it is during the initial stock round.

3. If the St. Clair Tunnel Company is not sold before all players pass, after the players have received revenue from any private companies owned, "another initial stock round begins with the player with the priority card. Bids offered for private companies are still valid....After the last private company is sold, the public companies are available for sale....Players may not sell certificates in the Initial Stock Round." (M8-10) Other rules (M4-3, M9-6, M10-4) prevent players from selling the private companies to a public company until the first type 3 train has been purchased. However, players are not forbidden to sell private companies to another player during Phase One of the game, when only the type 2 trains are operational. But neither private nor public company certificates may be sold off during the Initial Stock Round(s). The initial stock round is presumed to end after all players have passed consecutively subsequent to the purchase of the St. Clair Frontier Tunnel Company plus any additional public shares the players can afford to buy in that initial stock round..

"Phase five starts with the purchase of the first type 6 train and continues until the purchase of the first Diesel train." (M10-23) This phase inaugurates the most activities unique to the 1856 game or at least noticeably different from the precding phases. These include repayment of all government loans, the possible formation of the CGR, gray track tiles become available, small cities may be upgraded or downgraded, Diesel trains are immediately available for purchase, the port token is removed from the map, and the second certificate limit table begins to be used. (M10-24,25,26,27,29,30,34) The repayment of loans and the possible formation of the CGR must be resolved before returning to the normal activities of the Operating Round.  If using the alternate 8-trains (M26-3), then 8-trains should be immediately available for purchase at this point, given that they are used in place of the Diesels.

1. "During each player's turn in a stock round, the player may buy one certificate and may sell any number of certificates. A player may buy, then sell, or sell, then buy, but may not sell, then buy, then sell again. A player may also choose to pass, neither buying or selling. Once a player has completed these actions, the priority card is passed to the player's left." (M11-9) Playing first has a distinct advantage: one gets to buy the best of what is available and perhaps unload shares of a looted company upon another player. Being the first to dump shares in an underperforming company that everyone wants to bail out of provides a player with the maximum return on the sale of those shares. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it is usually not very easy to arrrange a guaranteed starting position in the Stock Round sequence.

2. "Each player usually gets several turns within each stock round." (M11-10) There is an important distinction made here, also repeated in the glossary (M-28). A stock turn is a player turn within a stock round, and players may have several stock turns. A later rule (M12-4) says that "A certificate cannot be sold during the stock turn it was purchased." Keeping to the distinction, this means that it could be sold in a later turn within the same stock round.

1856 includes a few steps in the Operating Round that are unique due to the special feature of government loans. After the usual steps of laying or upgrading track, placing a new station marker, and operating trains for revenue, players must pay interest on any government loans they have taken out (M11-15). Then, after paying or withholding dividends, adjusting the share value token, and purchasing trains, a player may redeem his government loans (M11-19). In addition, "A company may secure one additional government loan during any part of its turn in an operating round prior to Redeem government loans." (M11-20). Loans are worth $100 (M15-3), but interest of $10 is paid each turn they are in the company's hands (M18-8), including the turn they are recieved. "If a loan is secured after the Pay Interest on Outstanding Government Loans segment of the operating round, the company receives $90." (M15-3)

1. "After the player receives money for the shares, that company's share value token is moved down one row for each full 10% sold. If a player sells a 5% share, the share value token does not move; if a player sells two or three 5% shares (10% or 15% in total), the share value token moves down 1 row." (M12-2) The 5% shares are only relevant if the CGR forms from many companies; otherwise they won't be in play.

2. "A certificate cannot be sold during the stock turn it was purchased. However, other certificates from the same company can be sold in the same stock turn." (M12-3) As noted previously with a rule from M11-10, this only means that a player cannot immediately sell a share he just bought. In the next or a later turn in the same stock round, however, the player could seell this share. This specific distinction between stock rounds and stock turns is vitally important. By buying shares in one another's companies and then selling them in the same stock round, players can get many IPO shares on the Open market and use them to put some portion of the revenues back into the company.

3. "There may never be more than 50% of the shares of any company on the open market. Players may not sell shares if by doing so they would exceed this limit." (M12-4) This can be easy to overlook, so players should get in the habit of checking for this every time they sell stock.

When a player buys the president's certificate of a public company, he immediately selects its par value, places a token on the stock market to represent its starting value, and takes the company charter along with the tokens of that company. (M13-1,2,3,4)

1. "The starting treasury and subsequent capitalization for a company is determined at the time the president's certificate is purchased. This is based on what type train is available for sale from the bank at that time. The subsequent availability of higher numbered trains does not change the capitalization rules for a company." (M13-6) This is a very important difference in the rules from many other 18xx games. Companies floated early in the game may have more difficult capitalization than those starting after the type 5 and type 6 trains appear, as the next rules show.

2. "A public company started before the first type 5 train is available for sale receives the monies paid for the first five shares bought from the initial offering as they are sold. Monies paid for shares sold beyond the first five are held in the bank (in escrow) until the company reaches its destination city." (M13-7) The money in escrow is immediately recieved by the company as soon as any company lays a track tile that connects the company's home station to its destination by a legal route. For this purpose only, ignore competing station markers in determining the legal route.

3. "If a company is started when a type 5 train is available for sale from the bank, the company receives the monies for any and all shares sold from the initial offering as those shares are sold. The destination city no longer affects a company's starting treasury." (M13-8) Note that companies that began earlier than the appearance of the type 5 train must still reach their destination to get their monies for the last 50% of the shares sold from the initial offering.

4. "If a company is started when a type 6 or Diesel train is available for sale from the bank, the company receives 10 times the share par value as soon as six shares have been sold from the initial offering. The company will receive no further monies from subsequent share sales." (M13-9 This rule is what is used for all starting treasuries in 1830. Companies started in an earlier phase of the game must still follow the rules for the starting treasuries applicable at the time those companies were originally floated. Note that this rule would also apply to games in which the type 8 trains replace the Diesels as the highest level of train available to be in play.

1. "In order for a company to operate for the first time, it must have sold from the initial offering a number of shares equal to or greater than the number of the current train type available for purchase from the bank when it becomes the company's turn to operate." (M14-1) This rule has a significant impact on the game. Unlike other 18xx games, such as 1830, in which 6 shares must be purchased in order for a company to be floated and become operational, in 1856 some companies may be floated when only the 20% president's share has been purchased. In games of three or four players, some players may have sufficient cash to start two such companies on their opening turn. However, in a six-player game this cannot happen. Moreover, if you plan to start a company with two shares but someone else buys a type 3 train, no company henceforth can start to operate with only two shares. This creates a "cat and mouse" guessing game tension among the players at game start, and in a 6-player game makes it harder for those who bought the two most expensive private companies to safely start a railroad on their own at their ideal par prices. There is always the danger that.one can be left holding a presidency of a company unable to operate for lack of sufficient shares in play to match the current train type.

2. "Shares required to commence operations may be owned by players or be available on the open market.." (M14-1) This rule just re-emphasizes that it doesn't matter whether one or more players own enough shares in the company to be opened as long as enough shares have been sold from the initial offerings to qualify for operating.

3. "Diesels are regarded as type 6 trains for purposes of this rule." (M14-1) Although the impact of these rules tend to be felt most when type 3 trains or type 4 trains are currently available, this sentence makes it clear that once a company has sold 6 shares from its initial offering, it can operate regardless of the current train type. Since type 8 trains replace diesels, this rule should apply to them as well.

4. "Once a company has operated, it will operate in all subsequent rounds until it closes." (M14-1) This rule is the normal procedure in 18xx games.

A company's president is always the shareholder with the most shares or, if tied, the one who held the given number of shares first. The rules make it clear that two conditions must be met in order to sell sufficient shares to cause the presidency to be transfered. First, at least one other player must own two or more shares in the company. Second, the sale of the shares by the current president must not cause the 50% limit in the open market to be exceeded. (M14-3,4,5,6)

1. "Private companies operate first. The bank pays the owner of each private company the revenue listed on that company's certificate." (M14-7) This is normal 18xx practice, but it is easy to forget and overlook this step. Players are advised to refer regularly to a sequence of play summary to avoid forgetting this.

2. "The CGR operates once immediately after it is formed, regardless of turn order, providing that none of the forming companies had already operated during that operating round. After this initial operating round, the CGR follows its normal turn order." (M15-1; M25-3) Each company may only operate once during an operating round (M15-2) so this rule does not permit the CGR to operate twice. Moreover, if one of the "forming companies" has operated already, then the CGR will not take a turn during the operating round in which it is formed.

1. "Each company may secure only one government loan per operating round. When the loan is secured, $100 is transferred from the bank to the company treasury and a loan stramp is placed on the company charter. If a loan is secured after the Pay Interest on Outstanding Government Loans segment of the operating round, the company receives $90." (M15-3)  This is one of those key rules that separate 1856 from other 18xx games. Players need to carefully consider whether to take as many loans as possible and deliberately fold into the CGR when loans come due, or to be more conservative in the use of loans so as to pay them back and avoid falling into the CGR.

2. "A company may hold one outstanding loan for each share held by a player. A company may not take out a loan if doing so would put it over its loan limit." (M15-4) This rule can be easily overlooked so it should be memorized and each company should be checked for compliance whenever players sell shares and when it is the company's turn to operate.  Furthermore, "If a company has more loan stamps than there are shares in the hands of players, it must redeem the excess.  If the company cannot repay the loans from its treasury, the president must make up the shortfall.  If the president does not have enough money to make up the shortfall, the president must sell personal stock (see Forced Stock Sales)."  (M20-2)  The consequence of these rules is that a  player who is cavalier about taking out loans may find that he cannot sell off stock when he wishes (or if another shareholder beats him to it) because it would hurt his personal financial position (or even perhaps lead the player into bankruptcy).  One must carefully assess each turn whether to take out a loan or not, and if other players hold shares in the company, it can be risky to take out loans based on the number of shares they hold, lest they sell their shares and leave you in the lurch.  Loans are helpful and sometimes necessary, but they are a double-edged sword and can come back to haunt you.  The rules do not specify when exactly the redemption of excess loans must occur, but the rule itself appears under the "Redeem Government Loans" section of the Operating Round.  Therefore it appears that even though the sale of shares by players in the Stock Round may cause the company to have an excess of loans, the redemption of those excess shares must wait until the appropriate point in that company's Operating Round turn.  This gives the president a chance to buy more shares in the Stock Round phase to avoid having to redeem some loans.  Moreover, the company will have a chance to operate and retain revenues to help pay for the loan redemption(s), since loan redemptions are the last activity of a company in its operating round.

1. "At any time during the operating turn of a public company in phase two or three,the company may purchase any private company in the hands of a player.  The price paid must be at least half, but no more than double, the listed cost of the private company....The payment is made directly from the company's treasury to the owning player."  (M15-5)  This is the get-rich-quick scheme for the players.  If the public company pays double for the private company it buys from you, you can receive anywhere from $40 to $200, depending on the company being bought.  This makes the two large private companies especially wonderful for filling your personal pocket with cash.  For a $100 investment in the Niagara Bridge or the St. Clair Frontier Tunnel, one can make $100 profit, plus $20 times the number of turns the private company paid revenues into your hands.  This is great for the player, but may be hard on the company shelling out the cash.  Typically this ploy is referred to as "looting the company."  A player who can loot a public company of its cash this way and then dump the presidency on another player has the potential to have improved his position considerably in respect to the recipient of his looted company.  Such is the case in games such as 1830 and 1870.  It may also be the case in 1856.  However, because of the cash shortages companies typically have in 1856 due to being incrementally capitalized as shares are sold, a looted and dumped company may force its new owner into bankruptcy even more so than in other 18xx games, thereby ending the game immediately.  If the looter isn't poised to win, the loot and dump scheme will have back-fired.  So in 1856, one must be very careful when deciding to loot a company, and sometimes settling for less than double the private company's value may be the better option, lest perhaps the cash removed from the company causes you to soon bankrupt yourself.

2. "Some private companies confer special abilities to the owning public company.  These abilities may be used immediately upon the purchase of the private company."  (M15-5)  Aside from timing the purchase of a private company so that the player will be flush with cash in the upcoming stock round, the company president may have an immediate use for the special ability of the newly purchased company.  The Canada Company gives a track laying bonus, the Waterloo & Saugeen Company provides both a track and a token placement advantage, and the three largest private companies all have the potential to provide additional income for train runs.  A public company may want to purchase a private company as its first activity in an operating round just so it won't fail to be able to take advantage of the benefit conferred.  The president of the public company owning the Waterloo & Saugeen private company will sometimes time the placement of the #59 tile in the Kitchener hex chiefly to foil competitors since only one tile #59 will then remain for use at either Welland or Hamilton.

1. "Each operating company may place one track tile on a map hex during its turn in each operating round."  (M15-7)  Unlike some 18xx games, players can never place more than one tile per company in an operating turn with the sole exception of the public company that exercises the special attribute of the Canada Company (M5-1).

2. "When a tile is replaced, all track segments on the replaced tile must be represented in the same orientations on the replacing tile."  (M15-9)  This appears to be standard in all 18xx games.  Players usually have no trouble abiding by this rule but it should be noted that they need to be especially careful in regard to the green #59 OO Two City tile.  A careful look at the brown OO tiles #64, #65, #66, #67, and #68, to which tile #59 upgrades, shows that the two cities on those tiles never connect with each other.  Thus, players need to make sure that the orientation of the two tracks exiting the hex that contains the #59 tile is maintained such that the tracks leading to those two hex sides never end up connecting to the same single city on the brown OO upgrade tiles.  Aside from confusing the routes that companies may have already built, the joining of those two track segments can lead to a dilemma should there have been two station tokens on the #59 OO tile.  Which company would get the station token in the city joined by the two track segments?  Which company would perhaps now find its station token disconnected from its line?  So care must be taken to keep the two track segments and their cities from ever being joined.  (Note, however, that when Hamilton upgrades to grey tile #123, the separate cities on its brown OO city tile do become one large city capable of holding three station tokens.  But this is a special case, and poses no problems whatsoever.  One only needs to be sure that no track extends northeast into lake Ontario!)

3. "The company placing (or replacing) a tile must be able to trace a legal train route of any length from one of its station markers to and along one of the new track segments, or increase (or decrease, in the case of a small city downgrade) the value of a city it can run to on the new tile.  There are two exceptions to this rule: a company owning the Waterloo and Saugeen Railway Co. or The Canada Company is allowed to place track in certain hexes that are not extensions of the company's existing route(s).  The descriptions of these two private companies provide complete details for these exceptions.  The company need not use the new track segment or the tile when it operates."  (M16-6)  Unlike some 18xx games (such as 1825, in which train size may limit tile promotions in more distant hexes), in 1856 one can be very flexible in placing track as long as it forms part of a legal train route.  In the  Glossary in the 1856 rules (M28), a Route is defined as "The path on the track on the map that a train runs to collect income."   The same Glossary (M27) indicates under the entry Legal Run that "A legal run for a company includes a city with one of its station markers and one or more additional cities."   These two Glossary entries are clearly focused on legal train runs or routes for revenue collecting purposes.  However, the company placing track may not yet have a legal run for such a revenue purpose if it does not yet have track connecting two cities (or the equivalent in Red Off-Board Locations).   For track laying a "legal train route" is commonly understood to require that a train of infinite size would be able to run from one of its station markers to the new track on the tile being placed or upgraded.  The route must not be blocked by the station markers of other companies (see M18-4) and the route must not involve this imaginary train reversing at a junction (see M17-9).  Only the tiles placed when using the attributes of the two specified private companies are exempt from the requirement for such a legal route.  Finally, no company is ever required to operate a train along the new track.

4. "No tile may be placed so that any track ends against printed terrain where tiles may not be placed unless there is existing track (for example, Goderich) or a red off-board location connection point on that terrain.  Examples of such terrain include printed dark green areas, named lakes, and red off-board locations without a connection point."  M16-7  Thus one cannot place a tile such that a track segment would face into hex N5 occupied by the named Lake Simcoe, but one could place a curved track (the #8 tile) that enters hex O4 from the northwest and exits the hex to the south.  On the other hand, a tile may be placed in hex P7 that contains the small unnamed lake provided that no track exits that direction toward the green area to the northeast.  One additional point to note is that these restrictions pertain only to hexes and places located on the game board.  Thus, it is not forbidden to have a track segment end against a blank side of a track tile regardless of whether or not an upgrade will ever be possible to make a connection. between the two tiles.

5. "Difficult terrain, represented on the map by a '$' followed by an amount requires an extra expenditure to lay the first tile there." M16-9  Unlike the real world, most track can be placed without incurring any expense.  [There are a few 18xx games that do require an expenditure for every hex in which track is placed, such as 1846 and Carl Burger's 1831.]  In 1856, the expenditure for difficult terrain is always $40 regardless of whether the terrain is water (hex N3 above Lake Simcoe, and hex P7 containing the unnamed lake [Lake Scugog, if you wish to know]) or rough terrain (a line of black triangles extending from just south of Orangeville in hex K8 through Hamilton and continuing along lake Ontario to end at hex N15 just west of Niagara Falls.  Hex N19 is another such difficult terrain hex despite the lack of water or a small black triangle in the hex.  This hex N19, along with Hamilton, are the two hexes whose cost is most easily missed by players.

6. "In phases five and six, single and double small cities may be upgraded or downgraded.  The single small cities may be repalced with the appropriate yellow large city tiile (upgraded) or the appropriate simple track tile (downgraded).  The double small cities may be replaced with the corresponding green double city tile.  These tiles may be further upgraded if the appropriate tiles are available.  See Tile Manifest for a list of the legal tile upgrades and downgrades."  M16-10  There is an error in the tile manifest.  Tile #3, a sharp curve with a small city, should upgrade to tile #5, a large city, and not to itself.  It downgrades to tile #7, the plain sharp curve without a city.  Note that the double small city tiles can only upgrade to green (not yellow) city tiles; they never downgrade.  Moreover, double city tile #69 (the bow and arrow track pattern) has no upgrade listed in the tile manifest, since no city tile would maintain the track pattern of tile #69.

7. "Brown #125 city tiles may be used to upgrade green #14 and #15 tiles in map positions that will not take a brown #63 city tile.  These hexes are marked on the map with an "L".  Brown #125 tiles may not be placed in any other location on the map."  M17-1  There are only four tiles each of types #63 and #125, so these brown city upgrade tiles will usually be placed quickly as soon as they become available in phase four.  There are seven locations at which tile#125 (which is called a "Lake City" tile in the Tile Manifest) may be placed and eight locations where tile #63 is appropraite.  Those companies prepared to upgrade to these tiles the soonest will reap the benefits. Note that Niagara Falls in hex O16 has two sides adjacent to water so it can never upgraded beyond a green tile #15.

1. "A company may pay to place one additional station marker during each operating round, including its first, to the maximum number of station markers allowed that company."  M17-2  Whether or not a company may place both its free home station marker and another one in the same turn is sometimes a question in 18xx games.  Here it is clearly specified that it is permissible.  However, at the beginning of the game, when no companies have yet built any track network, only the GW at London and the CPR at Barrie have a home base already containing pre-printed track, so these are the only two companies that can build immediately into an adjacent city and place that additional token if they wish.

2. "To place a station marker, the company must be able to trace a legal train route from any of its existing station markers to the city [in which] it wishes to place the new station marker.  The target city must also have space for the station marker."  M17-3  As with the 3rd rule listed above under "Lay Or Upgrade Track" the term "legal train route" in this context is not fully defined in one place in the rules. 
For track laying a "legal train route" is commonly understood to require that a train of infinite size (see rule M16-6) would be able to run from one of its station markers to the city in which it wishes to place its station marker.  The intervening route cannot be blocked by the station markers of other companies (see M18-4) and the route cannot involve this imaginary train reversing at a junction (see M17-9).

3. "...the company that owns the Waterloo and Saugeen  Railway Co. may place a token in the Kitchener hex and need not be able to trace a legal train route to another of its station markers."   M17-4  The rule at M4-5 and M31-2 for this private company reads "The public company that owns this private company may place a free station marker on either city on the Kitchener hex if a space is available.  The company may also place a green #59 tile in the Kitchener hex if it has not already been placed.  Both actions are in the place of the public company's normal tile and/or station marker placement.  The company need not be able to place a legal train route to place the tile or station marker."  Note that since private companies are closed before the brown tiles can be placed, prior to using the W&S private company's special power the Kitchener hex will either have no tile yet or have a green tile placed there at some previous time.  I would argue that the way the rules are written, there is a clear option to place the token without placing the tile.  (If the tile was required to be placed in order to place the station token, I would expect the rule to read quite differently and to not use the word "may" which implies that there is an option.)  Thus, my understanding of the rule is that placing tile #59 in the Kitchener hex is always optional when using the W&S private company's special power.  So, even if both of the #59 tiles have already been placed elsewhere, the owner of the W&S could still place his free station marker in the hex.

Nevertheless, placing the station marker without the tile having been placed beforehand does lead to some uncertainty when tile #59 is later placed.  In which of the two cities on the newly placed tile will the station marker go, especially if the company placing the tile there is a different company and also desires to place a station marker on one of the two cities?  Fortunately, Bill Dixon (on 26 July 2010 in the Yahoo 18xx Group) has commented on the rules for this private company and noted the following:

... I dug into the archives, or at least what I have left of them on this game, since it has been a while (1993) since I designed it.
The Waterloo & Saugeen Railway Co. may place a #59 tile in the Kitchener hex (if it is still available to place) in the place of the public company's normal tile placement.
The Waterloo & Saugeen Railway Co. may place a free token in the Kitchener hex in the place of the public company's normal token placement. I see no indication that there was a requirement that the tile be there for this to occur so I would rule that you can drop the token without there being a tile there.
As to which city the token is on when the token is in an empty hex and then someone else plays the tile; I have always played that if you want a token in a particular city then put it there. As you have just dropped the token into an empty hex the player placing the tile gets to decide where the token goes."
This appears definitive to me, but since the rules themselves do not explicitly cover this situation, players should agree on whether or not to use this solution before play begins.

4. "When a city has all its station marker spaces filled, only companies with station markers in that city may pass through the city when determining a route.  Other companies may only use such cities as a terminus of a route."  M17-5 

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