1870: Historical Order Start -
            Additional Variant Rules by Lou Jerkich, v. 2.4

The Mayfair Rules to 1870, as well as Bill Dixon's online rules for 1870: The Trans-Mississippi, both contain the same Historical Order Start Variant. While some may complain that the Historical Order Star Variant is not a desirable choice because it limits their freedom in choosing corporations to run, I have found it to be an interesting challenge and still quite enjoyable as a game.  (A Modified Historical Order Start variant is also included as an option in this article.)

The following rules are in addition to the ones that have been published for this variant by Mayfair and by Bill Dixon. They are predicated on the use of the Variant Rules for Small Cities, by Lou Jerkich. Although players may choose to apply some or all of these rules without using the published Historical Order Start rules, this variant was not designed to be played that way. The chief intent of these rules is to incline the track development in the game to be more historical in its general patterns.  Thus, track will normally be built east of the Mississippi and in the north along the Missouri River before it spreads toward the southwest regions of the board.   While these variant rules add some bit of complexity, most of their impact is in the early part of the game, and the changes in this variant tend to follow consistent, logical patterns.  The following changes and additions are made to the rules in order to play this variant. [Within the rules, information in brackets is either explanation or commentary on the rule.]  A longer Commentary with strategic advice follows at the end.

SPECIAL RULES PERTAINING TO THE PRIVATE COMPANIES

Mississippi River Bridge Company - Ohio River Variant
Definition: So that there is no confusion or misunderstanding, bridging or crossing the Mississippi River and the Ohio River means having track that begins on one side of the river cross it such that a route could be continued off the river on the opposite side from which the track began. Track on a tile may appear to cross the river, but the key concept is not allowing that track to continue out of that hex in such a way that it clearly crosses the river to the other side.  Note, however, that aside from two exceptions, the company that first lays track in a river hex still pays the cost of that river hex just as in the original published rules of the game.  [As a rationale for this, it is assumed that the cost of bridging many tributaries when running track parallel to a major river tends to equal the expenses of building a single major bridge across the same river.]

New variant Rule #1: Exceptions to paying to build track in a river hex.  The two exceptions to the requirement for immediate payment for laying track on a river hex are the home base hexes of the Missouri Pacific (MP, or MoPac) at St. Louis and the SLSW (Cotton Belt) at Memphis.  If, on its first opportunity to lay track, the MoPac lays tile #5 pointing west and southwest, then the $40 payment on that river hex can be postponed until a company upgrades St. Louis to a green tile.  If the first tile laid upon the Memphis hex points neither west nor northwest, and is laid by the SLSW (Cotton Belt), then the $60 cost of the river can be postponed until track is laid that actually crosses the river to the west or northwest.  At that point the cost will be incurred by the company that actually makes the tile upgrade that crosses the river at Memphis. [These two exceptions give the Presidents of those companies some small advantage to compensate for the reduced likelihood of using the special rule that the Mississippi River Bridge Company may be used by the MoPac or Cotton Belt (whichever owns the Mississippi River Bridge Co.) on their first operating round to lay their starting tiles for no cost.]

New Variant Rule #2:  In addition to the Mississippi River restrictions in the regular published rules for this private company, the Ohio River also cannot be bridged until the Mississippi River Bridge Company has been sold to a corporation or has been closed. Before then, track lines built 'east' of the Mississippi River may thus not cross the hexside between F19 and E18.

New variant Rule #3: A special rule applies to hex E20, which contains two small cities, Cairo IL and Paducah KY. Any company north or south of the Ohio River may place a double-city tile on hex E20, regardless of whether the track 'appears to connect on the opposite side of the river with other previously placed track. [Historically, until bridges were built, passengers and cargo were ferried across to the trains on the other side of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.] One (Paducah) of the two cities on the tile in E20 will be deemed to be on the south side of the Ohio River, and the other (Cairo) will be considered to be on the north side. When a company places the tile on E20, its own track line must connect to the small city in that tile that is on the appropriate side of the Ohio River. To dispel all doubts, the location of Cairo (north) and Paducah (south) in relation to the Ohio River are here designated for each tile, according to the compass position that the tile number faces:

#1 NE: Cairo is west and Paducah is east on the tile.

#1 SW: Cairo is west and Paducah is east on the tile.

#2 NE: Cairo is northwest and Paducah is south on the tile.

#2 NW: Cairo is southwest and Paducah is southeast on the tile.

#55 NE: Cairo is north and Paducah is south on the tile.

#55 SW: Cairo is north and Paducah is south on the tile.

#56 NE: Cairo is north and Paducah is south on the tile.

#56 NW: Cairo is north and Paducah is south on the tile.

#69 E: Cairo is northeast and Paducah is west on the tile.

#69 SW: Cairo is north and Paducah is southeast on the tile.

Note that in some positions (#2 NE, #56 NE, and #69 SW) the track segment including Cairo does not cross the Ohio River anywhere in hex E20.

When a company train runs its route into hex E20, it must dead-end in the small city on that tile that is on its side of the Ohio River, and can go no further until the Mississippi River Bridge Company is closed or has been sold to a corporation. It may count the revenue for that small city as part of its run.

Note: This Bridge Variant is also required for use with the variant rules that follow for the GM&O and the Illinois Central.

Optional Variant Rule:  In addition to the above rules, do not permit the Mississippi River Bridge Company to be sold to a public corporation until six corporations have been floated and operated at least once.  [Although this does not force a Bridge over the Mississippi or Ohio River to be built as late as historically took place, it nevertheless prevents an early use of the bridge that might help the GM&O or the IC gain an advantage in relation to the other corporations.  This rule would take precedence over any rule that permits an earlier use of the Bridge.]

The Fifth Private Company
Instead of the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway's President's certificate being the fifth private company to be offered for sale to the players, the GM&O President's certificate now takes this role. The GM&O presidency costs $140, and the purchaser immediately sets the par value. Unlike other companies, the GM&O may operate with just 20% of its certificates sold. The GM&O president's certificate may not be purchased by a public company.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad
The player who buys this private company is permitted to place a track tile for this company during Operating Rounds at the time that this private company's revenues are paid to its owner. The Private M-K-T Company may never place more than one tile per turn.

Junction City, the small city in hex B7 west of Topeka, Kansas, now becomes the original home base of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, but a spot also remains reserved for one of its station tokens in Kansas City. The home base token is placed on B7 immediately after laying the first track tile in that hex. A tile (#3, #4, or #58) and token must be placed here in the first turn the M-K-T private company pays its owner his revenues. The tile must be placed so that track exits the southeast side of the B7 hex.  Only the M-K-T private player is allowed to place a station token on the Junction City tile and this station is the home base of the Private M-K-T Company.  The presence of this token blocks all other corporations from running their trains beyond the Katy's token, although they may run up to Junction City.

The holder of this private company must attempt to lay track each turn to the small city of Parsons in hex D9, from whence track may then optionally be continued into Oklahoma (via E8 or E10) or built north toward Kansas City. However, it may not lay track outside the states of Kansas and Oklahoma other than to cross into Missouri (only in hexes D11, C10, C12, and B11) solely in order to build track to Kansas City. Nevertheless, since this M-K-T private company doesn't have a treasury, its track may not enter any river hex, with the exception of Kansas City, and only then if there is already a city tile located in B11. In addition, the Private M-K-T Company's track may not build into any other large city aside from Kansas City.  Nor may it build into Denver or build in any other direction out of Junction City other than southeast toward Parsons.  These restrictions no longer apply when the Katy 'public corporation' is floated.  At that point, the ability of the Private M-K-T Company to lay track ceases.


SPECIAL RULES PERTAINING TO THE PUBLIC CORPORATIONS

1. Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad (GM&O, GMO)
A. The GM&O may not build track that crosses west of the Mississippi River until it reaches its destination city of St. Louis. Effectively, this means that it must build east of the Mississippi and cross the Ohio River into Illinois in order to reach St. Louis. As compensation for this restriction, the GM&O now takes the place of the Frisco as the fifth Private Company, with the President's certificate costing $140. Moreover, this company may operate with only 20% of its stock sold.

B. Until the Mississippi River Bridge Company is either closed or sold to a public company, no GM&O train operating south of the Ohio River may pass north of Paducah, Kentucky [E20], even if the track tiles in E20 already appear to link track north and south of the Ohio River. Thus, revenue routes must end at E20 until the Bridge Company is either closed or sold to a public company. (See the Mississippi River Bridge Company - Ohio River Variant rules for more clarification on permissible track placements and revenue collection in E20.) In effect, a true crossing of the Ohio River for income collection is blocked for all companies, just as it is with the Mississippi River, until the Bridge private company has been either sold to a corporation or closed.

2. Illinois Central Railroad (IC)
A. The IC has two starting Station Markers: one in Chicago, Illinois and the other in Jackson, Mississippi. These are both placed on the map immediately at the start of the IC's first operating round. The destination token is used by the IC as its Chicago base, although it cannot be used as a "destination" until the IC has actually connected Jackson to Chicago, meaning also that the Bridge Company has been closed or sold to another corporation. A suitable train must also be available to make the connection run, per the normal rules.

B. Until these two bases have been connected by an unblocked route of continuous track through Cairo or Paducah [both in hex E20], the IC cannot build track westward from the Mississippi River, nor run a revenue route to any city west of the Mississippi River, although it may run routes to cities located on (along) the east side of the Mississippi River. However, as an exception, it may connect to St. Louis but only if the Mississippi River Bridge Company is closed or has been sold to a public company. Even then, it may not run a route beyond St. Louis on the west side of the Mississippi. Likewise, it may build to Quincy on the east side of the Mississippi in hex A16, but not to Burlington on the west side. Nor may it lay track or collect any revenues westward beyond Quincy until the Bridge Company has been closed or sold to a public corporation. (Quincy is the southern city on yellow tile #2 and the eastern city on yellow tile #56.)  These restrictions cease once the IC has completed its Chicago to Jackson, Mississippi line, regardless of whether the Connection Run has been made.

C. To compensate for this early advantage in track laying and token placement, the Illinois Central's $40 station token may not be placed until the operating round after the IC has made its connection run.

D. The IC may build from either or both starting Stations each turn, but may never lay more than two yellow tiles or upgrade more than one tile in an operating round. However, the IC's first tile lay must be out of Chicago, although laying one tile will satisfy this requirement. Its second yellow tile could be laid at Jackson, or may continue the route from Chicago. The IC may initially build track out of Chicago only from the southwest side of that city. It may not build track out of or into the western edge of Chicago until after it makes its Connection Run. Once its two home stations have been connected by an "unblocked" route of continuous track, the Chicago station becomes the "destination station marker" for purposes of making a Connection Run and for doubling the value of the destination city, assuming an appropriate train is available. Note that despite apparent track connections in E20, for the purposes of counting the cities of Chicago and Jackson, Mississippi, as being "connected by an unblocked route," the Mississippi River Bridge Private Company must either have been sold to a corporation or closed. If the Bridge Company is still in a player's personal hand, the line is still considered "blocked" at E20, even though "connecting" track has been seemingly built, per the Mississippi River Bridge Company - Ohio River Variant rules.

E. In addition, until the Mississippi River Bridge Company has been either closed or sold to a public company, no train operating in Illinois may pass south of Cairo, Illinois (E20). Nor may any train south of the Ohio River pass north of Paducah, Kentucky (E20), even if the track tiles already link track north and south of the Ohio River. Thus, revenue routes must end at E20 until the Bridge Company has been closed or sold to a public company. (See the Mississippi River Bridge Company - Ohio River Variant rules for more clarification on permissible track placements and revenue collection in E20.) In effect, a true crossing of the Ohio River is blocked for all companies, just as it is with the Mississippi River, until the Bridge private company has been either sold to a corporation or closed.

3. Missouri Pacific Railroad (MP, or MoPac)
One tile #5 is reserved for the exclusive use of the Missouri Pacific Railroad until it has completed its first operating turn.  If, on its first opportunity to lay track, the MoPac lays tile #5 pointing west and southwest then the $40 payment on that river hex can be postponed until a company upgrades St. Louis to a green tile.  The corporation doing the upgrading is the one that must make the payment for the tile.

Optional Variant Rule: The MoPac may not bridge the Mississippi until it has first connected track to Kansas City or Springfield, Missouri.  [The charter destination for the Pacific Railroad, the MoPac's ultimate predecessor, was Kansas City.  In this option, in order to allow some flexibility to the president of the MoPac, Springfield is permitted as an alternate "charter" destination. This optional rule effectively negates the early use of the Bridge Private Company, but the argument for this is that historically the Mississippi River was not bridged at St. Louis until 1874, which is a year later than the Fort Worth & Denver City, the latest of the game's companies, began operating.  Moreover, in this variant set of rules, it is likely to be sounder strategy to hold back on the use of the Bridge so as to impede both the GM&O and the IC from an early crossing of the Ohio River and the Mississippi.]

4. Saint Louis-San Francisco Railway (SLSF, or Frisco)
This is now treated as a normal share company with no special benefits.

Optional Variant Rule: Prior to linking to its destination point, if the SLSF's home base of Springfield has been connected to St. Louis, then its connection run must run from St. Louis to Springfield and then onward to its Southeast destination. [This rule re-creates the historical situation that the SLSF actually began as a branch line of what later became the Missouri Pacific.  This branch line originally ran from St. Louis to Springfield.  Their may be a real financial advanatage to the SLSF in having its connection run begin at the potentially more lucrative city of St. Louis.  Thus this rule may encourage the building of such a track line, perhaps even in  cooperation with the MP.]

5. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad (AT&SF, ATSF, or Santa Fe)
A. Galveston, not the Southwest, becomes the destination point for the AT&SF, and Galveston also becomes a city able to use a brown #170 "P" tile.   [The Santa Fe company historically aimed to go west (toward hex D1) from Atchison and Topeka. Later it branched south to Fort Worth by way of Oklahoma City, and then continued on toward Houston, and Galveston. It also built a route to Chicago from Kansas City. However, it did not build a route to Austin or to San Antonio, the latter of which would be located about where the Southwest Red Off-Board location is shown on the map.]

B. If the AT&SF manages to connect Topeka to both Galveston and also Chicago, the AT&SF may count both Galveston and Chicago as destination cities, doubling both Galveston and Chicago for all runs that include Topeka and those two cities, provided that the following minimum additional requirements are met:

1. Either Atchison or Kansas City must be part of the route between Topeka and Chicago.
2. Between Topeka and Galveston, the route must at least include either Wichita or Oklahoma City, and also at least one of these three cities in Texas: Fort Worth, Dallas, or Houston.  It may include more than the specified minimum of two cities.
3. This bonus destination route from Chicago through Topeka to Galveston must be run by a diesel locomotive (train types 8, 10, or 12).
4. No token is needed for Chicago, but Galveston does require its destination token.

[Rule B.3 is meant to encourage the buying of a better train than the 6-train, which is the first permanent train. After all, if the AT&SF is supposed to be a mighty railroad, it should have modern diesel engines for the long hauls on such a bonus run. This last requirement also helps prevent this bonus from becoming overly easy to achieve. One must now get that bigger train to make the run, but at least obtaining the route should not be too difficult or impossible. Although not likely to occur, if the AT&SF meets all these requirements, including having two trains of type 8 or better, and also has two separate routes that connect Galveston, Topeka, and Chicago, it may collect double values twice at both Galveston and Chicago.]
 
6. Southern Pacific Railroad (SP, or SoPac)

This company has no special benefits.

Optional Variant Rule:  The SP gains an extra $10 of revenue for runs that include Houston with an SP station token located there.  [The SP route to New Orleans included Houston and the smaller towns of Beaumont and Lake Charles to the east of Houston.  This variant encourages such a route  without mandating it.]

7. Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT, or Katy)
(See also the special rules for the private M-K-T company.)

A. After the Katy public corporation has been floated, the owner of the M-K-T private company may no longer lay track tiles. The Katy public corporation may place one of its unused tokens in Kansas City for free, thereby making that its new home base. This token placement, however, is not required. The reserved Katy token spot in Kansas City remains available only until the first permanent train (a type 6-train) has been bought by any player. After that, other companies may place a token on that formerly reserved token spot. When a Katy token has been placed in Kansas city, that token also becomes the new home base of the company for purposes of making a Connection Run, regardless of whether the original home base at Junction City is still in play. If no Katy token exists in Kansas City, then the Junction City base in B7 is used as the home base for calculating a connection run.

B. Provided that a Katy token exists in Kansas City, the Junction City Base token placed by the owner of the private M-K-T company may be removed during any Operating Round and placed in any large city to which its track connects, following the usual rules for placing stations. Moving this token to another location costs $100. No token can ever be placed back at Junction City once this happens.

8. St. Louis Southwestern Railway (SLSW, SSW, or Cotton Belt)
If the first tile laid upon the Memphis hex points neither west nor northwest, and is laid by the SLSW (Cotton Belt), then the $60 cost of the river can be postponed until track is laid that actually crosses the river to the west or northwest.  At that point the cost will be incurred by the company actually making the tile upgrade that crosses the river at Memphis.

Optional Variant Rule: Prior to linking to its destination point, if the SSW's home base of Memphis has been connected to St. Louis, then its connection run must run from St. Louis to its Fort Worth destination, regardless of whether Memphis is part of that run. Note, however, that an SLSW station token will still be needed somewhere along the route from St. Louis to Fort Worth, exclusive of the destination token in Fort Worth.  [This rule re-creates the historical situation that the SLSW's mainline originally ran from St. Louis to Fort Worth.  Memphis was part of a branch line.  Their may be a real financial advanatage to the SLSW in having its connection run begin at the potentially more lucrative city of St. Louis.  Thus this rule may encourage the building of such a track line.]

9. Texas & Pacific Railway (TP, or T&P)
This company has no special benefits.

Optional Variant Rule:  The TP gains an extra $10 of revenue for runs that include Alexandria with a TP station token located there.  [The TP route to New Orleans included Shreveport and Alexandria in Louisiana.  Alexandria is the one large city that is perhaps least likely to be utilized due to use of the Variant Rules for the Small Cities.  This optional variant encourages such a historical route without mandating it. ]

10. Fort Worth & Denver City (FWD, or Burlington Route)
This company has no special benefits.

Optional Variant Rule #1:  The FWD gains an extra $10 of revenue if it makes a train run that goes from Denver to Galveston via Fort Worth.  [A line from Fort Worth to Galveston, known as the Burlington-Rock Island RR as of July 1930 because of its two owners, was part of the Burlington Route and was briefly owned directly by the FWD and the Rock Island.  So this variant encourages the FWD to extend the Burlington Route to Galveston.]

Optional Variant Rule #2:  This rule gives the FWD a larger bonus than does Optional Variant Rule #2.  It may be used instead of Option #1 if the players feel the FWD needs something more to make it interesting.  Given that the FWD was a part of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy System, it is fitting to give this company a bonus if it replicates one of the CB&Q's lines between Chicago and Denver.  This bonus is only available after the FWD has reached its destination of Denver and completed its Connection Run.  Each time thereafter that it runs a train that includes Fort Worth and ends in Denver, it may receive a revenue bonus equal to the current value of Chicago (undoubled) provided that there is an unblocked line connecting Denver to Chicago.  No train actually needs to run the Denver-to-Chicago route, but the route must exist and not be blocked by opposing station tokens.  No FWD station is necessary to occupy a city along the route other than that the Destination token is required to have been placed in Denver at a prior point.  The bonus route need not include any large cities between Denver and Chicago, but it must include track in the Burlington/Quincy hex (A8).  Moreover, the bonus route must also be entirely within the top three rows of hexes (rows A, B, and C).

OPTIONAL RULE FOR A MODIFIED HISTORICAL START
 
[Given the rapidity with which the game moves through historical time, as evinced by the relatively rapid turnover of trains, one could consider adding a little more flexibility into the Historical Order Start variant.  Rather than have all ten corporations be required to start in the strict sequence shown on the chart on page 27 of the Mayfair Rules Book, permit the players to choose from among the first four corporations in any order they wish, then from among the second group of three, and finally from among the last group, the one from the 1870s.]

In this Modified Historical Start Companies are started in the approximate order that they commenced historical construction.  Within each of the three groups listed below, corporations can be floated in any order.  Corporations are floated when 6 shares have been sold.  When at least 6 shares (for the GM&O: only 2 shares) have been sold from each of the corporations in the first group, then any of the corporations in the second group can be floated as well.  When all of the corporations of the second group have been floated, then all three companies from the last group are allowed to be floated. 

1. GM&O (1850), IC (1851), MoPac (1851), and Frisco (1853)
2. AT&SF (1859), SP (1863), and Katy (1865)
3. Cotton Belt (1871), T&P (1871), and FW&DC (1873)

Players may always buy shares from any corporation, but no more than five shares can be sold unless the corporation is from a group currently eligible to be started.


COMMENTARY

Imagine having to wait to cross the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers until all ten companies in the 1870 game were operating! That's what would happen in all but the northernmost Mississippi River hexagon if the 1870 game more accurately followed history. The bridge across the Mississippi River at St. Louis didn't open until 1874, which is a year later than the Fort Worth & Denver City, the latest of the game's companies, began operating. (See the historical commencement dates on pages 27 and 31 of the Mayfair Rules.) Historically, the first bridge across the Mississippi was completed in 1856 by the Rock Island Railroad at Rock Island-Davenport. The next bridge was built at Clinton, Iowa in 1865. The Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad [not part of the 1870 game but found in the sister game, 1850] built bridges across the Mississippi at Burlington and Quincy in 1868 (after seven of the companies in the game historically had been started). These are the two small towns on the northernmost Mississippi River hexagon in the game.  But the first bridge south of them that was built within the confines of the game board was the bridge built by James B. Eads to St. Louis in 1874. Thus, playing that Mississippi River Bridge Company early in the game clearly lets players cross the Mississippi rather early compared to what historically was the case.

Playing by the Mayfair 1870 rules, the Ohio River can be crossed at anytime. Yet historically, it wasn't until 1889 that the Illinois Central finally completed its long-awaited bridge across the Ohio at Cairo, IL. Nevertheless, because the small cities are generally avoided in a typical 1870 game, most players controlling the GM&O and IC won't ever cross the Ohio River but instead will route their north-south lines to run between St. Louis and Memphis on the west side of the Mississippi River.

The overall impact of these additional variant rules for a historical order start is that there is a new, strong emphasis placed on building a railroad network east of the Mississippi, thereby emulating what historically occurred before the expansion and growth of railways to the west side of the Mississippi. The lack of bridges across the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, as well as the land grants made to the Mobile & Ohio and to the Illinois Central Railroad, essentially caused these two companies to be chiefly focused on rail traffic east of the Mississippi. Both of them eventually organized mergers with other companies (and finally each other) so that they could build solid north-south networks from Illinois to ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

The new rules take into greater account the historical development of the ten companies that are provided in the game

Strategically, the GM&O needs to start building north before the IC does in order for it to not be blocked by competing IC track from reaching the Ohio River. In order not to have the GM&O overwhelmed or blocked by the IC, the GM&O now replaces the Frisco as the company that can start with only 20% of its shares sold. It thus chooses its par value first, and can set it high enough to start before the IC if it wishes. Because of the mandatory IC placement of track emanating from Chicago on its first operating turn, the GM&O, by moving first, is able to ensure that it can reach the Ohio River before the IC component based in Jackson. However, the Illinois Central out of Chicago should be able to determine which track tile will actually be placed in E20, since it cannot be prevented from linking to Cairo [hex E20]. The GM&O and the IC players will find themselves making many strategic decisions on track laying and building to Memphis and New Orleans arising from the restriction of these variant rules. It should spark more excitement and perhaps even some stock manipulations among the companies east of the Mississippi River.

Given that the Illinois Central is now going to be building from two bases, namely Chicago and Jackson MS, all the other players may decide that it is best if the IC is unable to run revenue routes across the Ohio River too soon, thus delaying its connection run. This makes it likely that they will not put the Bridge into play very early. Besides, with a fixed order of starting the corporations, the Cotton Belt isn't going to be an early starter at all. That just leaves the Mopac as the company most likely to use the Bridge, but the Bridge owner cannot count on being the one to get the MoPac presidency.

For the GM&O President, there is also no point in playing the Bridge Company early, since his company can't cross the Mississippi until it has reached its destination in St. Louis by way of a crossing of the Ohio River. Therefore, it will want to cross the Ohio River first, and preferably do so at the time of its own choosing. Building north from Mobile at two hexes per turn, it cannot possibly cross the Ohio River on its own until its fifth operating turn, unless it cooperates in building track with the IC player operating from Jackson, Mississippi. Even then, green tiles would need to be in play to enable joint construction of their united lines and it would save but one turn of track construction at best. (The home base token of the IC in Jackson, Mississippi will block GM&O traffic through that hex until the green tiles are in play.) So if the player running the GM&O has the Bridge Company, he is likely not to sell it to his corporation until he can make a connection across the Ohio River that will be able to connect to St. Louis by the following turn.

The Illinois Central player has two bases in this variant. The one out of Chicago represents the true Illinois Central that historically built a route in Illinois from Cairo north to Galena, Illinois, in the northwest corner of the state, and also to Chicago. A steamboat line operated by the railroad connected Cairo to New Orleans. In 1872 the IC made traffic agreements with two lines in the south: the New Orleans, Jackson, & Great Northern RR and the Mississippi Central. By 1874 the IC had taken control of both of them and merged them into the New Orleans, St. Louis & Chicago RR, which by 1877 became a subsidiary of the IC. The IC base in Jackson, Mississippi, represents this southern component of the IC, which already was independently operating in the 1850s in Mississippi. With two starting bases, the IC is now not only more likely to complete its historical route from New Orleans to Chicago that was built east of the Mississippi, but it will do this earlier in the game than is often the case, thanks to being the second starting corporation.

As with the GM&O President, the player operating the IC gains no benefit from the bridging of the rivers until he is ready to connect his Chicago and Jackson bases with continuous connected track. That will take a minimum of five operating turns, unless there is some cooperation with the GM&O player in building the line south of the Ohio River. Even so, four operating turns is the fastest this crossing can be accomplished. So, even if the player running the IC owns the Bridge Company, it is not likely to be played until the IC is ready to link his two track portions.

The other players are not likely to want to see either the GM&O or the IC reach their destinations before everyone else's companies and they also will not want to see them quickly cross west of the Mississippi to further enhance their revenue opportunities. So, even if the player who is president of the Missouri Pacific owns the Bridge Company, he or she, too, may prefer to build toward the MoPac's destination rather than give the IC or the GM&O greater momentum early in the game. (Historically, the Missouri Pacific's charter destination was the Kansas border at Kansas City, which it reached in 1867, fifteen years after running its first train west out of St. Louis in 1852.)

In order for the Missouri Pacific Railroad to be able to do anything west of the river if the Mississippi hasn't yet been bridged, it needs tile #5 to be available. Thus, one tile #5 is reserved for the exclusive use of the MoPac until it has completed its first operating turn. The Missouri Pacific will be the third corporation formed in the game, so it will have to blaze a trail along the Missouri River or the west side of the Mississippi River, unless it prefers to forge straight through the mountains to Springfield, Missouri.

Probably, most games will see the GM&O, IC, and MoPac formed during the first stock round, especially since only the President's share need be bought to float the GM&O. Possibly the Frisco, the fourth company to start chronologically, will also be formed. Historically, the portion of the Frisco track from Springfield westward began as the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. The 1870 game's Southeast destination for the Frisco is actually more a balancing mechanism, since the real Frisco was more concerned with connections westward to Wichita, Oklahoma City, and beyond to Texas, plus a connection back to St. Louis. It wasn't until 1901 that it acquired lines connecting to Birmingham, Alabama, and not until 1925 that it hooked down to Pensacola.

The Frisco has no special benefits, and will not have much help with its track construction, unless it teams up with the Missouri Pacific. (Historically, the Frisco did have a connection northeast to St. Louis by way of St. Clair in hex D17.) If the player running the Frisco owns the bridge Company, he or she may wish to use it to cross the Mississippi at Memphis as soon as green tiles are available, to prevent the GM&O or the IC from blocking that hex with one of their tokens. Although the other city spot must be reserved for the Cotton Belt's home base, since that corporation starts 8th in the Historical Start sequence, the Frisco could reach its Southeast destination well before the Cotton Belt forms, especially if it can use some of the track previously placed by the IC or GM&O. Nevertheless, it would be better to be the first to place a token in Memphis after it has a green tile and not risk being blocked by the corporations east of the Mississippi.

The At&SF's new destination of Galveston shouldn't be a problem since the city can now use a "P" tile. This will also put this port on the map, rather than leaving it to be one of the lesser large cities in the game, if it even appears. The bonus the AT&SF gets for building a track connection from Galveston to Chicago makes this company a very valuable one to own. (It's also fitting, given that historically this was perhaps the strongest of the companies in the game.) If there is any company that players will want to be sure to be invested in, this is likely to be it. The company plays fifth, so there could be some maneuvering in the stock market in order to get the chance to be its President.  Note that the AT&SF only has two station tokens aside from the home base token and destination token.  If it wishes to count both Galveston and Chicago as destinations for increased profit, in order to secure two unblocked cities between Topeka and Galveston it may not have a token leftover for Kansas City, since all its tokens could be used up in Kansas, Texas or perhaps Oklahoma as well.  Therefore, the AT&SF may want to secure a tile #58 quickly and bridge the Missouri River at Atchison so it will be able to create its northern line to Chicago even if Kansas City should become blocked by other corporations' tokens.

Of the last five companies to start, only the Katy has special benefits. The historical starting point of Junction City to the west of Topeka has been included and made useful by allowing the owner of the Katy private to begin building track for that company. To prevent the Katy from getting too much of a head start, this track-laying is limited to one tile per turn and must run from Junction City to Parsons (D9) before it can go anywhere else. (In real life, the M-K-T was one of the companies competing to become the first to be allowed to run track through Oklahoma to the Texas border. It succeeded by being first to reach the Oklahoma border south of Parsons.) These rules limit the owner of the M-K-T private company to building only in Kansas and Oklahoma, except for a few hexes leading back from Parsons to Kansas City that may pass into Missouri. The player must attempt to build at least the three track tiles to Parsons; afterwards it is up to the M-K-T's owner to decide whether to build more track within the allotted bounds. For play balance as well as historical reasons, these rules forbid this M-K-T track from going to any large cities other than Kansas City until the public Katy corporation has been floated. When the AT&SF is formed, it may find some track blocking it's way to Wichita and Oklahoma City, and may perhaps have to build track to Kansas City and other northern locales until the green tiles appear. 

The net effect of these new variant rules should be to add a bit more excitement to the operations of the companies when they are started in historical sequence. The GM&O and IC will be centered east of the Mississippi River as was historically the case. The Katy will start in its proper location, and the Mopac is likely to first get started toward its destination before trying to link to Chicago. The AT&SF will be a very important company and will have great incentive to try to both reach Galveston and Chicago.  One of its tokens must be placed in Wichita or Oklahoma, and another in Dallas, Fort Worth, or Houston.  Tokens will likely be used by all players to block routes so that opposing early companies don't have it too easy. They will also be used to gain key route positions. The use of the variant rules for small cities, combined with the necessity of using them in many cases, will also open up all the board to play.

Additional Commentary on the Optional Rules:

The Optional Rule for a Modified Historical Start gives much greater flexibility to the players in regard to the order that certain companies may start within their groupings.  This can make the Historical Order Start version of the game more interesting as players try different starting sequences from game to game.

The Optional Variant Rules for the Mississippi River Bridge Company and for the Missouri Pacific are admittedly designed to slow down the use of the Bridge to reflect the historical limitations better.  The MoPac player in either case will not be able to make a dash to Chicago for quick revenue but will have to build west first.  On the other hand, these rules also hinder the GM&O and the IC from too quickly crossing the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, thereby gaining an even greater advantage than their early start gives them.  The flip side is that the companies west of the Mississippi will have a chance to create some track networks and place stations before the GM&O and the IC might take undue advantage of those western company's tracks by linking to them via a bridge.  I see these two Optional Rules that affect the Bridge as helping to balance the game despite the whim of a MoPac president who, too eager for quick profits on a Chicago run, might give the GM&O and IC players too much of a revenue bonus through inevitable links to the west.

The remainder of the Optional Variant Rules tend to push the game slightly into more historical developments but not in a heavy-handed way.  Two of the Optional rules give a $10 bonus for employing a specific tokened city in a route (Houston for the SP and Alexandria for the TP).  These options spice up these two companies a bit since there was otherwise nothing special in the variant rules in regard to them.  The $10 bonus for the Fort Worth and Denver City in its Optional Variant Rule #1 is quite similar except that it doesn't require a token but instead requires a Denver to Galveston run via Fort Worth.  However, the impact of these options on the game will probably be minor.  Mostly, they encourage building track in the far south (as opposed to a Southwest-Dallas-Jackson-New Orleans route), although the SP would often use Houston in its routes regardless of this rule.

Playing by the original 1870 rules, the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway (FWD) seems to be chiefly useful for helping the ATSF and Katy to reach their Southwest destinations and also for providing a rationale for placing Denver in the northwest corner of the map.  It was difficult to come up with a meaningful optional rule for the Fort Worth and Denver.  In the end, two Optional Rules were provided, of which the first was mentioned above.  The second is perhaps more radical in its effects although it is harder to achieve.  The Fort Worth and Denver City connection to the CB&Q became the rationale for Optional Variant Rule #2.  The CB&Q didn't actually take over the Fort Worth and Denver until Dec. 31, 1982.  Nevertheless, since the game components denote the Fort Worth and Denver as the "Burlington Route," and since the CB&Q had a track system connecting Chicago to Denver, St. Louis, and Kansas City, this Optional Variant Rule gives the Fort Worth a bonus for a line connecting Chicago to Denver.  Because many CB&Q routes passed through Burlington and Quincy, that hex is required to be part of the line between Chicago and Denver.  [No company in the 1870 game had a historical route through Burlington and Quincy, so this rule for the FWD at least ties those cities into the game in a meaningful way.]  Since the Fort Worth and Denver has only one token beyond its home base and destination tokens, the route between Chicago and Denver is not required to have a token (aside from the requirement that the destination token be in Denver) nor even to include a large city.  The route, however, must be in the top three rows of the map, since that is where the CB&Q lines ran.  Finally, it seemed unlikely that the FWD would regularly meet all the conditions of this optional rule through its own enterprise, but rather the northern lines mostly built by other companies would occasionally suit its purpose for this rule.  Thus, on the assumption that this bonus would be only occasionally achieved in games under these rules (and probably during the later stages of a game) I did not require a train to actually run the route.  So if it meets the conditions of the rule (essentially, an unblocked line from Chicago to Denver passing through Burlington or Quincy), the value of Chicago at the time is added to its revenue sum for a route that does include Fort Worth and Denver.  The potential gain of $50 or $60 for Chicago may be enough incentive for the FWD to make the attempt to meet the requirments, and if it does achieve such a "CB&Q" route, the effort should be duly rewarded.  [The AT&SF may also appreciate (and even help build) such a line a line as it could help in meeting the requirements for its own Chicago bonus.]

Lastly, with the Optional Variant Rules, the SLSF and the SLSW both gain a potential connection run benefit if they connect to St. Louis since that city can ultimately be worth $50 or $60 with brown and gray tiles.  Since historically these two companies did connect to St. Louis, as their company names indicate, and since they also had their headquarters there, these optional rules add a historical flavor without requiring those connections to be made.

Overall, all the Variant Rules taken together should create a game no less interesting and challenging than the original 1870 game, although there is a certain amount of added complexity.  While players will initially be somewhat restricted in what they can do, there are usually compensating advantages as well.  Players will have some new strategic decisions to make regarding their companies and their investments.  Those who make the most of their opportunities should come out ahead.  This set of variant rules should appeal to those with an interest in history, but it should make for a very playable game as well.


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Contents of this page originally posted 7 February 2004.
This page was updated on 13 March 2005 as v2.1.  Minor clarifications were made to the M-K-T private Company track-laying rules and AT&SF commentary.
This page was again updated on 23 February 2007 as v.2.2.  The northernmost cities on the Mississippi are now named Burlington (instead of Fort Madison) and Quincy (instead of Carthage).  Moreover, some Optional Variant Rules (shown in red font) have been added as well as an additional commentary at the end.
Updated 25 February 2007 as v.2.3 with a few minor corrections and commentary on the FWD's Optional variant Rule.
Updated 27 February 2007 as v.2.4 with FWD Optional Variant Rule #1 in case Optional Variant Rule #2 proved to be too much of a bonus for the FWD.

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