Designs In Creative Entertainment has been custom-manufacturing 18C2C kits for ten years. Our second game, 18OE, will be a commercial-grade print run. After almost 3 years of playtesting and development, 18OE: On the Rails of the Orient Express is ready to publish.
18XX games are a genre of railroad games that are chess-like: the only random element in the game is the seating order; after that, it's a battle of wits to see who is the craftiest stock trader and railroad operator. Players invest in railroad companies, and use those companies to lay track, buy trains, and run those trains to generate dividends for the stockholders. The winner is the player with the highest net worth at the end of the game.
The 18XX genre of games began in 1978 with the publication of Francis Tresham's 1829: The Great Game of Railways. Many 18XX games have been published over the years, using the same hexagonal track tile system to represent train track routes. I have licensed the 18XX logo from Mayfair Games, Inc., in recognition of Mr. Tresham's profound design work.
18OE can be considered a "monster" game of the genre, more than twice the size of most predecessors.
The Industrial Age – at the time, the most profound explosion of technology in the history of humankind. In Europe, financing and constructing railroads were an integral part of the spread of Industrialism.
In 18OE, you play the part of a European Railroad Mogul – founding railroads in different nations and merging them in the most effective way possible to create a vast railroad empire.
18OE's map covers all of mainland Europe, plus the British Isles and parts of Scandinavia, Russia and the Near East.
Players begin the game with Private, Minor, and Regional railroads, and must create a coherent network by forming Major railroads from their Regionals and merging them with their Minor Railroads. Some Majors will become National subsidiaries.
The winner is the player who most effectively transitions his fragmented holdings into a coherent network by the end of the game.
18OE brings some innovative mechanics to the 18XX genre. Port Authorities allow you to transport your goods and build new stations long distances over the water. Track Rights zones, which restrict railroads' abilities to lay track and tokens outside their home areas until they become Majors are also used to limit the number of Minor railroads that can open in each region each game. Patronage Tiles, which encourage track building to different cities each game, add to the replay value. Players may also remove railroads from play during the initial stock round, changing the dynamics of every game.
A professional artist, Gary Simpson, has been hired for the artwork and has already completed most of the work - the remainder will be finished as the project progresses, and will be complete before the campaign ends on July 16th. See the next section, "In the Box", for some examples of Gary's fantastic work!
Unlike 18C2C, D.I.C.E.'s previous game, 18OE will be a commercial-grade print run - that means commercial-grade quality components. Even the map will be commercial-grade: it will be fully mounted like most commercial games, and folded into two sections that fit neatly in the box! Here's the full run-down on what comes with a copy of 18OE:
(776) 1" wide hexagonal Yellow, Green, Brown and Grey Track Tiles
(9) 1" wide hexagonal Red Zone Tiles for the scenarios.
(45) 1" wide hexagonal Patronage Tiles
Note: This is a picture with prototype components, to show what the wooden tokens will look like, and to provide a sense of scale: the hexes are only 1" in size! The tiles will all be numbered in the release version for PBEM play.
(202) 3/8" Wooden Plugs
(93) 5/8" Wooden Disks
(295) Stickers for all of the wooden plugs and disks - The stickers are not applied! See the Reward Levels for an add-on to have the stickers applied for you!
(189) 44 x 68 mm Stock certificate cards
(20) 44 x 68 mm Private and Concession cards.
(16) 1" x 1.5" Track Rights cards (professional artwork pending - check back for updates!)
(106) 44 x 68 mm Train and Pullman cards (admire some of Gary's work!)
(33) 4.25" x 5.5" Railroad charters (more of Gary's artwork!)
(4) 8.5" x 11" Charts and Tables sheets - most will be double-sided (professional artwork pending - check back for updates!). Extra sets of these Charts and Tables are one of the stretch goals below!
(448) 40 x 70 mm pieces of paper currency (professional artwork pending - check back for updates!), in the following denominations:
40 x £1, 40 x £2, 40 x £5, 48 x £10, 60 x £20, 40 x £50, 40 x £100, 60 x £200, 40 x £500, 40 x £1000, 40 x £5000
(1) Rulebook (presently under review by a highly-qualified proofreader), which can be found here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/90709/18oe-rulebook-preprint-version
(1) Playbook, the preliminary version can be found here, pending completion of the artwork: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/91501/18oe-playbook-preliminary-version
(1) 34" x 44" mounted map in two folded sections.
(1) 22" x 17" mounted stock market in one folded section.
Box size: approximately 11.5" x 10.5" x 3.5"
Designs In Creative Entertainment, LLC., was founded in 1992, and released its first game, 18C2C: Manifest Destiny, in 2003. Each and every 18C2C kit was manufactured by hand, requiring ten hours of manual labor each. Despite the extremely expensive nature of these kits ($235 each, not even including shipping!), over 350 copies were sold worldwide.
I (Mark Frazier) am a software engineer with 20 years of experience in a vocation that lends itself extremely well to the design and development process of board games. With over 30 years of gaming passion behind me (and many more to come), plus 10 years of experience in publishing 18C2C, I am well qualified to tackle a project of this nature.
I chose Kickstarter for 18OE, for two reasons: first, that with the size of 18OE, manufacturing even 200 sets would require an entire year of full-time manual labor. Second, with a commercial-grade print run, I can reduce the cost of each copy, while increasing its quality.
That's why I'm here - I can't personally afford the cost of the print run. I'm not a big company - it's just me. "Us" refers to my friend Ed Sindelar (the designer), and my wife Susan, who provided me the support I needed while working endless hours in addition to my full time job. I need you, the backers, to help me pay for the manufacturing costs - the minimum funding level is just enough to cover the manufacturing cost.
You can find the 18OE: Journey to Kickstarter blog, which talks about my development philosophy and how my manufacturing process has evolved over the years here:
As a reward for those of you that back this project during the Kickstarter campaign, I am reducing the base game price from $200 to $160 (or less, if you buy multiple copies!). This is a thank you to everyone for helping me make this project happen!
I am passionate and dedicated to getting 18OE to print. To this end, I've already invested the funds to pay for all of the artwork to be completed prior to the end of this campaign - check back for updates to see the progress! In addition, in order to provide you with the best quality product possible, I've decided (via feedback from 18XX veterans) to produce this game with wooden tokens, paying out-of-pocket to make this happen.
Despite this, the funding level of this project may still appear to be high - I won't cut corners on quality. This is also why there are so few add-ons: the entire amount of the requested funding level is being sunk into the manufacturing and shipping costs, including most of the stretch goals below. I'm asking you, the backers, to provide me with just enough capital to pay for the manufacturing and shipping costs of the print run, and I will use much of the extra funds for improving the quality of the game!
Shipping outside the United States is a challenge - freight charges can be outrageous, and every avenue was pursued to reduce the shipping costs as much as possible.
There's no doubt that a single copy of 18OE is expensive enough without having to pay for shipping - for that reason, pledge levels have been added to allow you to reduce these charges as much as reasonably possible. In addition, those of you that combine your copies will find that D.I.C.E. is willing to absorb some of that shipping cost, to get this game into your hands as inexpensively as possible.
Risks and challenges
Clearly, a game the size of 18OE adds to the challenge of meeting project deadlines. To minimize these potential delays, the manufacturing quotes for the game have already been acquired - as soon as the project ends, I'll be on the spot to get the game's print run onto the factory's schedule.
In addition, I have industry contacts that have been invaluable to me in providing pointers on what to watch out for during the manufacturing process. With ten years of manufacturing experience from 18C2C, I am well prepared to meet the pitfalls head-on, and get your product to you with minimal (if any) delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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