It is the middle of the nineteenth century and the age of steam is well underway. The Russian and Canadian governments, eager to capitalize on the new rail technology to bring together their vast countries, are sponsoring entrepreneurs to help build their railway networks. You are an investor, seeking to take advantage of their generous offer to make your fortune. However, your governments are not as benevolent as you first thought. They have begun to absorb fledgling rail companies, taking them away from those who worked so hard to build them by regulating impossible standards for new technology. You will have to remain diligent to ensure you are not next.
In 2005, Ian D. Wilson released 1861: Railways of the Russian Empire inspired by the railway development of Russia. In 2015, he released 1867: Railways of Canada, which is a standalone game that uses 1861's core rules on a different map with a handful of variations to gameplay. Both are classic examples of the versatile 18xx system of train games. They are straightforward enough to be your 1st 18xx game while still offering the depth you want in your 100th game.
Update: A new BGG entry has been created combining 1861/1867. You can get a closer look at the WIP components there! Click here to see the new entry.
1861 and 1867 are perfect as weeknight games as they can usually be played by 3 - 6 experienced players in 3 hours. The games are staples at 18xx gaming conventions often as a palate cleanser after playing a longer title. What makes 1861/1867 in particular great entry points into the 18xx system is that the two games introduce the different game mechanics in phases. The beginning of a game only has Minor Companies running relatively simple operations and as the game progresses, new mechanisms like Merger Rounds and the National Railway are introduced. They are great games to learn, have a steady but ever increasing trajectory and speed, and pack enough of a wallop to keep players returning to them time and time again.
Update: livestream on The Dice Tower will be on 11/16! Last full day of the campaign!
Below is a link to a draft version of the combined 1861/1867 rules. These rules are WIP and have not been formatted/organized for how they will be presented in the final rulebook. Some sections (like variant rules) are in draft form and have not yet been added to this draft. There will also be supplemental documents like a scripted teaching game and a "Learning to play" guide.
Below are draft rules for the 1861S variants. These are not final.
- Update: There will be a 2-player variant included for 1861 in this edition! The variant will be similar to 1861S with starting packets that you can bid for but will also remove some trains. Ian said some of his play tests actually finished in under 2 hours which will be great for couples who are looking to play a weeknight game!
- Includes 1861S (short), a game variant where premade bundles of Private Companies and Minor Companies are auctioned off. This is a great way for new players to get started with the game. You can even just hand these bundles out randomly and start in the first Operating Round if there are a lot of new players at the table.
- A teaching scenario that has a scripted playthrough for 2 sets of Operating Rounds that shows off train shuffling, nationalization, compulsory train purchases, loans, and a merge all within the first two sets of Operating Rounds. A really awesome way for new players to get familiar with the bulk of 1861/1867 mechanics quickly.
- A combined and comprehensive rulebook with graphics and examples.
- The stock market is not attached to the board. You can play 1861 or 1867 with either the 1861 stock market or the 1867 stock market. Using the 1867 stock market while playing 1861 can make token management easier and it negligibly affects gameplay.
- A handful of variant rules designed by Ian Wilson to streamline 1861 like the train exporting mechanic from 1867 or removing the price floor for nationalizing companies.
- Optional Minor Certificates that represent 100% of a Minor Company will be included.
- A graphical overhaul which includes awesome illustrations and components created by Karim Chakroun and Erik Frobom. Along with these graphical updates are a handful of usability improvements like colorblind icons for tiles, splayable rusting information for trains, and slots on charters for shares and loans, among many others.
- Tile trays that will keep your tiles organized during play or when they are being stored in the box!
18xx is a game system that you may have heard of but may have not yet tried due to its reputation for being long and complex.
Many 18xx games however, are actually fairly straightforward, take 3-4 hours to play, and are absolutely fantastic gaming experiences. You play the role of an investor who starts, operates, and purchases shares of railroad companies. The railroad companies build their networks across the map and purchase trains that will be used to generate revenue and pay dividends to the companies’ stockholding investors. Company values are tracked on a stock market, which players will use when making their investment decisions. At the end of the game, a player's score is determined by the value of the shares and cash in their hands.
What makes 18xx games so compelling to play is how players are able to affect the game and each other with seemingly insignificant decisions. Since games typically have perfect information, the outcome of the game is completely driven by the actions of the players.
If you are new to 18xx or would like to learn more about 1861/1867, check out Ambie's "Intro to 18xx" series, 1867 impressions from JonGetsGames, or Bankruptcy Club's stream of 1867.
**Gameplay starts ~42 minutes in.
Notes about components:
- Art is not final!
- Most components will be double-sided with 1861 on one side and 1867 on the other (trains, certificates, charters, map, stock market... even the box!)
- The base game will have cardboard chit tokens. These will not be double-sided with 1861 on one side and 1867 on the other (though market tokens will have the same company on the other side grayed out). There is a $40,000 stretch goal for wooden tokens and a later stretch goal that isn't shown yet for a second full set of wooden tokens (both of which will come with stickers). If the stretch goal for the second set of wooden tokens is not met, I will provide an add-on to purchase an additional set. Games with only 1 set of wooden tokens will have double-sided map tokens. Games that have 2 sets of wooden tokens will not be double-sided.
- Track tiles are double-sided with both standard and "fancy" track and will be a standard 1.5" flat-to-flat.
- Track tiles will have colorblind icons.
- Optional Minor Certificates (that represent 100% of the Minor Company) will be included.
- Companies used for 1867 are not yet finalized. We are experimenting with different icons/heralds to make the tokens more differentiated.
- "Paint" on the trains will match phase color.
- The Stock Market will be a separate double-sided board so you can play 1861 and 1867 with either market.
Shipping will be charged via pledge manager (CrowdOx) after the Kickstarter concludes based on the actual costs incurred. Shipping costs are not one-size fits all and the success of the campaign will play a role in how I approach shipping to some regions.
I am partnering with fulfillment services to get these games shipped cost-effectively to as many backers as possible. Games going to backers from the regions listed above will be shipped in bulk to fulfillment centers at my cost (including VAT).
Below are estimates for shipping of a single game. Actual shipping prices may vary. Each set of 4 games sent to one address will cost roughly twice as much as shipping one game.
- $10-$20: **Continental US, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria
- $15-$25: Most European countries, most Asian countries, **non-continental US states, Australia, New Zealand
- $30 or more: Rest of the world (I'll be looking into solutions to make shipping more affordable as interest grows in specific regions)
**US backers: There is a 15% tariff on board games imported from China scheduled to go into effect on 12/15/2019 (USTR 301 List 4B Item 9504.90.60). If this tariff does indeed happen, you should expect shipping to be on the higher end of the range provided.
Update: I have just signed an agreement with CrowdOx who will be providing the pledge management platform at the conclusion of this Kickstarter campaign.
There are some important conditions around eligibility that we will need to coordinate by email. If you participate in the retailer pledge, please also send a note to me at email@example.com.
Grand Trunk Games was started to help make 18xx more available, affordable, and approachable. 18xx is a wonderful genre with deep and thought-provoking games. GTG is aiming to create new 18xx fans by increasing the availability, learnability, and aesthetics of 18xx games. We are dedicated to ensuring more folks have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate 18xx as the amazing and versatile game system it is.
Risks and challenges
1861/1867 will be the first game(s) published by Grand Trunk Games. I have learned a lot thus far and expect to continue learning throughout this entire project. That said, I have partnered with and am being advised by the best the industry has to offer for graphic design, manufacturing, logistics, and fulfillment. I am aware of the many potential issues that can delay a project and will immediately communicate them to you if they arise.
Art for this project is not yet final. I am looking forward to working with all of you to create the best version of 1861/1867 possible. Feedback is welcome!
Thank you for making this possible!!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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