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1997 Roadmap for 18xx Gamekits by Chris Lawson

by Chris Lawson

Spring 1997/Vol 4, no 1

The following will give you an idea of what I am working on and expect (or hope) to produce in 1997. In 1996 I produced three separate gamekits (1899, 1841 and 1876) as well as the 1825 Component set, this year I hope to release even more new gamekits than last year. My production plans are not definite and very informal, so please bear with me if things take longer than expected.

The first paragraph is an informal 'where am I in design stage' while the second paragraph is a short description of the game.

1842 by Wolfram Janich
Currently I am waiting for feedback from Wolfram Janich as I have just sent him copies of the 1842 components. I will be starting the Maps soon and then it will be just the rule book to finish (which does require quite a bit of work as I have many questions on the rules). The gamekit will be of a similar size as 1899 (in terms of components) and I hope the price will be in the same region. Please note that Wolfram sold his 1842 gamekit at three times the price of my 1899 but we have not agreed on how much commission he is to receive.

1842 is based on the 1835 style of game and is located in the Holstein area of Northern Germany. It has Minors, shares are available in tiers and includes new features such as the HAV Corporation (shares of which are owned by the other Corporations and sole purpose is to build on the two Hamburg/Harburg hexes) and limited inland City upgrades (where a city must be connected to an E/W or N/S route before the tile can be upgraded). The game contains one Private, five Minor Railways and seven Railway Corporations (eight if you count the HAV) it is designed for 3 to 5 players and takes 4 to 5 hours to play (based on the standard that 1840 takes 4 hours to play).

18TN by Mark Derrick
Next is 18TN, I have also just sent off copies of the components to Mark Derrick. So it will just require the map to be finished, then the rulebook which should be a lot easier in this case. I am still a bit worried that this game requires a lot more fine tuning to make it workable. I think it will need about 4 months of heavy playtesting to ensure that rules give a fair game. The map needs more work and there are still problems with the Private and Par Prices as well as some rules.

18TN is based on 1830 (but with the 1870 tile mix) and is located in Tennessee and Kentucky. It is intended to be a good introductory game as well as a worthwhile game that takes under 3 hours to play. It seems to be on its way to achieve this as it has added only a few new rules and have removed a lot of the unnecessary 'chrome'. There are only four Private Companies and six Railroad Corporations and is designed for 3 or 4 (maybe 5 as well) players.

1849 by Federico Vellani
Federico has asked if I would like to produce the latest version of his game which he hope will be complete towards the end of the year. I hope to start this in the near future and even if the new version is not ready, I can at least start working on the bulk of the components. I am looking forward to this one as I have asked Federico about producing it for a while now.

1849 is based on Federico popular 1841 game and is located on the island of Sicily. It is intended to be a more accessible introduction to the 1841 style of 18xx game. It incorporates many new ideas from 1841 but only takes under three hours to play. Two features of the game is use of narrow, normal or dual gauge track (similar to 1853) and Trains that have a 'range' of 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 hexes. There are actually two scenarios designed specifically for 3 or 4 players, but can be played with 5 players as well. There are five (or six) Railway Corporations but no Private Companies.

Editor's Note: The TGA has decided to continue to highlight small press and independent train game publishers whenever possible. We started this direction with an overview of Federico Vellani's works and now we bring you Chris Lawson.

Mr. Lawson is an interesting case. While his production has never matched that of Mayfair's or Avalon Hill's when these companies produce train games, he has continued to put out product that impresses with its high quality and its variety. He also has access to both the European and North American 18xx train game designers which the TGA delights in and applauds. We are pleased to bring train gamers information on this valuable asset in train gaming.


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