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On Italian 18xx Gaming

by Federico Vellani

Spring 1996/Vol 3, no 1

I would like to tell your American readers something about the F.G.I.F. (Italian 18xx train gaming association), its activities, and its methods developed in five years of competitive 18xx gaming.

The Percentage
Each player gets in each game a score (percentage) based on his/her final properties compared to the match winner: if in a particular game the match winner has a final score of $8,716, each of the other players receives a percentage of his/her final score divided by 8,716 and multiplied by 1,000, while the winner gets a percentage of 3,000 minus the percentage scored by the second player. We think this is a good way to compare different matches.

The Double-Turn Tournament
Most of our 18xx tournaments are organized with the "double-turn" formula: we have a first turn of matches followed by a second (with the players shuffled as much as possible), then we sum the percentage of each player in each turn, and the player with the highest sum of percentage wins.

The Single-Turn Tournament
Some minor events have only a single turn, and the winner is the player with the highest percentage.

The Elimination Tournament
The tournament held at the National Gaming Convention is usually organized as a single turn tournament, but the best five players play a final match.

The Tournaments
Our sixth gaming season (October 95 to September 96) will have a total of eight tournaments. The average 1830 tournament is attended by about 15-20 players, but some have had as many as 36.

The Championships
The most popular games (1830 and 1849/50 Sicily) have a multi-tournament championship, in which each players gets a score according to his/her position in each tournament (25 points to the winner, then 19, 14, 10, 7,5,4,3,2, and 1 for the tenth) multiplied by a factor (F.T. - Tournament Factor) determined by the attendance at the tournament (1 when there are less than 7 players, 2 from 7-12, 3 from 13-18, 4 from 19-24, 5 from 25-30, 6 from 31 upwards.

Some less important championships (1835 and 1856) are organized with a single tournament.

The Absolute Championship
At the end of the season each player receives a score determined by his/her position in each Championship (20 points to the winner, then 11, 7, 4, 2, and 1 for the sixth). The player with the best score wins the most important F.I.G.F. title.

The General Rating
The General Rating (C.G.) includes all the players with at least one victory in an official match.

Each winner gets a score determined by multiplying the F.T. of the tournament won by another factor. (F.A. - Year Factor) which every year increases by 10% (the F.A. for 1991 was 100, then 110, 121, 132, 146, etc.). So if one wins an F.T. 4 tournament in 1995, he/she gets 146x4-584 points in the C.G. The winner of each Championship gets a similar score but the F.T. is fixed every season depending on the importance of the event (this season every Championship gets a 4 F.T.), while the winner of each match gets a score depending on the year (12 in 1993, then 13, 15, etc.).

Every year a special 4 F.T. event is held among the best five players on the C.G. (the "Top Five"), while the first player on the C.G. receives the honorific title of "Master of the Iron Horse" (this derives from the Latin "Magister Equitum").

18xx PBM
This has been the most important activity of the F.G.I.F. during the first years, but it is now rapidly ending its useful life. I think it will be completely replaced by a more modern PBEM activity from the next season on.

Cavalli di ferro & facce di bronzo (Iron Horses & brazen faces) is our official fanzine, with about nine issues every year. Written, of course, in Dante's language.

The Italian Way of 1830 Gaming
We know you usually complete an 1830 match in less than four hours, but nobody in Europe is able to understand how you can accomplish this, as we usually complete an 1830 game in six or seven hours, and our British, Dutch, and German friends all have a similar score. Do you have some particular "house rule" that helps in shortening the game?

(Editor's Note: I replied that I thought the American/Canadian style of play encourages bankruptcies, etc)

The F.G.I.F. allows each player to use every kind of playing aid, as long as, it does not slow the game now does it disturb the other players. Almost all the people use a more or less sophisticated pocket calculator, a sheet of paper, and a pencil.

The amount of money contained in a particular treasury (personal or corporate) is not secret, and a player can always ask how much money another player or corporation has (this usually does not happen more than a couple times during a single match).

Our tournaments are open to all the people who want to play, without anything like your "open" level, but the players not included in the C.G. (the ones that have never won an official match) are evenly divided among the tables. This sometimes can cause some distortion in a match result, but helps in the rapid building up of a newcomer's capability.


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