18xx with Ambie: Playing Online

January 1, 2019

18xx with Ambie is Ambie's video series about 18xx board games featured on The Dice Tower's YouTube channel.

In this video, Ambie talks about ways to find a gaming group and ways to play 18xx games online.


Board18: http://board18.org/
Rails: http://rails.sourceforge.net/
rr18xx: http://www.rr18xx.com/
(not mentioned in video) 18xx.games: https://18xx.games/

Heavy Online Global Games (Invite Link)
18xx Slack (Invite Link)
boardgames IRC

Hi! I’m Ambie, and this is my video series about 18xx games. If you’re not sure what 18xx games are, check out my 18xx intro video. In this video, I’ll go over some ways to find a group to play 18xx games with and how to play 18xx games online.

One of the difficult parts of playing 18xx games is finding other people that have the time to play with you. I’m actually very lucky because my friends and I got into 18xx games together, so I have a group of people I can play with in-person, but if you don’t currently know anyone who wants to play 18xx games, you might be able to find new people in your area. We’ve had good luck meeting people through game meetups or local conventions. We live in an area that has a lot of game meetups, and there are a couple 18xx specific meetups that we found. We’ve also found people through Board Game Geek, which has a useful feature where you can search for people who live near you.

If you can’t find people to play in person, then playing online can be great! I’ve actually never played an 18xx game online, but I’ve heard about many different ways that people like to play online, so I’ll go over a couple here. I won’t go into all the different sites you can use to play 18xx games online, but three of the main ways I’ve heard of people playing online are Board18, Rails, and rr18xx.

Board18 is a tool that you can use to play games over email or chat. The web interface displays the game board and stock market, and you can lay track and place tokens on the game board. There’s no rule enforcement, so you’ll have to know the rules when you play. Also, you’ll need an external spreadsheet to keep track of the money, shares, and trains that everyone has, but there are plenty available and linked from the website. Since it’s entirely manual, there may be a high learning curve to get to use Board18 and the spreadsheets, but it has over 40 different games available to play, so it’s a great choice if you want a variety of titles.

Rails is a Java program that you download to your computer. You can use it to play in a live game with players all around the same screen, but it also works to play online through email. Once you make a move, you can save the log file and pass it back and forth through email or some other file sharing method. Rails enforces the rules and is automated, but only supports a little over 10 games.

Rr18xx is another fully automated site with a little under 10 games available. Unlike Rails, rr18xx is entirely web-based. In order to play on rr18xx, you need to log in using a promo code that you can find from someone who’s already registered - you should be able to find it from asking around in any online 18xx group or forum. Although the site says it’s under construction, it works fine and many people play games through it.

Whichever way you choose to play, one thing to keep in mind when you start an 18xx game online is that since you’re playing asynchronously, games can take months to play. Before you begin a game, you’ll want to check with the people you’re playing with to make sure you’re all on the same page with how often you’ll be checking in and making moves. Also, it’s usually good to have a dedicated place to chat about the game, since things like auctions go a lot smoother in real time. There are a few slack groups that have a lot of 18xx players in them, and there are channels or entire groups dedicated to online play. I’ve also seen people set up games through Board Game Geek or the #boardgame IRC channel. I’ll link these in the description.

Hopefully this can get you started with getting a group together to play a game! If you want more information, follow the links in the description. People in the forums and chat groups are usually very helpful with answering questions you may have. As always, thanks for watching 18xx With Ambie! You can comment below or email me at ambie@dicetower.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future videos!
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