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 what a train rush is.
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’m going to talk about the train rush.
I mentioned the train rush a little bit in one of my earlier videos, but I’ll go over it some more here. I’ll be using 1830 as an example, but the concepts apply to a lot of different 18xx games.
The trains are usually what determine the pacing and arc of the game in 18xx games. There are different types of trains, usually getting better and more expensive as the game goes on, indicating the more modern technology that has come out. As new trains are bought, the phases of the game change. For example, in 1830 when the first 3 trains are bought, it goes into the next phase and you can upgrade track to the green tiles instead of just laying the yellow tiles, and the corporations can buy private companies.
Sometimes phase changes are good to trigger, since you can be the first one to take advantage of the new things that the phase allows, and you also get the first of the new shiny trains. Also, if someone else is doing well in the current phase, you’ll want to change the phase to try to get ahead of that leader! Because phase changes are determined entirely by the purchasing of trains, this mechanism is like a clock that’s determined by what players do. If players decide not to buy that many trains, it can take a lot of rounds to get to a new phase, but if players all buy multiple trains at once, then that phase change can happen in just one round.
Another thing that sometimes happens when new trains are bought is that old trains become obsolete. In the games, this is represented by removing all of that type of train from the game. For example, when a 4 train is bought in 1830, all 2 trains are removed from the game. Usually, at some point in the game all of the new trains will be permanent. In 1830, the 5 trains are the first permanent train, and it can be really good to get a 5 train, since it will never become obsolete and it is cheaper than the future permanent trains.
Sometimes in a game when the new trains are bought and the old trains become obsolete, the corporations that had those old trains no longer have a train. So then they need to buy a new train, and it’s like a chain reaction of train buying with a bunch of trains going obsolete. This is called a train rush and can be a really exciting thing in 18xx games. Being able to time it correctly so that you come out ahead from the train rush can be really important, and it can also be devastating to players when they don’t expect the train rush to go so quickly. In 1830, if you’re able to maneuver your corporations to get the first permanent trains, you’ll be in a really good position for the game while everyone else is scrambling to get enough money to purchase the more expensive trains. This is personally one of my favorite things about 18xx games, since I really enjoy the timing of trying to make it out alive when there’s a quick train rush.
Thanks for watching 18xx With Ambie! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future videos!