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 the private companies.
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 private companies. A lot of 18xx games start out with private companies, which are either auctioned off, dealt out, or drafted at the beginning of the game. These companies are player owned and don't get split up into shares like corporations.
Private companies vary by game, but most of the time they either have a special power or generate revenue for you each round, or both. Also in a lot of games at some point the corporations can buy private companies from players in order for the corporations to use the powers and to give the players some money. When you choose which private companies you want at the beginning of the game, you should take into account what value they will provide for you in the game - from their special powers, from the revenue they give you, or from the money you'll get from selling them into corporations.
Private companies are different in every game, but I'll go over a couple of specific games here as examples so you can see some of the variety. In 1830, there is an auction at the beginning of the game to get the private companies. Although most of the companies have special powers, the real value from the companies comes from being able to sell them to the corporations for up to two times their face value. For example, this private company has a face value of $110, so when you sell it into a corporation you can get $220 in cash for it! This is kind of like embezzling money from the corporation, since you want money in your own hands, not in the corporation you’re running. The private company also gives you this revenue each round. So when you initially bid on getting the company, it’s like you’re paying some money at the beginning in order to get some income plus a huge chunk of money later in the game when you can use it to start up a new corporation. But in 1830, all the private companies get removed from the game when the first 5 train is bought, so depending on how quickly that happens, the total amount of revenue you get from the private companies can vary.
Conversely, in 1880: China, the private companies are always owned by players and do not get sold into corporations. For these companies, the special powers they provide are more important, because they give you as a player the power for all the corporations you control. They also give revenue each round, but like in 1830 there’s a point in the game where they will close and stop generating revenue. But unlike 1830, the powers of many of the private companies in 1880: China last the whole game, so you should take that into account during the initial auction. They can also guide you in deciding which corporations you want to run, since some powers match well with certain corporations.
These were just a couple of examples, but every game has different private companies and it’s difficult to know how to value them, especially if you haven’t played the game before. In some games, private companies are super important and if someone gets good ones for cheap, they’ll have a really strong start. As you play more, you’ll see how good each private company is and get a better idea of how much they’re worth. Thanks for watching 18xx With Ambie! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future videos!