18xx with Ambie: Purchasing Trains

May 13, 2020

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 different ways to buy trains.

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 an earlier video in my series I talked about the train rush and how buying trains usually determines the pacing of an 18xx game. In this video I’ll talk more about different ways you buy trains.

In the train rush video, I mentioned that as you buy the new models of trains, old ones become obsolete and get removed from the game. Most of the time a corporation needs to own a train, so when the trains become obsolete, or rust, the corporation needs to buy a new train. In some games you as the President will be liable to buy the new train, and if the company doesn’t have enough money, then you have to pay cash out of your own pocket! In my last video I talked about how corporation money and personal money are different, but this forced train purchasing is one case where your money isn’t quite entirely separated from your corporation’s money!

But forced purchasing isn’t always a bad thing, and sometimes you can use it to your advantage. If you’re only a couple hundred bucks short of getting a really nice train into your company and that company has good routes, then paying the difference yourself might not be too bad since it’s like an investment in getting a lot out of that company in the future.

Another way you can buy trains is from other corporations. Usually this happens between two corporations that you own, since the Presidents of both corporations have to agree to the sale. In a lot of 18xx games, when you buy a train from another corporation you can buy it at any price instead of the listed price of the train. This allows you to do a lot of creative things with train buying. For example, if one company doesn’t have enough money to buy a new train but you have a brand new company with a lot of money, that new company can buy an old train from your other company and transfer all of its money over with the purchase! Or one of your companies can buy a train from another one for just $1. There are a lot of things you can do with this shuffling of the trains between your corporations in order to get the trains and corporations matched up how you want them.

One neat thing you can do combines train shuffling and forced purchasing of trains. Let’s say you have a couple companies with one train each, and you want to buy a new train, but don’t have enough money for it in the companies. Forced purchasing happens when your company has no trains, so even if you wanted to chip in your own money to buy a new train, you wouldn’t be able to in this situation. But you can have your other company buy over the train from your first company, leaving it trainless! Then you can do a forced purchase to get that shiny new train.

Something that’s really important to keep in mind when shuffling your trains is the number of available train slots there are. In most games, there is a limit to the number of trains each corporation can own, and that limit gets lower as the game goes on. For example, in 1830, corporations can have four trains at the beginning of the game, but later on they can only have two. If all your companies are at their train limit, then you cannot buy any more trains at all, and you have no control over the pace of the game! So it’s important to keep track of the train limit, especially at points in the game when it decreases.

The ability to purchase trains can be very powerful in 18xx games, and I think it's neat that there are different things that you can do to manipulate money and trains in order to get the trains you want. Thanks for watching 18xx With Ambie! You can email me at ambie@dicetower.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future videos!
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