18xx with Ambie: 1882: Assiniboia

November 1, 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 gives an overview of the game 1882: Assiniboia.

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. You can check out the rest of my playlist for other general concepts about the games too, because I’ll be using some 18xx-specific terms here. In this video, I’m going to give an overview of the game 1882: Assiniboia, which takes place in western Canada. The core game of 1882 is based off of 1830, but there are differences that make it even harsher, with a more brutal train rush and more bankruptcies than 1830. The version I have here is self-published, but there’s another version published by All-Aboard Games.

Companies and Trains [0:51]
Unlike many other 18xx games where it’s common for each player to be able to float a corporation at the beginning of the game, many times in 1882 players will need to collaborate and get help in order to float public companies. In contrast to 1830’s $2,400 that gets distributed to players at the beginning of the game, 1882 only has $1,800, so only one or two companies will be started in the first round.

There also are only seven companies in the game, and sometimes only five of them will ever float during the game depending on how the private companies and tokens are played. Because of the low starting capital, there’s a slower start with the trains and 2-trains tend to last a while. But there’s one fewer 3, 4, and 5 train in 1882 than in 1830, so once the 3-trains come out and everyone has money to float their own companies, the game can have a pretty brutal train rush. This leads to bankruptcy in many games among both new and experienced players.

Map Revenue & Costs [1:44]
There are some extra revenue options on the map that give corporations more money when operating. There’s this fishing exit, which can be an additional revenue stop that doesn’t count toward the length of a train. Also, there’s a bonus $100 that you get if a route includes both Hudson Bay and one of the west off-board locations. Additionally, in the northwest corner of the map there’s a North-West Rebellion, or  NWR zone where if a company lays track there, it gets 20 dollars. This can be attractive to lay track on, but at some point in the game, which is determined at the beginning of the game, there’s an event where all the yellow track in the NWR zone is removed. So if you’re laying track there, you have to be careful that you time it correctly so that you’re able to recover your routes in time for your next run!

There are also things that cost money for company operation. You can choose to lay two yellow tiles in an operating round, paying $20 for the second one. Also, there are these rivers on the map. If a corporation lays track to connect across the river, they must pay for it. But this private company, the Trestle Bridge Company, pays its owner 10 dollars every time a connection across a river is built instead of having normal revenue. The private also comes with a share of a random company determined at the beginning of the game, which adds a bit of variety to which corporations get floated first.

Tiles [3:00]
The tile roster is very tight in 1882, which means there are very few tiles and it’s hard to find a tile you need for the track you want. Most non-city upgrade tiles have straight track in them, so it’s hard to make curved paths. Also, there are very few starting city tiles, so it’s common for people to start a company and not realize until later that there isn’t an available tile to lay on their starting space! This makes track laying pretty harsh, but allows you to be able to create some pretty clever track to block other people’s routes.

Neutral Tokens [3:28]
One unique thing about 1882 is the neutral tokens. Most public companies have a free neutral token that they can place in addition to their company tokens. These neutral tokens take up a slot on the tile, but all companies can pass through them. This can help you secure your own routes, but it also allows others to pass through as well, so it’s an interesting decision whether or not you want to use a neutral token. In addition, there’s a special corporation, the Canadian National, that uses only the neutral tokens that have been placed by others. It can not be floated until a neutral token has been placed, and it doesn’t have any tokens of its own! So placing neutral tokens will help the Canadian National as well.

Saskatchewan Central [4:06]
One of the railroad companies, the Saskatchewan Central or SC, is tied to a private company, so only the owner of that private company can float it by exchanging the private for a discount on the President’s certificate. If the private is sold into another company or removed from the game before the SC is floated, then that company will never float! The SC starts on any non-reserved spot on the map, and its home token can even replace a neutral token, which makes it very flexible, and can also make it so that the Canadian National doesn’t have any tokens. Additionally, whenever the SC is parred, an additional train of the currently available train is added to the game. So the player who has control over floating this company can have a lot of control over the train rush.

Conclusion [4:50]
Overall, 1882 is a harsh and cutthroat game that is great for people who want a shorter 1830-style game. The interesting powers of the private companies can be very impactful, and the neutral tokens can really mess things up. It’s a great game for people who want a quick, aggressive 18xx game with lots of sharp edges. 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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