1861/1867 Railways of the Russian Empire / Railways of Canada
It is the middle of the nineteenth century and the age of steam is well underway. The Russian and Canadian governments, eager to capitalize on the new rail technology to bring together their vast countries, are sponsoring entrepreneurs to help build their railway networks. You are an investor, seeking to take advantage of their generous offer to make your fortune. However, your governments are not as benevolent as you first thought. They have begun to absorb fledgling rail companies, taking them away from those who worked so hard to build them by regulating impossible standards for new technology. You will have to remain diligent to ensure you are not next.
In 2005, Ian D. Wilson released 1861: Railways of the Russian Empire inspired by the railway development of Russia. In 2015, he released 1867: Railways of Canada, which is a standalone game that uses 1861's core rules on a different map with a handful of variations to gameplay. Both are classic examples of the versatile 18xx system of train games. They are straightforward enough to be your 1st 18xx game while still offering the depth you want in your 100th game.
1861 and 1867 are perfect as weeknight games as they can usually be played by experienced players in 3 hours. The games are staples at 18xx gaming conventions often as a palate cleanser after playing a longer title. What makes 1861/1867 in particular great entry points into the 18xx system is that the two games introduce the different game mechanics in phases. The beginning of a game only has Minor Companies running relatively simple operations and as the game progresses, new mechanisms like Merger Rounds and the National Railway are introduced. They are great games to learn, have a steady but ever increasing trajectory and speed, and pack enough of a wallop to keep players returning to them time and time again.
New to this edition:
- Update: There will be a 2-player variant included for 1861 in this edition! The variant will be similar to 1861S with starting packets that you can bid for but will also remove some trains. Ian said some of his play tests actually finished in under 2 hours which will be great for couples who are looking to play a weeknight game!
- Includes 1861S (short), a game variant where premade bundles of Private Companies and Minor Companies are auctioned off. This is a great way for new players to get started with the game. You can even just hand these bundles out randomly and start in the first Operating Round if there are a lot of new players at the table.
- A teaching scenario that has a scripted playthrough for 2 sets of Operating Rounds that shows off train shuffling, nationalization, compulsory train purchases, loans, and a merge all within the first two sets of Operating Rounds. A really awesome way for new players to get familiar with the bulk of 1861/1867 mechanics quickly.
- A combined and comprehensive rulebook with graphics and examples.
The stock market is not attached to the board. You can play 1861 or 1867 with either the 1861 stock market or the 1867 stock market. Using the 1867 stock market while playing 1861 can make token management easier and it negligibly affects gameplay.
- A handful of variant rules designed by Ian Wilson to streamline 1861 like the train exporting mechanic from 1867 or removing the price floor for nationalizing companies.
- Optional Minor Certificates that represent 100% of a Minor Company will be included.
- A graphical overhaul which includes awesome illustrations and components created by Karim Chakroun and Erik Frobom. Along with these graphical updates are a handful of usability improvements like colorblind icons for tiles, splayable rusting information for trains, and slots on charters for shares and loans, among many others.
- Tile trays that will keep your tiles organized during play or when they are being stored in the box!
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