Trains, Mines and BEER!

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And Heat. And Sweat…..

18DO is the next (logical?) progression in what is becoming the ‘family’ of Harzbahn/Ruhr titles. If you have played either of those games and enjoyed them, this title looks to be right up your alley. This game differs from it’s predecessors in a handful of ways and while there is potential for a TON of game in the box (as evidenced by Ruhr and it’s excellent expansion) We have a prototype copy and as of this writing, we only have the one scenario to play around with. All the same, I am really looking forward to playing around with this game and here’s a handful of reasons why.

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The map is as you might expect from a title in this vein, coal and steel mines all over, some of which are active, others passive. Just like Ruhr, there are 8 of each coal and steel mills, 8 of which are in play at a time offering tons of variety and challenges to explore. However, in this title, there are also breweries. At the very outset, (even before the ISR!) players are force-fed their choice of 3-6 private breweries (dependant solely on player count). Each player receives one, they all begin with different brewing equipment, but behave mostly similarly.

The breweries start small, buying small amounts of equipment and delivering small amounts of beer. Later on, the owners can choose to go public and really ramp up their production. (A nescessity really, for the budding beer barons out there.) The player owning a private Brewery can purchase the 30% directors certificate for a public brewery and at that time, exchange their private brewery charter for an extra 10% if they want. Once the big guys come out to play, they make more money and buy more equipment. (If you’ve played Ruhr or Harzbahn, you’ll know that trains and equipment are both the same cards for railroads and mines. Well, brewing equipment is on the backside and while the breweries don’t work directly with the railroads or mines, sharing the same pile of equipment adds a nice little pile of complications to the game…)

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Here we have an example of the front-side of an “investment card” showing a train as well as the green square showing the development tokens provided a mine were to buy the same card. (On the reverse is a picture of a brewing kettle) Some of the sharper eyed among you will have noticed that a) the trains are cheaper in 18DO and b) there are some funny blue squares on the development tokens indicator….. Whenever an ‘investment card’ is purchased for mining equipment, the demand for beer is increased.

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This is the beer market. There are three types of demand for beer in the region. Special demand, General demand and Exports. The Breweries in play have to be the best, using the best equipment, having the flashiest labels and delivery practices in order to maintain their customer base. The first player delivering beer gets the best prices because they can deliver to the choice customers. Those who show up late to the party have to deliver their beer to the general public and will have to take whatever price they can get. And only those breweries with advanced enough equipment can make a run of exporting their products… The market and how it represents demand is very novel and a very cool twist on the ways to make money in 18xx games.

Did 18Ruhr need more bells and whistles? I’m not sure yet, but After we play this beast 2 or three times at Hattanooga, I’ll be sure to let you know!
Hope to see you there this year, but if not, make sure to mark your calendars and book off next year now.