A guide to gameplay and basic strategy for 1822: The Railways of Great Britain

May 24, 2021

1822: The Railways of Great Britain is another board-game that belongs to the family of 18xx games, most of which are based on an economic engine. The general idea is to build a network and then use this network to earn money which can then be re-invested to build a better network thereby netting out bigger profits. 18xx games are called as such because they focus on the early 19th century when railroads were being developed around the world. Some games are titled with a particular year but most focus on a particular region in the world with the companies and the geography of that period. Players participate in starting railroad companies and building a rail network as best as they see fit.

1822, the base game takes place on a map of Great Britain and it being a very popular title, has given rise to numerous variants, most of which switch some of the privates and/or the underlying map around. The defining feature of note in this game is that almost everything is up for bidding, from the private companies to the minor companies as well as the options to start the major companies (concessions). Another defining feature is a big map with randomized starting configurations which provides for a lot of replayability and is thus a very popular game!

While the game is set in Great Britain and the money denominated in British pounds, this guide simply uses the $ symbol for money instead.

Table of contents
Rules and gameplay

1822 is a typical 18xx game in that you have a Stock Round (SR) followed by Operating Rounds (ORs). In the SR players bid on privates (if any available), Minors (if any) and concessions (if any). They may also sell/buy stock (if any) subject to stock/certificate limits. The game starts off in Phase 1 with L trains and 1 OR followed by a SR until the first 2T is either bought or flipped after which there are always 2 ORs between SRs.

A purchase or export of the next rank of train triggers the relevant numbered phase with the effects of the phase coming into operation immediately. The exception is the 2T which triggers phase 2 but the number of ORs change only after the following SR (similar to most 18xx OR length changes).

Major companies
Unlike other 18xx, one may not start a major company, i.e. a standard 10-share, right off the bat. Until phase 5, major companies may only be started via concessions. Moreover, a concession may only be exchanged for a president's certificate once Phase 2 is in operation and that too only after it has been held in hand for a set of ORs, i.e. one needs to first bid for and win a concession in order to be able to exchange it the following SR (if phase 2 is in effect).
  • In phases 2, 3 and 4 majors may only be started by exchanging held concessions. A concession provides a $100 discount towards the president's certificate. Thus, the minimum amount of cash required to float a major is $20 if parring at $60 for a total of $120 for the president's double share. The LNWR is an exception as it comes with a single share president's certificate and the concession may be exchanged for the president's cert without requiring any extra cash. While the LNWR concession may be exchanged for any par price, there is no rebate for starting the concession below $100 however.
  • In phase 5, majors may be started by setting a par price and require 50% shares sold in order to float.
  • Major companies are incrementally captitalized with shares in the treasury paying out to the company.
  • In phase 6 and 7, majors are fully capitalized with 50% shares going into the market once 50% shares have been sold.
  • Par values for majors are: 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100.
Note that a major company has a fixed home location and a fixed destination. Running a train from home to destination doubles the destination value. Thus, companies with high value home + destination combinations have much more potential than the others! e.g. LBSCR here has a 2-stop run to its destination right from London to Brighton.
Minor companies
A minor company is basically a 2-share company that starts off with its token in a fixed location. The minors are numbered and most of the cities on the board have an associated minor. Minors are obtained by bidding and the minimum bid for a minor is always $100.
  • In phase 1 minors always par at 50, no matter the value of the winning bid.
  • Once phase 2 hits, a minor gets all the bid money to a maximum of 200 with a maximum par value of 100. The par value is rounded down to one of the standard par values based on the winning bid, i.e. a 155 bid will result in a 70 par price.
  • In phase 3 and later, a minor gets all the bid money but the maximum par value is always 100.
  • All minors operate before majors in stock value order.
A defining feature of minor companies is that they may be acquired by major companies with holders compensated in cash and/or shares from treasury:
  • Both a minor and a major need to have operated atleast once in order to acquire / be acquired.
  • Moreover, a major needs to be able to trace an unblocked route to the minor in order to be able to eat it.
  • Payment for the minor may be done with 1 and/or 2 shares from the treasury and/or cash from the treasury. The minor needs to be fully paid for with the current assets on hand. The assets of the minor are only acquired once the acquisition is successful. Some examples:
    • If a minor's stock value is 90 then it costs $180 to eat. If a major's share price is 80 then 2 of the major's shares only total up to $160 and the major needs to pay the player another $20 from its treasury in order to be able to acquire it.
    • If a minor's stock value is 90 and a major would like to acquire it by paying 1 share from the treasury at $80 stock value then it requires to pay $180 - $80 = $100 from the treasury in order to be able to acquire the minor. If no shares provided, then the major simply pays $180 cash from its treasury to the player.
    • If a minor's stock value is lower than that of the major, e.g. minor is at $70 and major is at $110, then the player needs to pay the major the difference in stock value, i.e. 40*2 = $80 for the acqusition.
Thus, at the start of the game minors can be thought of as pieces to a puzzle that is the major, they start early building track for the major and then get eaten with the shares being converted into the major and assets transferring over.

Later in the game, minors can also be used to inject capital and/or trains into major companies as they can start at say $600, steal a rusting train from a major and then let it get absorbed in the next OR. Again, this is easier said than done due to the requirement that the minor needs to have operated atleast once but this will be revisted in the strategy section.

The L train

The L train is a special train that only runs the station itself + an optional dit. The game starts off with L/2T being available with the L convertible into a 2T. The minors are allowed to buy an L train before operating which allows them to lay track and run right away. Since the minors only ever get $100 in Phase 1, they can at best buy the L train (with the exception of the AEC private which lets a minor gain a permanent L train and can subsequently buy a 2T right away).

The L train costs $60 and requires $80 to convert / flip to a 2T. Therefore, one of the key decisions in getting a minor revolves around whether its L train will flip or not.

Private companies

Similar to other 18xx, private companies pay a fixed income (if any) and are generally used by majors/minors for their abilities. They payout at the start of every OR and they generally never close but do count towards certificate limits. An interesting twist is that the privates are simply acquired by majors/minors at the start of their turn, thus allowing a player to bid for and win a private, collect its income and then put it into a minor/major and use its ability right away.

A Pullman allows counting dits for free. The LYR and/or LNWR work really well with a Pullman.
Stock Round (SR)
In a SR, a player may either bid on items (if any) or sell/buy shares in majors.
  • Sell 1 or more shares then buy 1 share certificate OR, bid on upto 3 items.
  • May only buy shares if under 60% ownership.
  • May only sell shares upto 50% of a company in the market.
  • Shares of a company that has not operated once bought, may not be sold.

Note that while a player may not buy more than 60%, they may by way of acquiring a minor own more than 60% of a company. Thus, it is quite possible for a player to own 100% of a company in this game!

An important difference from other 18xx is that the priority order for the next SR is determined by cash on hand. This allows someone with a strong cash position to freely invest in others without having the risk of a company being dumped on them.


During a SR players have a fixed number of bid tokens and may only bid on 3 things at a time. Bids may only be made if there is cash available and a currently winning bid reserves the cash accordingly reducing that players cash on hand. Bids must be increased by a minimum of $5 with the lowest being a $0 bid. Once a player has bid on an item, the bid token is used for that item. Therefore, choosing what to go for is a critical part of strategy which we will look at later.

Operating Round (OR)
Minors operate first in stock order.
  • May acquire privates.
  • May only lay 1 yellow track or 1 green upgrade if phase >= 3.
  • May never upgrade to brown/grey track.
  • Always pay half and withhold half.
  • Move 1 spot right on payout. 1 spot left otherwise.
  • May buy trains from the depot and/or other companies subject to train limits.
  • In phases 1 and 2, may only buy trains from the depot.
  • If no train then president must contribute funds to emergency purchase the cheapest available train from the depot.
Majors operate after minors in stock order.
  • May acquire privates.
  • May lay 1 yellow tile in phase 2, 2 yellow or 1 upgrade from phase 3 onwards.
  • May place tokens.
  • May choose to pay full, half or withhold.
  • Stock moves right 2 times if payout is 2x >= stock value, moves right once payout is >= stock value and stays in place if > 0. Stock moves left if withhold or 0 payout.
  • May buy trains from the depot and/or other companies subject to train limits.
  • In phase 2, may only buy trains from the depot.
  • If no train, then president must contribute funds to emergency buy the cheapest available train from the depot.
  • May acquire minors that have operated and are connected.
  • Prior to phase 5, may only acquire minors that have operated. From phase 5 onwards, may acquire upcoming minors by paying $200 to the bank. May choose to keep token or use to free up an exchange token.
  • May issue/redeem one or more shares. Issuing is done at final price after stock movement based on number of shares issued with each issued share droping the stock marker 1 spot down. Redeeming is done at current stock value after payout/withhold.
Emergency train buying
  • President is required to contribute funds to buy the cheapest available train from the depot.
  • If the president does not have enough cash on hand, must sell shares subject to restrictions (not exceed 50%, no presidency change, must have operated).
  • If not enough shares to sell, or cannot legally sell shares, must take a loan at 50% interest.
  • In the subsequent SR, must repay loan with any cash generated as first action. A player holding a loan may not perform any actions in the SR unless they can sell shares to repay the loan.
  • If held, a loan is charged another 50% interest at the end of the SR.

The game starts off with the first SR featuring a randomized mix of concessions, minors and privates. The order of all the minors, concessions and privates is fixed with the first 4 Minors, the first 3 concessions and the first 3 privates up for bidding. If the first Minor company is not bid on, the company is removed from the game and the next available train is exported. At the beginning of the game in phase 1, each minor that is not bid on, forces the removal of a 2T. Note that the minor itself remains (unless it was the first one available). The concessions remain until they are bid on or until Phase 5, when they automatically close. The privates remain as well but this will likely never happen as one can simply win a private with a bid of 0.

Thus, the general idea is to shoot for a couple of minors that pair well with one of the available concessions and get some nice privates along the way that will let one run a wonderful major company!

Basic strategy

One of the key concepts in this game is that due to the explosion of money and the way the Priority Deal (PD) is setup, holding good shares is the way to win the game. Ideally, one would like to keep 100% ownership of their own company but for really good majors, it is difficult to achieve as the shares get sold out rather quickly. Another critical concept is that due to the structure of the stock market, continuously double jumping via payouts is key to making a great major. From this regard, 1822 is a fairly standard run-companies-well game. Running good companies allows players to make the most money which they then use to invest and get richer.

Not all majors and minors are equal. At the start of the game, choosing the right major/minor combinations is crucial to winning the game. Given that minors start out with an L train that rusts as soon as a 3T is bought, it is imperative that the minor is able to generate $80 in time to flip the train over to a 2T. Note that there are some minors that are intentionally not viable but can still be used to lay good track for their supporting major, e.g. M7 + LYR or M13 + SECR. Thus, the SR1 minors are really worth bidding for as they are mostly guaranteed to flip their L trains.

Some minors start in extremely good locations and some are just middling and not worth much. Same with the concessions/majors. The privates offer guaranteed income and getting deals at the start of the game is great. Note again that this game is about being able to make the most $$$ each OR so that you come into every SR flush with cash. A look at fair values for minors, concessions and privates is provided later in this guide.

The ideal situation to strive for is to have 2 good minors and a good concession with a couple of privates that synergize well with the major. Again, given the setup of the stock market, starting the concession early right when phase 2 hits is highly recommended in order to be able to reach those late game market values. Moreover, the earlier that one can convert the minors into higher value shares as well as give the major company more assets, the better the company can perform.

While it is not possible to go into all the possible strategies, if done by the book, this is what winning gameplay looks like:
  • Get good high-paying minors in SR1/SR2,
  • Collect a concession in SR1/SR2,
  • Collect synergizing privates in each of the SRs, with a special focus on the 2P/LP in the SR where a concession starts,
  • Start concession as soon as phase 2 hits,
  • Eat a minor to maintain control of concession in the subsequent ORs,
  • Invest in other high value companies as well as try to gain as much control of own major as possible by eating more minors.
  • Inject enormous amounts of capital in mid/end game into major and run some ~$1500 E train runs!
Train roster

As mentioned previously, a train exports depending upon whether the first available minor has been bid on or not. Moreover, in Phases 1 and 2, each unbid minor exports a 2T/L train card with 2 2T/L trains being exported if the first available minor did not get bid on. Thus, given the fact that there is only one OR in phase 1, the early trains move fairly quickly.

Conversely, given the train costs, the 3T is straight up the best train in the game. Getting three 3T is a great setup but do be careful to not go overboard on them either. Being able to run the 2T one last time and get the 4T is also a wonderful place to be in. As in all other 18xx, having a mix of trains is a good idea to keep the engine running. Getting the first 5T is always a good move, even if it means that a 3T gets chucked into the pool due to train limits.

Finally, towards the end game, in order to start double jumping around the $400 mark, companies need to payout > $800 which requires either 2 really good trains or likely an E train that can reuse existing track and doubles locations with company stations. Thus, companies that have been working hard at building out track and placing their tokens are rewarded with ~$1200 runs in end game. However, once the E trains come out the bank starts emptying out really quickly so if one is late to the E train party, it might just be that it is not worthwhile anymore.

Game end

The game ends when the bank runs out of money, in which case the complete set of 2 ORs is completed, or if one of the companies hit the max value in the market. In the latter case, the game ends at the conclusion of the very OR in which the top of the market was reached. This is very critical as it can happen that the second OR does not take place leading to some wasted investments.

Minor values

The most important thing to note here is that good early minors are simply amazing value for money. That is doubly true if the tokens are also useful as a token itself is worth the $100, e.g. the M10. The following values are highly dependent on what is available, what is upcoming and who is invested where. While one should not be afraid of bidding high for the early minors, one should also carefully assess their cashflow and look at future prospects before engaging in a bidding war. As in all 18xx, positions are relative and if you are the only one over-paying for things, you're not going to win. However, getting high-paying minors for cheap can also be game-breaking if one player is simply making ~$100/OR on minor income!

The base price of minors is expected to be $100 with the premiums varying between the different SRs:
  • M1: One of the best minors around, runs for $40 off the bat with a L train. SR1 can go as high as 180, SR2 ~150.
  • M2: Only viable in SR1 and that too only useful for NBR, CR concession holders.
  • M3: Good flexible minor, SR1 ~180, SR2 ~150.
  • M4: 2 track lays allows it to run for $30 thus making it viable in SR1 and SR2. Can pay upto ~$30 premium.
  • M5: Needs 3 track lays to make $30 making it less viable, max $110.
  • M6: Even if it will flip its train, it costs too much to connect to it. Do not buy!
  • M7: It is generally never a viable minor but it can be useful if bought in Phase 2 and can help build track for the LYR and/or LNWR. If it ever gets overbid on, just let it go - the track lay is the most important piece here.
  • M8: Only viable in SR1 - decent central location and can be useful for MR, LYR, LNWR and/or NER.
  • M9: Do not buy!
  • M10: Best minor in the game. An extremely useful token and can sell for upto $220 in SR1 and between $180 to $200 in SR2.
  • M11: Requires 3 track lays to make $30 so only viable in SR1 but it is very useful for the LNWR.
  • M12: 2 track lays lets it make $30 so it is viable in SR1 and SR2 but nothing incredible. However, can connect to London for a decent 2T run but runs out of steam quickly thereafter. Expect to pay ~$30 premium.
  • M13: Not a viable minor but functions similar to M7 in that it can be used to lay track for SECR.
  • M14: this is an interesting minor - it starts on a location in London and on its first action it is required to pay $20 to place a token in the chosen location. It can thus be lucrative to get a London token for an E train and is generally viable if there is another London minor/company operating which helps in upgrading London. Expect to pay ~$140 for it in SR1.
  • M15: A london minor and very useful for the LNWR owner. Expect it to go for ~$160 in SR1.
  • M16: One of the best minors around. It is a very useful London token and can make $40 with a London upgrade. Expect to pay $180 in SR1.
  • M17: An interesting minor that does not pay much but is useful for a southern concession like the GWR, LBSCR or even the SECR. Expect to pay ~$120 in SR1.
  • M18: Similar to M17 but worth less as it sits in a city that does not upgrade further than green. An interesting point to note about M17 and M18 is that since the southern concessions start off in London, they require another token in order to be able to run multiple trains. The LBSCR gets a destination token in Brighton however the GWR needs a token somewhere in order to not get locked in.
  • M19: A great minor that makes $40 with an upgrade. It can go for ~$170 in SR1.
  • M20: Another interesting minor that can go for ~$160 in SR1.
  • M21: Same as M19, good money maker. Expect to pay ~$170 in SR1. The welsh minors make a lot of money with a 2T in phase 3 and are therefore worth a lot in the early game. They definitely need to be eaten by phase 5 as that is when the values in Wales drop.
  • M22: Requires 2 track lays to run for $30 so it is viable. Useful for southern concessions. SR1 max $120.
  • M23: A very strong minor that makes $40 prior to phase 3. Can go for a lot of money if there are no other good minors around. SR1 $160-$180. It can get difficult to get it connected but it works ok with the GWR / LBSCR.
  • M24: Always starts the game in bid box 1. Guaranteed to flip its train but is nothing exceptional as it does not lay much track. SR1 max $135 but can drop down if one of the other Welsh minors goes before it and builds track for it dropping its revenue down to $20. Still, it is guaranteed a first L train run for $30.
  • M25: Will barely flip its train, stay away.
  • M26: Will barely flip its strain in SR1/SR2. Can be considered with the HSBC private in phase 2 onwards.
  • M27: A very strong minor and very useful for the NBR concession holder. Runs for $50 right off the bat so can command between $180 to $200 in SR1. It does suffer from being stuck in the north which might drop its price early game if there is no northern concession around.
  • M28: This minor is the CR destination and can make $30 with 2 track lays so it is viable. Should hardly ever get bid up.
  • M29: Viable in SR1 and only useful for being eaten quickly by MR, LYR or the LNWR.
  • M30: Only viable in SR1 and not really worth it as it takes a while to connect anywhere. Works better if paired with M23 as the M23 can pay for track to get out.
Private values

While the privates offer a fixed income and look really good at the start of the game, most of the value in the game comes from shares and stock appreciation. Thus, rather bid more on a minor than a private no matter how shiny it looks like. However, at a certain price point it might be more worthwhile to let somone dig themselves into a hole with train liabilities and go for deals on privates.

This is a subjective opinion but one of the biggest draws of the private offering permanent trains is the fact that a newly floated corporation can acquire a train and if it has an immediate run, can payout to not fall back and maintain its stock value. Thus, getting a 2P or a LP close to the SR that the major is started is worth much more than any other time.

  • P1: A permanent 5 train that only be assigned to a major once the first 5T has been bought. Expect to pay anywhere from $70 to $100.
  • P2: Allows removing a town to lay plain track. Very useful for the LNWR in order to get rid of the town right in front of its home or even any of the northern companies to get rid of Castlecary. Very flexible and useful - can go for anywhere between $30 to $50.
  • P3 & P4: A permanent 2 train which once assigned may not be sold. Great for companies like LBSCR that have a 2-stop destination but can really be an asset for just about any company. While the 2P is permanent, a company still needs to own a regular train. However, a company may treat a 2P run separately from its normal train run(s). This separate 2P run may be individually paid out full, half or withheld. Thus, a 2P is also great for not letting a company drop in stock value if it is ever caught without a train. Expect to pay ~$100 and higher if it will will be put into a high value route like those of LBSCR / LNWR.
  • P5: Free token in the English channel. Very useful to unlock an extra token as well. Anywhere from $35-$50.
  • P6 & P7: Mail contracts that pay out to the company when running trains. Note that a major may acquire both mail contracts and can use 1 mail contract per train. Very useful, expect to pay ~$60.
  • P8: Mountain terrain discount. Useful for NBR, LYR, LNWR. Expect to pay $35 to $50.
  • P9: Declare double cash for turn order, or assign to company for dividends. Turn order can be very useful mid-game where there are few good shares left as players absorb their minors. Fair value ~$50.
  • P10: Estuary crossing and river terrain discount, ~$35.
  • P11: Advanced track lay, this is a very subtle private as it can be assigned in Phase 2 and pays income to the company each OR. This can be effectively used in order to let a minor flip its train. The ability is also useful and can be used to get out of a sticky tragic track situation. Expect to pay ~$35.
  • P12: Additional track lay, very useful and can make or break eating a minor. Expect to pay ~$35.
  • P13 & P14: A pullman private may only be used in Phase 5 and functions as a train enhancer and may be assigned to any running train allowing it to count towns for free. Very useful for LYR, LNWR and even one of the northern companies. However, can also be used by GWR to go north from its destination or by LBSCR to skip the town next to the English Channel. Expect to pay ~$60.
  • P15: Pays a fixed amount of money to player and to the private itself. It may be acquired at any point in the game providing the collected money to the company. Closes in Phase 7 so is useful to collect money until Phase 5 and then used to buy a permanent train. Expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $120 depending upon the SR.
  • P16: An additional share slot. Does not pay any income but is extremely useful to either gain an extra share of one of your own majors or an extra share in the end game for higher share density. Expect to pay anywhere between $15 to $35 depending upon the SR.
  • P17: Move a certificate up or down in the upcoming list of items. While this sounds useful, given that it may only be used when acquired by a major in Phase 3, its utility is somewhat limited since there would be shares to buy at that point. However, sometimes it can work well towards the end of the game in order to pull a london or a birmingham token up and eat/bid on it. Mostly just used for the private income otherwise. Expect to pay ~$25.
  • P18: Token swap private which is useful to unlock a token, expect to pay ~$35.
  • P19: A permanent L train which functions similar to a 2P with a fundamental difference that it may be acquired by a minor. Thus, one could privatize the income from an LP if the shares in the major are leeched. Expect to pay ~$120. Note that a minor may not run 2 L trains so getting it in SR1 is not extremely lucrative as one still needs to wait for the train to flip. However there are some minors that can effectively use an LP first thing and buy a 2T directly. e.g. the M1, M10 and the M27.
  • P20: Similar to P15 but only pays half as much. Thus, values are accordingly between $40 and $60 depending upon the SR.
Concession values

Since running a major company is a critical part of the game, a bidding war on a lucrative concession is highly likely. Major company values are generally defined by their destination values and how quickly they can reach them. However, bidding someone up on a concession when you do not really want it yourself is a dangerous play if the opponent simply lets it go and pivots to a different company.

  • CR: not the greatest company since its destination will never upgrade further than $30. Expect to pay $100.
  • NBR: A great northern company with a very strong easily reachable destination. Requires a minor or two in order to help it lay some track but can handle itself on its own in the north without any problems. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $130.
  • NER: A decent company in mid-game when track towards its destination in the north has already been built. No premium.
  • MR: Not the greatest company but due to its central location might get bid up a bit.
  • LYR: A great company with a high value destination. Expect to pay anywhere from $110 to $140.
  • SWR: One of the worst companies but useful to connect up with Welsh minors. The concession should hardly ever attract any bids but sometimes there are no good choices.
  • LNWR: A company with a bright future as it gets its destination token right away. Paired with a Pullman it can run for a lot of money in mid-game. Moreover, a single share presidency means that it can be floated at a $100 par without any extra capital. Expect to pay ~$120.
  • GWR: A decent southern company that offers a lot of flexibility with Welsh/southern minors. Expect to pay ~$120.
  • LBSCR: An amazing southern company that starts in london with its destination 2 track lays away. Paired with a 2P, this company can really fly. Expect to pay anywhere from $120 to $140.
  • SECR: Generally not the greatest but it can do well if started in conjunction with a friendly LBSCR. Expect no premium.
Advanced strategies

1822 is a tough game to get right and even experienced players get caught up in bidding wars or make bad decisions. The following is to be tried when one is comfortable with the system.

Delayed phase 2

Since phase 1 only has 1 OR, the 2/L trains are exported at a faster rate the longer phase 2 takes. Thus, having a high-paying minor that can flip a train in 2 ORs is a boon for other crappy minors around. Given this situation, it might be useful for the player with the good minor to not flip their train especially if the table counted on them doing so. This might mean a small drop in income for the player forgoing the flip but it could take some players out of the game if they are not able to start their concessions in time and eat their minors. Another good reason might be that you still need to acquire a concession.

Thus, always try to ensure that you do not get caught with a bunch of trainless minors or have a plan to eat your minor in case it does happen. However, if you are caught in this position, it might be reasonable to take an early hit and e-buy a 3T since they are the most valuable train in the game.

Low par lead company

Generally, the first concessions that start end up as the best companies in the game. Thus, setting the initial par price is a crucial decision to be made. A high par is great for pumping cash into the company later. However, a low par lets the company start jumping right away with $50/$60 runs. Moreover, one can possibly buy 3 shares at $60 thereby owning more of their major right from the start.

The risk here is that the major will get sold out since the shares are cheap and moreover, it will always run after the higher valued companies, thereby likely not getting to run its 2T one last time. Despite these drawbacks, a low par is great because it allows one to eat a minor and get money back from the share difference. Thus, a player enters the SR with the most cash and may then invest in higher quality shares.

In an interesting twist, getting a 2P for a low par major is a death blow as it will get leeched into right away. Ideally, one wants to run the low par lead company a bit miserably so that it does not attract too much attention. The idea here is let a few shares remain in the treasury so that maximum ownership can be attained. At some point, once a player owns 80%+ of their lead company, they can focus on pumping lots of $$$ into it.

This strategy works best with the 5P but might even work better if one has a lot of minors running around which can be used to shuffle trains around and e-buy 3Ts for a poorly financed major and/or run 2Ts one last time before they rust and get eaten up.

Two concession start

While the early minors are great, if there are only a few viable minors around, it could be that players find themselves priced out of auctions. In this case it might just be worthwhile to get multiple concessions and start them both together. A high/low combination is recommended as it lets one run a high-value company and another as a high-ownership company. The reason here is that while minors pay out 50%, one needs to own atleast 50% in order to keep up with the cash generation of the minors. Finally, the chances that the high-value company gets stolen are low as it would require a lot of cash and the low value company will likely not attract too many investors as those shares likely look dangerous since the president has another company with which to shuffle assets around.

Paying out via minors

If a situation arises where a player has made a great company but it is split 50-40-10 between their competitors, what they can consider is starting minors, stealing trains and then letting the major half-pay to eat the minor to extract the cash back into their hand. While this is probably not a game winning strategy, it does allow one way of extracting value out of a fully leeched company. The minor can be kept around for a while if the trains are not looking to rust anytime soon.

5T for $800

Like most 18xx, getting the last 4T is not very attractive as it opens up the permanent trains for the next operating company. Given that the 5T drops the train limit of companies to 2, depending upon the situation it might be worthwhile to get it if only to deny the competition from running 3 trains in their companies. Moreover, if it can be engineered, the first 5T can be obtained for $800 by getting the last 4T and then buying the 5T right after and chucking one of the non-permanents.

Late 5P

While one generally wants to employ the 5P as soon as possible, under circumstances it can be much more lucrative to wait for the SR and float a company in Phase 5 and assign the 5P to the second company and let it generate money right away! Do note that the 5P is not a fixed train like the 2P and may also be bought and sold like a normal trains. It may only be assigned to a major however.

In an interesting twist, if this strategy is employed, it is likely that the company being floated gets sold out because players expect the 5P to be assigned in there. This provides immediate capital for the 5P holder which can be used to inject an E train into their lead company! Thus, a 5P can potentially change the tide of the game but it requires skillful play in order to stay competitive upto this point in the game.

E train injection

Running an E train is everyone's favourite activity. However, getting an E train into a major is a tricky accomplishment. Due to the fact that one may not e-buy an E train (the 7T is cheaper at $750) a company is required to have $1000 on hand. There are 2 general approaches to putting an E train into a major:

  • Hold out on the permanents and buy an E-train directly and ebuy a 7T. This is very tricky to execute as the non-permanent trains rust out fairly quickly leading to missed payments :(.
  • Start another minor or a major and inject capital into the major via a train purchase. Starting another major in phase 6 is the simplest approach as it gets fully capitalized with $1000 which can be used to cross-buy a train.
  • However, depending upon the certificate limits and track, spending 4 certificates on a shell company might not be worth it, especially if it is simply looking to run a train for 2-3 ORs at best. Bidding over $1000 on a minor in this situation can be more useful as it allows putting in an arbitary amount of money into the company, maybe even enough to cover for not only an E train but also a few tokens as well. Given that the minor operates first and needs to have operated atleast once, do note that it will stick around for 2 ORs requiring another train for itself which might change the calculations a bit. In an ideal situation, there is a second company roaming around that can absorb the minor for shares.
Final notes

1822 is a great game that offers a lot of replayability with the different combinations and bidding. However, it can get a bit stale when playing with good players as it will come down to a bit of luck when placing bids. Sometimes, an item will get very hotly contested letting the others get away with deals. One of the downsides here is that if played properly, the rich simply get richer and there is no chance for players who have fallen behind to catch up :(.

Still, 1822 brings a lot of new and interesting concepts to the 18xx genre and it always offers a very nice starting puzzle :).