1830: Railroads and Robber Barons

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-02-08 22:43:25

1830: Railroads and Robber Barons - Rank A


Developer: SimTex
Publisher: Avalon Hill
Date: 1995

1830 is a faithful (so I'm told) adaptation of the Avalon Hill board game of the same name. For those of you unfamiliar with Avalon Hill, they're legendary for producing fairly hardcore war/strategic board games. For those of you unfamiliar with SimTex, they were the guys who developed the first two Master of Orion games. This combination of oh so delicious peanut butter and rich delectable chocolate resulted in a pretty amazing computer game.

You play as one of several historical railroad barons, and attempt to subjugate the others under your corporate heel. Oddly enough, the game's strength isn't so much about running a railroad company, but in conquering what may be the best representation of the stock market to ever grace a computer game. Laying down tracks and managing trains is secondary to deposing corporate presidents and dealing with hostile takeovers.

1830 requires a significant investment; it is most definitely not a pick-up-and-play game. The A.I. of your opponents is ruthlessly strong, and it'll take no small effort (or reading of the intensive manual) to grasp what you're doing. One game of railroad wrangling can easily run ten hours of complex play. The graphics and sound are rough even by 1995 standards, but if you're interested in a multifaceted economics simulation, you should give 1830 a good, hard look.

You can find a copy of 1830 here. Make sure you grab a copy of the documentation as well; you'll need it to bypass the cumbersome copy protection of the game. You'll also need DOSBox to run it. Documentation for this x86 emulator can be found here.

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