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John's 18XX Site -- MainLine Section

Fourtrack Mainline - Guidance for Players / House Rules

Last updated 1 June 2015


1.1 A route may not start and finish in the same Off-board area, even if the area covers more than one hex or has multiple designated access points.
1.2 In games where a player can place a bid on a Private Company that is yet to become available for purchase, an order to bid on a PC will be taken to mean that it will be purchased at face value if the opportunity arises. Any bid made for a PC will be assumed to be the maximum you wish to pay and if you can get it cheaper you will. The winner of a contested auction will pay the minimum legal rise over the second highest bid.
If the purchase of a Private Company results in the player acquiring the President's certificate of a share company and no par price is given then the maximum par price in the game will be used.
1.3 In 1861 If required, unless the player specifies otherwise, a loan will be taken to pay for track construction costs and/or to pay for a second tile lay.
1.4 18EU Minor Token Exchange when a Minor merges into a Public Company, unless specified otherwise:
If both have the same President the Minor's home token will be converted into a token of the Public Company.
If they have different Presidents the Minor's home token will not be converted into a token of the Public Company.


Just send them to me by e-mail. Include them as part of the message and not as an attachment.
Don't send in HTML format. Plain text is best for me to receive.
Don't use attachments, except by prior agreement.
I will attempt to acknowledge receipt of orders, but can not guarantee to do so.
Deadlines will normally be 4 weeks apart.
If you are going to be away, for instance on holiday or for work, tell me and I will do my best to work around your dates, putting a game on hold if necessary.
Do remember that a deadline is the time and date that I must have your orders by, I do have some tolerence, but the more frequently you need reminding after the deadline, the less tolerant I will become in all respects of your actions and inactions.
I will normally try to send a gentle general reminder that the deadline is approaching, but can not guarantee to do so, this will not affect my tolerance level of your actions and inactions.
Any order that you submit can be conditional on anything that has or has not happened earlier in the round or can be determined by logical process.
The use of subjective words such as "best" or "worst" should be avoided unless you specify what you want them to mean.


The name of the game you are playing in, e.g. 1830 X11.
Your name.
The deadline that you are submitting orders for.
The rounds that you are submitting orders for.
If you are including orders for more than one game in the e-mail please leave at leat three blank lines between the sets of orders and ensure your name and other details mentioned above is on all sets.


The company that you are submitting orders for.
The tile number, hex reference and the orientation of the tile you wish to lay. If a list of possible tile lays is provided then I will read across the line and apply the first legal one, unless I am told otherwise.
You can, if you so wish, include a comment about your intentions. If such a comment is included then I will consult and use it to resolve any uncertainties in your orders, but I won't use it to amend a perfectly legal instruction.
There is no need to prefix a tile lay order with a phrase such as "if green tiles are available then lay ..." the order to lay a tile is quite acceptable, if the tile isn't available then I'll just go onto the next in the list.
Note that pdf files of all the tile orientations are available to download from the Tiles section of each game.
The routes you wish, hope, the trains to operate. Obviously the later in the Operating Round your company operates the more uncertain this will be. I will always try to look and see the best routes and apply them, but not if your company is operating first or in an isolated part of the board. You know what you are trying to achieve, I can only guess.
If you wish to pay a dividend or retain in the company treasury.
If you wish to buy any new trains for the company, and if so where from. If buying from another company include how much you are paying. In the event of a discrepancy between what you offer and what the selling company wants, your offer will be treated as a maximum you are prepared to pay and the demand from the selling company is the minimum they will accept.
In the event that the maximum offered is greater than the minimum required then a sale price at the mid point of the two sums, rounded down to the nearest legal amount for the game, will be used.
If you may have to sell shares to fund a train, then indicate which ones.
If you are prepared to sell a train to another company you must specify which company and the price you want for the train.
If the transaction is between two companies you own then the instruction should be in both the selling and buying companies.
All instructions you wish me use, do remember to check that they are unambiguous.


State whether you wish to buy New or Old shares if both might be available, the use of the phrase "cheaper of old or new if given a choice" is quite acceptable to me, but do remember to include what to do if the Old and New price are the same.
If a list is provided the first available share on it will always be bought, unless instructed otherwise.
State if you are prepared to sell any shares, and if so which, to meet your desires.
If you may at some time have too many shares indicate what you will sell.
If you are intending to float a new company then include the par price, if applicable. Phraseology such as "Par, maximum that will enable me to buy x shares" is quite acceptable.


I will not invent orders on your behalf. If doing nothing is a valid and legal option then that is what will be done. - Remember you are playing the game not me.
I will not unbalance the game, disadvantage another player or company, but I may not operate Trains you don't order.
I will look and see what the best routes for your trains are if requested, but I do expect you to give likely routes. In general the later a company is operating in the round the more accommodating I am. If your company operates first I am unlikely to spend much energy looking for a route for you and certainly won't entertain any demands/requests for a larger payout if I haven't found the optimum.
Do remember that if you leave it to me I'm unlikely to agree to accept an upward revision of the income if you spot something later on.
A company will pay a full dividend if you don't specify "Pay" or "Retain".
The phrase "Buy Train." where no type or source is defined will be taken as the cheapest train in the Bank, even if this is a second hand one that will shortly turn to rust.
If the Bank has sold out of the type of train that is specified and the company already has a train then no purchase will be made.
If a company is obliged to buy a train and no purchase is specified or the type specified is sold out, then the cheapest train in the Bank will be bought, even if this is a second hand one that will shortly turn to rust.
If a company is obliged to buy a train and no purchase is specified and it does not have sufficient resources then the company will take a loan and if still unable to afford the purchase it will ask the President for help, which he will give selling shares as required, unless the game rules require an alternative order of actions or exclude one or other of the options.
If a company is obliged to discard a train then the cheapest train will be discarded.
If the purchase of a Private Company results in the player acquiring the President's certificate of a share company and no par price is given then the maximum par price in the game will be used.
If you order to buy a Presidency/Directorship and do not include the par value or an unambiguous means for me to determine it, if required, no share will be bought.
If you order to buy a share and don't specify new or old a new share will be bought.
If I have to sell shares for any reason and you haven't provided a sell list, then shares in companies of which you are not President/Director will be sold first. Sales will be in decreasing order of current, as opposed to par, price. If there is a choice, alphabetical order of full company name will be used to resolve any ties.
In 1829, both N & S, the Survey Party can not follow another one to a destination hex, unless both are becoming Station Markers. If no alternative destination is provided by the Director I will move the Survey Party as far along its intended route as possible towards the desired hex. If, when the desired hex is reached, no legal hexes have been encountered the Survey Party will continue until a legal destination is encountered. If this fails to find a legal destination I will then move clockwise around the originating hexes' sides and try again until I can find a legal destination.
In 1856 at the CGR Formation, no help will be given to a company to repay its loans. The CGR will not discard a Type 4 train.

3 My House Rules that Override the Game Rules

Even if the game rules state to the contrary the following information will be publicly available:-
Player Cash.
Player Stock Holding.
Company Cash.
The amount paid for a train from another Company.

Even if the game rules state to the contrary the following will apply.
There is no restriction on communication between players.
Players may make agreements within the context of a game. All such agreements between players are considered, by me, as verbal and as such are only worth the paper they aren't written on. I will not intervene to enforce any such agreement. There is no requirement to inform me, or any of the other players, of the agreement.

And finally, I will listen to your point of view, and correct any genuine errors I have made, but remember I am judge and jury.