1856 Rules Clarifications and Amendments

Steve Thomas
Version 1.1

This is a set of clarifications and amendments for Mayfair's 1856 game, designed by Bill Dixon. The rules were written by Jay Tummelson, then of Mayfair, and, while they're a lot better than, say, the rule book for Avalon Hill's 1830, there are several areas left vague or not in accordance with the way the designer plays. In what follows, material in braces {like this} refers to page numbers in the rule book, while material in brackets [like this] is rationale and comment. The abbreviation CGR is used to denote the Canadian Government Railways.

My thanks go to Brian Bankler, Bill Dixon, Rich Gorenson, David Hecht, Jay Tummelson, Graeme Thomas, Keith Thomasson, and Bill Wordelmann for their assistance in producing this document.

Comments are welcome.

{p5} The supplied tokens representing Bridge and Tunnel rights are intended to constitute a limit on play. [The rules are silent on this subject; this ruling is the one favoured by Bill Dixon. The contrary ruling has been made by Jay Tummelson.]

{p6} The limit of 50% of the stock of any Corporation in the Open Market applies even if a player holds certificates in excess of the overall limit. This may mean that such a player is unable to comply with the limit. A player in this situation must sell those certificates which he is permitted to sell and which currently count towards his overall certificate limit. [The rules are silent on what to do if this situation arises. This rule is the one used in other 18xx games in analogous situations.]

{pp6, 25} The President's certificate of the CGR always counts as one certificate towards its owner's certificate limit (unless the share price is in the yellow or brown region of the Stock Market) even if the second issue of CGR stock is in play. [The statement on p6 is clear enough. That on p25 can be read as contradicting it unless a firm distinction between "share" and "certificate" is made, and some other parts of the rules relax the distinction.]

{pp6, 7, 25} If a Corporation closes during phases five or six, the certificate limits in force may change as a result of fewer Corporations being in play. [Some players assume that the certificate limit changes only when the CGR forms.]

{pp6, 25} If more than ten shares in the CGR have been issued, its normal (non-President's share) certificates count only half each towards its owner's certificate limit (unless the share price is in the yellow or brown regions of the Stock Market). [The fact that the CGR acts abnormally in this respect is only mentioned on p25, and not on p6 where one would expect it.]

{pp7, 12, 18, 24} If the CGR has never owned a permanent train, its share price does not move for any of the usual reasons. [The fact that the CGR acts abnormally in this respect is only mentioned on p24, and not on pp7, 12, or 18 where one would expect it.]

{p12, 25} A player may only buy one share of the CGR per stock turn, even if the second issue of shares is in play. [The statement on p25 that each share counts only half a certificate could be used in conjunction with the stated purchasing limit of one certificate per turn to allow the purchase of two shares per turn. This is not the intended interpretation, as confirmed by Bill Dixon.]

{pp10, 22} Most of the steps of phase five occur immediately the first 6-Train is purchased. However, the repayment of outstanding Government loans and the possible formation of the CGR occur after the end of the operating turn of the Corporation which buys the first 6-Train. [This rule is very easily missed since there is no cross-reference on p10.]

{p12} A player may sell stock in a Corporation bought earlier in the same turn of a stock round but must retain at least one share in the Corporation just bought. If necessary the same certificate may be bought then sold immediately. For example, a player owning just the President's certificate of a Corporation may buy and then sell a share of that Corporation. [This ruling directly contradicts the statement on p12, but accurately reflects the intentions of Bill Dixon.]

{pp14, 15} The order in which Corporations operate is decided dynamically, not statically, each round. That is, the highest-priced Corporation operates first, then the unoperated Corporation whose price is then highest operates next, and so on. [This ruling has been confirmed by Bill Dixon.]

{pp15, 16} When replacing green "OO" #59 tiles with a brown "OO" tile with a gentle curve on it (#64, #65, or #67) the two cities on the green tile must remain separate on the brown tile. That is, the two edges on the green tile with track segments on them must not be joined by a gentle curve on the brown tile. [Connecting together the two cities on the green tile arguably maintains existing track and breaches no other rule especially if there are no tokens on the tile. Nonetheless such upgrades are traditionally banned, and this ruling is confirmed by Bill Dixon.]

{p17} Brown #125 city tiles may only be used in map locations marked with an "L". They may not be used to replace #14 or #15 tiles in other locations which will not take a brown #63 tile. [The first sentence in the rule could be taken as definitive and the second explanatory; in fact it's the other way round.]

{p18} If a Corporation has insufficient cash and earnings combined to pay its loan interest, its President must contribute some multiple of $10. This may mean that the Corporation will have some cash left over in these circumstances. [This is what the rules say if examined very carefully.]

{pp18, 24, 25} If the CGR has never owned a permanent train, it may not declare a dividend. [The fact that the CGR acts abnormally in this respect is only mentioned on pp24 and 25, and not on p18 where one would expect it.]

{p19} If a Corporation has no route, it is not obliged to own a Train, even if it had a route in its turn in a previous Operating Round. {Some players assume that once a Corporation becomes obliged to own a Train, it retains that obligation for the rest of the game.]

{pp19, 24} If the CGR has never owned a permanent train, it is obliged to purchase, or upgrade a 4-Train to, a Diesel when it has sufficient money in its treasury, even if it has no route, and it is not obliged to purchase a train simply because it has a route. [The fact that the CGR acts abnormally in these respects is only mentioned on p24, and not on p19 where one would expect it.]

{p21} If the game ends before the CGR is formed, all Corporations with outstanding government loans have their share values reduced by $10 per outstanding loan held by that Corporation. [This rule is often missed, even if it is clearly stated in the obvious place in the rules.]

{p23} When replacing station markers of Corporations absorbed into the CGR, home station markers are replaced first. [This rule is often overlooked, despite it being in the obvious place, clear, and unambiguous.]

{p24} The CGR may borrow a Diesel if it currently owns no Trains and has never owned a permanent Train. It must withhold earnings if it has never owned a permanent Train. If it has never owned a permanent Train and has either at least $1100 in its treasury or a 4-Train and at least $750, it must acquire a Diesel from the Bank, by purchase or upgrade. If the CGR has ever owned a permanent Train it may not borrow a Diesel and, if it currently has no Train but does have a route, it must buy a permanent Train and its President will have to assist if it does not have sufficient cash in its treasury. [This is mostly in the rule book, but widely misinterpreted.]

{p29, Map} Each of East and West Toronto is worth $30 until it is upgraded with a #120 tile. [The map is correct, the table is wrong.]

{Map} Hex N19 (south of Welland) should have a mountain symbol on it. [The mountain represents the Niagara Escarpment, which in real life is somewhat to the north of where the 1856 map has it. The bulk of hex N19 is flat.]

This page was last modified 24th March 1999.

Change log
08/03/99: Initial version 1.0
15/03/99: Added geography lesson about hex N19
23/03/99: Clarified rule about buying & selling stock in one turn
23/03/99: Changed e-mail domain
24/03/99: Made Bridge and Tunnel tokens a limit on play
24/03/99: Fix cut-and-paste typo in CGR train-buying
24/03/99: Move out-of-order sections

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This page is maintained by Chris Lawson (chris.lawson@virgin.net)
Last Updated 30th May 1999