Playing 1846 during the pandemic.

While all of us responsible people who are not essential employees are staying at home during the ‘rona, my gaming group has used the online tools that are available to play 1846 three times (as of this writing).

Some of the documentation for these tools have been a little lacking. So here is a simple “how to” guide to set up your own game and break up the monotony of sitting at home or taking a break from Joe Exotic.

We have been using Board18 to display the visual aspects of the game (tile/token placement and stock market movement). First thing you want to do is have everyone you are playing with register an account with Board18. Now that everyone has a username on there, don’t start a new game yet.

During the game you will be using google docs and some sort of chat function (if you are playing live). We use google hangouts since we use everything else that is google. But use whatever you feel comfortable with when communicating.

Now you want to use a google doc to coordinate everything. Create a new document and name it something to the game. For example, if I was playing a game with a regular group from Baltimore today I would name the document Balt184603292020. You will use this group to paste the links to every aspect of your game.

Next, you want to be able to handle the initial setup for 1846 which requires a bit of randomness. Go to Starter App for 1846. Enter your username for Board18 and click submit. You will then see a screen that shows the existing names for that username. (This is why I suggest you use your Board18 username. The sites are not hooked. However, it will help you keep track.) Select the “start a new game” link. Enter the usernames for all of the other people playing and click the start game button. For testing purposes I created a game using TestPlayer1, 2, 3 and 4.

The structure of a link in this system is:

You can see that “TestPlayer1” is in the link. So the link for TestPlayer2 would be: and

Now, can paste each player’s link into the google document you created. Make sure to remind people to only click on their own link.

You can also see that the page shows which privates and rail company were removed. It also randomizes the order of the players.

If you are the active player, you will see the privates that you have an the option to pick one. Nobody else will see what you spend until it is over.

And then when you select your option you choose the option to continue as you. You will then see this (but everyone else sees you as having 400*:

Once the draft is completed, you want to set up the spreadsheet. There is a list of “smart spreadsheets” that make this whole thing really easy. We have been using the 1846 version 2 document. If you open the file, you can click file and “make a copy”. This will save the document in your own google docs. You can then rename it to have the same name as your google doc.

In the upper left hand side you will see the ability to list your players. Put them in the same player order as the Starter App did. As you enter in players, the logic will automatically adjust the bank. You should then highlight the two columns belonging to the company (or companies) not in the game and then right click and hide them. This won’t effect the formulas but you don’t need them to be displayed. We also like to highlight and strike through the privates that are not in the game.

If you have not done so already, now is a good time to set up the game on Board18. Click menu and create a new game. We have used “105” for the game box id field. Enter the number of players. You can search the page for the player names and click them to add them in player order (but player order doesn’t really matter on board 18).

Once the game is created, it will automatically send emails to the players with the link to the game. You can also add this link to the google doc you have created for summary purposes. The google doc will have a default for “view only” for everyone else. You can set the options to allow multiple people to edit the pages as needed. If everyone has a gmail account, you don’t have to do it by link. But you can also just pass the link to anyone playing and set it so that anyone with the link can alter the documents.

The board18 game board is pretty self explanatory. When the tab is active you can always press the “m” key to toggle back and forth between the stock market and the game board. The tiles button also has the option to select tokens. The board doesn’t enforce the rules, so you have to know them well enough to play.

The spreadsheed is very smart and handles a lot of information. However, some of the information on how to use the sheets was not easily found. So here are some suggestions.

  • Always look at column “AA” to see how much cash you have currently to spend in the stock round.
  • When someone buys the President’s share of the company, put 2 in the appropriate cell and then put an X in the column to the left
  • In a stock round, when someone purchases shares from the treasury, make sure to put the corresponding amount into the “share issue” row for the right company.
  • Make sure to put negative numbers for when you spend money in whatever applicable cell there is.
  • When an individual owns a private, list all the companies they own in the V column for that player. The number is listed on the lower right hand of the spreadsheet. If that player owns multiple privates, just separate the numbers by commas. When it comes time to pay the player in the stock round, just copy and paste the cells in the owned to the income column. (Once sold, move the numbers to the matching row for the corporation.)

Things to keep under consideration when playing with this setup:

  • You don’t have any place that shows the “teleport” cost for the tokens of those companies that do teleport. You either have to remember or look it up in the rules.
  • If a corporation closes, there is no real way to mark this. So even though the sheet does tell you what the regular limit is for certificates, you will have to remember new limits if a corporation does close.

If you would like to see screenshots/examples/explanations of anything, please leave a comment below and I will try to explain it better and or provide an image showing what you need to do.

Published By


Richard Price

Hi: This is Rich Price [I wrote and maintain BOARD18 [but not the draft program]].
Please use for all new games. dev1 will be depricated soon and
it is running a slightly older release of BOARD18.

Also please create an issue [file a bug] at if you would
like to request any changes to BOARD18 or to the dream spreadsheets that I maintain.

Finally, BOARD18 currently supports 79 game boxes [each a variation on a 18xx game].

So try some more of them and, as always, have fun, Rich

Richard Price

Corrections: dev2 not dev1 is being depricated.

Also the prod1 site is at


I updated the link to point to Prod. (just saw this)


This was really good, thanks. As with all things 18xx, it can be hard to find info and you helped at least myself in getting started with Board18. And pointing me to that auction tool, much appreciated!


Anytime. Let me know if you would like to see more detail on any particular part.


My group also just played 1830 using the smartsheets and Board18.

We had to figure out the best way to do the auction. We determined and extra sheet added on would suffice. The game ended with me almost going bankrupt (after doing really well at the beginning) and then the first time player going bankrupt. It was brutal, as 1830 should be.

I can’t wait to try out 18CZ.

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