I know. SNOOOOORE, stocks….so boring! I actually enjoy games that have an element of stocks in them. Normally, when stocks are in a game, there is a very nice push and pull relationship with other players. It turns a normal euro style game with limited player interaction into something that you have to be aware of. Now, it isn’t in your face interaction where you are slapping each other around until snot starts flying out of your nose but I need to be aware of what the other player is doing more than usual. Stocks usually have a pay out in either money or victory points or sometimes both. That being said, here is my boring list of boring games that bore with stocks in the Best 3 Games with…Stock Holding!
3. 1846: The Race for the Midwest by GMT Games
My, Oh My is this a long, solid game. I must admit that I was very intimidated to even try this design by Thomas Lehmann but man am I glad that I did. It was not as daunting as I thought it would be but there is some excellent stock holding mechanics and that is what it’s all about. In 1846, one of the simpler 18xx games, not only are you trying to vie for shares in railroads, you also become the President and have to make the choices for that entire company. Meanwhile, trying to get stock in other peoples railroads so they don’t have too much power in those. I love the decisions of what to do with dividends and who to give money to. I may be the President but I only have one more stock than the next person, while the other person has tons of stock that you might want to piggy back off of. I do want to point out that when we played I was the only one who was President of TWO companies while Grant and Alexander cowared in the corner with one…..AND I kept them both in business the entire game…..moral victory! 1846 has opened my eyes to the 18xx genre and made me want to play others in that universe.
2. The Last Spike by Columbia Games
If 1846 is the entry level of 18xx games, The Last Spike is the Go Fish level of 18xx. AND that’s not a bad thing. The buying stocks aspect in The Last Spike actually helped me understand how that part works in 1846. This design by Tom Dalgliesh is simple, smooth and tense. In this game, stocks only pay out when cities are completely connected. When that happens, the players that own stock in those two cities will get a pay out determined by how many stocks they hold in that city. Each city will only have a chance to pay out 2, 3 or 4 times during the entire game. So, deciding when to close a railroad is most important. You need to time it in a way that you can make the most of it, but if you go after a city to hard, others will pick it up and start to buy that stock also. It is a really solid quick game that makes stock holding a fun and interesting mechanism.
1. Mombasa by R&R Games
I love Mombasa. Sadly my wife doesn’t. I have let games go for that very reason, but Mombasa will stay in my collection. Alexander Pfister is one of my favorite designers and Mombasa does not disappoint. The best part of the stock holding in Mombasa is the player interaction. In Mombasa, there are 4 different companies and each one has their own buildings and stock track. They are not owned by any one person, it is who ever can benefit from them the most, but you can also influence them with putting their buildings out. The more buildings that are put out the more the stocks are worth, but since any one can put them out, you don’t necessarily need to….let others do it for you. You could get stock in a company and never make it more valuable, but if another player wants to, that would be fine for me. I love the dynamic with player interaction when it comes to stock holding in Mombasa. It is such a cool way to interact with each other making your decisions even more important.