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Railways on the Isle of Wight were always a triumph of public service over profitability. The first railways on the island were partly built in response to Queen Victoria's love of Osbourne House, and ran from Cowes of Newport, and from Ryde to Ventnor down the east coast. Work started in 1860, as an odd collaboration of the South of England's bitter rivals, the LSWR and LBSC. Further lines were built by local companies, often with high hopes. Eventually trains ran from Ryde to Ventnor, Freshwater to Newport, Cowes to Ryde via Newport, Newport to Sandown, and Merstone to Ventnor (the most picturesque line on the island). A branch line from Brading to Bembridge was added to the main East Coast line. The south west of the island was never connected to the network, as the terrain and lack of profitable traffic made this region unviable. A proposal to build a line down the south west coast was put forward in the 1880s, but the line was never built.

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1860 was designed by Mike Hutton and published in 2004 (first edition) and 2009 (second edition) by JKLM Games.
1860 is © 2004, 2009 Prune Enterprises.

The game is set on the Isle of Wight, with five private companies and eight public companies (corporations).

The game starts with a stock round, during which the private companies and the Directorships of the C&N and IOW are sold by auction. Once this initial auction is complete, shares in the public companies are sold.

The stock round is followed by an operating round, where the private companies pay dividends to their owners and the public companies that have sold enough shares to operate start building their railroads.

The game continues in this way, alternating between stock rounds and operating rounds. In later stages of the game, two or more operating rounds take place before the next stock round.

The game ends when either the bank runs out of cash, the value of a coporation reaches the top of the stock market, or when the railways are nationalised, which happens after the sale of the first '9+5' train and when all operating corporations have at least one train.

If the bank runs out of cash at any time, the game continues until the current operating round is completed. If the bank runs out during a stock round, the next operating round is completed. If the bank subsequently becomes solvent before the game ends, this does not have any effect - the game still ends.

If the value of a corporation reaches the top value on the stock market, the game ends at the end of the current operating round.

If the railways are nationalised, up to four operating rounds take place, with companies closing at the end of each operating round until all companies are closed.

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My default rule set for these games will be the second edition rules (basically, small stations can be ignored as well as halts), and while the original board is available for two-player games, with three or four players I will use the extended board (a whole two hexes larger).

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The following more unusual features are part of the 1860 game. These summaries are not intended to cover all the rules relating to these features, and are provided as an aide memoire.


A company that has been floated but no longer has a director goes into receivership. A company in receivership will be operated by me until such time as it has a new director. While a company is in receivership, the following restrictions apply to its operations:

  • The company lays no track and may not place new tokens.
  • The company runs its train for the maximum revenue possible and retains the revenue.
  • If the company does not have a train at the start of its operating turn, it becomes insolvent immediately, and can then lease the next train available in the bank on that turn. The company must buy the next available train from the bank as soon as it has sufficient company credits, at which point it ceases to be insolvent.


A company that ends its turn without a train, but with a valid route to run a train on, becomes insolvent at the end of its operating turn. An insolvent company must retain revenue, may not place tokens, and may not upgrade track or build track that would incur a cost. An insolvent company must buy a train from the bank as soon as it is able to, unless it buys a train from another company first. A company ceases to be insolvent once it has bought a train.


If a company price falls to zero, the company becomes bankrupt. All shares are returned to the initial offering without compensation, and are available for sale once more at the start of the following stock round, starting with the director's certificate. The company's bases remain on the board but are turned over to indicate that they restrict other companies' track development but do not prevent other companies running trains through those cities. The bankrupt company's treasury, trains and unused base tokens are kept with the company charter, available for use by the next director if it is refloated.

Destinations (Optional Variant)

Each of the public companies has one or two destinations. When a company runs trains between its starting town and a destination, it receives the bonus related to that destination.

Note that there are other optional variants in the rules. The Destinations variant and any other variant will only be used if agreed by all players and myself prior to the start of the game.

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Mail me © Keith Thomasson September 18th 2004