1846 Strategy – Private Companies: Their Strengths and Weaknesses



In 1846, the private companies are divided into 3 groups, which are signified by the color of the dot on the face of the private. Each group has its own theme/focus, and each private company has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses are what I’ll be exploring in this post.

Black Dot Companies

These companies will be in every game of 1846 you play; therefore, you can always plan any strategies or tactics with all of them in mind.

Michigan Southern

Highest revenue private company in the game of $30 minimum
Can hasten or stall the quick EW run from Windsor to Chicago Connections
When bought in, the assets (train, cash and token) go to the public company.
Grants public company a token in Detroit

Most expensive private company at $140
Least liquid private company – of that $140, only $60 can be returned to player when bought into a public company.
Public company must manage trains in OR1. A public company must have space for the minor company’s train if it wishes to buy it in, so sometimes a public company should only buy two 2Ts when it has use of three. This assumes of course that it wants to be able to buy a green train in OR2.

Big 4

High revenue potential of $20 minimum
Token in a central board location
When bought into a public company, the assets (train, cash and token) go to the public company.

Second most expensive private at $100
Partially liquid – of the $100 purchase price, only $40 can be returned to play when bought into a public company.
Public company must manage trains in OR1 (See Michigan Southern for explanation)

Chicago & Western Indiana

Extra, reserved token in Chicago
Token is less than a standard token. Public company pays anywhere from $1 to $60.

Low Income of $10
Moderately Pricey

Mail Contract

Effectively adds 1 or 2 cities to the value of a run
Doesn’t close if owned by a company
Excellent potential during late game to help cause double and triple jumps in stock value.

Very expensive to purchase
Zero ($0) revenue
Honestly, this is my least favorite of all the private companies.

Blue Dot Companies

The blue dot companies are all money related. They can increase the revenue potential of certain cities, or they can decrease the cost of building tiles. Unfortunately, they each are not always in the game, so strategies and tactics regarding them can only be situational.

Steamboat Company

Can make cities significantly more profitable
Flexible in its usefulness
Any public company can access a port location
Moveable placement of steamboat token while the private is open allows for mid-game adjustments due to track builds or train considerations.
Token lasts until a silver train is purchased

Low income from the private company of $10
Profitability is dependent on which public company owns it.

Meat Packing Company

Moderate income of $15
High increase to city profitability
Token lasts until a silver train is purchased

Moderately expensive
Less flexible in its usefulness to the public company
Only 2 spots it can be used
Can’t be moved once placed
Fewer public companies can benefit from this private

Tunnel Blasting Company

High income of $20
Can make expensive builds easier early in the game.

Moderately expensive
Useful only to a few public companies

Orange Dot Companies

The Orange Dot Companies focus on track building. One thing that is nice about the Orange Dot Companies is that their building ability can occur anytime during a company’s operation (not just in the building phase). Additionally, a public company does not have to be connected to the hexes to use the private company ability. Like the Blue Dot Companies, they each are not always in the game, which makes any strategies or tactics involving them always situational.

Lake Shore Line

Moderate income of $15
Potential for a Double Green tile lay in a single OR gives decent board control possibilities
Useful to most Public Companies

If someone else makes the upgrade of the hex before you are able to, then the ability is rendered obsolete.

Ohio & Indiana

Moderate income of $15
Gives strong board control over middle of the board
Useful to most companies in the game

Timing of when to build and/or when to buy in has to be carefully executed to avoid giving other players opportunities that you won’t immediately benefit from yourself.

Michigan Central

Moderate income of $15
Controls access to Holland
Primarily useful for its income and liquidity

Not very useful to any company if the trains are pushed aggressively via share liquidation. When this happens it is typical unnecessary to include Holland in your run for maximum profitability.

In a future post, I’ll cover selecting private companies during the draft. Meanwhile, I hope you’ve had a chance to improve your 1846 awareness by reading this post.

Take care & game on!

Conductor of the Cotton Belt Crew

Posted in 1846, 18XX Strategy

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