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Original Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joshuastarr/shikoku-1889/
Project updates will generally be posted on the first of each month via Kickstarter!
Japan's period of sakoku (鎖国, "locked country") has ended. The Meiji Restoration is underway and an explosion of technology has overtaken the country, with the locomotive as the leading symbol of modernization. The island of Shikoku is no exception as railway operations emerge around the island and entrepreneurs attempt to make their fortune.
In Shikoku 1889, you play the role of these entrepreneurs, starting and operating railways corporations to build Shikoku's railway network with the hopes that you will have amassed more wealth than any of your competitors by the end of the railway revolution.
Shikoku 1889 is a re-release of the classic 18xx title "1889: History of Shikoku Railways". For nearly 2 decades, 1889 has been considered to be the best introduction to the 18xx genre for its short playtime and simplicity to teach. Even though Shikoku 1889 is simple enough to be your first 18xx experience, it has an incredible depth that will take many plays to unpack. You can read about my personal experience discovering this game's depth here.
- A new name: While this game has had the title "1889: History of Shikoku Railways" for many years, I made the decision to change the name to "Shikoku 1889". If you'd like to read about why this decision was made, check out my blog here.
- New graphic design and illustration: We spent nearly a year to bring you the most aesthetically pleasing and functional 18xx presentation to date. You can read about our graphic design process here and here.
- Full rulebook rewrite: This rulebook comes packed with written and visual examples, a game overview section, and clearly written rules. This rulebook was written to be the best way for any new player to learn 18xx. You can see the current draft of it here.
- High-quality components: 1889 for many years has only been available as a hand-made game. This will be the first mass-produced edition and will be made by manufacturers who are industry leaders for component quality.
Prints for Erik Frobom's beautiful illustrations are available in this pledge manager. You can get prints for Shikoku 1889's cover art, Shikoku 1889's map, as well as his "Rusted Blossoms" illustration (seen below). You can also purchase a set of 4 mini-prints featuring 4 illustrations from Erik's "Progression of the Shinkansen" series.
18xx is a game system that you may have heard of but may have not yet tried due to its reputation for being long and complex.
Many 18xx games however, are actually fairly straightforward, take 3-4 hours to play, and are absolutely fantastic gaming experiences. You play the role of an investor who starts, operates, and purchases shares of railroad companies. The railroad companies build their networks across the map and purchase trains that will be used to generate revenue and pay dividends to the companies’ investors. Company values are tracked on a stock market, which players will use when making their investment decisions. At the end of the game, a player's score is determined by the value of the shares and cash in their hands.
What makes 18xx games so compelling to play is how players are able to affect the game and each other with seemingly insignificant decisions. Since games typically have perfect information, the outcome of the game is completely driven by the actions of the players.
If you are new to 18xx, check out Ambie's "Intro to 18xx" series on YouTube
Also, rather that pull quotes from reviewers, here are some quotes that meant a lot to me.
"I always wanted to get into 18xx, but the bad rulebooks, ugly art, high complexity and long playtime kept me from it. This edition fixes all of my issues. Thank you for making this!! I can't wait to get my hands on it!" -KS Backer
"Considering the container crisis and physical weight/size of 18XX games, $20 shipping is inexpensive. Also, taking into account that it's the first time this game has ever been mass-produced, $50 is a steal (previously, it has only been available on a 2 year waiting list for twice the price at https://goldenspikegames.com/). Remember that 1889 is widely considered as the best gateway to 18XX, even more so than 1830 or 1846 ; so by reprinting this grail game at such low profit margins, Grand Trunk Games is doing God's work." -BGG User
"Josh, the compromise between aesthetics and the bold clear iconography that players expect is remarkably well done. Kudos to you and to Carthiginian." -Veteran 18xx player
Thanks to Toby Mao and his amazing team of engineers, Shikoku 1889 is free to play online at https://18xx.games/. Click here to start a new game of Shikoku 1889. (Psst... the brief introductory tutorial on 18xx.games is actually for Shikoku 1889, click here to learn how to play!)
Do you prefer to learn by watching a video? Check out the teach and playthrough Ambie, Toby, and Talbot did on The Dice Tower.
Do you prefer to learn by playing a physical game? Thanks to Christopher Giroir and his amazing team of engineers, Shikoku 1889 is available for print-and-play through 18xx Maker.
Would you prefer the Carthaginian version (or other redraws) of Shikoku 1889? Those are also available for print-and-play! Files are most often uploaded directly to the game page on BoardGameGeek. (NB: These are not official GTG files, but am I happy for graphic designers to share their projects with the rest of the gaming community.)
See this shipping sheet for rates. See the below table for what the VAT will be at checkout for EU and UK backers.
Yasutaka Ikeda, Design -- Yasutaka Ikeda is an accomplished game designer, perhaps most well-known for his role selection game Shadow Hunters. While he plays and designs many types of games (including escape rooms), nearly 2 decades ago, Ikeda-san took on the challenge of designing a game that would be ideal for teaching 18xx but also had great depth for veteran players. We'd say he succeeded.
Joshua Starr, Publishing -- Josh is a board game player first and a publisher second. His original inspiration for starting Grand Trunk Games was to create more 18xx players so that it would be easier to find a game locally. With the success of his first 18xx Kickstarter, 1861/1867, Josh is excited to bring you the best and most affordable 18xx productions on the market.
Karim Chakroun, Graphic Design -- Working on boardgames is a lot of fun for any graphic designer: it allows creativity and the design lives in the product. This is why Karim has dedicated 90% of his graphic design activity to boardgames. Karim also spent many years living in Japan. He is not only is fluent in both speaking and writing in Japanese, but is also well-versed in Japanese history -- which was instrumental for the aesthetic direction of this production.
Erik Frobom, Illustration -- Erik Frobom is a digital illustrator in New York City. He likes trains and spaceships equally. His favorites are Berkshires and Corellian Corvettes.
Grand Trunk Games is a publishing operated by Joshua Starr dedicated to making 18xx more available, affordable, and approachable. 18xx is a wonderful genre with deep and thought-provoking games that many have been wary of attempting. Our goal is to ensure more folks have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate 18xx as the amazing and versatile game system it is.
Replacement shares: The names of 2 Major Companies were swapped on the stock certificates of 1861/1867 (MK and MKV). The 18 replacement cards are a free add on through this pledge manager.
Revised rulebook: There were a handful of issues with the previous printing of the rulebook. The updated PDF will be available on BoardGameGeek (eventually). The revised rulebook is a paid add on through this pledge manager.