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18West is an “18xx” game set in the western United States of America, focused on the building of routes between the Eastern map edge and the West Coast.
18West emphasizes the East-to-West dimension and encourages players in that direction with such features as Doubling tokens in Western Cities and “Coast-to-Coast” route bonuses. There is recognition given to the Government incentives provided, albeit in a much more attenuated form than the 1848 bonds or even the 18US “Credit Mobilier”.
Not every company that operated west of the Mississippi had transcontinental ambitions: indeed, given the difficulty in securing such a route and the disparity between investment and return, few companies did. Thus, 18West provides two categories of companies: the Land Grant companies—transcontinental roads all, in many instances chartered by the Federal government for that purpose—and the Granger roads. Originally, some of the Granger roads were regional companies, but I later simplified this down to the two categories you see.
Granger roads reflected the (largely pre-Civil War) companies that operated west of the Mississippi, whose principal trade was in grain haulage from the Midwest to the great entrepôt of Chicago. Of course, many of these companies later achieved prominence in the passenger trade—the Burlington Zephyr, for instance, or the Milwaukee Road’s Hiawatha—but they originally started for what amounted to a local trade.