Other Wise

Anatomy of a three company dump

Three company dumps in 18xx are frequently discussed but far less often successfully executed. They are hard to pull off well. Additionally, according to my email, there’s also a fair bit of confusion on how to arrange a three company dump.

The minimal form:

  1. You are the president of CompanyA, CompanyB and CompanyC.
  2. When CompanyB runs it has no train and has to buy one.
  3. CompanyB buys a train from CompanyA for face value or less1
  4. CompanyB doesn’t have enough treasury to buy the train for that much, and neither does the CompanyB president, so the CompanyB president sells shares in CompanyC to fund the train, sufficient to dump CompanyC on another player (who holds at least two shares of the company) in the middle of an Operating Round.

You’ll have to flesh out the details of how to arrive in this minimal state, and what related conditions you want to be true when you do. Presumably one of the pre-conditions is that CompanyC doesn’t (or won’t) have a train.

Getting all the details right is tricky. In several hundred 18xx games, I’ve seen two well-executed three company dumps. A well-executed three company dump can be devastating to the player the company is dumped on, especially if it lands them needing to buy a $1,100 diesel they were unprepared for (as it was for me in one of those two cases).

Notes:

  • The company selling the train (usually) can’t be the one being dumped as the sale/control-transfer happens before the presidential authorisation for the train sale and the new president is unlikely to authorise the train sale.
  • Some games explicitly disallow three company dumps. Check the rules for the game you are playing. The games that disallow, usually do so by requiring that forced train purchases must be from the bank and not from other companies.
Footnotes
  1. The 1830 rules allow trains to be purchased for up to face value during forced emergency train purchases – so pick a value just high enough to accomplish the dump