To give a quick sense of a fairly normal trajectory for 1830 and most other similar games:
- SR1: 3 companies float.
- OR1.1: First companies buy a single 2T each, last company buys 2x2T (thus ~guaranteeing that the 3T will come out in the next OR).
- SR2: Some shares are bought and sold. (Sometimes a company floats if
only 2 floated in SR1)
- OR2.1: First company buys 2x2T+3T and their privates, later companies buy one or two 3Ts and their privates. Maybe a 4T is bought, but probably not.
- SR3: 3-4 companies float. Sometimes all remaining companies are floated.
- OR3.1: All the remaining 3Ts are bought, first and maybe all 4Ts are bought, 2Ts rust.
- OR3.2: Companies run. Sometimes a 5T or two are bought.
- SR4: Any remaining companies float, portfolios start to consolidate.
- OR4.1: Any remaining 4Ts bought. Probably a 5T is bought, possibly all of them.
- OR4.2: Likely a 6T is bought, possibly all of them.
- SR5: Portfolios adjust.
- OR5.1: Companies run. Any remaining 6Ts are bought.
- OR5.2: First diesel is bought. 4Ts rust.
- OR5.3: Companies run.
- SR6: Final share buys.
- OR6.1: Companies run.
- OR6.2: Companies run.
- OR6.3: Companies run. Bank is broken. Game over.
Many newer player’s games run for much longer than that: 7, 8, 9 SRs, sometimes even 10 SRs. The general reason why is slow train buying. As it is difficult to describe exactly what slow train buying is to a new player – slow compared to what? – the above gives a sense of what a game looks like from the outside with normal rates of train buying. Some games (with at least modestly skilled players) will go faster than that.
Now the above isn’t the only possible game trajectory or even always the ideal trajectory for every game, far from it, but it is a pretty common path in its broad shape. No 18xx player should be surprised by a game which runs at that rate or even a bit faster.
More broadly, 3-player games will tend to run a bit faster and larger player-count games will tend to run a bit longer. For instance, 6-player 1830 is commonly a 7 SR game simply due to marginal inefficiencies from the money being so divided.