One of the fun parts of the 18xx games, is that its fairly easy to create your own (local) version. I like to create a dutch version (yes there have been two already but with limited availability). One of the main features in dutch history is that it stared with lots of small companies that merged into one at the end (although there are some new companies started the last couple of years).
1856 deals with the same situation, and they solved it with cash and loans (companies that couldn't pay their loan are merged into the national railway, which is fine but I like a different.
In 1870 companies can buy their own shares. But what if companies are allowed to buy shares of other companies. Would that be a workable solution. And how do the companies get enough cash to buy the shares.
The question is, is it a workable solution to allow (and even encourage) companies to buy other companies. Maybe only if the shares are in the lower part of the stock table.
Possible extensions could be:
- use of station markers of the owned company (or at least be able to pass through them)
- loan trains (only once per operation round so that a single train can't be run more than once).
- completely eat the company if 100% of the shares are owned. (including cash, trains and station markers).
Possible problems could be:
- two companies owing a third company
- circular ownership (A owns B, B owns A) which can be solved by selling at least 50%(including the president share) at once.