1826 is a railroad operations and share trading board game in the 18xx series, set in France and Belgium. It was first published by Chris Lawson in 2000 and then by Deep Thought Games in 2004. As David Hecht's first design, it is the most conventional, and the only one to use "traditional" green and brown plain track upgrade tiles. 1826 started out as "1830 on a different map", but rapidly evolved into a game of capital and technology management: the game's key decisions revolve around when to "grow" a company, and which trains to buy to optimize a company's final position.
1826 has twelve companies, but only ten can be in play at once: the other two are formed through the merger of distressed companies (as with the CGR in 1856). Most companies start out as "five-share companies": they effectively pay double dividends per share, but are limited to fewer trains than "ten-share companies". Each five-share company has a destination (as in 1856) and--once reached--the key decision is when to "grow" the company to ten shares. Growing the company increases its train limit and gives access to more company capital, but effectively halves the dividends per share.
1826's geography is dominated by two salient features: Paris, which is centrally located and the base station for six of the ten (non-merger) companies, but which never becomes a "through" station; and a substantial asymmetry between the rich north and the poor south. This requires companies to carefully plan what sort of trains to use: at the start of the game, all trains are "hex" trains (counting hexes and scoring all along their path) rather than standard "city" trains (which only count up to a maximum number of cities and towns). However, there are three types of permanent trains: one "hex" and two "city", one of which has a smaller train number but doubles the value of the cities between which it travels. "Hex" trains are ideal for the densely-populated north while "city" trains are best suited in the less densely-populated south.
1826 is a game of moderate complexity (comparable to 1830 and 1856), and can be played in 4-6 hours by 2-6 experienced players.