Amazon Rainforest & Sahara Desert is a full size, full color mounted expansion that folds to a size that will fit in both the Steam and Age of Steam boxes. These maps, like their locations, couldn’t be more different. Rainforest is all about fluctuating goods prices while Sahara is a mean, unforgiving map that adds a layer of strategy to Age of Steam and Steam games that’s heavily focused on location.
Amazon Rainforest takes place deep in the Brazilian forests, where you’re building railroads between the few small cities scattered about. Unlike most Steam/AoS maps, Amazon does not have towns...and there’s no way to get them on the map. Fortunately, your income isn’t tied to links. Unfortunately, it’s tied to the “wood market” where each color cube represents a different kind of prized and scarce South American wood. The more wood that’s delivered, the scarcer the supply, which drives up the price. The less wood on the board, the cheaper the wood. You’ve got to find the rare stuff and deliver it before anyone else does. Due to the limited number of cities, the track network you build is critical. Amazon Rainforest is for 3-6 players.
Sahara Desert takes place on the northern portion of Africa. In possibly one of the harshest climates ever to build a railroad network, you won’t survive without lots and lots of water. However, you can only get water from the oases throughout the desert, and once they dry up, they dry up for good. If you don’t have access to water you can pay per delivery, or if you’re really crafty, you’ll choose the Water Import action and not worry about water for this turn. Regardless of how you do it, it’s going to be tough, and there’s going to be more moisture slowing coming down your face in the form of tears than anywhere else. Sahara Desert is for 3-5 players who won’t acknowledge their limitations.
The 2010 Essen Aos/Steam map pack from Bezier Games features 7 new maps, including 6 mounted ones on 3 double size expansions. These maps can be preordered from Bezier Games and will ship in October 2010. The “bonus” 7th map is only available through preorders. Age of Steam/Steam California Gold Rush & Underground railroad have been previously announced. More details about the remaining 3 maps will be coming in the next few weeks from Bezier Games.