--- Austria ---
Changes to Base Game:
* New Cities: 1 cube each
* $15 each player, no shares (don't need shares/income/VP display)
* None; turn order preset
* 8 turns, first player is: 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1
* No Turn Order
* Complete links ONLY
* ALL track costs $4
* Special 5-link town hex available (x 1)
* Mountains, dark hex edges impassable
* ONLY the Foreign markets
* 3 rounds
Goods Growth (2d6)
* Cities take cubes from both sides (light and dark)
End of Game
* 8 turns
* Usual VP, plus: Each $20 cash = 1 VP
Lots of changes from the base game: no auctions, preset turn order, plentiful cubes, very restricted track-building (restricted paths, complete links), no on-map urb, very high incomes (if you survive the first few turns!).
This map is TOUGH in the first few turns -- make sure you figure out a way to earn income quickly, or you'll never recover! -- but then income really skyrockets. In fact, I think it's too tough: if the initial cube distribution is poor, it seems as if the first player may have a huge leg up simply based on the random turn order! Building, requiring complete links and based on the map layout, is very restricted; I'd expect the map to look very similar from game to game. Also, there aren't really a lot of changes to the actions: they're all available (except Turn Order). Despite having all those other choices, though, on many turns it seems that most of them are pointless -- you only have a few real choices.
It's an interesting change of pace and it certainly works, but I have enjoyed the other (newer) 2-player maps more.
------------- Switzerland ---1 play
The main changes here are:
- expensive builds (every tile is $4)
- lots of impassable hex sides
- a town and some tiles with pre-built tracks that are out of the game until turn 5 begins
- tracks worth 2VP each at end of game
- Zurich gets one random good every turn
- 3 rainbow cities (accept everything) are in the distant corners of the country
- must issue a minimum of 2 shares; if none issued, may buy back ONE for $8
I like this map, although the track builds are extremely constrained. it doesn't seem as if there would be a lot of variation in builds from game to game -- only in timing, depending on which cubes came out when. Three players was pretty tight; this must be REALLY tough with four -- probably end up sharing deliveries a lot more in that case.
I do wish I'd done a better job printing this (I think my image is 2-3% shrunk, so the hexes don't quite fit), and they'd done a better job marking off impassable terrain!
Turns out this is a problem with Eagle, not me: 3rd edition track tiles are a WEE bit too large!
And I'm not sure how important the buy-back rules will be; we weren't in position to buy anything back until quite late in the game, and I'm not sure it made all that much of a difference? Maybe it did, though, since you could run out of space for tracks by the end and it's one way to eke out a few more VP with your cash.