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User Rating Comment Status
Ryan Johnson
United States
Independence
Missouri
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10
Aug 2006*
A great expansion for the Age of Steam series. Depending on initial set-up, it seems there is even more strategy to your first build, than in other expansions I have played. With Santa Cruz having a steady stream of goods, and San Jose being such a hub, competition has been fierce each time.
2006-08-04*
Owned
Rob Leveille
Canada
St. Catharines
Ontario
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10
Mar 2007*
An excellent expansion map. With North Cal. I find the score get much closer, especially with four players.

Just played Pennsylvania - also much closer scores, and much more player interaction. A tight map.
2007-03-26*
Owned
Double D
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
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10
Sep 2008*
Northern California is my current 'top map'
2008-08-20*
Want In Trade
Christopher Fritel
United States
Austin
Texas
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10
Sep 2014
1830's Pennsylvannia:" Difficult", Best: 4, Rec: 3, OK: 5-6
North California: "Fierce", Best: 4, Rec: 3, OK: 5-6
Alspach
2014-10-06
Owned
Pontus Nilsson
Sweden
Gothenburg
Bohuslän
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9.7
Dec 2009*
Compelling and engaging
2011-06-14
Owned
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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Plate of Shrimp.
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9.5
May 2007*
I bought this for the Northern California map, but ended up playing Pennsylvania first.

Pennsylvania: This is a tough economic game. The $5 mountains and the weakening of Urbanization makes for more difficult decisions bucking what you normally would expect from the AoS system. The coal is cool and it really helps those that get squeezed out early in the game. If a player with a weak start can hold off 'til the network meets up with the coal they can quickly get back into the race. Awesome.
2007-05-09*
Owned
Richard S
United States
Rensselaer
New York
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9.5
Jan 2011
I think both sides of the map are fantastic. If you like AOS and don't have this expansion, do yourself a favor and acquire a copy.
2008-05-18*
Owned
Gareth
Switzerland
Zürich
Zürich
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My ass is green, but I don't let it worry me.
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9.5
Jul 2009*
No CA is great for 4, but has just waaaaaaay too much room for 3. Nice simple map which doesn't mess with things too much and so can easily be played with new players.

1830's Pennsylvania doesn't look very interesting.
2009-07-12
Owned
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
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9
Mar 2008*
The handling of black cubes is akin to pouring rocket fuel on a bonfire. Monomaniacal focus meets Age of Steam Excellently done.
2008-03-05*
Owned
Geoffrey Steenberge
United States
Corning
New York
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9
Nov 2010
Bought March 30, 2006
2007-03-16*
Owned
Iain Cheyne
United Kingdom
Reading
Berkshire
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9
Aug 2006*
The Pennsylvania map plays very nicely with six.
2006-08-29*
Mikko Saari
Finland
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9
Feb 2007*
Looks professional. I appreciate the thin maps, as my box is already getting quite full and heavy.

Pennsylvania side is excellent: the coal is very powerful, abandon it and you're doomed. Looks like there's good potential for screwing other players, once players know what they're doing.

Enthusiastic.

Northern CA is a tough map, where Urbanization is sorely needed. There's a serious lack of cubes and the interesting mechanics of Santa Cruz, Sacramento and San Jose. Very harsh, easy to go bankrupt. In our four-player game, three players had 15 shares (and the fourth one won, no surprise).

Suggest.
2011-12-17
Owned
Larry Chong
United States
Kendall Park
New Jersey
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9
Apr 2007*
Northern California seems like an excellent map for 3 or 4 players.
2007-04-22*
Owned
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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9
Sep 2009*
Northern CA key differences:
- there's a $10 bridge up north
- another ferry route is available for $6 once both towns are urbanized
- San Jose, in the SE, is a 3-hex red city. It resupplies on white 1-6! Non-red cubes can move freely between the 3 hexes. Red cubes can be delivered from one hex to another in the city. (Red New City is removed from game)
- The city in the SW starts with 2 cubes and doesn't refill. But there's a line of ships (cubes) offshore that act as though they're in the city; but they must be delivered in the order they appear (set up at start of game).
- To Sacramento hex (NE corner) color is determined by next cube in line (offshore) to city, above

1830s:
(note: Steam gray = Age of Steam black)
- Gray towns on left, white towns on right; cannot urbanize gray towns into gray cities
- Gray cubes (coal) start on all left towns/cities. When delivering them, may double either income or engine level!
- When urbanizing gray town, add extra gray cube to it (for first 4 urbanized in west)
- If urbanizing white town to gray city, may only build 1 track!
- Mountains are expensive to build through!

The coal rules are VERY important -- there is tremendous income potential there, so no player can afford to ignore them. Of course, they're in the west while the gray cities are only in the east; that means building through a lot of mountains! The sooner the better, but not too soon -- with the 2xlink rule, they are ripe for poaching. First Move becomes especially important, and you have to control the rate at which you get access to those cubes lest someone else steal them from you!
2011-11-21
Owned
Anthony Simons
United Kingdom
Royal Wootton Bassett
Wiltshire
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9
May 2007*
Rating based on 1830's Penn map. What a challenging map indeed! The rules for coal just make the game so much more intense than the more basic maps, and the distribution of the cities and towns produces very interesting infrastructure with an asymmetric evolution. This is quite possibly the best map I have played to date.
2007-05-10*
Owned
pronoblem baalberith
United States
Pleasantville
Massachusetts
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Is it just me or do my balls itch?
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9
Dec 2007*
Same for both maps.
2007-12-28*
Owned
Randy Wilburn
United States
New Alexandria
Pennsylvania
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9
Sep 2009*
The Pennsylvania map is really good. We played with 3 players and it has a different feel moving the coal to the east.
2009-09-13
Owned
Alejandro S.
Spain
Madrid
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9
Mar 2009*
Excelente expansión, para cuatro quizá demasiado sitio, para cinco seguro que brilla.
2009-03-28
Owned
Patrick Jamet
France
Paris
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9
Aug 2010
1830's PA (4 joueurs) : 4x à 4
Cette carte peut créer des écarts de score énorme (50 PV); peu de production mais les autres rôles sont tous très utiles.

North CA (4 joueurs) : 4x
2009-08-22
Owned
Mark G.
United States
Holland
Michigan
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9
Jul 2013
Played N.Cali - brutal with 4. Love it with that count.

Still waiting to try 1830's PA.
2013-07-26
Owned
Want To Play
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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9
Dec 2010
1830 Pennsylvania rating 9. A very interesting variation. Coal is very strong and critical, it creates a very good challenge to deal with, I like it a lot, although perhaps 1.5 per cole-cube makes for a more balanced game.
Northern California is a tough map that I like, a good challenge. Also 9.
2011-09-04
Owned
Garrett Potvin
United States
Brooklyn Park
MN
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9
Jan 2011
The coal in the PA expansion is a great addition, the double scoring or double distance for coal really adds to the game.
2011-01-18
Game Junkie
Spain
Madrid
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9
Oct 2011
[Northern California] 2x with 4 players. Very tight in the early turns, this is certainly a challenging map, even for experienced players. One of my favorite maps.

[1830's Pennsylvania] 1x with 4 players. Fantastic map, filled with tension as players race to be the first to deliver coal. Highly recommended.
2012-08-15
Owned
Bradley Hays
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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9
Oct 2012
Just played my first game of AoS on the N.Cal map and wow, was that fun. Tight, brutal game. I've played Steam before but I may like AoS even better.

Need to try the Pennsylvania map to be sure, but I'll start with a tentative rating. Need to pick this one up, as well as Age of Steam.
2011-07-10
Owned
Julien Van Reeth
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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8.5
May 2006*
Great maps with cool ideas (bridges, coal, harbors). Definitely worth a try.
2006-05-15*
Todd Sweet
United States
Geneva
Illinois
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8.5
Sep 2007*
Played Northern California once with 3. Really like the map and can't wait to play more.
2007-09-17*
Owned
Want To Play
David Dolzan
Slovenia
Komenda
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8.5
Nov 2008*
Northern California is one of the most demanding (Ao)S maps ever, 1830 is also very good.
2010-07-31
Owned
Dan Rosewater
Switzerland
Zürich
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8.3
Oct 2007*
2 fine maps for experienced players. Prepare yourself for some cutthroat Age of Steam games Production quality is very good but cardboard is thinner than the original map(s).
2007-10-01*
Owned
Ryan Gatti
United States
Portland
Oregon
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8.25
Jan 2010*
NoCal made for an extremely tight 4 player game. However, it was also the closest finish of any AoS game I've played yet (top 3 within 4 points). I'd play this again with 3 or 4, but expect a very tight game.
2008-05-16*
Owned
Charles Hasegawa
United States
Chandler
Arizona
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8
Jun 2007*
Pennsylvania - a bit less open than typical AoS maps. Coal can be a game changer if everyone doesn't start gunning for it.

N. CA is UNPLAYED
2007-06-29*
Prev. Owned
C Sandifer
United States
Lutherville
Maryland
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8
Jun 2009*
1830s Pennsylvania:

Both maps are mentally unstable, but 1830s Pennsylvania is clearly the superior design. This is one of the few boards to encourage leapfrog-style collaborative building - one player builds one link, then another player extends the network by building the next link - because of the double-length bonus for coal deliveries. So let's work together and share the income wealth, shall we?

Like with any AoS map, it's easy for a player's network to be cornered into bankruptcy, and some starting positions appear to be more viable than others. So plan and build accordingly.

And let's say it all together: coal is good, coal is good, coal is good...

Northern California:

It's bad design when there aren't enough cubes and networks available for more than two (maybe three?) players to really be competitive.

Northern California is a perfect example of this design "feature". Supposedly, it's a revised version of an even more hellish Bay Area map, but it's still nightmarishly restrictive to the point where even experienced joy-killers don't find it worth the effort.
2011-12-24
Owned
David Fair
United States
Damascus
MD
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Or maybe PowerGrid?
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Yeah, that's me. Handsome devil, I know.
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8
Sep 2008*
The California map is harsh. This is a good thing. The "To Sacramento" and ships in Santa Cruz harbor mechanism is terrific, and makes for some great opportunistic play.

1830's PA is probably my favorite map for 5 players (it plays well with 4 also). Tough, expensive, and with so many ways to screw each other over, it is just fabulous. A great map, and it looks exceptional as well.
2006-08-19*
Prev. Owned
Neil Palfreyman
United Kingdom
Swindon
Wiltshire
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8
Sep 2006*
Have only played the 1830s Penn map so far and would say that it's a map and set of rule variations that make for absorbing game play. The Western coal fields add an element of timing to the fairly standard, though goods-rich city-fare in the East.

My guess is that it would be hard to win by starting in the West, due to the very limited number of cities and limitations on black urbanize/build rules.

On the other hand the East has plenty of rich pickings, but the only way of preventing your play from running out of steam (sorry) seems to me to be to link up with the East to take advantage of the high points for coal shipments and this is where the timing comes in.

An excellent map and one that I look forward to playing again.
2006-09-30*
Owned
Champion Eternal
Malaysia
Unspecified
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8
Dec 2006*
1830's Pennsylvania: A very interesting map with a dilemma: go traditional routes and build up cashflow or go west and risk everything for the coal.
2006-12-02*
Owned
Chaddyboy
United States
Olathe
Kansas
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Bloooooop.
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Bluuuuuurp.
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8
Dec 2006*
The Northern CA map is very tight, but awesome!
2006-12-13*
Owned
Stig Mandal
Norway
Oslo
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8
May 2013
First impression - Northern California - 1 game:
Seems like a nice expansion with some interesting and very playable ideas.
2007-07-25*
Owned
♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
United States
Greer
South Carolina
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Entropy Seminar:
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The results of a five yeer studee ntu the sekund lw uf thurmodynamiks aand itz inevibl fxt hon shewb rt nslpn raq liot.
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8
Jul 2009*
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: One sees the ports and the big-ass city of San Jose and thinks that's what makes this map diabolical, but what really tightens the screws on this map is the scarcity of goods that comes out at the start. If you don't get a good distribution of goods on the board (and with fewer numbers of them, that's not very likely), it's going to be a painful act of balancing the line between productivity and bankruptcy. One of these games was the most intense game of Age of Steam I've ever played.

2 plays: 4 players
Rating: 8

-----

1830s PENNSYLVANIA: This is a much tougher map, and is much harder to get right out of the box. If you undervalue the use of the coal, while other players are taking advantage of those goods, then you're going to be left behind as they speed off into the sunset. This map has the unfortunate distinction of my first experience witnessing a player going bankrupt, on the second turn.

1 play: 5 players
Rating: 7
2012-01-08
Owned
Matthew M Monin
United States
Branford
Connecticut
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8/8 FREE, PROTECTED
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513ers Assemble!
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8
Apr 2007*
Fun maps. I'm not the biggest AoS fan in the world (though I am slowly becoming a convert) but I do appreciate the variations these maps offer.
2007-04-18*
William Attia
France
Paris
Unspecified
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8
Apr 2007*
This rating is only valid for the Northern California map, since I haven't played the 1830 Pennsylvania yet.
Played once (with 5 players). A very tough map, with very few cubes initially, which makes for a difficult start. It also means that some easily overlooked actions become slightly more interesting, which is a good thing. The additional rules are not that difficult, but add interesting twists to the game - overall, I think it is a very solid map for experienced players (I might prefer playing with 4 next time, though).
2007-04-23*
Owned
Jonathan Takagi
United States
San Marcos
California
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8
May 2007*
Only played Northern California so far. It's a pretty rough map, very hard to make money. The goods are pretty thin in the beginning and most of the cities are pretty far apart. Thus it's hard to ship anything worthwhile in the first couple of rounds. This forces everyone to take a bunch of shares - I've never seen so many shares taken before, one player even maxed out. It really seems that one cannot ignore the tri-city San Jose, playing a central, cube-heavy role like that of Paris and Berlin in the France/Germany expansions. Once you get your network up, the money starts coming in, but it's a very tight race until then.
2007-05-23*
Owned
Nicolas Acosta
United States
Doral
Florida
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"That is not dead which can eternal lie; yet with strange aeons, even death may die" Abdul Al-Hazred, Necronomicon
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8
Dec 2008*
2008/12/30: Northern California map is a pretty tight map which I love to play anytime
2008-05-28*
Owned
Scott Petersen
United States
St. Louis Park
Minnesota
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8
Dec 2008*
Rating for 1830s PA: 10
1830s PA is very thematic--one of my favorites.

Rating for Northern California: 8
A tough map, cities are very sparse.
2009-11-14
Owned
Medievalbanquet
United States
Wellesley
Massachusetts
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And if you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
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8
Sep 2007*
The Northern CA map is a crotch kick. I like it!

The 1830s map is tough as well. Good with 4.
2012-04-06
Owned
United States
Loveland
Colorado
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8
Jun 2012
Northern California: Fun map.
2012-06-14
Owned
Malachi Brown
United States
Hermitage
TN
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It's turtles all the way down.
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“Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.”
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8
Jan 2012
N. CA - rating 8
We totally messed this game up. Not so much in rules, but in the strategy.

Wow, this map is just totally brutal. My second play was with 5 players, all with at least 5 games of AoS under their belt. There were only 3 possible turn 1 deliveries, one was a natural 3 tile, one was for a player who took engineer, and the other for a player who took urbanize. Only two of them actually got delivered. One player dropped out in turn two due to frustration and a pinch hitter had to be found. Another player went bankrupt on turn three, and yet another player went bankrupt on the last turn of the game. Bone crunchingly brutal. Not for the faint of heart.

Playing this again, I still find it brutal. One of the most heartless AoS maps I own. Awesome. Rating bumped to 8.

1 play, 3 players
1 play, 4 players
1 play, 5 players

1830's Penn. - rating 6
I'm not sure about this map, the one time I played I ran away with the coal and totally dominated. There may be some balance issues for players that don't grasp some of the important concepts... like coal. We also made one glaring rules error.

1 play, 5 players
2012-01-10
Owned
Ben Vögel
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
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I've been on this site for 10 years now, and I'm far from sick of games, but I think I am, to some degree, sick of learning too many new games. I'm also tired of playing 4+ hr multiplayer games, but I'll still happily play really long games 2 player.
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8
Jan 2011
[1 play] The coal cubes in western PA dominate the course of the game in a very fun way - even if they don't come into play for the first half, you'd better be thinking about how to get into it the whole time.

Cabin.con 2011 with Garrett, Michael, and Corey.
2011-01-17
Prev. Owned
Jason Gische
United States
San Carlos
California
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8
Jun 2008*
Played both of these maps a couple of times recently (all with 4 players), and love them both.
2008-06-16*
Owned
United States
Plainwell
Michigan
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Et in Vantasia ego
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8
Jul 2008*
"Coal is important in this map" - Cortexbomb. Yea, no kidding. I got lapped. LAPPED on the Penn, map. Still it is a fun AOS map and I would love to give it another go.
Joe Geerkin
United States
Eden
New York
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8
Dec 2008*
Only played PA. Coal is super powerfull.
2008-12-27*
Juho Snellman
Switzerland
Zurich
Zurich
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8
Jan 2009*
The NoCal map is great with 4 (maybe a bit too forgiving with 3). Pennsylvania doesn't look very good.
2009-01-09*
Owned

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