Laurence hadn't play with uf for a long time and we let decided what to play tonight and she choosed the easy Chinese expansion of Age of Steam. We all supposed she had a plan for asking a map like this without any hesitation.
Adrien had a strong start in the southwest region when he had loco on turn 1 with 2 deliveries of 2 income for turn 1 and he was even in the income and expense phase. Pierre began in the northeast and the 3 other players were on the eastern coast and very close to each other, another exciting game was to predict. Marc-Andre went for a low strategy share he he took a big gamble when he was on verge on being confined to a 2 links network but he had a break when Laurence decided to go west of Sian. So there was an exit left for him to go out of Sian. As usual Sian was the target of many players and everyone bet on their first try even if the betting started at 4 ! The same situation occured in round 4 when Adrien started the bids at 5 and then 8 but Mario won with 9 for the loco. action. Also in this round 3 players were on their way to connect Changshiak they all felt short of 1 track to arrive there so next round would be critical because it was the gate to Russia. Apart Marc-Andre everyone had to take shares since the beginning of the game and they now feel they had to begin to make some profit so the spendings went down and Marc-Andre won the next bet at 4 only and he choose to urbanize the blue new City far from Pierre so he couldn't use it to deliver many of his blue goods, instead Pierre had to pay 1 income to Marc-Andre for each blue delivery. At this time he only had 4 shares when the other players had at least 11 or 12 shares.
At this point we conceded victory to Marc-Andre but there many interesting fights left. Second place player is still the winner of the losers ! Even in this situation we were all trying to do a good play and finish in a good position, that's a nother aspect of the game we like. The Age of Steam China map is very challenging and I think it still a had a big potential for more plays. Even with contiguous network every game is different and you can use different strategy each time to win.
Question: how did Adrien break-even after Turn 1? 2 shipments of 2 means his income was 4; his expenses at the least had to be 4 (2 shares, loco of 2). That can only mean that (a) he took no shares, (b) still managed to get Loco for his auction role, and (c) find a place to build enough track to get a 2-link passage.
If that DID happen, then I really need to play in your group!