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Subject: Session report Norther America rss

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Theo Miltenburg
Netherlands
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Last Saturday I played my 3rd game of Age of Steam. We played with 4 players. I was the only one who had a go at this before. One other player called Thijs has a diverse background in gaming and is about my age. The two other players(a boy and a girl) were together and are relatively new to gaming and younger then to both of us. I don't think they ever did a heavier euro like this.

First I started explaing the rules. They are pretty simple and all got it in one go mostly. I explained to laying of tracks, what links are and goods movement twice just to be sure.

The game started with me rolling a nice 666devil so I knew it would be evil right from the start. After bidding I ended up in the 3rd place and I wasn't too happy about it. I did advise people to try and get a link 2 on turn one. One guy took the locomotion instead of urbanization so I was lucking out. The guy started out on the total East side of the map, I started in the center of the eastern section, Thijs in the center of the map in the small clearing and in the total north western and the girl started in the south west. I upgraded my link speed to two and moved one good for 2 all the other players with the exception of one moved two singles.
On the next turn we all issued two shares again and we started building further. I managed to get two link 2 moved and was going for s strong second place income wise. I expanded north, the guy expanded east wards towards chicago(?) and we crossed there, the girl went towards the north and Thijs consolidated his posistion in the center with and additional city and two extra links in that section. By this time I was nearly running even.
Turn three I decided to issue only one share. The other players all issued two shares. I could have afforded this because I was keeping a low profile with bidding and wasn't buildiing any long or expensive tracks. Being low on money I decided not to build only few tracks. I took locomotion and was able to secure my first link 4 track. With the help of other people I was able to get a small profit (one or two). The boy was securing his holdings in the mid american section and was running a good game. We both had the same income but he had more issued shares. Thijs had mostly connected all the cities in the center and the girl bypassed Thijs' track in the north after having it used only once. Both Thijs and the boy were only running a small loss or playing even.
Turn four I got turn order to buy out money and I didn't build much securing a profit to provide me in the turns to come. This is what all other players did aswell except the girl who managed to get even at this point issueing two shares and setting the stage for future profits.
Turn five herald the time of the girl running a profit me getting to a close 10 profit or something the boy steaming towards link 5 and getting link 5 goods moved. He temporary overtook me here in income but I was lower on shares and engine track to I still ran more profit then he did. Thijs was running a good third and was like 3 income behind us at this point of time. This is the moment I deceided to start picking on the boy that he would be my biggest enemy and that I needed to start to look for link 6 tracks. The boy would secure a link 6 on his turn and not a thing I could do about it. I did take one of his link 4 goods though.
Turn six I took every efford to secure link 6 tracks building a big loop around the center block by Thijs. I got production setting goods at possible link 6 cities for me. I was able to ship two lvl 4. The boy was able to ship one level 6 and I believe one more lvl 4-5 So he was actually getting a higher profit then me at that time. I was running a big profit and it was time to really expand my holdings.
The endgame involved me getting two link 6(one from production) transports and raking a massive 26 profit in the last turn. I ended up with 11 links. Thijs and the boy with 9 links and the girl with 8. The Girl was running a decent profit at the end. I got a 89 points. Thijs and the boy were really close. Thijs getting one more income but slipping just into the -4 section. This ended up costing him the win. The girl was running behind all the time and so became last.

Conclusion:

For a first time play for all the people I had to pitch some advises early one but I let that go later on. People ignoring me or my consistanly taking goods from my outer edges of track secured to win for me. I am rather dissapointed at the map by now because in my experiance people starting in my section of the map have allways secured a victory while people starting in the west will allways lose out. I am really looking forward to trying the first expansion map and I hope it will be better balanced.
 
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J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
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Dark Slayer wrote:
I am rather dissapointed at the map by now because in my experiance people starting in my section of the map have allways secured a victory while people starting in the west will allways lose out. I am really looking forward to trying the first expansion map and I hope it will be better balanced.


I have played the Great Lakes (aka "Rust Belt") map at least 20 times now. I've won starting in the south east corner, starting north of Lake Eire, starting off in the barren reaches of the west, starting at the south end of Lake Eire, in the mid-south, etc. The map is well balanced.
 
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Theo Miltenburg
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and how often did people win in the north western part of the map?
 
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J C Lawrence
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Campbell
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Dark Slayer wrote:
and how often did people win in the north western part of the map?


Starting in the far north west is very rarely a good idea. The distances are too large and mandate frequent use of Engineer and Urbanisation and thus devalue the Locomotive that's frequently critical to victory. As a result the default starting locations are all either in the eastern section of the board or along the southern edge of the western board (thus promoting the congestion and competition that is the heart of AoS). Within that set of starting locations there is no clear "best". It is all a matter of what cubes are where, and where you fall in the bidding and turn order.
 
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