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Subject: 6-player Age of Steam session rss

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I played a 6-player session of Age of Steam last night with three enthusiastic return players (myself included) and three wary newcomers. Rules explanation was smoothly handled by BGG member fubar awol, who also provided some excellent player aids (available in the files section), so we got down to business in a reasonable amount of time.

Right from the start, every option was hotly contested. Several players issued three shares of stock on Turn 1, every auction ended at $10 or higher, and five us crowded into the Chicago/Evansville/St Louis area with only Yellow laying a route along the eastern corridor. I knew I should have stayed out of the fray, as the last player to act in Turn 1 (and 2), but an east-west route was important in my few previous sessions and I was afraid to get shut out.

Black was the first to turn away from the center, striking east to contest with Yellow, and he also made smart bids, largely staying out of the fight for first place (and Urbanization) and making good use of First Build and Locomotive. Purple skipped the arms race altogether, finishing the game with the least stock issued, only a two-hop locomotive, and a share of second place (along with Yellow, Black finishing first). The rest of us issued too much stock, bid too high, and either had too much or too little money remaining at the end of the turn. For example, I only had a four-hop locomotive by the end and still never shipped a good along four of my own segments.

No one went broke, however, and all in all it was a successful session with at least two new Age of Steam converts and very little over-thinking of moves (although perhaps some underthinking in my case). As always, I walked away wishing there was time for another go.
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