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Subject: Age of Steam or Railroad Tycoon? rss

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Bert Nerdsen
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Having located both games at thursday at essen for a quite low price of 30 € each, i wonder which of them to buy at sunday. I've yet read that both games are pretty similiar, while age of steam is a little bit more complex. Could you give me a closer comparison between them? thanks!
 
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Dan Rosewater
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As this has been discussed here already you may find some interesting comments in this thread:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/114238

In terms of complexity both feel the same (I have played both). RRT has nicer bits but as a game I still prefer Age of Steam due to much better overview. There is a reason why AoS is rated higher here on the geek than RRT.


 
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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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SouthernMan wrote:
Ho - hum, here we go again gulp ... helmets on and dive for cover !!

My advice is for that price buy them both, whichever you don't like you'll sell easily.


Good advice - You could also look for Ben Smith's (b5mith) Age of Steam FAQ
 
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jeremy cobert
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who do you plan on playing the game with ?
if you plan on playing with non-geeks,family and friends then go with RRT.
but if you just play the game with hardcore geeks,then AOS is the better game.

my wife enjoys RRT but no way she will play AOS.
 
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Michael Pennisi
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I wrote a lengthy article on the subject and there was a even lengthier discussion that ensued:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/825923#825923


 
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Lajos
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Get both. They are different enough. You can never have enough (train) games.
 
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Tim Myers
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jeremycobert wrote:
who do you plan on playing the game with ?
if you plan on playing with non-geeks,family and friends then go with RRT.
but if you just play the game with hardcore geeks,then AOS is the better game.

my wife enjoys RRT but no way she will play AOS.


I agree with this however, if you have the room buy both.
 
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Richard Irving
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jeremycobert wrote:
who do you plan on playing the game with ?
if you plan on playing with non-geeks,family and friends then go with RRT.
but if you just play the game with hardcore geeks,then AOS is the better game.


Actually this is not true--RRT is NOT really simpler than AoS. They are about equal in rules complexity. Non-gamers will not generally like it any better. (Let's leave family & friends out of it, because it matters only whether they are gamers or not.)

But for gamers, AoS the clear choice:
- more interaction: The large board spreads you out so far that you might as well be playing a PBEM game. In reality, you have more space in a 6 player game RRT than the entire board of AOS. You will interact with other players in AOS from early in the game--you cannot avoid it. In RRT if you interact with others on the board, especially early on, the competition will cause both of you to lose.

- More expansions: RRT unlikely to have many expansions at this point--part of it is the event/Tycoon cards are tied to specific map locations. AOS (both from the manufacturer and from individual players) has dozens of expansions for varying tastes, player numbers, whimsy (there are maps for the sun, moon, and heaven and hell), geography.

- less luck: RRT Tycoon cards (which are drawn randomly at the start of the game) are clearly not balanced--some are at cross purposes to the main goals of the game (Like building most links--each link you build is an opporunity to deliver lost and this card speciifically requires you keep building.) Others aren't and require little additional effort (Like having most cash at the game end--after all you'd rather spend as little cash as possible, right.) Others specifically force your entire strategy (Such as New York-Chicago and if you choose build elsewhere, you are immediately 5 VP in the hole (possibly more as there are NY-Chi, NY-KC event cards, too.), you'll never be able to dig yourself out of.)

Also whether certain RRT goal event cards (like delivering a load to Jacksonville or completing track from Atlanta to Charlotte) which may (or may not--about half cards are left in the deck) appear after the start of the game. So if they come up, the player who happened to start in that area will get free points. These and the Tycoon cards will decide any close games.

The only luck element in AoS not present in RRT is the Goods Growth dice rolls which reseed the board--you know where every cube will go and almost all of them will appear on the board, you just don't know exactly when.

- More ways to get ahead: Many of the special actions in AOS give you a leg up on your competitors: Loco gives you a better train without using shipment turn to get it/ (No equivalent in RRT) Urbanization is used with building track to upgrade a town for free. (RRT Urbanization is used IN PLACE OF building track.) Engineer is available each round for an extra tile track of builds. (There is a permanent event card in RRT that allows an extra tile of track building--but you have to spend a turn to get it, thus saving you no time unless you're fortunate enough to be able to use the card more than once.)

In AoS, though there is only one building round per turn, but you can build on more than one link in a turn and completing two or more links is a definite advantage--since you have to have the links longer deliveries. In RRT, by rule, you cannot build on more than one link in any action round. In order to complete more than one link in a turn, you will have build in multiple action rounds, instead of delivering a load.

And in both games, most of your scoring is based on delivering loads--more times you can deliver (and the longer deliveries you can make), the further ahead you will be. AOS simply gives players more ways to save time (which can be used to make more and longer deliveries).

- More sense of accomplishment: The feeling of satisfaction when you turn your first profit in an AoS game is electric. You feel a pride in your success even if you don't go on to win. That feeling just isn't there in RRT.

 
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Simon W.
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I've been pondering this very question for a long time and finally decided on Age of Steam for a couple of reasons:

1) It SCALES! You don't need a full compliment to enjoy it like you do on the uber huge RRT board.

2) There are different maps to play on so there's a high replay value from variety. The maps are also much more manageable size wise.

3) RRT has these crazy game altering cards that come up all the time and can on occasion really sour planning or hand someone a huge advantage. It's rare, but annoying.

4) The secret tycoon objectives in RRT range wildly in terms of difficulty thereby artificially handicapping some.

5) If you don't like the rigidity of AoS, you can always employ variants. The system is pretty flexible and can accommodate for adjustments (i.e. issue shares at any time, etc.).

I dearly love the bits in RRT, but AoS is the better game. I think I'll just end up buying plastic train markers for AoS and all will be appeased.
 
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John Paul Sodusta
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jeremycobert wrote:
who do you plan on playing the game with ?
if you plan on playing with non-geeks,family and friends then go with RRT.
but if you just play the game with hardcore geeks,then AOS is the better game.

my wife enjoys RRT but no way she will play AOS.


HA! Funny that you say that. My wife hates RRT but loves Aos. Go figure.
 
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John Paul Sodusta
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Insertcleverthing wrote:
I dearly love the bits in RRT, but AoS is the better game. I think I'll just end up buying plastic train markers for AoS and all will be appeased.


I have been trying to do this. Please let me know if you get any further. I am thinking of just whittling wood or get those premade geometric shaped woods and glue them together to make my own.
 
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John Paul Sodusta
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The only time I want to play RRT is when there are 6 people playing because AoS at the moment can't really support that many people. Hopefully, I can help JC fine tune his Central American map so that there would be a good 6 player map for AoS.
 
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J C Lawrence
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SouthernMan wrote:
...the shipping rule of must start on one of your own links should probably be ported to AoS.


Huh? Why? The current flexibility works well.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Barkam wrote:
The only time I want to play RRT is when there are 6 people playing because AoS at the moment can't really support that many people. Hopefully, I can help JC fine tune his Central American map so that there would be a good 6 player map for AoS.


Soon... A few more play tests and it should be ready for external playtest (there are some balance and ooportunity challenges with the current sea routes).
 
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Jonathan A.
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Run away! Run away! Duck! Cover!
 
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Goodsound wrote:
There is a reason why AoS is rated higher here on the geek than RRT.




So true. Actually there are many and none of them have anything to do with which of the two games is a better choice, or even a better game.

Puerto Rico is number #1 for many reasons too... except I noticed you rated Caylus and a number of other games higher than PR. Using arbitary and subjective ratings to determine if one product if somehow better or even better suited to an end-user is a hellish and futile effort.
 
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John Weber
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I enjoy both games but I prefer RRT, particularly with some of the newer maps available here at BGG (such as Europe) primarily because of the less rigid turn order where you can build, ship, do train upgrades in any order you want and take out shares whenever you want. Recognize this makes planning a bit less important, but in my experience it makes RRT games move a bit faster and with less "analysis paralysis" than AoS. For those who don't like the luck and variance of the Tycoon cards, there are some really nice fixes such as (in the Europe Map rules) lay out one more than the number of players, face up, and have players compete for them until the end of the game. One variant I have been playing with that I really like is a "rainbow bonus" of 5 pts for the first player to deliver at least one of each of the five color goods cubes. It makes building a realistic network a key strategic option rather than just shipping the same cubes for maximum points over and over again (particularly where you are lucky to have access to a cluster in one city or another).

One feature of AoS that I really don't like is the passive blocking that is allowed. Example, Player A, who has a 6 train and tons of money, wins the auction, takes the loco action just to prevent other players from upgrading (they now have to give up a precious "move cubes" action to get the upgrade). A second rule I prefer is that in RRT you must own the pickup leg, i.e. you cannot pick up a goods cube on someone else's track, and this is the one key area in which RRT (the supposedly simpler, more family-friendly game) is actually MORE restrctive than AoS.

Both games have a bit of a front runner problem in that it is difficult to catch a runaway leader, and neither game is much fun if you get out of position, too far behind, or are playing with players of widely varying skill and experience levels. But the more enjoyable and closer games for me have generally been playing RRT as opposed to AoS. I will admit I am a sucker for trying new maps and think they add a great deal to both games. My favorite AoS map thus far is Korea, because of the changing colors of the cities, my favorite RRT map thus far is Europe, but I have yet to try the UK and NE USA maps that have been posted.
 
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I prefer RRT because it seems to be both less random, and less gamey. Age of Steam is a fine game, though, so I think you'd be happy with either. RRT is out of print, so you might as well grab it anyway.
 
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Walt
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I'm amazed by the comments that the tycoon cards "ruin" RRT. Obviously, you can remove them if you don't like them, but tycoon missions are rarely worth as much as one end-of-game delivery! If you're letting your tycoon card outweigh picking a better board position, that's not the game being broken, that's bad strategy!

To answer the original question, get RRT. If you don't like it, you'll probably be able to sell it for enough to get AoS, TTR Europe, Trans Europa, and Euro Rails.
 
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J C Lawrence
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John Weber wrote:
One feature of AoS that I really don't like is the passive blocking that is allowed. Example, Player A, who has a 6 train and tons of money, wins the auction, takes the loco action just to prevent other players from upgrading (they now have to give up a precious "move cubes" action to get the upgrade). A second rule I prefer is that in RRT you must own the pickup leg, i.e. you cannot pick up a goods cube on someone else's track, and this is the one key area in which RRT (the supposedly simpler, more family-friendly game) is actually MORE restrctive than AoS.


I like both the described mechanisms as they provide additional ways for the game to provide competition and contest. Being able to hide cubes behind a leading connection seems like a security blanket for both the presumed leader and the losers. Ptui. Give them knives and tell them to start carving on each other. Similarly with taking actions purely to deny them to others -- that's another great competitive tool. The lack of these ways to offensively and defensively affect other players in RRT is a loss.
 
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John Weber
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clearcaw,

couldn't disagree with you more but maybe my perception is clouded by being on the receiving end of this tactic. If someone is a runaway leader in AoS, there is simply nothing for the remaining players to do but sit there and take it. (OK, maybe if you're lucky you might be in contention for second and can shoot for the consolation prize.) In RRT, sure you can fall behind a runaway leader as well, but at least there is the satisfaction of trying to accomplish something with what you have created whereas in AoS you just sit there and get hosed (continually).
 
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Harald Torvatn
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Tall_Walt wrote:
I'm amazed by the comments that the tycoon cards "ruin" RRT. Obviously, you can remove them if you don't like them, but tycoon missions are rarely worth as much as one end-of-game delivery! If you're letting your tycoon card outweigh picking a better board position, that's not the game being broken, that's bad strategy!

To answer the original question, get RRT. If you don't like it, you'll probably be able to sell it for enough to get AoS, TTR Europe, Trans Europa, and Euro Rails.


I agree with this. When I ignore my tycoon card, I usually win. When I try to do what it says, I do not win. The tycoon cards certainly does not add much to the game, but they dont ruin it either.
 
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J C Lawrence
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John Weber wrote:
couldn't disagree with you more but maybe my perception is clouded by being on the receiving end of this tactic.


I have frequently been on both the receiving and delivering end of the tactic. It is just one of the many weapons available to players, all players. An example would be this Wednesday's game in which I very frequently ran the leader's 6 Link cubes for 5 income for me and 1 for him (I exited turn 2 with a 5 train), leaving him to run paltry 3 and 4 link routes inxtead. Ultimately I ended two VPs behind him, but he played well to squeak that out under such pressure. Age of Steam is near my most frequently played game (35 games so far this year, beaten only by Sticheln with 97 plays so far this year).

Quote:
If someone is a runaway leader in AoS, there is simply nothing for the remaining players to do but sit there and take it.


Sure there is. Steal the cubes they want for long deliveries, block their track, cut their long deliveries with Urbanisation etc.

Quote:
(OK, maybe if you're lucky you might be in contention for second and can shoot for the consolation prize.)


There's little shame in not winning. The shame is in not winning when you could have,

Quote:
In RRT, sure you can fall behind a runaway leader as well, but at least there is the satisfaction of trying to accomplish something with what you have created whereas in AoS you just sit there and get hosed (continually).


I feel a sense of accomplishment having finished a game of Age of Steam reasonably profitable (it varies by map, but say over $35 income on the last turn on Great Lakes), most especially if my final track and cube delivery patterns actually resemble the track and delivery pattern I envisioned when I made my first build. Yeah, I make my first move of the game having already envisoned my early deliveries, mid-game deliveries and late-game deliveries and the incremental track patterns that will be needed to accomplish that effectively.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Tall_Walt wrote:
I'm amazed by the comments that the tycoon cards "ruin" RRT.


I've not heard that particular complaint. I more commonly hear the complaint that the event cards spoil the game (I've made that complaint).

Quote:
Obviously, you can remove them if you don't like them...


Of course. Then again if I did this I'd lose the event cards, the tycoon cards as well for good measure and consistency. the empty town markers, the overly simple turn order auction, the silly river hex building rules, about two thirds of the board and the flat expenses model.

I do like the idea of RRT were it heavily compressed. Make it short, brutal and heavily zero-sum and I've the sense that quite a good game would be revealed. It wouldn't have to be Age of Steam-like, it would quite easily be its own game, but it woud just be a game that concentrated more heavily on opportunity costs and leverage than either of the current systems.
 
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Walt
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clearclaw wrote:
...I did this I'd lose the event cards, the tycoon cards as well for good measure and consistency. the empty town markers, the overly simple turn order auction, the silly river hex building rules, about two thirds of the board and the flat expenses model.


Just a long-winded way of saying you don't like RRT because it isn't AoS. Pfft!
 
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