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Subject: Mention backward compatibility in description? rss

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Philippe Beaudoin
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I noticed the game description has been locked. However, I really believe that the backward compatibility of this game to the original Age of Steam -- as mentioned by the author in another post -- should be mentioned in the description. This is a truly important distinguishing feature of this game and I believe it is the kind of information that is worthwhile to know for everybody.
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Roland Wood
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The description used to mention a lot more than it does now. The problem was that as Steam continued to develop, many of the originally mentioned features of the game changed so much that the description became grossly inaccurate. Even though the original list of game features (including 100% backward compatibility) was given by Martin Wallace, himself, many have since been changed, dropped, or split between the two versions of Steam.

The description was locked due to some back and forth wiki warfare between Wallace fans and Bohrer fans (I'm including John as one of his own fans here...) and also so that only official "final version" information from Mayfair would be added to the description in the future.

There are probably a few things that Alex Yeager has revealed in the Production Notes thread that could be added to the description but only an admin can do it Also, I believe the true extent of actual backward compatibility is still in question. I'm pretty sure it is no longer considered to be 100% backward compatible. The tile count is different, I doubt there will be charts or support for using dice to bring out new cubes as in classic AoS, and there will be no classic AoS rules included with the game.
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Michael Webb
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It just depends on how you define compatible. In the hunter/gatherer sense of being able to play the game, there has never been any question about that because the games are fairy close relatives. The experience won't be identical unless the players artificially restrict the tile count though, because the double-sided tiles will expand the availability of at least one of the basic tile types. The towns are now all dedicated tiles, which means that players have no easy way of emulating the restriction of the original game without keeping track of how many would-have-been simple pieces of track have town circles on them. The tile count might increase the complex tiles as well, I'm not 100% on this.

As has been stated before, there are components that exist in the original game that no longer exist in this version of the system, production is now governed by the line of blank hexagons that you see on the Ruhr map whereas in AoS it was a separate chart. There are other niggly things like this that someone would have to deal with if they wanted to play AoS with the Steam bits.

FWIW, I think it's easier to just buy Steam if you want to play Steam. It's a fine game that a lot of people will be happy with. If you want to play AoS, get a copy of AoS; either an old one (these will be going down in value because of the reprint) or a new one, depending on your personal feelings about the ongoing AoS excitement. Either game will be cobbleable (is that a verb?) into the other, but I don't think either will provide an optimum experience when its being used in that "compatibility mode."
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Dave Kudzma
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Another reason, based on one of Michaels later statements, is that there has been controversy in the Steam/AoS area these days, and I'm certain due to copyright that they are not able/willing to put the AoS name on Steam.
 
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Roland Wood
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CortexBomb wrote:
Either game will be cobbleable (is that a verb?) into the other, but I don't think either will provide an optimum experience when its being used in that "compatibility mode."


I'm sure my game group will try merging the two at least once because why the heck not right? But I fully expect that we will play them separately every other time. I also do not plan to purchase any old AoS maps until I've first read session reports from others who have tried them with Steam.
 
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J C Lawrence
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filou wrote:
I noticed the game description has been locked. However, I really believe that the backward compatibility of this game to the original Age of Steam -- as mentioned by the author in another post -- should be mentioned in the description. This is a truly important distinguishing feature of this game and I believe it is the kind of information that is worthwhile to know for everybody.


Problems with playing Age of Steam with Steam's components:

0) Too many track tiles, wrong distribution, bit of a mess regarding town and complex-track tiles
1) No town markers (could use "city growth" markers?)
2) Too many player track markers per player
3) Too many goods cubes (no notes as to colour distribution)
4) No production chart or dice
5) Income track is too short, needs replacement

It appears that Steam does not a great Age of Steam base make. The adjustments for everything but the track tile mess are fairly trivial: Discard the new map, discard a fixed number of track markers, discard a fixed number/distribution of cubes, print a couple charts off BGG, use pennies or such for town markers, etc. The larger problem is likely to be in the track tiles. Given the fundamentally different handling of complex track and towns in Steam, adjusting for Age of Steam may not not be so trivial. If we're lucky it will be just a matter of discarding a set distribution of tiles and adding town markers in order to play the game we all know and love, but that's not clear yet.

I suspect it won't take long before someone writes an Age of Steam ruleset for Steam's map.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Roliander wrote:
The tile count is different


That could be a technical issue if smaller (if larger list what to exclude). Unless significantly smaller, unlikely to be a real issue.

Quote:
I doubt there will be charts or support for using dice to bring out new cubes as in classic AoS


I imagine a set of charts will rapidly appear here. And I think most gamers can find a few dice.

Quote:
and there will be no classic AoS rules included with the game.


Someone, somewhere will probably at some point create a set of functionally identical but wording different rules that will have the opportunity for much argument as to validity. But the sufficient alternative of writing up a set of changes from the expert version of Steam to AoS will probably (bearing in mind the only version of Steam - not then called that - that I've seen is long out of date) be a not too difficult job.
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clearclaw wrote:
The larger problem is likely to be in the track tiles. Given the fundamentally different handling of complex track and towns in Steam, adjusting for Age of Steam may not not be so trivial. If we're lucky it will be just a matter of discarding a set distribution of tiles and adding town markers


An alternative that might turn out to be possible is to group the complex track tiles in groups together with their equivalent (in AoS terms) city tiles. When you play a Steam city you must discard (out of the game) one of the equivalent complex track tiles.

Or, as a final option, you could decide that the AoS tile limitations were an accident of production circumstances, and aren't actually fundamental. (All those crying heretic, this option isn't for you.) Subject to being roughly right, the Steam tile set will probably be one that AoS could easily have been made with, and if it had, the believers in the one true AoS would probably be crying heretic about changing that set.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Dearlove wrote:
And I think most gamers can find a few dice.


Dice. I forgot to list dice.

Quote:
Or, as a final option, you could decide that the AoS tile limitations were an accident of production circumstances, and aren't actually fundamental. (All those crying heretic, this option isn't for you.) Subject to being roughly right, the Steam tile set will probably be one that AoS could easily have been made with, and if it had, the believers in the one true AoS would probably be crying heretic about changing that set.


Yeah, the tile mix was almost certainly an accident of production, however not that that accident has occurred, the surrounding ecosystem has adapted to rely on the specific details of that accident. Maps and games and play-styles and decisions have evolved to fit the narrow and specific strictures of the published tile mix. Changing the tile mix fundamentally changes the game for (more than?) a few maps. My own AoS:Sun map for instance explicitly relies on the current exact AoS tile mix and will not work as well with other tile distributions (much of the game comes down to timing and placement of the limited number of complex tiles). Ted's Pennsylvania and Alban's Moon maps are others that tend to rely on the specific distribution of complex and town tiles in Age of Steam.
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Philippe Beaudoin
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I've noticed J C Lawrence is very vocal in any discussion regarding Age of Steam, and I thank him for the precisions he brings. However, I cannot help but feel he has a personal involvement in this -- there is a level of emotional intensity in his posts. The result is a flooding of any discussion on the subject, leading to obfuscated information that is hard to track.

That is why I was suggesting the information on backward compatibility be included in the game description. I believe everybody interested will be able to decide for himself if the tile mix and other missing elements are a deal breaker or not.
 
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J C Lawrence
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filou wrote:
I've noticed J C Lawrence is very vocal in any discussion regarding Age of Steam, and I thank him for the precisions he brings. However, I cannot help but feel he has a personal involvement in this -- there is a level of emotional intensity in his posts.


I'm not aware of being particularly more emotional regarding Age of Steam (or Steam) than I am regarding most any other game I particularly enjoy. You might compare for instance what I've written for other games I'd fond of, like Imperial or Chicago Express or the various 18xx or even Neuland. (I've also often been asked if I have to always approach everything so very strongly)

ObCaveat: I have two published expansion maps for Age of Steam. I'm not aware that they have affected my approach to Steam. FWLIW I have noted that they will likely not work well with the Steam rules changes.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Profesor Mora wrote:
I don't mind at all, J C, but I'm curious... Are you related to John Bohrer? What kind of relationship? Work, friends, publisher-consumer...?


He's no relation, I've never met him and really don't know much about him at all. I like and frequently play some of the games he develops and publishes (see my games played history -- it is pretty accurate). That pretty much encapsulates the story right there.

The only slightly more formal relationship that exists is one of a retail customer. I've played broker a few times, collecting money from interested buyers (usually foreign) and then placing a large group order with Winsome Games (paying full retail) and then sending the games I receive out to the people who ordered them. I'm no different there from any other customer except that I tend to order 100+ games at a time verus one or two. It is the same deal as the collective orders where gamers get together to order from Boards&Bits, TimeWellSpent etc and save on S&H -- just here my fellow gamers are remote/international. Oh, and I setup a geeklist to collect evidences of interest in games from Winsome's back catalogue that I'd like to see reprinted (and which I'd then broker in the same way etc).
 
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Roland Wood
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filou wrote:
The result is a flooding of any discussion on the subject, leading to obfuscated information that is hard to track.


Wow. I never thought I would see the day that J.C. would ever be accused of being responsible for hidden trackables!

This could be an apocalyptic omen for Aldie to consider before doing the big change-over this weekend.

Plus, if its true I am putting you on notice JC that the pen and paper are coming out...

cool
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Roland Wood
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clearclaw wrote:
filou wrote:
I've noticed J C Lawrence is very vocal in any discussion regarding Age of Steam, and I thank him for the precisions he brings. However, I cannot help but feel he has a personal involvement in this -- there is a level of emotional intensity in his posts.


I'm not aware of being particularly more emotional regarding Age of Steam (or Steam) than I am regarding most any other game I particularly enjoy. You might compare for instance what I've written for other games I'd fond of, like Imperial or Chicago Express or the various 18xx or even Neuland. (I've also often been asked if I have to always approach everything so very strongly)

ObCaveat: I have two published expansion maps for Age of Steam. I'm not aware that they have affected my approach to Steam. FWLIW I have noted that they will likely not work well with the Steam rules changes.


I would think that if there is any intensity in what you post, it is simply that one of the premises of Steam is that it fixes aspects of Age of Steam that you consider...delicious. (I believe you like to use that word).

Its not John Bohrer you're old friends with-- its Age of Steam...
 
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Jeff Brown
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With all of the nonsense surrounding these two releases I have a serious question. I own the warfrog edition of Age of Steam, and it is one of my favorite games. Am I required to dislike it and like this game instead in order to be a moral person? Because I really like Age of Steam.
 
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Roliander wrote:
I would think that if there is any intensity in what you post, it is simply that one of the premises of Steam is that it fixes aspects of Age of Steam that you consider...delicious. (I believe you like to use that word).


I'm not sure I'd associate that with intensity, but yes, I do tend to view the changes made in Steam as weakening of the structures I find so delightful. Delicious too.

Quote:
Its not John Bohrer you're old friends with-- its Age of Steam...


True. I like the game and have played it often (probably 1,500-2,000 games if I count simulated games during map development).
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Roliander wrote:
Wow. I never thought I would see the day that J.C. would ever be accused of being responsible for hidden trackables!


You want worse? I'm considering using (partially) hidden trackable information in a game design I'm working on. I feel so...dirty. I've spent about a week now trying to figure out how not need to do that.
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Roland Wood
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jeff brown wrote:
With all of the nonsense surrounding these two releases I have a serious question. I own the warfrog edition of Age of Steam, and it is one of my favorite games. Am I required to dislike it and like this game instead in order to be a moral person? Because I really like Age of Steam.


Not at all. Especially given that you are LDS. Just pick up Railroad Tycoon and Steam and you can refer to all three as your "triple combination" laugh
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clearclaw wrote:
Roliander wrote:
Wow. I never thought I would see the day that J.C. would ever be accused of being responsible for hidden trackables!


You want worse? I'm considering using (partially) hidden trackable information in a game design I'm working on. I feel so...dirty. I've spent about a week now trying to figure out how not need to do that.


Egad...the disillusionment...

Next you'll be flirting with snowball economies. What is real?! Wait, let me guess, you're really a 14 year old girl named Barbara...
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Jeff Brown
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Roliander wrote:
jeff brown wrote:
With all of the nonsense surrounding these two releases I have a serious question. I own the warfrog edition of Age of Steam, and it is one of my favorite games. Am I required to dislike it and like this game instead in order to be a moral person? Because I really like Age of Steam.


Not at all. Especially given that you are LDS. Just pick up Railroad Tycoon and Steam and you can refer to all three as your "triple combination" laugh


That's a relief, I am already guilty of other boardgaming heresies (using rubber bands on cards, criticizing Blue Moon art, etc) and I didn't want this to be the thing that excommunicated me.

This triple combination, will be a little less portable, especially with RRT.
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jeff brown wrote:
With all of the nonsense surrounding these two releases I have a serious question. I own the warfrog edition of Age of Steam, and it is one of my favorite games. Am I required to dislike it and like this game instead in order to be a moral person? Because I really like Age of Steam.

Absolutely not!
Age of Steam is a great game - no matter which edition you have - and Steam will hopefully also be a great game.

Even though I already have two copies of the old game (1st & 2nd print runs), I am still looking forward to the new rules, as many gamers are unhappy about the unforgiving nature of AoS.

So by having BOTH versions I hope to be able to play the game even more!
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Great Dane wrote:
jeff brown wrote:
With all of the nonsense surrounding these two releases I have a serious question. I own the warfrog edition of Age of Steam, and it is one of my favorite games. Am I required to dislike it and like this game instead in order to be a moral person? Because I really like Age of Steam.

Absolutely not!
Age of Steam is a great game - no matter which edition you have - and Steam will hopefully also be a great game.

Even though I already have two copies of the old game (1st & 2nd print runs), I am still looking forward to the new rules, as many gamers are unhappy about the unforgiving nature of AoS.

So by having BOTH versions I hope to be able to play the game even more!


I'm glad we clarified this, I asked the question partly tongue in cheek and partly serious. I'm not too concerned about what others would think about me, but with all of the emotions running high the feeling that I got from a lot of people is that it is morally wrong to like Age of Steam. I wanted it to be explicitly stated that its still OK to like Age of Steam.

That being said it is my feeling (while trying to stay the least involved as possible) that making people feel guilty for wanting to buy Age of Steam (which I have seen done on multiple occasions) is silly. It's a great game that Martin designed and I'm glad it is availiable.

Steam sounds like it might be a great game also, it doesn't sound to be the same game but it looks like it might be good. I'll be following its reception closely to see if it is something I'll be interested in.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Profesor Mora wrote:
I though you have met him or at least you have a more close relationship when I've read the following quote:


Nope. He packaged the Brummie Rails along with one of my large game orders, unasked. They were just there. He's done a few things like that, pleasing and appreciated little extras thrown into the large orders I've placed. I've also received candies, a D6-in-a-D6, StartPlayer pointers etc as free throw-ins with orders I've placed with other online retailers.
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JC, I never thought I'd hear someone accuse you of "emotional intensity" in your posting style! What's the world coming to?
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Roliander wrote:
What is real?! Wait, let me guess, you're really a 14 year old girl named Barbara...

I have met and played board games with JC. I can say with certainty that he is not a 14yr old girl.
 
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