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jim b
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July 6, 2009
DRAFT

[Please restrict comments to the variant itself, not the relative merits of Steam and Age of Steam, or Classic play. Also, detailed discussion of maps, specific extensions, map density, supply and analysis in general is going on elsewhere...]


[This is a draft, for review purposes. Comments are welcome, and updates will be incorporated into a revised version. This can be redistributed freely.]


Steam Classic
Introduction


Steam Classic is a Steam variant intended to help Steam owners play major Age of Steam expansions that don't simply 'plug-in' to Steam - especially those that rely on Age of Steam's goods supply.

There's many options for playing Age of Steam maps, variants, and extensions in Steam - as a normal Steam scenario, as a variant Steam scenario, or, as a classic Age of Steam variant.

Ideally, a normal map will play as a natural Steam scenario (with its own geography), and no other variant rules are required - setup the map with the recommended # of initial goods, and play Steam rules from there.

However, some major expansions extend the Age of Steam goods supply significantly - pending Steam guidelines from the expansion's designer, Steam Classic offers greater fidelity to traditional Age of Steam mechanics when playing these expansions in Steam.

There's two ways of playing this 'classic' variant with Steam: using a Steam board, or using an external board and Goods Display. These 'onboard classic' and 'offboard classic' options are both described here: the onboard setup uses Steam's board tracks and supply areas, along with the expansion map; the offboard setup an external map-board, goods display(s), and point tracks.

Steam Classic Variant Play Instructions are provided below, along with onboard or offboard setup instructions.

[Terminology - this 'Classic' variant kit uses some terminology, eg 'supply line' and 'supply marker', where neither Steam nor Age of Steam do; it's useful here, but hopefully it won't be disorienting to veteran players.]


Steam Classic
Equipment


Variant Play Instructions - game-play instructions, below, to supplement the Steam rules

Supply Markers - 12 player tokens are repurposed, to manage new-city supply areas. Put these tokens aside:

- 1 Red, Blue, Yellow, and Purple token
- 2 White, Natural, Brown, and Black tokens

Some of these Supply Markers color-code supply lines directly to matching new cities: Red, Blue, Yellow, and Purple, in turn. The other Supply Markers are in 4 neutral colors (White, Natural, Brown, and Black), and match Gray new cities to a supply line. (When a Gray new city is placed during Urbanization, below, one of the paired Supply Markers is placed on the Gray new city tile, to mark its supply line.)

Dice - 6

Steam board (onboard only) - use Steam's game tracks directly; Steam's supply spaces will provide the Classic Goods Display. (12 supply spaces will hold a supply-line as usual; 8 of these will also hold a second supply line, for the 8 new-cities).

Goods Display (offboard only) - goods must be setup on an Age of Steam Goods Display; some are available on BGG, download and print one of these -
John Jackson ajax2647 http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/16518
Ted Alspach has one also: tbd.

Income Track Display (offboard only) - if you want to use the Age of Steam Income Track, some are available on BGG - download and print one of these -
John Jackson ajax2647 http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/16517
Ted Alspach has one also: tbd.

Steam Display (offboard Steam, optional) - to use Steam track displays without the Steam board (income/expenses, VP track, etc), you can download and print Ted Alspach's Steam Display -
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/39813

Other - City Growth Markers - Steam's City Growth Markers are not used in Classic, just ignore them.


Steam Classic
Variant Play Instructions


Classic Goods Supply, Overview

Since these instructions require an understanding of Classic's variant goods supply, an overview is provided to orient Steam players.

Supply spaces work differently, and some game actions are changed - particularly Urbanization and Build Track, and City Growth (which is replaced with Production). There's also a new phase Goods Growth, which includes the Production action.

Supply Lines - Steam has 12 Goods Supply Spaces, which can supply any city; Classic uses 20 Goods Supply Lines, one for each specific city. In Steam, the selected supply space is at player discretion, and all cubes are supplied together; in Classic, goods supply is randomized (with dice), and cubes are delivered individually.

Classic cities are labelled, to match them directly to these Supply lines. Map cities are numbered (white 1-6 and black 1-6), and new cities are also marked (color-coded for Classic, but traditionally labelled A-H), Similarly, the Supply Area holds 20 supply lines in turn; 12 numbered white 1-6 and black 1-6 (with 3 goods each); and 8 for the marked new cities (with 2 goods each).

Setup

Follow the Initial Setup instructions for onboard or offboard Steam Classic setup (below), as appropriate. Unless otherwise stated, Standard rules apply.

Play

Classic introduces these changes: the City Growth action is replaced with a Production action, Build Track and Urbanization are modified, and a new phase Goods Growth is introduced. These changes are described below.

City Growth - in Classic, this action is replaced by the Production action, and occurs during the new Goods Growth phase.

Build Track - Build Track no longer includes the City Growth action.

Urbanization - no goods are supplied to a new-city at urbanization. Place the chosen new-city tile as usual. For a Gray new city, also take a Supply Marker (from a supply line with 2 markers), and place it on the new city. This match the Gray city to a supply line using a neutral Supply Marker (White, Natural, Brown, or Black).

Goods Growth - this new phase occurs immediately before the turn-marker is advanced, and is the heart of Classic's goods supply.

First, if a player chose the Production action, that player now takes 2 cubes from the bag, and then places each onto any available space, in any supply line. (The supply lines have a fixed capacity - if the line is full, as at setup, more cubes cannot be added.)

Next, dice are rolled to supply individual cubes to specific cities. Use N dice for N players - and roll them all, twice - once for the 'white' supply spaces (the first half), and once for the 'black' supply spaces (the second half).

For each roll, take each matching die and activate supply line(s) from the corresponding supply space - each die may activate one or two supply-lines, depending on the supply space.

Each time a supply-line is activated and the corresponding city is in play (see below), take the top available good and place it on that city. If no good is available, none is supplied.

For map supply lines white 1-6 and black 1-6, the matching map city is supplied. Supply lines for new cities have a Supply Marker: when these supply lines are activated, the matching new city is supplied (if on-board). Four of these Supply Markers directly match a colored new city - Red, Blue, Yellow, and Purple, in turn. The 4 neutral Supply Markers - White, Natural, Brown, and Black - supply Gray new cities (the matching Supply Marker is placed on a Gray new city during Urbanization, above).

A Goods Growth Example is provided at the end of the setup instructions.


Steam Classic
Initial Setup, Onboard


Overview

The onboard variant uses all Steam's normal game tracks (income, vp, etc), but extends the Goods Supply spaces to support Classic supply lines.

Setup Instructions

Supply Markers - place the Supply Marker tokens on the Steam board, centered on the following Goods Supply Spaces (numbered 1-12 here, from top to bottom) -

- 1 Red: Goods Supply Space #3 (ie, 3rd from the top)
- 1 Blue: supply space 4
- 2 White: supply space 5
- 2 Natural: supply space 6
- 1 Yellow: supply space 7
- 1 Purple: supply space 8
- 2 Brown: supply space 9
- 2 Black: supply space 10

In this Classic variant, these 'supply markers' are used during Urbanization, Production (City Growth), and Goods Growth.

Setup Goods - place 3 goods in each supply space as normal (in the outlined squares on the right side). Also, in the 8 supply spaces with Supply Markers (above), place 2 more goods, in-line on the left side. This forms 20 supply lines on the Steam Board - 12 lines with 3 goods each, and 8 lines with 2 goods each - these supply up to 12 numbered map cities (white 1-6 and black 1-6), and 8 new cities.

White City & Black City Identification - place an extra White Die, with the '1' facing up, to the left of the topmost [/i]Goods Supply Space[/i]; and, place an extra Black Die, also with the '1' facing up, to the left of the 7th Goods Supply Space. These markers anchor the top of the 'white city' supply spaces (matching 'white' dice rolls 1-6), and the top of the 'black city' supply spaces (matching 'black' dice rolls 1-6). [Due to the Steam board crease, it's easy to get these mixed up, so this helps orient players during Goods Growth.]

Complete Setup - other than the changes noted here, finish Standard setup for your Steam game-board, and setup your map-scenario, or expansion game, as normal.

Continue with the Steam Classic Variant Play Instructions, above.


Steam Classic
Initial Setup, Offboard


Overview

As discussed above, Classic cities have dedicated supply line on an offboard Goods Display. Each city is coded to identify its supply line (1-6 in white and black, and, A-H); and, turns end with a Goods Growth phase, where goods may move from supply lines to cities.

The Goods Display has 10 supply areas on the left (labelled in white 1-6 and A-D), and 10 supply areas on the right (labelled in black, 1-6 and E-H). The numbered supply lines are for map cities, with 3 goods per supply area (for map cities 'white 1-6' and 'black 1-6'); the lettered supply lines are for new cities, with 2 goods per supply area (labelled A-H on the display, but color-coded in this setup).

Setup Instructions

Each supply space is filled with goods at setup: a goods cube is drawn at random to fill every shaded-square on the Goods Display (marked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd). The display has specific supply lines for up to 20 cities: 12 of these are supply lines for map cities (white 1-6 on the left, and black 1-6 on the right); 8 more are supply lines for new cities (white A-D on the left, and black E-H on the right).

Supply Markers - place your Supply Marker tokens on the 8 New City supply lines on the Goods Display (now headed A-H), as follows -

- 1 Red: supply-line 'A'
- 1 Blue: supply-line 'B'
- 2 White: supply-line 'C'
- 2 Natural: supply-line 'D'
- 1 Yellow: supply-line 'E'
- 1 Purple: supply-line 'F'
- 2 Brown: supply-line 'G'
- 2 Black: supply-line 'H'

In this Classic variant, these 'supply markers' are used during Urbanization, Production (City Growth), and Goods Growth.

Standard setup - other than the changes notes above, setup your game-tracks on either a classic Income Track or a Steam Display (depending on your preferences), and setup your map-scenario as normal.

Continue with the Steam Classic Variant Play Instructions, above.


Steam Classic
Variant Examples


Goods Growth Example

To process the Goods Growth in a 5-player game, 5 dice are rolled, twice in succession: first for the 'white cities', and then for the 'black cities'.

The first roll of 5 dice, 'for the white cities', results in: 1, 2, 4, 4, 5. As a result, the corresponding white supply areas are activated. 2 of these (white 1 and white 2) contain 1 supply line - the topmost goods cube (if any) is taken from each, and put on map cities White-1 and White-2. The two 4's, in turn, match the supply space 'White 4' - which actually holds 2 supply-lines, one for the map city 'White 4', and, a supply line for a gray new city (with a Natural Supply Marker). Since we rolled two 4's, each of these supply lines will be activated twice now - map city White 6 will be supplied up to 2 goods cubes from its line, and the gray new city marked with a Natural Supply Marker, if any, will also be supplied up to 2 goods. Finally, the 5 die matches another supply space with 2 supply lines - one line for map city 'White 5', and one line for the Yellow new city; each of these supply-lines is activated once, accordingly.

Then, the procedure is repeated 'for the black cities' - the 5 dice are rolled once more, and the result is: 1, 1, 2, 3, 6. Again, matching supply lines are activated for each die hit (as described above for the white cities). In this case, the two 1's match supply space 'Black 1' - holding a supply line for city 'Black 1', and a supply line for the Yellow 'new city' - since there's two 1's, each of these supply lines is activated twice. (If all goods are available, then, map city 'Black 1' and the Yellow new city will each get two additional cubes from their supply line; incidentally, emptying the supply line for the Yellow new city. Unlike Steam, Goods Supply areas can be refilled in Classic - see the Production action.) The die hits of 2, 3, and 6 are evaluated similarly, and the process is complete.


Steam Classic
Other Notes


Age of Steam New City tiles

For your reference, here's the labels of New City tiles in Age of Steam (A-H), and the corresponding Supply Marker in this Classic variant -

- Red - 'A' Label, Marker Red
- Blue - 'B' Label, Marker Blue
- Gray #1 - 'C' Label, Marker White
- Gray #2 - 'D' Label, Marker Natural
- Yellow - 'E' Label, Marker Yellow
- Purple - 'F' Label, Marker Purple
- Gray #3 - 'G' Label, Marker Brown
- Gray #4 - 'H' Label, Marker Black

As shown, the variant instructions provided here use color-coded Supply Markers, instead of lettered cities A-H. If you play offboard frequently with a classic Goods Displays, you may want to discretely label your Steam new city tiles with a permanent marker, A-H as above, to match the classic conventions.

Standard Classic - a number of Steam actions are modified for classic play, whereas Base's action pricing and turn-order effects assume native Steam actions. For example, Production and Urbanization are more powerful in Steam, and worth more than the equivalent Classic actions. As a result, Standard play is recommended above.

Base Classic - this Classic variant could be played with Base in principle, however Classic's Production and Urbanization should be valued differently than Base's equivalents (City Growth and Urbanization). A variant action-tile set could work well for this: the replacement action-tiles would substitute Production for City Growth, reprice Production and Urbanization (at least), and also balance the Classic action-tiles' turn-order effects (their order, from #1-7); that's beyond the scope of this variant for now.

Classic Production - note, Steam has no real equivalent to Classic's Production action: once Steam's cities and supply areas are setup (before the first turn), no more goods cubes will ever be drawn from the bag.

Useful Equipment for Extensions - simple creative work could make this classic kit more elegant - 7 new 'action tiles' for Steam Classic play, a supply-area overlay (with the 8 extra supply lines, and color-coded new-cities), simpler supply markers keyed to that supply-area overlay (instead of player tokens), etc...

More Classic - Classic Goods Supply is the main focus here, for practical reasons. Additional variant rules for Classic could also be applied, for instance regarding track costs.

Other Guides - Mayfair will be coming out with a scenario guide; some of these issues may be directly addressed then (although they will probably discuss scenario and map guidelines broadly, more than 'classic' play in detail).

As indicated above, review comments welcome; this is a draft.

- jim


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Anthony Simons
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I like what you've done here, Jim; this effectively deals with backwards conversion to the goods growth. I would be interested in any ideas you have to use this in Basic.

jimb wrote:
As indicated above, review comments welcome; this is a draft.


You might want to clarify that new cities have to be on the board before they can be supplied and are not supplied as part of the urbanise action.
 
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jim b
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I posted some pictures today to make the setup clear.

Here's Steam Classic, onboard -

Classic Onboard
--

In more detail, the onboard goods supply is below. The 'White 1' and 'Black 1' dice (shown) headline the corresponding 6 supply spaces (White 1-6 and Black 1-6). Also, Supply Markers tag 8 supply spaces - these include a second supply line, on the left, for new cities.

Classic Onboard - Supply Areas
--

Here's an example with 4 New City tiles on the map - Yellow, Purple, and 2 Gray. Each has a matching supply line with a color-coded Supply Marker.

Classic Onboard - New Cities and Supply Markers
--

Here's the Goods Display for Steam Classic Offboard, with Supply Markers on the new city supply lines -

Classic Offboard - Goods Display
--

edit - captions, zoom images
 
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jim b
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fellonmyhead wrote:
I like what you've done here, Jim; this effectively deals with backwards conversion to the goods growth.

Thanks! meeple

fellonmyhead wrote:
You might want to clarify that new cities have to be on the board before they can be supplied and are not supplied as part of the urbanise action.

Ok - I tried to clarify the Goods Growth text for new cities.

For Urbanize, I think the main description (in the Variant Play Instructions, above) does emphasize that new cities don't get goods - is there somewhere that I glossed over it?

fellonmyhead wrote:
I would be interested in any ideas you have to use this in Basic.

What would be your first take at Classic action pricing and numbering? We have Turn Order, First Move, Engineer, First Build, Production (was City Growth @ $2), Locomotive (remains $4 + ?), and Urbanization (was $6). It would be great to be able to play Base easily on most expansions, but still plugin the Classic goods supply when necessary (without switching to Standard).
 
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jim b
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In addition to exploring a Base Classic variant - it might also help to provide notes for more stringent AoS gameplay, where desired.

Steam Classic, above, primarily addresses goods-supply - to target the immediate potential stumbling block for some legacy expansions (without any other guidance).

And, I like having that simple focus for Steam Classic; the rest of this (below) would have been too much noise.

Nonetheless, one of my notes at the end mentioned 'more' classic, and I'd like to explore that too - itemized variant options for stricter AoS-style play. This would include income reduction, track-building costs, specific changes to finance and bidding rules, scoring track, etc. (It might even have snap guidelines for maximal fidelity with the AoS tile set - like, 'put T-blah and T-foo aside before play'.)

Does that seem useful, or do the goods-supply/game-play changes for Steam Classic address any real/major concerns just fine ?

Frankly - it's probably a little obsessive to sweat most of this stuff, most of the time. But some of these things may be useful, and some people may just prefer pure-classic game-play with certain scenarios or gamers.

So assuming it would be useful, I could post a Pure Classic variant for Steam Classic, offering highest fidelity with AoS play - simply these additional instructions.

I'd want some folks to read it over for nits/corrections, since it would be somewhat pedantic by design.

Thoughts?

[Gameplay preferences aside - given polarized AoS & Steam discussions, people understandably get concerned and confused about this issue. So, it seems useful to properly document what does, and doesn't work - and, what specific variant rules would apply, if/when it matters.]

edit - wording
 
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Van Overbay
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fellonmyhead wrote:
I like what you've done here, Jim; this effectively deals with backwards conversion to the goods growth. I would be interested in any ideas you have to use this in Basic.

jimb wrote:
As indicated above, review comments welcome; this is a draft.


You might want to clarify that new cities have to be on the board before they can be supplied and are not supplied as part of the urbanise action.


I'm glad these variants are being explored also. The multitude of threads is getting slightly confusing but I realize this is necessary for the early stages of exploration and development. Jim, will you be compiling the results of the various variants into a selection of PDF documents that will be in the file section of Steam for downloading and ease of printing?

This may be the ultimate goal, if not I think it is a good idea and will help separate different versions. The files could also be "living" documents that can evolve and be updated as new information is tested, proofed, added to, and commented on.

I appreciate the amount work everyone is putting into this and it will be great to have a cohesive and well-defined set of documents as an end result.

-Van

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jim b
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Thanks for the feedback.

I was thinking a post would be easiest for people to discover and grab (and, obviously, comment while its in draft form).

Is that incorrect, or is it just good to have both? Do many people find it just easier to print from a .pdf in the files? (I frequently overlook the Files section, if I'm not looking for something specific.)

Incidentally, could other geeks update a file I uploaded? (that would be nice)
 
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jimb wrote:
Nonetheless, one of my notes at the end mentioned 'more' classic...Does that seem useful, or do the goods-supply/game-play changes for Steam Classic address any real/major concerns just fine?

A Pure Classic variant would certainly find favor with me. I myself have been working on an alternative tile set based on 18xx tile design that mirrors the distribution found in AoS. Printing this out, getting it laminated, and cutting out the hexes shouldn't be too daunting.
 
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