Bradley Keen
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
www.punkzter.blogspot.com
badge
It's a horse. On a chair.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have had this map for some time now, and with the deluge of new maps coming out at Essen, I decided that it was high time to play some of my unplayed Age of Steam maps. Last night, Mike was not going to make it to the gaming session. I invited Matt to take his place. We were later joined by Dan to complete the group.

I chose Soul Train primarily because the expansion makes relatively minor changes to the system and because most of these changes speed up the game. The most interesting change to the game is that it now takes place over two main phases. In the first phase of the game, you move souls (cubes) from hell to earth. Souls can only move to cities on earth, and upon arrival, they are left on the board.

This phase ends as soon as there are only 10 or fewer souls left in hell. Then, you remove the hell portion of the map, flip it over, and position it above earth (the alternate side depicts heaven). Players do score points (in income) for constructed track, and any "New City" tiles that were in hell are placed, in player order, on cities in heaven. Now, you have exactly two turns to transport souls from earth to heaven.

Other changes include:

1. You can build 6 tracks per turn
2. Only 1 New City per Color is in the game
3. Engineer cuts your building costs in half for the turn
4. You can only build complete links
5. There is no production action or phase
6. You start with $20 (but only 2 shares issued)
7. Building cost for terrain in hell/fire is $4 and $1 for heaven/cloud terrain

Because all three of us were new to the map, we all bid low. I did not issue many shares, although Matt and Dan did. I chose the urbanization action and urbanized one of the cities in hell, but I concentrated most of my route building on earth. I figured that the best move would be to lay down cheaper track and build up the network that would be vital late game. Also, I knew that cubes had to get to cities on earth in the first phase, so it would be necessary to reach many different locations. This plan worked out very well for me. As my network grew, and I reached solvency, I was able to slowly connect to more locations in hell.

While I played over on the right side of the board, Matt and Dan fought it out on the left side. Well, at least for the beginning of the game. Matt's network slowly expanded across Hell and then up the left side with me. This created an interesting effect during the second phase of the game, where suddenly Matt's entire network shifted sides!

Over the course of the game, Dan was able to keep pace with me on the income track, but he had to issue many more shares than I did. At the end of the game, I had issued 7 shares to his 12. I was able to trigger the end of the first phase on my terms, and was able to place a vital red city in heaven at an ideal location. Then, I chose the urbanize action and placed another yellow city at a spot that would enable 2 6-link shipments in the second and final turn of phase 2.

Sadly, Matt was not able to experience the joy of transporting souls from earth to heaven. He ended up going bankrupt right at the tail end of the game. I think that he had options, but, as a new player, he just didn't see the potential that his route had.

In the end, Dan and I were tied with track points and on the income track (but before shares were deducted from the score). Because of the large difference in issued shares, I was able to take the game.

I really enjoyed this map. Even with a newer and relatively slower player, it still played out in around 2 hours, and this length should be shorter in future games. The rules are relatively simple, as far as the expansions go, and because the production phase is eliminated, it shortens the game. Knowing when to trigger (if you can) the end of the first phase is interesting, as is the importance of setting up a strong phase 2 network.

I would recommend this map for newer players or for gamers interested in a strong thematic experience. The map did feel a bit loose with three players, and I would like to try it with four. Still, if you have the chance to give it a play, I would definitely recommend it!

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bradley Keen
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
www.punkzter.blogspot.com
badge
It's a horse. On a chair.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


And, thank you Ed for reminding me to do this, at the end of the night I received the Warfrog for winning 3 games!

Final Tally of Games Played:

Hermagor
AoS: Soul Train
Villa Paletti x2

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.