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Subject: Level of interaction/conflict in Steam? rss

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Matthew Chua
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I'm wondering whether I would like Steam. I owned and had a couple of plays with RRT. Traded it away because:

1. Map was too big, felt like multiplayer solitaire. I love conflict and heavy player interaction in games.
2. Played way too long for its level of complexity.
3. Auctions weren't competitive most rounds.

I'm not ready to give up on the pick up & delivery mechanic but would hate to acquire Steam and find that it isn't different enough from RRT to actually like it.

So guys, tell me, will this game be sufficiently interactive for my tastes?
 
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J C Lawrence
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Given the values you list, I recommend Age of Steam instead of Steam. Age of Steam is more aggressive, more confrontational, and has very competitive auctions.
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Joe
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Seems like Steam addresses all three of your issues with RRT.

1. Map is much smaller, leading to much more interaction.
2. Fixed number of turns means things can't drag on.
3. The "base" game eliminates auctions completely, and leads to a simpler method of action/turn order assignment that still gives players a lot to think about.
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Pasta Batman
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clearclaw wrote:
Given the values you list, I recommend Age of Steam instead of Steam. Age of Steam is more aggressive, more confrontational, and has very competitive auctions.

Of course you do.

Matthew, Steam with the base rules is very 'interactive' and tight compared to RRT, and I think it is well worth your consideration. Maps are much smaller, games are relatively fast if everyone has played at least once, and auctions are replaced with a very fast and easy mechanism.
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Łukasz
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soojin wrote:
So guys, tell me, will this game be sufficiently interactive for my tastes?


Definitely yes. With a proper number of players there a significant amount of interaction - there too few cities for all the players, blocking opponents is more than common and money is scarce.

Recommended.
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Dave Kudzma
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clearclaw wrote:
Given the values you list, I recommend Age of Steam instead of Steam. Age of Steam is more aggressive, more confrontational, and has very competitive auctions.


Age of Steam is much nastier in general.

The key factor is how much each player builds into areas other players are, how much they compete for similar colored cubes, and how aggressively they then go after first move/build etc.

In either game how much you interact is based on player want/will and experience.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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I think that the nastines is just different, rather than more or less between AoS and Steam. In particular, Steam has a lot of direct competition for the goods cubes.
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Larry Welborn
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I think the level of nastiness in both Steam and AoS depends, at least in part, on the players. If everyone chooses their own little area of the board, the confrontational level is fairly low. If everyone tries to expand and cut off other players, as usually happens, the game can quickly get very nasty.

That being said, I prefer Steam as it fits my gaming group better.
 
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David Hoffman
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Mark me down for another pro-Steam vote. The included maps are tight and competitive and a lot of nasty fun.
 
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Daniel Corban
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Either Steam or Age of Steam fit your criteria.

Steam if you want a tactical game with emphasis on short term goals. AoS if you want a strategic game with long term goals and more "screwage".
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Randall Bart
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RDewsbery wrote:
I think that the nastines is just different, rather than more or less between AoS and Steam. In particular, Steam has a lot of direct competition for the goods cubes.

I have played Steam a few times but I have only watched AoS. To me the biggest change is that in Steam I am feeding the cube stealers, while in AoS there is a random mechanism for feeding the cube stealers.

There was one other change: They padded the outfield wall.
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Matthew Chua
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grouchysmurf wrote:

Definitely yes. With a proper number of players there a significant amount of interaction - there too few cities for all the players, blocking opponents is more than common and money is scarce.


Thanks for the replies so far. It seems the general consensus is that there is definitely more interaction in Steam than in RRT. What I would like to further ascertain now is its degree.

I understand interaction is largely improved by the smaller map, which was RRT's big issue. As such, I was wondering how well does Steam actually scale. I have no doubt I will see significant conflict in a 5 player game, but how about a 3 player game? Would there be a significant drop in interaction, blocking, cube stealing, etc? Would the experience be severely hampered by having fewer players.

Games like Princes of Florence suffer from this phenomenon so much so that I never bother to play it with anything less than 5 - it just loses too much tension. So does Steam play with an optimal number if interaction is highly valued or does it scale generally well? Also, does playtime increase significantly with more players?
 
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Michal Hromek
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Strange, RRT is one of my favourite games, I have it on position 1 in my TOP 10. Its about building railroads and transfer goods, not about puzzle and searching, Where is place, where I can place my railroads. Big map? Yes, USA is big land. Very reralistic.
 
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Matthew Chua
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ringo5181 wrote:
Strange, RRT is one of my favourite games, I have it on position 1 in my TOP 10. Its about building railroads and transfer goods, not about puzzle and searching, Where is place, where I can place my railroads. Big map? Yes, USA is big land. Very reralistic.


I appreciate the mechanics, and no, I don't see it as a puzzle. On the contrary, I desire as much interaction in the game so that it's unpuzzle -like.
 
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Randall Bart
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soojin wrote:
I have no doubt I will see significant conflict in a 5 player game, but how about a 3 player game? Would there be a significant drop in interaction, blocking, cube stealing, etc? Would the experience be severely hampered by having fewer players.


Three players is okay, but there isn't enough contention for space or the roles. Four is better, five is likely best. Six makes a reasonable game (Ruhr side) but it's brutal.
 
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Eugene van der Pijll
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soojin wrote:
I'm not ready to give up on the pick up & delivery mechanic but would hate to acquire Steam and find that it isn't different enough from RRT to actually like it.

I have the same problems with RRT as you. I had high expectations of the other games in the AoS family, but when I tried Steam, it was disappointingly similar to RRT.

I should say I only played Steam once, and it was the basic version with 3 players. Maybe the standard version has more tension. I'll probably never find out, because the owner of the game likes the basic version.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Neither Steam of Age of Steam support 3 players well without a special map and slight rules tweaks, such as Japan or Montréal Métro, both of which support 3 players very well.
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Yup. 3-player works on the included Steam map, but not so much if you really want in-your-face competition (and certainly for the Age of Steam map, too). Montreal Metro, as JC notes, already has rules for Steam (basically, you play Age of Steam with Steam components!) posted here. Hopefully other, smaller expansion maps will eventually be published as well. You may be able to adapt existing Age of Steam 3-player maps on your own, although probably better to wait for the designers to tweak their rules (or not).

And remember that Steam has 2 rule sets. Play the Standard game if you want an experience similar to Age of Steam, or the Base game for a more streamlined, quicker game.
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Cédric Rothacher
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I'd give Steam a try
I played it only with three players so far - and i find that it's much more interactional than RRT (I like RRT). As you play for 10 rounds in a three-player game you will have to compete for good-cubes, and as the map is not as big as the one fromm rrt and ther are not so many towns, you may find at the very start of a game, that there's only 1 place on the whole board, where you may start.
And i like the 'special-action-tiles' between upgrading your engine or ruin the strategy of another player by upgrading a town with a color he had his 6-point connection ready - there's a lot of decisions to make.
I think you will not use the same strategies in a 5 or 3 player game, but also a 3-player game is very tight and full of conflicts.
About what I read, Steam should fit your needs (i do not know Age of Steam).
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Matthew Chua
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Barticus88 wrote:

Three players is okay, but there isn't enough contention for space or the roles. Four is better, five is likely best. Six makes a reasonable game (Ruhr side) but it's brutal.


Hmm, I usually play with 3, but i guess if it plays optimally with 4 and above, I could live with that.

I understand rounds are fixed, but any idea how much time each extra player adds to the game?
 
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Jack Neal
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soojin wrote:
Barticus88 wrote:

Three players is okay, but there isn't enough contention for space or the roles. Four is better, five is likely best. Six makes a reasonable game (Ruhr side) but it's brutal.


Hmm, I usually play with 3, but i guess if it plays optimally with 4 and above, I could live with that.

I understand rounds are fixed, but any idea how much time each extra player adds to the game?


Depends on AP. I've seen games drag, yet my daughters and I can finish within an hour.
 
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Chris Rudram
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soojin wrote:
Barticus88 wrote:

Three players is okay, but there isn't enough contention for space or the roles. Four is better, five is likely best. Six makes a reasonable game (Ruhr side) but it's brutal.


Hmm, I usually play with 3, but i guess if it plays optimally with 4 and above, I could live with that.

I understand rounds are fixed, but any idea how much time each extra player adds to the game?


Rails of Europe is nicely balanced for 3-5, I found. Steam is better with 4-5. The Steam/Age of Steam debate is much like choosing a Bitter over a Pale Ale... the difference doesn't matter if you don't like beer.
 
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