We played a four player game of Steam yesterday. We used the Ruhr side of the standard Steam map and chose the basic rule set. Two of the players were newbies with these rules, although they had played the Steam Barons stock market game once before. The other two players had a couple of more games under their belts. Everyone understood the idea with the action tiles quickly enough, though.
Orange, Green, Black and White Railroad Companies started their competition of all the delivery opportunities in Rurh industrial area. As always, I played with the orange pieces. I began to build my railroad network from the middle of the map, expanding northeast first and then southwest. My best competitor operated in the west, while the other two companies built their tracks mostly to the south.
Halfway through the game, Orange and Green Companies took the lead, while Black and White competed mostly each other. In a few places, there was railroad track all over the place, as players tried to cut each other off. I made one stupid decision when I urbanized a town too close to the others' track, but otherwise was left mostly alone. I started to make the longest deliveries.
After all Victory Points had been calculated, we noticed a funny thing. Each player had scored almost exactly ten points more than the player behind him. The scores were 60, 50, 40 and 30 Victory Points, give or take a few. If the differences seem big, remember that two of the players were newbies. The game was pretty quick and lasted only two hours.
I have won most of my games in Steam and Steam Barons. I don't think this will last long, though, because the other players in my group are all PhD's, MSc's, software engineers and other types of obviously high intelligence. You can tell they're catching on. You can hear their brains tick. It's a little scary, maybe, but it keeps you alert. Makes each hard-won victory taste all the sweeter.