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Subject: Help me pick an expansion for AoS rss

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Todd Walker
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So, I have never played Age of Steam, but I'm putting one on order soon. Others who have played games with me say I'll love it, and I've done very well with their recommendations in the past . . . anyway,

I think I'd like to pick up an expansion, but I'm not sure why people rate the expansions so vastly different on the Geek.

Expansion 1 - rated 17
Expansion 3 - rated 57
Expansion 2 - rated 71
Expansion 4 - rated NA

Any words of advice for me from someone who has played them all, and who might have some insight as to why one expansion is rated differently from another?

Anyone have a recommended expansion for me? I like heavy games, so maximize complexity. After that, then I'd say maximize elegance (which I define as a high level of strategic/tactical complexity with as little rules/playing complexity as possible).
 
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Brad Miller
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Can't tell you about number 4, as I don't have it. I haven't played any of three yet, but I've talked to those who have.

#1. England is kind of boring, but has some interesting things going on.
Ireland is really, really nasty, and plays really well with three.

#2. Western US is a bit troublesome in my opinion. Certain areas will be locked up in a six player game, screwing the last player. And "connecting" the coasts rules seem a little unclear.
German - I liked this board a lot. No incomplete tracks, and a bunch of tricky stuff going on.

#3. Scandinavia - Supposedly one of the easier maps to play on, due to the Ferry action.
Korea - Brain-melty with a high screwage factor, as cities only accept cubes they don't have. So you've got a five waiting to go, someone else moves a cube, and your five vanishes.
 
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Todd Walker
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Thanks a ton,

So, since I've never played the original, how does each expansion play compared to the original. For example, if the original is not so good for three players, then maybe an expansion that enhances the three player game is best (menaing adds the most diversity of play)?

So I just realized that considering that I'm only going to get one expansion, enhancing the original should probably be on my list of wants . . . .i.e. I like
complexity,
elegance, and
the greatest enhancement to the original game.

Also, expansion #1 is rated the highest on the Geek, yet England is boring. Is the high rating only due to the Ireland map being so good?


Any/more/other opinions are all welcome.
 
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Brad Miller
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Well, each map has something that changes the game in some way. But the core of the mechanic is the same in all of them. A role may be changed on one map, or a rule or two changed, but the game remains the same.

AS I said, I don't like England that much, but do like Ireland. Don't like Western US, but do like Germany. I'd say Korea/Scandinavia might have the most "different" gameplay, just for Korea.

Haven't seen or talked to anyone who has played France/Italy yet.
 
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Phillip Lerche
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Onceler wrote:
So, I have never played Age of Steam, but I'm putting one on order soon. Others who have played games with me say I'll love it, and I've done very well with their recommendations in the past . . . anyway,

I think I'd like to pick up an expansion, but I'm not sure why people rate the expansions so vastly different on the Geek.

Expansion 1 - rated 17
Expansion 3 - rated 57
Expansion 2 - rated 71
Expansion 4 - rated NA

Any words of advice for me from someone who has played them all, and who might have some insight as to why one expansion is rated differently from another?

Anyone have a recommended expansion for me? I like heavy games, so maximize complexity. After that, then I'd say maximize elegance (which I define as a high level of strategic/tactical complexity with as little rules/playing complexity as possible).


Expansion 1 - England has the least changes from the base map (which is perhaps why some consider it boring). It is an excellent map for 5-6 players, whereas many players think the base map is too tight with 6 (meaning that one player will do poorly through no fault of his own). the high rating is probably due to the Ireland map. This map makes 3 and 4 player games truly excellent, if you like the smell of your own brain frying, that is! Definitely not for beginners, and the urbanization action is harsh, so not for whiners either!

Expansion 3 - I am surprised that this ranks higher than #2, but that's just my opinion. Korea - many players think this is a really tough map because the rules are quite different in terms of goods delivery. I thikn it is actually a fairly easy map, and think it may be best with 6. Scandinavia on the other hand is a supremely challenging map and is probably best with 3 or 4.

Expansion 2 - this is my favorite of the expansions. Western US has you play the role of a rail baron building the transcontinental railroad, and as such has the most historical feel to it as players race to build tracks from east to west (or vice versa). Some players feel that this map is unbalanced depending on the number of players. Probably a better experience with 5 or 6, and John Bohrer says that playing with 7 (use whatever markers you can find for player 7) works well too. be warned - starting in the west is expensive!
Germany is a brilliant map. The limitation of building complete links only takes some of the track building (blocking) strategy away, but does make you think very carefully about your builds. Great with the higher numbers, not sure how it plays with 3 or 4.

Expansion 4 - France is a good map, although it is considerably smaller than other expansions, so it may work best with smaller numbers. Italy has rules that, in my opinion, change the rules the most from the base game, such that I felt I was playing something entirely different. It is the only map that I have played so far that I wouldn't be bothered if I never played again.

As far as a recommendation goes, I'd say #1 because you get a great 3/4 player map with a great 6 player map. Together with the base set (great with 4-5) you have a whole game that works very well with 3-6. Of course this expansion may be out of print now.

 
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Eric Poolman
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I'd agree with Phillip that the best single published expansion is England/Ireland. England changes the game in more subtle ways than other expansions -- solely through the geography, rather than geography+rules -- but I think it makes for a significantly more interesting game than Eastern US. It feels more spacious than Eastern US (maybe because the EUS board has a central clump of important cities with ignorable outliers, whereas England has an important periphery and an important center, meaning people have to cross back and forth more).

Ireland is fantastic. Possibly my favorite map, doing great things to Urbanize and Locomotive, as well as playing 3 and 4.

On other maps. The Western US is my favorite intro map for a big group -- I prefer the theme to EUS, and some of the rules make it easier to visualize for new players. That said, it isn't a pushover at all. Germany I'm lukewarm about -- I think the building rules rein in the game a bit. Scandinavia is in my mind quite challenging (since your track is broken up.) Korea seems challenging with the rule changes, but the geography allows such easy track building that I find it a bit less fun. Italy I wouldn't need to play again -- the rule changes take away all the tension for me.

My ideal expansion would likely be Ireland/Western US... and I like England much more than Germany, and it fills a better niche than Germany.
 
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Todd Walker
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Really excellent feedback, and it's just what I needed to learn.

Thanks to all!
 
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