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Subject: New to Steam - Making the first time a good expereince rss

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Scott Dexter
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So, I am getting Steam for xmas (wife wanted to know what I wanted, and this came to mind as I have wanted to play one of the Wallace train game for a while now and this seems the one to go with).

I am looking for advice and suggestions for making the experience for my game group to be a good one so they actually WANT to play again. I will be the one going over the rules and being as ready as I can be to get this one rolling. Are there any particularly handy player aids or general suggestions for making this a good time for everyone.

Thanks in advance,
Scott
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Blorb Plorbst
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What sort of games does your group enjoy?

The mechanics of the game are quite simple compared to some. This guide is good: http://files.boardgamegeek.com/file/download/4ckmd23b81/Stea...

It's basically: choose roles, lay track, move goods

 
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Scott Dexter
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We have played a decent variety of games (including Ticket to Ride, though I was reluctant to mention it here . Our groups is new to the hobby so we are trying a little bit of everything, deck builders, worker placement games. This is one I am feeling enthusiastic about, so I want to go the extra mile to make it a success.

Scott
 
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scottder wrote:
We have played a decent variety of games (including Ticket to Ride, though I was reluctant to mention it here . Our groups is new to the hobby so we are trying a little bit of everything, deck builders, worker placement games. This is one I am feeling enthusiastic about, so I want to go the extra mile to make it a success.

Scott


Those are all fine games. Steam has no luck and no hidden information in it - this tends to mean that, when a player makes a poor play early in the game, they have little chance to get back in the game. With all new players, there will probably be enough errors all around to offset this.
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Scott Dexter
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CrankyPants wrote:

Those are all fine games. Steam has no luck and no hidden information in it - this tends to mean that, when a player makes a poor play early in the game, they have little chance to get back in the game. With all new players, there will probably be enough errors all around to offset this.


Yeah, I think it has its advantages and disadvantages being all at the same level. We learn as we go, but it seems in a game like this peoples natural talents/weaknesses will come to bear. We'll see.

Scott
 
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Don D.
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scottder wrote:
CrankyPants wrote:

Those are all fine games. Steam has no luck and no hidden information in it - this tends to mean that, when a player makes a poor play early in the game, they have little chance to get back in the game. With all new players, there will probably be enough errors all around to offset this.


Yeah, I think it has its advantages and disadvantages being all at the same level. We learn as we go, but it seems in a game like this peoples natural talents/weaknesses will come to bear. We'll see.

Scott


I always play the full game as i think auctions are essential to balancing the game and I generally like a tougher challenge. Whenever I play with new players, I add one houserule just for the rookies- rookies may take loans at any time like in the basic rules. This alleviates some pressure on the newbie and removes one aspect of the game- pre turn calculation on money needed- that is easiest for new players to mess up in a way that sends them spiraling out of control towards certain loss and /or bankruptcy early in the game.

I hope you love the game! It's a big step up from ttr.
 
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Scott Dexter
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dond80 wrote:


I always play the full game as i think auctions are essential to balancing the game and I generally like a tougher challenge. Whenever I play with new players, I add one houserule just for the rookies- rookies may take loans at any time like in the basic rules. This alleviates some pressure on the newbie and removes one aspect of the game- pre turn calculation on money needed- that is easiest for new players to mess up in a way that sends them spiraling out of control towards certain loss and /or bankruptcy early in the game.

I hope you love the game! It's a big step up from ttr.


Hmm maybe that house rule will work for my group, as we'll essentially be on equal footing in the first few games. Thanks!

Scott
 
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Whereas I'd suggest skipping the "Standard" rules entirely and simply playing the "Base" game, with no auctions whatsoever.
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Scott Dexter
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snoozefest wrote:
Whereas I'd suggest skipping the "Standard" rules entirely and simply playing the "Base" game, with no auctions whatsoever.


No reason not to try it both ways, see what works for my group.

Scott
 
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Philip Pack
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+1 on "Base" game being preferred over the "Standard" rules. The auctions add more complication rather then strategy... the order you pick your next role (using the base rules) works just fine.

There are some handy cheat sheets out there... mostly the ones that help you with identifying each type of role has been useful for my groups... otherwise on the back of the manual has the helper for building costs.
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Blorb Plorbst
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I would also suggest base over standard as you can't really know the value of turn Order and roles without first experiencing the base game. It may lead to some frustration the first time through.
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Richard Young
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Our group had previous experience with Age of Steam so when we started in on Steam, we played in the version that aligns a little closer to it (ie standard). No problem that way really but they are still quite different games with the randomness gone and the extra layer of having to determine when to move from income to vps. We then tried the so-called basic version and found it worked just as well and in some ways better.

Frankly, if you want an Age of Steam experience then play that game - it is a lot closer than playing the standard version of Steam. If you like auctions the standard version has it there for you; however, it should be noted that the basic version has an auction device as well but in a different form and one that I think lines up more closely with the rest of the game.

There are lots of train games out there (Ticket to Ride excluded which really is just a version of Rummy), and thus lots of great choices. What I like best about Steam is that it incorporates two great games in one box - and the expansions, while coming somewhat more slowly than those for AoS, are great too!
 
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DjFIL wrote:
+1 on "Base" game being preferred over the "Standard" rules. The auctions add more complication rather then strategy... the order you pick your next role (using the base rules) works just fine.


In my humble opinion the above is way off for many reasons. 1) the auctions are in no way complicated. Any gamer of virtually any experience can learn the rules of the auction in thirty seconds or less. 2) I think implying that the auctions are LESS strategic than the base game is an incredibly difficult position to support. It is - in my estimation- nearly irrefutable that the auctions inject more control over more choices thereby creating space for a substantially greater amount of strategy relative to the base game method. There are tactics and strategies that can decide who wins and loses a game that are opened up by using the auctions and simply not available with the base game method, and you can't say the same to the same extent about the inverse.

CrankyPants wrote:
I would also suggest base over standard as you can't really know the value of turn Order and roles without first experiencing the base game. It may lead to some frustration the first time through.


Contrary to my disagreement with the above, this poster makes a valid point for a valid reason. It is something to consider in contrast to my position of starting out using the auctions from the start.
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dond80 wrote:
DjFIL wrote:
+1 on "Base" game being preferred over the "Standard" rules. The auctions add more complication rather then strategy... the order you pick your next role (using the base rules) works just fine.


In my humble opinion the above is way off for many reasons. 1) the auctions are in no way complicated. Any gamer of virtually any experience can learn the rules of the auction in thirty seconds or less. 2) I think implying that the auctions are LESS strategic than the base game is an incredibly difficult position to support. It is - in my estimation- nearly irrefutable that the auctions inject more control over more choices thereby creating space for a substantially greater amount of strategy relative to the base game method. There are tactics and strategies that can decide who wins and loses a game that are opened up by using the auctions and simply not available with the base game method, and you can't say the same to the same extent about the inverse.

CrankyPants wrote:
I would also suggest base over standard as you can't really know the value of turn Order and roles without first experiencing the base game. It may lead to some frustration the first time through.


Contrary to my disagreement with the above, this poster makes a valid point for a valid reason. It is something to consider in contrast to my position of starting out using the auctions from the start.
For a long time I thought the same thing. Indeed the value of the roles does change over the course of the game and also can be quite situational. It appears at first glance that the dollar (costing) auction better reflects their changing values. However if you study the base game mechanic for role selection and turn-order determination you will see that it is still all there but using a different method to sort it out. Seriously.

I believe that the base game system also reflects the Euro sensibility of the rest of the game. Small example: You want to pick Loco each time? Then you simply pay for it (standard version), and if all goes well, you might pull it off. Anyway it is a straight forward proposition (and may well delay your switching from income to VPs but that's another discussion). Or, you will pay in terms of turn order (base game), and you are probably not going to get it every turn (further cost and an important Euro-ization element). I think it makes for more strategic planning in its own way - your role picking is still situational but also has to be looked at from the perspective of where you want to be in your future turns (think El Grande). You not only have to think about which role you want when but how to go about getting it which involves more than just throwing more money at it.

Both systems work in their own way and which you prefer will be strongly affected by what your experience has been with the wide variety of these auction design elements.
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Don D.
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Bubslug wrote:
dond80 wrote:
DjFIL wrote:
+1 on "Base" game being preferred over the "Standard" rules. The auctions add more complication rather then strategy... the order you pick your next role (using the base rules) works just fine.


In my humble opinion the above is way off for many reasons. 1) the auctions are in no way complicated. Any gamer of virtually any experience can learn the rules of the auction in thirty seconds or less. 2) I think implying that the auctions are LESS strategic than the base game is an incredibly difficult position to support. It is - in my estimation- nearly irrefutable that the auctions inject more control over more choices thereby creating space for a substantially greater amount of strategy relative to the base game method. There are tactics and strategies that can decide who wins and loses a game that are opened up by using the auctions and simply not available with the base game method, and you can't say the same to the same extent about the inverse.

CrankyPants wrote:
I would also suggest base over standard as you can't really know the value of turn Order and roles without first experiencing the base game. It may lead to some frustration the first time through.


Contrary to my disagreement with the above, this poster makes a valid point for a valid reason. It is something to consider in contrast to my position of starting out using the auctions from the start.
For a long time I thought the same thing. Indeed the value of the roles does change over the course of the game and also can be quite situational. It appears at first glance that the dollar (costing) auction better reflects their changing values. However if you study the base game mechanic for role selection and turn-order determination you will see that it is still all there but using a different method to sort it out. Seriously.

With all due respect to your opinion, it's not even close to all there. And I do study the game, I'm on the playtesting team. The basic version of role selection does a good job at reducing the basic functions of the auction into an easier and less thinky mechanic, but it is in every way just that- a reduction. There is oodles of decision space where strategy and tactics reside that is lost in that reduction. It is by design, limiting.
 
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Scott Dexter
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I guess this all means I need to spend some serious time with the rule book. I am certainly down for a more thinky game, and the 'luckless' factor of this game is one thing that appealed to me.

Scott
 
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Also, are there expansions that work well for 3-4? Or does the German side of the board work well enough

Scott
 
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scottder wrote:
Also, are there expansions that work well for 3-4? Or does the German side of the board work well enough

Scott


The US side works fine with four. The single best expansion for three is Montreal Metro (which is a work of sheer brilliance) and the next best is Brussels metro which comes in map expansion pack 1. Map expansion pack 3 has a VERY interesting 3-4 player map on it as well- it is not yet out but keep an eye out for it.

Montreal metro is technically an age of steam expansion but is 100% usable with steam with virtually no translation issues.
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dond80 wrote:


The US side works fine with four. The single best expansion for three is Montreal Metro (which is a work of sheer brilliance) and the next best is Brussels metro which comes in map expansion pack 1. Map expansion pack 3 has a VERY interesting 3-4 player map on it as well- it is not yet out but keep an eye out for it.

Montreal metro is technically an age of steam expansion but is 100% usable with steam with virtually no translation issues.


Having no experience with any of the Wallace train games, are their general things to know when using an AoS map with Steam? Are some more compatible with others.

Scott

 
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dond80 wrote:
With all due respect to your opinion, it's not even close to all there. And I do study the game, I'm on the playtesting team. The basic version of role selection does a good job at reducing the basic functions of the auction into an easier and less thinky mechanic, but it is in every way just that- a reduction. There is oodles of decision space where strategy and tactics reside that is lost in that reduction. It is by design, limiting.
I invite your analysis then as you seem to be studied in such things. I've given you a bit of my reasoning - while you've simply dismissed what I've put forward without elaboration.

While the type of costing auction employed in standard is considered more brutal than a simple "highest bidder pays," that in itself doesn't elevate it to rocket science and gamers continue to deal with any number of variations on the dollar auction construct. You claim the basic role/turn order mechanic was meant to be simpler, an objective I don't question, else it wouldn't have been labelled "basic." I think where we diverge is in the degree to which this is true.

I don't agree that it ends up as simple as all that in the end, or as simple as you state. Faster, possibly, but not necessarily simple. I believe that there still needs to be a good deal of thought put into the basic role selection mechanic and I've offered a starting point of a rational for my assertion.

Which elements of strategy and tactics are lost between the two that aren't at least to some degree replaced by other considerations specific to the respective mechanics? Considering that both games involve the efficient construction of a VP engine, monetary considerations figure at every level (directly and indirectly) along with all the other considerations. Standard has a set of direct monetary decisions thrust at the player at the start of each turn that is simplified in basic (although still there to some degree and more indirect than direct); while basic makes the player deal with other types of decisions at the same point in the game that can be just as far-reaching in consequence, one small example of which I outlined in an earlier post. It's likely that some players will miss some of the subtleties of either approach. Maybe you should give yourselves more credit? Both versions are closer to being equally worthy as "gamer's games" than many have concluded, design intentions notwithstanding.
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scottder wrote:
dond80 wrote:


The US side works fine with four. The single best expansion for three is Montreal Metro (which is a work of sheer brilliance) and the next best is Brussels metro which comes in map expansion pack 1. Map expansion pack 3 has a VERY interesting 3-4 player map on it as well- it is not yet out but keep an eye out for it.

Montreal metro is technically an age of steam expansion but is 100% usable with steam with virtually no translation issues.


Having no experience with any of the Wallace train games, are their general things to know when using an AoS map with Steam? Are some more compatible with others.

Scott



Montreal metro is the perfect blend of steam and age of steam. Age of Steam is more chaotic and has some extra moving parts to it. Steam is streamlined and is a complete information game- if you lose you can only look in the mirror really (given competent opponents). Montreal Metro takes the best of AoS and best of steam and merges them. You'd only need to familiarize yourself with how the stock and income system differs.
 
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Bubslug wrote:
dond80 wrote:
With all due respect to your opinion, it's not even close to all there. And I do study the game, I'm on the playtesting team. The basic version of role selection does a good job at reducing the basic functions of the auction into an easier and less thinky mechanic, but it is in every way just that- a reduction. There is oodles of decision space where strategy and tactics reside that is lost in that reduction. It is by design, limiting.
I invite your analysis then as you seem to be studied in such things. I've given you a bit of my reasoning - while you've simply dismissed what I've put forward without elaboration.

While the type of costing auction employed in standard is considered more brutal than a simple "highest bidder pays," that in itself doesn't elevate it to rocket science and gamers continue to deal with any number of variations on the dollar auction construct. You claim the basic role/turn order mechanic was meant to be simpler, an objective I don't question, else it wouldn't have been labelled "basic." I think where we diverge is in the degree to which this is true.

I don't agree that it ends up as simple as all that in the end, or as simple as you state. Faster, possibly, but not necessarily simple. I believe that there still needs to be a good deal of thought put into the basic role selection mechanic and I've offered a starting point of a rational for my assertion.


I haven't responded in depth because I have been reluctant to hijack this new player's thread. I will say a few things. One, you are attributing statements to me that are made in absolute terms when I have only used relative terms. I would not agree that the basic version is simple, it is certainly simplER.

Bubslug wrote:
Which elements of strategy and tactics are lost between the two that aren't at least to some degree replaced by other considerations specific to the respective mechanics? Considering that both games involve the efficient construction of a VP engine, monetary considerations figure at every level (directly and indirectly) along with all the other considerations. Standard has a set of direct monetary decisions thrust at the player at the start of each turn that is simplified in basic (although still there to some degree and more indirect than direct); while basic makes the player deal with other types of decisions at the same point in the game that can be just as far-reaching in consequence, one small example of which I outlined in an earlier post. It's likely that some players will miss some of the subtleties of either approach. Maybe you should give yourselves more credit? Both versions are closer to being equally worthy as "gamer's games" than many have concluded, design intentions notwithstanding.


As stated above, I don't want to hijack this gentleman's thread...ill just give one example of strategic space lost in reduction. The strategy and tactics of pitting opponents against one another- and avoiding the same being done to yourself- in such a manner that forces multiple opponents to all need the same spot in turn order and/or role while you have no need to fight over either. Doing so causes the opponents to substantially deplete their resources relative to you which is huge. Consistently avoiding those kinds of "in phase with opponents" battles over turn order and role selection will leave you with a substantial resource advantage over the course of the game and is often a deciding factor in who wins and loses.


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Fair enough. My point in getting into this, especially with those perhaps new to Steam, is that the thread appeared to be accepting the overly simplistic conclusion that the basic version was for "beginners," or an "entry-level" game which once experienced will naturally lead players to the standard version. It may happen that way but I'm giving you a data point here where the opposite occurred.

I totally agree that the basic game is more accessible in terms of getting up and going, but there is a degree of subtlety built in that I believe is under appreciated. Any game that incorporates role selection and stresses the importance of turn order will elicit the kind of competition you've described and of course the better player is the one who best exploits the tools available - Steam's two versions equip the player with differing sets of tools, and I appreciate both almost equally...
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My take away (to bring this back more on subject) is to know the two versionsin the rulebook are really different, Basic is not simply a simplified version of standard.

Scott
 
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scottder wrote:
My take away (to bring this back more on subject) is to know the two versionsin the rulebook are really different, Basic is not simply a simplified version of standard.

Scott


Right. It is a simplified version, but not simply a simplified version.
 
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