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Re: [Unity_Games] SR - GiP 02/01/03

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  • Steve Meuse
    ... I picked up AoS last night and had a chance to play it at B2O. I really liked it, I can t wait to play it again. I think the major point I picked up on was
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 2, 2003
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      At 09:46 PM 2/1/2003 -0500, Allan Smulling wrote:

      >Age of Steam: Allan, Larry, Mark, and James (Michael and Shirley arrived
      >about half-way through the game)
      >
      >1. In order to make great strides in your income you /must/ keep upgrading
      >your locomotive.
      >
      >2. It's in your best interest, in almost all instances to build the
      >maximum number of track in your build phase.
      >
      >3. This is just my opinion, but I'm beginning to feel that issuing shares
      >early in the game isn't a bad thing (in fact, I wouldn't hesitate to issue
      >at least 2 shares a turn for the first 3 or 4 turns). The first few games
      >saw everyone agonizing over when to issue shares. Today's game didn't
      >have that dynamic. Everyone was quite comfortable with it.

      I picked up AoS last night and had a chance to play it at B2O. I really
      liked it, I can't wait to play it again.

      I think the major point I picked up on was to not allow your shares issue
      exceed your victory points, at least in the later rounds. We didn't
      actually fully understand scoring until more than halfway through, but, it
      was still fun. It seems to me that urbanization is key early on, and
      upgrading your locomotive becomes critical after the 2nd round. Placement
      during bidding I think can either make or break your game...

      -Steve
    • Mark J. Edwards
      ... Actually James move was a lot crazier than that! I had built a railroad link up to Detroit from the central area and was the only one even in the
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 2, 2003
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        At 09:46 PM 2/1/2003 -0500, Allan Smulling wrote:
        >Age of Steam: Allan, Larry, Mark, and James (Michael and Shirley arrived
        >about half-way through the game)
        >
        ><snip> James worked his rails in the Center and progressed to the North
        >East and in the process isolated Toronto so that no one could get to
        >it!!!! I'm not certain if this was a strategy to deny everyone access to
        >Toronto's goods or whether it was a track placement mistake. In any
        >event, it surprised me that it was possible to actually render a city useless.

        Actually James' move was a lot crazier than that! I had built a
        railroad link up to Detroit from the central area and was the only one even
        in the northeast area at the time. Then James took urbanization, plopped a
        black city on Buffalo and built a link between Detroit and Buffalo. That
        was his only railroad link in the area, the rest of his network was in the
        southcentral area. So he had abandoned his main network to build one link
        up in the northeast (later he would do the same thing with a newly
        urbanized city I had nested behind my network in the northcentral) He did
        manage to steal that black good in Detroit, delivering it all of one link
        to Buffalo, and obviously he kept me from gaining sole access to the
        northeast. But he isolated Toronto from any access at all and badly hurt
        his ability to deliver goods long distances. We were surprised at how
        easily he had isolated Toronto.
        We were playing with the correct rules that allow you to start building
        track from any city, but I think it's rarely a good idea to start building
        a new network away from your main network unless you can fairly easily and
        quickly link it up to your main network, or minimize any crossover to other
        people's network during goods delivery. He was able to build further
        linkage in the northeast and east areas, but he was delivering goods only 2
        links towards end game, which is not good.
        Despite James' madness it was a very tight game. I was only 11 points
        behind Larry and Allan was only 7 points behind me. I got caught behind
        the locomotive upgrade curve (I was stuck at 4) and simply couldn't afford
        to miss a delivery in order to upgrade it (I was almost always towards the
        bottom of the player turn order).
        I'll have to look around and see if there's an answer to your question
        about delivering a good to the same city it started in. I'm now thinking
        that it isn't legal ("and it (a good) may visit any City or town only
        once") so Larry's victory is officially asterisked until we learn
        otherwise. ;-)
        In this game "Production" was only chosen once. Unlike my last game I
        was unable to isolate a city for my own devices ("Damn you Smulling!" and
        Torr deserves a "Damn you!" on that count also) and never really felt it
        would help me alone. I think Larry chose it all of once on the 2nd to last
        turn. I believe his gamble did pay off.
        We finished in a little over 2 hours and that's with interruptions in
        play as Larry actually tried to run his store.
        AoS is definitely my favorite recent release of the last year or so. I
        can't recall any game that's grabbed me this much since Traumfabrik a
        couple of years ago. I don't think James is all that enamored with it
        though and he readily admitted after his 3rd(?) play that he just doesn't
        "get" it.
        Which reminded me of a topic I saw in rgb or SpielFrieks some time
        ago. What games do you simply not "get"? Off the top of my head
        Stephensons Rocket comes to mind, as does Cartel, Pizarro & Co., Bazaar,
        Tycoon, Kuhhandel and recently Moderne Zeiten. Oddly some of these games I
        really like, others not so much. I think I know one game that would get a
        lot of votes in this category, Ra.

        Btw, thanks for the great report Allan! I love reading reports from
        someone else's perspective (hell even I'm sick and tired of hearing stuff
        from my PoV! It's all the whining that gets to me. ;-)).

        Mark




        "Just look at him. Square. The shape of *EVIL*" - Plankton
      • James Torr <jamesdtorr@yahoo.com>
        ... What happened was that I was in last place to choose actions, and I took urbanization. Then I realized that anywhere I urbanized would likely be built into
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 3, 2003
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          > James worked his rails in the Center and progressed to the North
          > >East and in the process isolated Toronto so that no one could get
          >to it!!!! I'm not certain if this was a strategy to deny everyone
          >access to Toronto's goods or whether it was a track placement
          >mistake. In any event, it surprised me that it was possible to
          >actually render a city useless.

          What happened was that I was in last place to choose actions, and I
          took urbanization. Then I realized that anywhere I urbanized would
          likely be built into by everyone else before I could get to it. So I
          urbanized way up in the NW corner of the board in Buffalo. Having
          urbanized there, it was easy to cut off Toronto, just because of the
          way the map is laid out. If I had built from Detroit to Toronto, Mark
          would have built from Detroit to Buffalo, thus preventing me from
          ever building into Buffalo.

          Now, I admit that urbanizing Buffalo (or rather choosing urbanization
          in the first place) was far from an optimal move, and I'll take
          Mark's advice about not splitting up one's network to heart if/when I
          play AoS again. I was assuming/hoping that players would use each
          others' track more often than they did.

          However, my wacky play was due in part to the game's unforgiving
          nature. I had bult a nice little network in the middle of the board,
          but Larry had come in from the east and built parallel routes next to
          almost all of my routes. Clearly this was a good strategy on Larry's
          part, and clearly I should have been expanding west while it was
          happening. But once it happened, I was at a loss for how to recover.
          By turn 4, he had very much beaten me in that area of the board. So I
          played almost the last half of the game in a relatively hopeless
          position. I can tolerate that, but I was uncomfortable with the
          kingmaker situation I was left in. There were all sorts of moves
          (urbanizing, stealing cubes, moving cubes over my own and others'
          track, blocking access to cities) that really hurt or helped other
          players, but I couldn't find a way to really help myself. This was
          most apparent in the last turn of the game when I chose not to move a
          cube over my own and either Larry's or Mark's track for fear it would
          decide the game.

          So yes, I am clearly not quite "getting" this game yet. If I play
          next time I'll definitely start from a corner of the board rather
          than the middle, build a heck of a lot more, and not split up my
          network. I also still feel that access to black cities is very
          important. And I would have had a circular route if it weren't for a
          smart blocking play by Larry early on. But really I don't think I'd
          request the game because of my unpleasant experiences of landing in
          the basement early on and not being able to recover. That and all the
          math :)

          James

          > Actually James' move was a lot crazier than that! I had built a
          > railroad link up to Detroit from the central area and was the only
          >one even in the northeast area at the time. Then James took
          >urbanization, plopped a black city on Buffalo and built a link
          >between Detroit and Buffalo.
        • Allan Smulling
          Hi James! ... I see what you were doing now! Actually I was pretty much just paying attention to my little section of the world instead of the big picture.
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 3, 2003
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            Hi James!

            >What happened was that I was in last place to choose actions, and I
            >took urbanization. Then I realized that anywhere I urbanized would
            >likely be built into by everyone else before I could get to it. So I
            >urbanized way up in the NW corner of the board in Buffalo. Having
            >urbanized there, it was easy to cut off Toronto, just because of the
            >way the map is laid out. If I had built from Detroit to Toronto, Mark
            >would have built from Detroit to Buffalo, thus preventing me from
            >ever building into Buffalo.

            I see what you were doing now! Actually I was pretty much just paying attention to my little section of the world instead of the big picture. (Perhaps this is why I never come in first? <grin>). This past game certainly had a more agressive flavor to it than the other ones. I, too, had expected folks sharing rail networks more than they did.

            Have you tried a 3 player game of this yet? I'm curious if the dymanic would change dramatically or if it would be more of the same with fewer people.

            Looks like Age of Steam isn't on the list for this coming week. K,K&K was talked about. How about taking Vinici (didn't you buy that one on Saturday?) for a spin?

            Have a great week.

            Regards,
            Allan


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Mark Edwards
            ... Ahhhh, it makes more sense now. You were desperate and panicked! It happens to the best of us. ;-) Mark
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 3, 2003
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              At 03:41 PM 2/3/2003 +0000, James wrote:
              >What happened was that I was in last place to choose actions, and I
              >took urbanization. Then I realized that anywhere I urbanized would
              >likely be built into by everyone else before I could get to it. So I
              >urbanized way up in the NW corner of the board in Buffalo. Having
              >urbanized there, it was easy to cut off Toronto, just because of the
              >way the map is laid out. If I had built from Detroit to Toronto, Mark
              >would have built from Detroit to Buffalo, thus preventing me from
              >ever building into Buffalo.

              Ahhhh, it makes more sense now. You were desperate and panicked! It
              happens to the best of us. ;-)

              Mark
            • Josh Bluestein
              ... One question about the above explanation: Doesn t Urbanization happen before the player s build phase? So if you have last build, everyone gets to build,
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 3, 2003
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                > From: Mark Edwards <danger.mouse@...>

                > At 03:41 PM 2/3/2003 +0000, James wrote:
                > >What happened was that I was in last place to choose actions, and I
                > >took urbanization. Then I realized that anywhere I urbanized would
                > >likely be built into by everyone else before I could get to it. So I
                > >urbanized way up in the NW corner of the board in Buffalo. Having
                > >urbanized there, it was easy to cut off Toronto, just because of the
                > >way the map is laid out. If I had built from Detroit to Toronto, Mark
                > >would have built from Detroit to Buffalo, thus preventing me from
                > >ever building into Buffalo.
                >
                > Ahhhh, it makes more sense now. You were desperate and panicked! It
                > happens to the best of us. ;-)

                One question about the above explanation: Doesn't Urbanization happen
                before the player's build phase? So if you have last build, everyone
                gets to build, THEN you choose your town to convert to a city, then
                you build. Or am I wrong?

                Josh
              • Allan Smulling
                Hi Josh, ... Sounds about right to me. [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 3, 2003
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                  Hi Josh,

                  >One question about the above explanation: Doesn't Urbanization happen
                  >before the player's build phase? So if you have last build, everyone
                  >gets to build, THEN you choose your town to convert to a city, then
                  >you build. Or am I wrong?

                  Sounds about right to me.


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Mark Edwards
                  ... You are correct and that s the way we play. Perhaps James was afraid he would get cut out of getting to the city on the *next* turn as he couldn t get to
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 3, 2003
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                    At 01:06 PM 2/3/2003 -0500, Josh wrote:
                    >One question about the above explanation: Doesn't Urbanization happen
                    >before the player's build phase? So if you have last build, everyone
                    >gets to build, THEN you choose your town to convert to a city, then
                    >you build. Or am I wrong?

                    You are correct and that's the way we play. Perhaps James was afraid he
                    would get cut out of getting to the city on the *next* turn as he couldn't
                    get to it on his build in the current turn?

                    Mark


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                  • James Torr <jamesdtorr@yahoo.com>
                    You re right. I did get the first chance to build into the new city. I had originally written that anywhere I urbanized would likely be built into by everyone
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 3, 2003
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                      You're right. I did get the first chance to build into the new city.
                      I had originally written that "anywhere I urbanized would
                      likely be built into by everyone else before I could get to it,"
                      which is wrong. What I should have said was ""anywhere I urbanized
                      would likely be built into by everyone else and I wouldn't benefit
                      much from it."

                      James

                      > One question about the above explanation: Doesn't Urbanization
                      happen
                      > before the player's build phase? So if you have last build,
                      everyone
                      > gets to build, THEN you choose your town to convert to a city, then
                      > you build. Or am I wrong?
                      >
                      > Josh
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