Reading of the rules for this new AoS expansion was exciting since there was some new mechanics of play that seemed to add great interation between players. In this expansion you put this new map side by side of the Rust belt map, so the result is a huge map. The main new rule is about the track building limitation. In turn 1 each players can build 1 track, in turn 2 each players can build 2 tracks and so on. You also have to start on the eastern cities and the only way to get production on cities is by using the production action. Martin, Marc-André, Adrien, Nathalie and Pierre would try this map tonight.
Marc-Andre and Pierre started the game with no additional shares . Nathalie won the locomotive action and shipped twice for 2 income in round 1 in the Boston area. Martin began in New York, Marc-Andre in Washington, Adrien in Philadelphia and Pierre in Norfolk. The players didn't take many shares in the subsequent rounds since Pierre and Marc-Andre put pressure on them since they had 2 or 3 less shares than them but with almost the same score. The game was becoming very tense in round 3 since many areas were packed with many players around the main cities. Nobody dared to take many shares to cross the expensive mountainous area even if there was many goods available on the western side of the mountain. There was still some goods to the east and most players were doing nice shippings without spending too much. On round 3, Adrien had the turn order action but he betted over this action to be sure to get the important urbanization actin from Nathalie and this was tough on her. We tought Nathalie wouldn't never recover from this but she did great in the next turns to connect Toronto via Syracuse and she was able to get back in the game. On turn 4 Pierre began to block the southern part of the map for himself and he did well since Marc-Andre went west later. Martin had a nice break when he was able to connect Harrisburg and take the last exit from Marc-Andre who had choosen loco instead of first build. At the end of turn 5 there was still no players who had cross the mountains but then the pressure grew as the eastrn cities were almost empty of goods. On turn 6 players began to make more money but they wouldn't still take too many shares to build very long links, Martin had another break in turn 6 when Nathalie had to give up her link toward Pittsburgh so he was able to connect this important city. Martin had enough big shippings in the end to win over Pierre but bya close margin.
Money was tight all game long for everyone and we stayed almost entirely on the new map. We were so afraid to spend too many shares that it took a long time before we had enough money to build over the mountains. The interaction was great and we had to give many income to other players in order to make intersting shippings. The production action was choosen 5 times in this game, that's a new high for our group. We also liked the interurban links between cities and the mechanic in which the more player there is and the more you have to pay. We're anxious to try this map soon since the strategies may be different. Will someone dare to cross the mountains earlier ? I even think that it can sustain easily 6 or 7 players but we'll have to try it. Very good map with new mechanics that work great on this map, it's well balanced and the replayability seems great.