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Subject: 6 player game rss

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Tony Luchin
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Victoria
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I just played a 6 player game of Steam using the Barons map and it was a terrible experience. We had to have done something wrong because there just weren't enough cubes on the board to really play the game.

I've played Steam a few times before and I think it's a great game, so I bought the Barons expansion just to get a 6 player map. We weren't playing the Barons version, we were just playing Steam using the new map. It says in the rule book that when using the 5-6 player map you should ignore the numbers on the cities and just put 2 cubes on each city, as well as only putting 2 cubes in the supply spaces instead of 3. We also put no cubes in the towns.

This lead to a game where by the start of round 5 there was almost nothing left to do but bid for Urbanization or City Growth, which would add 4 cubes to the board, then the 6 of us would fight to make 12 deliveries with 4 cubes. People were just passing becuase there was nothing worth doing a lot of the time. It was rediculous and would only get worse as the game went on so we just stopped playing.

Did we do somthing wrong? It seems like if there were any special rule changes for a 6 player game it would be to add more cubes to the board, not less.

And while I'm ranting, why on earth did they have to pick both white and natural wood colors for the trains? They look almost identical.
 
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Ægir Æxx
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I don't think you should play a 6 player game without the Baron rules.
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Richard Young
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ChillusMaximus wrote:
I don't think you should play a 6 player game without the Baron rules.


I agree - even the Western US expansion (also designed for a higher number of players) can be a little tight for six. Further, I don't think the advice to ignore the numbers on the cities and supply hexes needs to be followed here...
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Bill Bennett
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I have played this map with 6 players using the standard Steam rules on two occasions, and I don't recall the board getting terribly bare of cubes early. The board has 27 cities, so there are 54 cubes on the board to start. Each player gets two deliveries per turn, but some players will use one of those actions to improve their locomotive level each turn. Let's be conservative and average that out to two players a turn (with a third one using the Locomotive). That leaves 10 cubes per turn being delivered. It seems likely with six players that the City Growth and Urbanization actions are chosen every turn, so you probably have 4 cubes coming on the board each turn as well. So a net loss of 6 cubes per turn gives us these numbers for cubes on the board at the start of each turn:

Turn 1 = 54
Turn 2 = 48
Turn 3 = 42
Turn 4 = 36
Turn 5 = 30
Turn 6 = 24
Turn 7 = 18 (and one supply space left to use)

I suppose it's possible if a lot of the players focus on short deliveries, not developing their locomotive levels for longer routes, that cubes could run short in the game. Did that seem to be the case in your game?
 
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Tony Luchin
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We used the England map, which only has 17 cities. Maybe that's the problem! I didn't notice that the U.S. map has a lot more cities on it. It says that both maps work with 5-6 players but I wouldn't ever play that England map with 6 players again. By the end of round 4 there were just a few cubes left scattered around the board and it was obvious that a couple of players were going to be broke before the game ended. I was the only one of the six who had played Steam before so I'm sure it wasn't the best played game, but they've all played a lot of Railways of the World so it couldn't have been that bad.

As you can see, the two sides of the board are quite different. 10 more cities and 20 more cubes would have made a big difference. Hopefully the guys I was playing with are willing to try it again with the different map.


 
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Bill Bennett
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I can understand your problem now. Yes, I'd definitely use the US map side when playing with 6 players. If you have a lot of occasion for playing with 6, you might want to also consider picking up the first expansion map set. It has a board with the Mid-Atlantic region, which is added on to the base game's Eastern US map for a 6-7 player game, and I think it's pretty entertaining.
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