Andrew Young
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And if you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
Last night we broke out a GBG favorite, Age of Steam. Jim had correctly reminded us that we hadn't played this disaster in awhile. So, with Asher (green), Chris K (black), Jim (purple), Rob (blue), and myself (yellow) we had a powerhouse team of pain and regret. The Age of Steam games we've had over the years have been, at times, gun battles. With a group like this, they never let you down.

I have always wanted to play on the Western US map. It can only be described as the "B-Side" to the renowned Germany map. And, that's what I had thought about it up until last night.

The above image shows you (though not too clearly) the map uncorrupted. Its expensive. Mountains are $5 and rivers/swampland is $4. The game starts you with $20 (with standard 2 shares issued), $10 of which is considered your personal fortune. All cubes are used in the game due to the fact that you place a cube on each town as well. So, the cube supply starts empty. The town cubes ship normally but if a town is urbanized (with a cube) you return it to the supply. Of some note is the fact that the game has a 3-tiered tie breaking mechanism- cash then track # then roll a die. I love that.

The game/map, through specials, is mirroring the race to the coast with the transcontinental railroad. In fact, players must start their railroads at one of the eastern or western cities and build contigously until any east/west connection is made. In addition, the first time an east/west connection is made the player gets a $4 income bump. He/She shares this with another player if that east/west connection is comprised of 2 player railroads. Lastly, if you ship a cibe transcontinentally you get a +$1 income (so, there are $7 shipments potentially on the board).

The game started with Asher, Rob and Chris taking 2 shares. Jim took 1 share. I took none and got yelled at, as per usual. Chris won the opening bid and started in the west- SF to LA to San Diego. It was the best obvious opening that many wanted, I'm sure. Rob began in the west too but preferred the rain of Portland. Asher started in the east in and around St. Louis as did Jim. I started just north of these two in and around Minneapolis.

The game was spirited- Asher, Jim and I were in a grappling match. Chris and Rob had freedom to build. Chris and Asher got the transcontinental connection and both got $2 income. Chris' 'southern strategy' was paying off quietly. I had one eye on him and one eye on Jim and one foot on Asher's throat. There was a lot of screwage as it was necessary to hinder player growth. Jim was doing very well in the middle turns and looked strong. Asher was also leaping forward shipping the first 5 in the game. But, he had issued a lot of shares and was out in front by about 4 over me, who had issued the least.

This shot is close to end game (2nd to last turn). Chris had, once again, quietly built coast to coast and was sitting on a ton of purple shipments. The rest of us were trying to get creative to make larger profits. I got a few coast to coast shipments using one of Rob's tracks. Rob had built a good infratructure but couldn't get it over the edge into the 5/6 shipment catergories. Jim's network stopped bearing fruit towards the end it seemed. It looked like Asher was in a good postion but again, Chris, was catching up. Asher was the only one in a position to hinder Chris, perhaps. But, at what cost to him? So, he didn't really opt to go that way.

Andy- 83 $31
Chris- 83 $25
Asher- 81
Rob- 66
Jim- 47

What a game. Chris and I even rolled a die pretending that we were tied on $ and track... he rolled a 1 and I rolled a 5. Hilarious!

Jim and Chris left shaking their heads in disgust.

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