[quote user="ayheng"]Would certainly like to do a session report + review with pics + views on this. Just wondering if anyone got the photos for me to put into my writeup first.[/quote]
Heng, as usual yes you can use the photos which I shall upload later tonite.
In fact, I'm going to ask for your perm to copy/paste your Antike report into my Meetup Report for that week (me getting lazy now hehe). Of course, full credit given to the writer. No geek gold stuff for now but wait till I upgrade this forum to v2.1 and we'll have Member Reward Points 
Since you write good report, sessions where you attended and if you are writing the report, I'll just wait for yours to copy/paste into the Meetup Report I posted to the blogs.
I'm sure you'll be writing about your Niagara experience yest rite? Esp since you literally screwed everyone that round when you played the weatherman as everyone played their 7 paddle point cards!!
Ah Jeff, you lazy bum! I don't mind you copying and pasting my reports. You can add your comments if you like, it'll be nice to have multiple views.
Niagara that day was pretty funny, man. Everyone somehow suddenly panicked by the coming rain or perhaps they were inspired by my grabbing 3 gems in the second turn, so they all put 7-paddle while I put the 'cloud' card! One canoe went over while another barely made it through some stroke of luck. It all kinda balances though, since most of them are able to get back safely with the 7-paddle.
Well yes it's true most did escape that stormy rain incident.. but that's only becoz of two things
1. We played the paddle turn-over rule wrongly otherwise no one would have guessed everyone played a "7"! Imagine the chaos when the last player turned up also a "7"... hahaha....
2. Yes many quickly paddled upstream and docked their canoes but at least that foiled their plans coz I'm sure some of them were thinking of grabbing a gem, speed upstream 5 steps when they played the 7. But your weather card and the fact everyone played a 7 made everyone changed their plans I think hehe
Boardgame session @ Toybox on 31 August 06Six-player Age of Steam (AOS) with Jeff Au, Chris, Rob, Daniel, Ricky and Heng on the original board.
Boardgame session @ Toybox on 31 August 06
As this is the first game, I'll put in a bit of explanation on AOS' gameplay. I will assume everyone is familiar with Railroad Tycoon (RRT). If not, then you should direct yourself here to read Marcus' excellent review on the game first:
AOS is like a complex version of RRT. Players still build tracks, pick up goods and deliver them for income AND victory points. There are however some key differences with RRT which makes it more complex:
Differences which makes AOS more complex:
1. The auctioning now is for player order rather than 1st place. The first 2 players have to pay full for their bid, the rest half of their bid and the last nothing.
- Gotta watch what you put out, getting second still cost money!
2. There are roles to choose following the player order. These roles give powerful abilities which can influence the way the turn plays out.
- Gotta think what role you need, what role to deny people and whether you should bid higher in player order to make sure you get it!
3. Tracks can be built 3 at a time, connecting any number of cities.
- Gotta think how much you need to bid to grab all the short links first!
4. You don't have to own the starting city to deliver goods.
- Gotta deliver off goods in cities where you think the opponent might sneak off deliveries of their own!
5. There are limited goods on board, with future goods coming in shown on the production track.
- Gotta make sure you connect cities that can make deliveries of goods currently on board, as well as deliveries of goods coming on board in the future!
6. Last of all, shares can only be issued at the beginning of the turn.
- Gotta make calculations to make sure you got enough money to bid for the turn order you want, get the role you want, build the tracks you want, service the shares you have and still make sure you don't over-issue shares or go bankrupt before the end of the turn!
Phew! Fever, man, steam-ology on the brain!
Differences where AOS is better:
1. Player order is determined exactly by the amount of money you bid. No clockwise around the 1st player nonsense.
2. The auctioning of player order feels more intense when there are roles at stake, rather than RRT operation cards which can be redundant at times.
3. Smaller board, tighter gameplay, more interaction.
Differences where RRT is better:
1. Income and Victory track are combined into one streamlined track. No income reduction nonsense and fiddliness. End of game calculation is simple, no need to do multiplication and track counting as in AOS.
2. The boards and components, just so much more beautiful and appealing.
With that in mind, we now report on the game session:
1st, we randomly generate the goods in the cities and immediately, Jeff immediately mention that this is a resource poor board. The gamers, agreeing with him, begin their analysis...
Hmm... no deliveries possible... the analysis continues...
Chris, breaking the analysis, made his first move. He gets 'First Build', and...
...connects the cities with the rich 3 goods! He draws an applause from Ricky...
... who proceeds to 'Urbanize' a new city, to create a possible first turn 2 goods delivery!
Sensing oppurtunity, Jeff connects the newly urbanized city, directly competing with Ricky (ouch, sabotage!) Daniel agrees with Chris' analysis and muscled in on the rich south-eastern cities action.
Branching out, Rob and Heng decide to be cowboys and went west (yee-haw!) for their riches.
By the midgame, Ricky (red) had developed a north-south line east of the lake, while Daniel (yellow) and Chris (green) battled over an east-west line stretching from the far east to the middle of the board.
Over the far west, Jeff (black) abandons his contest with Ricky and mix it up with the cowboys Rob (purple) and Heng (blue). Soon, cries of "Hey, that's my goods cube!" was heard. Goods start to run low.
The bidding process was skewed in this newbies game as players bid up obscene amounts to get first place. Urbanization was a popular role choice just to get a proper delivery destination at first, and to get goods cube onto the board towards the end. Debts from bidding wars start to run high...
... "you're at turn 3 and you issued that much shares??!!"... (Chua gasping at the madness)
... "oh no, I can't run away from this game!"... (Edwin lamenting at the gameplayers... probably from some AOS bankruptcy experience...)
... "what to do?"... - Rob
... "what to do?"... - Daniel
... "i've got this wrapped up, now on to my mobile games..."... - Ricky
(no, that's not what they thought but it sure looks like it... )
Towards the end of the game, things got a little chaotic. Left with no alternatives, players start delivering goods using his track, your track, my track, any track. Some king-making action was going on as certain actions by certain players push certain leaders higher. At the start of the last turn however, it was certain that Ricky was in the lead, with Heng one step behind. The rest was certainly some distance back and Rob certainly overextended himself with his bidding for the urbanization role.
Being with the least shares, Heng issued enough shares to guarantee a first place player order. Taking the 'locomotive' role, Heng was able to upgrade his engine just in time to make 2 consecutive 4-link deliveries to boost himself neck-to-neck with Ricky. When the dust settled, Heng was just slightly ahead after adding the victory points from the number of tracks built.
On the other end of the spectrum, Rob managed to get himself into negative points territory... "Jet lag, man, jet lag..."
Overall, a tight race for the finish, with some king-making chaos muddling up the end game, but woo hoo! I won the game!
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