Ilari organized a board game club meeting yesterday and I dropped by to play a game of Age of Steam. Ilari, Aaro, Robert and Tuukka joined me. Ilari had played one game with few weeks ago, the rest were newbies.
This time the game was very different from the previous game. Last time I won the game easily — this time it was a bloody struggle, which I eventually lost. First, the five player game felt like a real conflict. Our previous game was a perhaps bit too easy for me, but still it hit me as a surprise — my plans were foiled many times by aggressive moves from other players. They are nasty people!
I kept some records during the game, that is the balance of every player each turn. This time the economical side was tougher. Of the seven turns, I spent the first four on negative balance and then managed to get two turns of +1 and on the last turn ended the game with +4 balance. Most players had four or five turns of not making profit — except Aaro. For some reason he managed to play the game in a completely different way from the rest of us.
You see, in the end Robert and I had 10 issued shares, while Ilari and Tuukka had issued 12 shares. Aaro had only 6 issued shares. Needless to say, he won the game. I think the main point here was that he spent the least money on auctions. Ok, so he didn’t urbanize or use any of the highly desired actions — I think he used production three-four times and had turn order once or twice. He built a fairly extensive track network — more than me and Robert, but less than Ilari or Tuukka.
Aaro was already making profit on turn three. In the end he made nine dollars with an income of 19. The final scores were Mikko 33, Robert 36, Tuukka 37, Ilari 45 and Aaro 53. So perhaps the conservative approach on spending money is a good approach… The incomes in the end of the game were from 17 (me) to 21 (Ilari), so no big difference there. In such a situation, issuing half of the shares other players have issued is a huge advantage.
I think I slightly prefer the four-player game at the moment. The five-player game is a ruthless beast. I’m not sure if I want to try the game with six players… Talk about the board being crowded! The game took about 2.5 hours, which I think is reasonable. Ilari complained about downtime, which seems to be a rather big issue with him. Generally the game was liked, I think. Well, I like it, at least… It’s definitely my favourite new game right now, much more tempting than Amun-Re for example.