age of steam [Updated April 2005]

AOS   Trial Beginners Mult Ent Sing Elim Scheduled  
 Rnd1 Heat1 20   17
   Rnd1 Heat2 18
Round 2 12 Semi  Round 3 9 Final

   Marietta     Ballroom Foyer, Table 4  

Richard Irving, CA

2004 Champion

2nd: Peter Staab, PA

3rd: Keith Altizer, FL

4th: Ilan Woll, CT

5th: Michael Holmquist, WI

6th: Doug Smith, PA
Event History
2004    Richard Irving    34

AREA Ratings:

GM: Peter Staab

I've been working on the railroad ...

Tournament Format
Join us and build the early railway networks in the Eastern United States, England and other countries. The steam engine has just been invented and with its introduction, it is now possible to ship goods between cities much faster. However, it is the person who controls the track that these great beasts will need in order to operate who will make the money. You are a businessman who is building the necessary track on this undeveloped land in order to make a profit and earn the greatest income from the new means of transporting goods. The track that connects the most useful cities will earn income for the track's owner. It is the start of the Age of Steam.

Age of Steam takes the basic system used in Lancashire Railways from Winsome Games and Volldampf by TM Spiele and expands upon it. Players lay track tiles between cities to create a railway network in order to transport goods thereby earning income. The player who earns the most while minimizing their liabilities wins the game.

The game consists of six to ten turns depending upon the number of players. Each turn sees the players issue bonds in order to raise money, bid for the turn order for the remainder of the turn, choose the special ability they want for the round, build track, transport goods along the track, earn income, pay expenses including train maintenance, have production in the cities and then advance the game turn marker. The players receive victory points at the end of the game equal to three times player's final income less three points per bond issued during the game plus one victory point per track segment that the player has built. The player with the most victory points wins the game.

Money management is very important in the game as money is used to bid in the turn order auction, build track and pay the expenses of the bond interest and train maintenance at the end of the turn. If a player feels that he needs more money, the player can issue bonds in their companies in order to raise additional money at the appropriate phase of the game. However, if the companies issue too many bonds, then the interest payments will leave the player with too little cash to accomplish their goals and hurt their chance to win.

The key to the game is earning income for your railway company. This is accomplished by transporting goods over the railway links that the player has built. So the player first has to decide where he is going to build his track and then he has to transport goods over this track. Since the goods are randomly generated every game, a track segment that is useful in one game may not be helpful in another. This keeps the game from becoming stale or predictable.

The tournament format will be two heats to qualify for the semi-final. The winner of each heat game will qualify for the semi-final. The game can accommodate up to six players, although the GM will try to set up four-player games whenever possible depending upon the number of copies of the game that are available and the number of players.

Players will be allowed to play any of the commercially released maps for the game. These include the original Eastern U.S. map that originally came with the game, and expansion map set #1 (Ireland and England), expansion map set #2 (Western U.S. and Germany) and expansion map set #3 (Korea and Scandinavia). Players will only be allowed to play any particular expansion map once during the tournament, although they may play the Eastern U.S. map in both heats if they'd prefer. The default map will be the Eastern U.S. map for all games. I will match players at these heats based upon which map they want to play and I will only assign a player to an expansion map if they are willing to play on that map. We will use the Eastern U.S. map for the semi-final and final in the tournament, although I will allow the semi-finals to be played on the England map only if all players agree to the change.

The Winsome expansion maps of Italy and France that were available at Essen last year were a limited release and could only be purchased there as part of the Winsome set. Therefore, these maps will not be eligible for the tournament. I also know that there are web sites out there where only maps have been developed for the game as well. None of these maps are eligible for tournament play either.

New players are welcome to participate in this event with the demo occurring as scheduled above. If you have any questions or comments about the tournament format, please contact me at the address below.

 GM      Peter Staab  [2nd Year]   NA   NA

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