Saturday, January 15, 2011

Steam (Mayfair Games)

Game: Steam
Scenario: Northwestern Europe Map, 4 Players
Participants: Rick C, Joe 'YJ' C, Jim 'HeavyD' D and myself
Time: Friday, Jan 14th ~ 6.00PM - 9.00PM

Friday night game night brought out Steam as we had a visit from our friend Rick. Rick had never played Steam before, much less any other train game, but he was game. I walked Rick through the mechanics of the game while we were awaiting the arrival of YJ. I was only mildly excited at the thought of the game as I was expecting another blow out by YJ. But as I got the game out and started to teach it to Rick (PS, you can easily play fairly competitively within the first couple of turns of playing this for the first time) I started to get a bit more excited. I mentioned in my last blog about this game that I liked it, but was still a bit fuzzy when it came to knowing what things to focus on and when to play it competitively.

So, I started off chew-chew-choosing +1 Engine for the first two turns. I also made sure that my initial build made two connections. I believe I moved one cargo 2 on the first turn and upgraded my engine. Then on the 2nd turn I made another two link connection and was able to move a cargo 4 spaces. I had to spend a lot of money on the early engine upgrades as well as building across a couple rivers and into towns but I had seen this method work before so I thought I was doing fairly well.

On turns 3-5 I took the restock city action, and the create a city action a couple times. I had a nice line with 6-7 links and a lot of goods at either end of the line. I was usually going last in the turn but that wasn't too bad as there wasn't yet much competition around moving each others goods. The action that seemed to always go first in the first 3-4 turns was the lay an extra track line. YJ was doing this mostly.

I was out ahead in VP's starting on the third or fourth turn and no one ever got close after that. They were all fairly tight in the race for 2nd place. At the end of the game I was about 10-13VPs in front with HeavyD in 2nd with YJ a close third (2VPs behind) and Rick a distant 4th. It seemed to me that in the late game we started wasting a lot of time looking for ways to create more links as each link is worth +1 VP at the end of the game. Getting the 4-link line set up early and having a 1-2 space lead on my engine early in the game was decisive here I think.

All in all I think everyone had a good time. I will look around to pick up the expansion here soon as I am eager to see what that adds to the game as well as the new maps.

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