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Steam-belching iron horses roar West across the U.S. in the 1830’s. Relive the era of pioneering U.S. railroad companies that built the track and transformed America’s economy. The cut-throat action is centered on the industrial powerhouses of the growing nation: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, and beyond.

Age of Steam features a painted map, artwork from the renowned game artist Paul E. Niemeyer, 120 detailed plastic locomotives, a 16-page full-color rulebook, and loads of track tiles. The whistles blow and the trains rumble past, heralding the return of the Age of Steam.

images © Eagle Games

User Reviews (2)

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Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
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27 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Trains, goods and shrewdness!”

Age of Steam is one of my favorite games. In this game you are at the head of a railroad company that lays track, transports goods from city to city and collects money to pay its hungry investors. In the beginning of the game it is hard to stay solvent, but later in the game you are able to earn fabled riches.

The game is divided in game turns which consist of several steps. First of all, you can issue shares. This is at first the only way to get money as you have no track on the board and therefore no income. But watch out! The shareholders expect dividend and too many shares might spell bankruptcy!

After that you bid for the turn order. This is an important part of the game, for going first will give you any of the available actions. You have to think about investing in going first or letting it go if less prime actions are good for you too. Especially Urbanization (turning towns into cities) and the Locomotive are actions that everyone wants.

Then you can build track. You have to consider which cities to connect, because the color of the cube (representing some trade goods) in a city corresponds to the color of a city. Only cubes of the same color may be transported to a city. At the start you will have few links (the amount of cities and towns you may travel through), so lay track between two nearby cities first to ensure a starting income.

Transporting goods is next. In this phase you might steal the trade goods of someone else to deny them the best income. Later in the game that becomes very important.

Most of the time more goods are transported than added to cities, which empties the cities of goods quite quickly. So track building to new cities that still have goods becomes essential, but luckily you can also use existing track of your opponents, even if that gives them some income too.

Age of Steam is not a simple game. My first game ended in complete bankruptcy of everyone (also because we misinterpreted one of the rules). Later on we did better, but newcomers to the game have a hard time. It is easy to do things wrong and before you know it your money runs out and shareholders are banging on your door.

However, if you practice and pay attention this game really pays off. It’s not a family game, but a game for people who like a challenge. And this game opens up the way to games like 1830, where shrewdness is even more important.

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5 of 20 gamers found this helpful
“great game”

I played this game at GenCon 2011, and I really enjoyed it! It’s complicated to learn as so many tabletop games are these days; however, it’s well worth investing the time to learn. It has nice graphics, good playing pieces, and clear rules. I’d recommend it to any gamer who enjoys rail strategy games.


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