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Needlessly brutal. I mean, does Martin Wallace hate us? I have played lots of games where the system fights you and dares you, mockingly, to score any points--but AoS brings it to a whole new level. It feels as though someone is punching you in the gonads over and over for the first few turns. That having been said, it's a very tight game; a bit too much like a puzzle for my tastes, but a very tight game.
A brilliantly conceived and somewhat abstract game wrapped with a train theme and set of mechanics that works incredibly well. The game possesses a brutal economic system and bidding mechanic. All of the elements of Age of Steam combine to make this one of Martin Wallace's finest games.
My history with Age of Steam is highly varied. I have landed on the stance that I don't really care for this game. But I have had fun with it at times. Unfortunately, it is a game I have to play frequently to get decent at it. I don't care to play it enough to stay decent at it. Since I suck at it with casual play, I'd rather avoid it.
Maybe the most tense, cutthroat, unforgiving game I've played to date. It's a great game and has lots of replayability with the different maps, but it's a little long, a little fiddly, and the art and components are terrible.
Obtained 2nd edition after rave reviews here. Need to play a few more games before coming up with an opinion. Added later: Have played several games with 3 and 4 players and... I don't know. There is something missing here. Don't know what it is exactly but we haven't been able to have much fun with it.
I fell in love with the blandness of the visual aspect. Very sparse, terse and inviting. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to get the amount of play time it deserves as players are lacking. I've even made several maps for it. Must play this delightful game more! 2009-02-21 - Japan w/4 players - Brutal! 2006-11-15 - Bought 2010-09-15 - Sold
(10/17) 9. My second 18xx game, but another one I loved, though I didn't quite fully grok it like I did 1846. That said, would ABSOLUTELY love to play it again, especially with all the maps that are available. My #15 favorite game of all time.