4 Age of Steam - How To Play Podcast

4 Age of Steam - How To Play Podcast
How to Play Teaching Guides:
#4 Age of Steam
This guide is intended for use by owners of the game looking for a quick outline with a recommended
order and structure with which to teach the game. To hear a sample explanation or to learn the game
yourself listen to episode #4 of The How to Play Podcast available at www.howtoplaypodcast.com
The Hook - What the Game is About
“ Choo Choo Chugga Chugga Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!” (Yes, you should make train sounds to begin your
explanation. It helps the players get into the game, wear an engineer hat if possible.)
“Business is hard. You are starting a railroad business and trying to make money. Of course you have
to go into giant debt to try to build this business. This is basically a two step fight first you will have to
try to make sure your business becomes profitable, then try to become the most profitable business by
the end of the game.
In this game you are delivering cubes. Blue cubes want to go Blue Cities. So you will want to build
track connecting those two, deliver it and than you will score income points. In this game we will follow
a sequence of actions for a chosen number of turns, The sequence is; issue shares to get money, Have
an auction for turn order and special actions, build track, move goods, get paid or pay bills, and put more
goods on the board. We will do that sequence 6-10 times and then it’s the end of the game.
To win the game, players will get some points for track, but the main chunk of points come from the
difference between your income level which goes up for delivering cubes subtracted from your shares
which you issue to get more money, Whoever has the largest gap between income and shares issued will
most likely win the game.”
The Meat - How to Play the Game
The Phases of a Game Turn
1. Issue Shares;
1.1You need money for the turn order auction, track and expenses
1.2Each share issued gives you $5
1.3Take as few as possible, You will be penalized each turn and on
your end of game score
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1.4If you don’t take enough you won’t be able to make money.
1.52 shares is a safe amount to get started for your first turn.
Turn Order Auction
2.1Players have an auction for turn order and first choice of abilities
2.2First to drop - free, 1st and 2nd pay full bid, others pay half
2.3Select abilities selected in turn order (will be explained later)
Building Track
3.1Each player may build up to 3 pieces of track
3.2Costs of track; $2 clear, $3 river, $4 mountain, $1+X exits of town
3.3Can cross/redirect track, must maintain other player’s track
3.4Unfinished track must be added to on following turn or lose it
Two Moving Goods Rounds
4.1In turn order, move cubes to matching colored cities
4.21 income for every city/town the cube goes through
4.3Must have engine level equal to # of cities/towns good travels
4.4Can skip one goods movement to increase engine one level
4.5First turn move for 1 or 2, but by end of game you want to develop
your network and engine to move for 5 or 6
4.6Cannot move through a city of same color of cube
4.7Cannot move through the same city twice
4.8Can use links of other players track, giving them or splitting points
Collect Income/Pay Expenses
5.1Get money equal to income level
5.2Pay money equal to shares + engine level
5.3Net will be negative for first few turns hopefully positive by midgame
5.4If you cannot pay you slide back on income track, 0 = bankruptcy
Income Reduction
6.1Slide back number of spaces depending on the zone you are in
6.2Often good to end your turn on 10 or 20 rather than 11 or 21
Goods Production
7.1 Roll dice = to # of players for white and black cities for more goods
Advance Turn Marker - Repeat 6-10 Times
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The Special Abilities
1. Special Abilities are chosen in turn order as determined by the Auction
2. What the Seven Special Abilities do
2.1First Move - You get to jump the turn order and move goods first in
both rounds of this phase
2.2First Build - You get to jump the turn order and build track first in
this phase
2.3Engineer - You may build 4 pieces of track instead of 3
2.4Locomotive - you get an immediate engine level increase
2.5Urbanization - When you build track you get to change a town (grey
disk) into a city of the color/letter of your choice
2.6Production - Pull two cubes from the goods bag and place them on
the production chart to hope they get rolled onto the board (Useless on
first and last turn)
2.7Turn Order - Gives you a “free pass” in the following turn order auction, (will likely get you 2nd or 3rd place for free)
3. Relative Strength of the Special Abilities
3.1Best Abilities - Locomotive and Urbanization - these powerful actions will give you a jump on other players or improve your network
3.2Situational Abilities - All the other abilities strengths depend on your
position in the game, do you need a building spot?, to move a contested
cube?, more cubes?, 4 track? turn order? it depends on your situation
3.3Ability strengths can vary from map to map
Winning the Game
1. Game ends after a specified number of turns (6-10)
1.1Winner is typically the player with the largest gap between income
and shares, though track is worth points and can decide the winner
1.2Victory Point Formula; Profit Points + Track Points
1.2.1 Profit Points = (Income - Shares) x 3
1.2.2Track Points = 1 point per track segment in completed links
1.3The Player with the most VP’s wins! There is no tiebreaker
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The Hamster - How to Win the Game
1. Take enough shares:
1.1Count carefully at the beginning of the turn make sure you have
enough money for the auction, building track and your expenses
1.2Its always easier to err on the side of too much money
2. Always build 3 track if possible on your turn:
2.1 Track is VPs and should improve your network for more points
3. Plan for long deliveries early in the game.
4. Have a good network shape
4.1Circles are good!
4.2“Dogbone” - Central line with spokes at the end
5. Don’t connect all of the colors together,
5.1Repeating colors in the center of your network can lead to longer
6. Don’t fall behind in the locomotive race.
6.1Keep level with the other players
6.2Get a locomotive action or two during the game
7. Don’t get yourself in a situation where you must have something.
7.1 This is how bankruptcy occurs
7.2Have more than one plan on each turn
8. Good Luck and Have Fun!
Game Design: Martin Wallace
Game Publisher: Eagle Games
Outline Author: Ryan Sturm ©2011
Teaching outline based upon How to Play Podcast Episode #4
Podcast Website: www.howtoplaypodcast.com
Email: howtoplaypodcast@msn.com
Discussion Forum: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/746
You can show your appreciation for How to Play resources by making a paypal
donation at www.howtoplaypodcast.com
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