John Bohrer on Age of Steam expansions

Age of Steam logoIn a Geek thread called Italy is for AoS experts and France is for AoS beginners John Bohrer ranks the different Age of Steam expansion maps in this order by the level of their difficulty (from easy to difficult): France, US Rust Belt (basic map), England, Scandinavia, Germany, Western US, Ireland, Korea and Italy. The Italy map looks definitely nasty, with the income-reducing black cubes (I wonder what the thematical explanation for those cubes is?).

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5 responses to “John Bohrer on Age of Steam expansions”

  1. I bet the black cubes represent mafia.
    I agree with the levels of difficulties except that I have not played Scandinavia and that I find England easier than the basic map.

  2. Yeah, that’s what I thought, some kind of corruption. They seem like quite an evil mechanic. It won’t be cheap to build track in Italy…

  3. I would personally rate Ireland harder than Korea, and Scandinavia harder than both of those — at least it is easy enough to build a network on Korea and Ireland, much tougher on Scandinavia.
    I don’t know that Italy is the hardest, it certainly changes the game the most, mainly because you can issue shares any time and they are unlimited. The black cube movement bothers me — you only screw yourself and the other player, because you are not increasing your own income. Even if you screw all of your opponents with a black cube movement, you still screw yourself. Also, the game ends up being a logictical exercise in track building — the map is easily blocked for building once all of the complex track is used up.

  4. The Italy map is funny. I’m not sure what “hard” means in the context of a map without income reduction and with unlimited, ad hoc share issuing. In some ways Italy seems the easiest AoS map, given those freedoms.
    I’d also put Scandinavia higher (very tough route-building)
    Germany higher (I’ve only played with 6, but again route-building with the no-incompletes rule was tougher)
    Ireland lower (everyone is shipping 6’s the last couple turns)
    Western US lower (this would be my preferred board for new players)