I met Ilari today for games. Finally I was able to get Age of Steam Scotland — the free print-and-play two-player expansion — on table. Age of Steam in general doesn’t seem like a brilliant two-player game, but with a good map, it turned out be a rather pleasant experience.
The thing about the Scotland map is that it’s small. It’s half the size of common boards, and quite constrained in other ways too: for example, there are no purple cities on the board. You can urbanize one, but that’s it. There are also lots of mountains, which make cheap routes rare (and rivers spoil the rest of them). Rules didn’t say anything about how to do the two-player auction; we decided to have second player pay half, which worked well.
I lost — it was very, very obvious. Ilari had better routes, and that’s it. One of my weaknesses in Age of Steam is future route planning and making sure I have something to deliver few turns from now, and that cost me the game this time. Scotland is a small map and it’s fairly easy to run out of cubes to ship, if you’re not careful.
It was a fun game, nonetheless, and very quick, too. We finished in an hour. Very effective! There’s no Geek entry for the expansion (should be), but you can find it in the file section of Age of Steam entry. There are two versions: A3 sized and A4 sized. I got the A3 one, printed professionally, laminated and creased. It fits in the box and works well.
We also squeezed in a game of Hive. Geek says 15 minutes, the box says 20 minutes, we took about 40 minutes. Maybe we’re too good, but not good enough? We can defend, but not attack effectively enough? I was close to win the game at one point, but couldn’t make it, then Ilari got the upper hand and finally, after lots of tugging and stalling, won the game.
I like the game much better than last time. It seems to be about controlling and restricting the movement of pieces — I know I had troubles mobilizing my forces, big chunk of them got stuck on one point of the game. Takes some practise, I think. Fun game, and the bakelite pieces are just great.