So Martin Wallace's much anticipated AoS remake has now made it to the table twice in two weeks, 10 of the group have now had the opportunity to play the game and if you take a look at our Games list, you will see that it has been propelled into the top 10 of our favourite games, some 20 odd places above its forefather.
Last Week, Gregor and Callum guided a table of relative newbs through its inner workings, Gregor came out on top whilst poor Helen was subjected to a spectacular Wallace debt spiral, ending the game on 0 points and -10 income.
This week, Steven joined the relatively experienced AoS quartet of David, Andy, Robert and I. Within a couple of rounds Andy had already decided that his copy of Railroad Tycoon was going on the ebay heap in favour of this compact little beauty.
By round 3 or 4 Steven had fallen into the debt spiral and was having to take loans just to finance his previous loans. We showed the kind of sympathy that our group is renowned for by grabbing any routes nearby and essentially forcing him into an identical end to that which Helen was subjected at Ivan's the previous week.
As has been the case in all previous games of Steam, all players concentrated on income until we hit a level of 8 or 9 and then the dash for VP's was made.
In our game it took until round 5 of 7 for the VP's to be broken but when they were, it was clear we were in for a very tight finish - we just had no idea how tight that would be.
As the game concluded, Andy was in possession of 5 locomotives with a chance of shipping 6, I was in clear control of 2 x 5 point ships, but only if I could win the bidding and claim the locomotive. David was similarly placed but unable to ship as extensively and he also coveted the locomotive upgrade. As we ended the penultimate round, I found myself with 6 gold and turn order and thus was the first to secure capital. I chose to dump 4 income points for 20 cash, David dumped 3 for 15 giving himself an identical 26 gold. Andy, being third to act, chose 10 gold and 2 income drop to glean a total of 27 gold.
A totally futile bidding convened with both David and I hopeful our 26 gold might secure that elusive loco. As it was Andy won out and claimed the engine he thought he needed. We all wondered how that Loco ownership was pay off .... the answer is it paid off very well indeed. Andy ended the game tied with David on VP's and Income and won out on the third tiebreak - namely role selection, his choice of Locomotive (6th Choice) being one lower than David's choice of Urbanise (7th Choice) so not only did the Loco pay off in terms off points it paid off in deciding the outcome of the tie break. Funnily enough, had David won the loco, he would have claimed victory by 1 point from me, had I managed to win the Loco for less than 4 Capital purchases, I would have won out by 1 point from them both.
That is the sign of a great game, one where the very last move could decide the game in any one of three ways.
Now all we need is for Nick to play and admit that its actually better than his beloved ..... and as they say ... Monkeys might fly outta my butt.
Elsewhere in the last couple of weeks, we enjoyed more Automobile antics, Played some China and tried to teach Bez the finer points of High Society, to say we failed in that regard would be a massive understatement