I've been working on the railroad
Join us and build railroads networks in the early 1800's.
The steam engine has just been invented and, with its introduction,
it is now possible to ship goods between cities much faster.
However, it is the person who controls the track that these great
beasts will need in order to operate who will make the money.
You are a businessman who is building the necessary track on
this undeveloped land in order to make a profit and earn the
greatest income from the new means of transporting goods. The
track that connects the most useful cities will earn income for
the track's owner. It is the start of the Age of Steam.
Martin Wallace's award-winning Age of Steam (Winsome/Warfrog
2002) expands the basic system developed in Winsome Games' original
Lancashire Railways. Players lay track tiles between cities to
create a railway network in order to transport goods, thereby
earning income. This is a deceptively simple gamer's game, a
modern classic. The game consists of six to ten turns depending
upon the number of players. Each turn sees the players issue
bonds in order to raise money, bid for the turn order for the
remainder of the turn, choose the special ability they want for
the round, build track, transport goods along the track, earn
income, pay expenses including train maintenance, have production
in the cities and then advance the game turn marker. The players
receive victory points at the end of the game equal to three
times player's final income less three points per bond issued
during the game plus one victory point per track segment that
the player has built. The player with the most victory points
wins the game.
Money management is very important in the game as money is
used to bid in the turn order auction, build track and pay the
expenses of the bond interest and train maintenance at the end
of the turn. If a player feels that they need more money, the
player can issue more bonds in their companies in order to raise
additional money at the appropriate phase of the game. However,
the total number of bonds issued is subtracted from their Victory
Points, reducing their chance to win. The key to the game is
earning income for your railway company. This is accomplished
by transporting goods over the railway links that the player
has built. So the player first has to decide where they are going
to build their track and then they transport goods over this
track. Since the goods are randomly generated at the beginning
of every game, replayability is excellent.
The tournament format is changing slightly this year with
the new formats allowed at the WBC. The tournament is officially
changing to a "Heats:Winners Only" format. This means
to qualify for the semi-final a player will have to win a game
in one of the two heats with no second-place finishers advancing.
However, I will advance four players to the Final from the semi-final
games, so it is possible that I may have to take one or two second
place finishers from the semi-finals depending upon the number
of games played in the semi-final. The game can accommodate
up to six players, although the GM will try to set up four-player
games whenever possible depending upon the number of players
and copies of the game that are available.
Heats: Winners Only (HWO) - Only the winners from each
heat advance to Round 2-no alterates advance. EVERY winner of
a game advances. There is no limit on the number of winners that
can be accommodated. Anyone who comes in second may not advance,
even if the person who finished first in that game has won a
previous heat or chooses not to advance to the Final.
Another slight change in the format will be in choosing maps
for the individual rounds. In the two heats, the GM is going
to have a choice of seven or eight maps allowable and players
can pick which map(s) they would like to play. If enough players
choose one or more of the alternate maps, then those players
will play using that map. Any other players not playing on an
alternate map will play on the "Rust Belt" map that
is included with the Age of Steam game. For the semi-final,
the GM will provide a choice of four or five maps with the map
receiving the highest vote total being the map that will be used
for all of the semi-final games. The Final will use the "Rust
Belt" map unless all four players agree to use the alternate
map that the GM has selected.
The only maps that will be considered will be commercially
available, officially approved expansion maps for Age of Steam
including, but not limited to:
Western US (Winsome, Warfrog)
Germany (Winsome, Warfrog)
Italy (Winsome, Warfrog)
France (Winsome, Warfrog)
Ireland (Winsome, Warfrog)
England (Winsome, Warfrog)
Scandinavia (Winsome, Warfrog)
Korea (Winsome, Warfrog)
Eastern US (Steam Brothers)
South America (Steam Brothers)
South Africa (Steam Brothers)
China (Steam Brothers)
Bay Area (Alspach)
Homebrew, bootleg, unlicensed expansion maps may not be used.
If you have a map that you would strongly like the GM to consider
including in the choices for one of the heats or the semi-final,
please contact me via email.
If you have any questions or comments about the tournament,
please contact me at the below email address.