This summer has seemed to go very fast for us. Contrary to what the blog reflects, we have been gaming (though I more than Lissa). Simply put, it has been too dang hot to play many games downstairs. Hopefully that will change soon.
Last week Nick brought over his copy of Railways of the World and we played the Mexico map. This game is yet another version of Martin Wallace's train game idea. I consider myself a Martin Wallace fan and I enjoy Steam and to be honest there is not much difference between Railways of the World and Steam. The basic idea of building and claiming routes and using those routes to deliver colored cubes to like colored cities remains intact.
Railways adds several things to the basic mixture. First, you need to take out bonds to fund your activities. The mechanism works well and it introduces a step where you must decide if it is worth it to take out a bond to build a longer track or if you are better off trying to get by with a cheaper route. The second change is that where in Steam you bid on various roles and sometimes you may find yourself locked out of being able to restock a city or building a new city in Railways you may choose any of the available roles on your turn. The third major change is that instead of playing to a set number of turns you play until a certain number of cities have been exhausted of resource cubes so the game length is variable. I like this concept as it does away with what I like to call the "Swooping Hawk Maneuver."
Ok, what is the "Swooping Hawk Maneuver"? At one point in time the then current version of Warhammer 40k played to a set number of turns. The Eldar armies had a fast but weak unit type called Swooping Hawks - basically, Eldar guys with wings. SO, what often happened was that the Eldar player would "Fly Hi" with the Hawks, which according to the rules at that time made them untargetable by troops not also flying hi. Then, on the last half of the last turn the Eldar player would drop these guys onto the board on whatever objective was available claiming the objective and often winning the game. Realistically, had the game been extended another half turn the Hawks would have been shredded and all killed but as there was an artificial end point they could land in front of all the guns in the world safely. So, the "Swooping Hawk Maneuver" is doing something in the last turn that is sound rules and point wise but makes no logical, realistic sense.
Back to Railways of the World. . . Those three changes are the main differences between the two games. The other important difference is in regards to components. Steam is a great game with fantastic maps and pieces. Railways of the World just goes above and beyond though. The components in this game are amazing. When a city is cleared of resources you place a marker on it to show that it has been used up. These markers are little railway buildings or water towers and are very nice. As the game progresses and you place more of these on the board the map looks cooler and cooler.
Overall, I really like the game (and I won - big plus there). I also really like Steam. If you have one I cannot imagine spending the money on the other. They play very much alike as they share the core rules and as such they both "scratch the same itch" so to speak.
Other than our regular Wednesday night games I have continued to play poorly in my Fun League Blood Bowl online matches. Having fun but playing poorly :) This season playing poorly even in two seperate divisions with two teams! More on that later though.
Tonight we should be playing the new Star Trek Expeditions game and For Sale!, a game that I was able to win on Twitter from Gryphon Games and that I will review soon.