Board Game Session Report for January 25, 2003: Age of Steam, Quiddler, Mexica, Cave Troll, Crokinole


Unity Games 5 session. 6-player Age of Steam, 4-player Quiddler, 3-player Mexica, 4-player Cave Troll, 4-player Crokinole.

Age of Steam

Players were Chris, Lewis, Eric, Don, Josh, myself. New players to the game were: Chris, Lewis, Eric, Don, Josh, myself. Lewis had the first turn.

We spent 17 minutes going over the rules.

Age of Steam is a rail game. Well, more of a resource management game, with a bit of luck thrown in. The object of the game is to score the most victory points. Victory points are gained by owning railroad tracks. More important are the victory points gained for delivering goods from one city to the next. Just as detrimental is giving out shares of stock in your railroad which give a player some quick cash. Players play a fixed number of turns depending on the number of players.

Each turn, players get to issue shares to get more money. people bid to get to pick their turn order. the first player to get to bid is determined randomly, but then players always follow turn order. Then people select their unique action. Then they build track -- three per turn. Then they move goods from one city to another, scoring a victory point (and income) for whose ever tracks are used. This happens twice per turn. Then they collect income. Then they pay expenses. One per share issued, and one per engine link level. (Engine link level determines how many cities a train may pass through to deliver goods.) Then goods are increased in cities, if possible. Then the turn marker is advanced.

We started off missing the rule that goods can only be delivered twice per turn. Don took advantage of that, but forfeited his goods deliver the next turn to make up for it, when we figured it out.

Money was tight throughout the game. It's very important to gain an advantageous position early in the game, though it's not really important to make money until later in the game, as Chris' and Eric's strategy proved. Don started out very wealthy, but somehow lost his lead.

There was a lot of pain during this game as it seemed people often saw themselves at some disadvantage. I was bewailing how I didn't get to pick my actions during my turn and had to settle for less. I should have issued more shares and outbid people at the critical time. because at the end of the game, I had many deliveries I could make if the game were to continue.

People thought this game could be more fun with less players. With six players it seemed chaotic. Though, I think it'd be chaotic no matter how many players because the players who go ahead of you will be able to foil your plans.

I would put this game as a cross between Stephenson's Rocket and Illuminati, for its track-laying component and its use-money-to-screw-other-players component.

Age of Steam
Caption: Players pose with Age of Steam.

Game lasted 172 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to buy Age of Steam at

Click here to learn more about Age of Steam at


Players were Chip, Kaj, Sara, myself. Kaj was a new player to the game. Chip had the first turn.

I stepped in late for this game, so Chip started me off at 40 points. I bewailed to get that much because I am horrible at this game. Either I don't know many words, or the cards are always such that there is no way I can use my higher scoring cards.

Chip had a cleaver play one turn, kicking out "king" and "queen." He even showed off "quacking" at one point, just because it's a great word to score in Scrabble. (But not so hot that turn in this game.)

Caption: Chip ignores me while Kaj and Sara pretend to play Quiddler for the picture.

Game lasted 60 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to buy Quiddler at

Click here to learn more about Quiddler at


Players were Chip, Ben, myself. New players to the game were: Chip, Ben, myself. I had the first turn.

We spent 27 minutes going over the rules.

Mexica is an action-point area-control game. The game is played for two rounds. Players build canals to divide the board into districts. Then they found districts to score points. Districts can only be founded in the sizes of available. These sizes are determined randomly from a pool selected at the beginning of each round. Each player has a fixed number of buildings at the start of each round. Then they build buildings in districts to score during the scoring rounds. The player with the highest building points scores a district. First, second and third place score, but not fourth place. The player with the most points wins.

A round ends when all districts are created and a player uses up all his buildings. Everyone has a turn after a player causes this to happen.

The trick is, you can only found districts if your pawn (mexica) is in that district. The same restriction exists if you're building a building. So, action points are spent creating canals to divide up the board, moving the mexica around, founding districts and building buildings.

We were so clueless starting this game, because it wasn't clear what was important to do. I started laying canals, Chip starting building buildings, Ben started dividing up territory to found a district.

Eventually, we all caught on to the spirit of the game and started competing fiercely to build buildings in the higher scoring districts.

In the end, we couldn't establish two districts, and fought for a presense in the remaining unfounded, but valuable remaining district in the center of the board.

Overall, a fun game. Even Chip liked it, not having liked its other cousin, Java.

I wish I had a picture of this. At the table, we had a game of Mexica going at the same time as its cousin, Tikal. People took pictures of the novelty.

Game lasted 125 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to buy Mexica at

Click here to learn more about Mexica at

Cave Troll

Players were Kaj, John, Ben, myself. New players to the game were: Kaj, John, Ben. I had the first turn.

We spent 10 minutes going over the rules.

This has got to be the longest, bloodiest game of Cave Troll I've ever played. I like it!

John got the wraith and cave troll out early. Ben kicked of a scoring round early, having done some killin' with his orc -- it was a low scoring round.

We got our orcs out early. The other players went on a rampage, going after each other. It wasn't until the knights came out that things seemed safe on one side of the board. The other side was still a problem with John's remaining orc. The artifact, and one cave troll created interesting choke points. The other cave trolls lined one wall, having gone after the tighter packed rooms.

John was holding on to his artifact that would teleport his adventurers into one room. But he didn't get it off before Kaj ended the game to his own advantage.

Cave Troll
Caption: Players on a rampage in Cave Troll.

Game lasted 70 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to buy Cave Troll at

Click here to learn more about Cave Troll at


Players were Ralph and Chris, Sean and myself. turn.

We decided to wrap up the evening with a game on Dave's Crokinole board. Nice!

Ralph was using his newly found Crokinole skills. Chris was commenting about how horrible he was doing. But he and Ralph won anyways.

Game lasted 10 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to learn more about Crokinole at

Click here for Dave's take on UG5.

Click here for Chip's take on our games.

Click here for Ben's take on our games.

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