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I.e. with which expansion map is it easiest to initiate many newbies to the game of Age of Steam while playing a five or six-person game and why?

I have an answer, which I'll post in a few days (to give someone else a chance to post it first), but I'll "accept" the one that has the most votes after a week or so.

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I have had multiple successes introducing the game with the Germany map in large groups and no failures (so far).

Failure, in this case, would be someone that doesn't understand the game enough to be able to identify why they lost or won. (Although, a friend of mine has a block on the game in general - she finds it too difficult and can't fathom ever winning.)

The greatest feature of the map that enables this success is the removal of one rule. Namely, the ability to construct unfinished links. I.e., all players must always connect both ends of the track they lay.

The effect of this rules tweak, in addition to various long-distance destinations (foreign terminals) being abstracted (tiles adjacent to them costing 6 to 12$), is that newbies cannot begin making a whole class of mistakes with far reaching negative consequences.

For example, they know connecting to Lyon will cost them, at least, 14$ - they don't have to start building it this turn, see that they don't have the money they need next turn and abandon the track they already laid to the next lucky player with a few dollars to spare.

This is not to say the map is boring for experienced players, there are still many possibilities to block (probably more, since the longest distance a link may have is three) and the board becomes quite crowded with more than four players so the newbies will still be developing the skills to cope with the game's challenges.

All being said, I don't know any other map that plays so well and simply with as many players. (The base Rust Belt map is still a good map to use, to teach the game, when playing with three or four, though.)

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