Take the 2-minute tour ×
Board & Card Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who like playing board games, designing board games or modifying the rules of existing board games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Steam and Age of Steam provide a finite set of tiles, and the rules explicitly mention that if a certain type of tile runs out then it is effectively unavailable anymore -- unless a tile comes back after being replaced by another one.

This rule seems quite artificial, as in real life there shouldn't be any problems creating any kind of track as the train line is being built. The original designer Martin Wallace himself wrote that this constraint was artificial and tried to create a "friendly" set of tiles.

I do agree that it is currently part of the game and I sometimes use it myself to get rid of some particular tiles so that my opponents may not use them.

Some expansion maps (e.g., Sun) were designed with the limited set of tracks in mind, as an important aspect of that map.

However for most maps I sometimes wonder if we could just forget this limitation, provided that there's a way to create missing tiles as needed.

So what do you think? What would be the pros and cons of relaxing this rule. Also, how would you implement an "infinite" supply of tiles?

share|improve this question
    
Very interesting, I've never had a problem running out of tracks in either game. Haven't played a ton, maybe a dozen games total. Another dozen of Railroad Tycoon. –  Pat Ludwig Oct 28 '10 at 18:58
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Laminate your boards, play with dry erase markers instead of tiles. Cuts the component count down a lot.

PS: Be sure to document the legal types of tiles, unless you are also allowing arbitrary tiles as part of this change. I always hated finding out which tiles didn't exist just in time to need them :(

share|improve this answer
add comment

One step towards implementing a wider set of tiles, without adding pieces, would be to allow players to swap tiles on the board if it doesn't change their top face. In a small but significant fraction of situations, the tile you need exists as the unused bottom side of a tile already on the table. Within the rules, I have encountered at least one scenario in which the game outcome was changed by my being able to "waste" money upgrading an apparently random tile on the board just to recover the other side of that tile for the move I actually want/need to make.

share|improve this answer
    
Steam only I assume. Good trick though! –  squelart Oct 28 '10 at 5:32
    
Yes, I believe I was playing Steam when that happened, but why Steam only? The Age of Steam sets I have played with had double-sided tiles as well. –  Sparr Oct 28 '10 at 5:33
    
I've played AoS 2nd and 3rd ed, and they only had single-sided tiles, so I assumed the double-sided tiles were a Steam-only thing... Maybe a different edition? –  squelart Oct 31 '10 at 0:04
    
This can happen in Age of Steam with the town disks on towns with 4 exits, since those consume complex track tiles. There can be multiple complex track tiles that are different but functionally identical for a town. –  Malachi May 20 '11 at 21:46
add comment

I like this idea. The ability to run out of tracks is not a key mechanic of (Age of) Steam, and adds some undesirable randomness, so I think it's expendable.

The only thing to be careful about is not to place track piece types that never existed in the first place.

Honestly, there are way too many straight and curved pieces anyway, at least in Age of Steam. Just take a permanent marker and draw new tracks on existing pieces as you need them. "Build sidewalks where people walk."

share|improve this answer
    
Defacing tiles... shudder :-P –  squelart Oct 31 '10 at 0:05
    
Some (at least one) AoS map designer is adamant about limiting the track tiles to the original set. Also, I would call the effect chaos, not randomness. The track tiles that a player selects is, in most cases, intentional and not random. –  Malachi May 20 '11 at 21:48
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.