Gameday First Play – Steel Driver
While no one railroad can completely duplicate another line, two or more may compete at particular points.
~ John Moody
A relatively simple train game set in North America and involving shares and building railway lines with a few twists thrown in.
This is a route building game with stocks which is really very clever, and quite simple.
There are 6 companies on the board in 6 colours. Each player has a number of white cubes representing Billions of Dollars and you use these to bid for these companies. In turn order, players choose a company and a start bid. Bids go around the table until everyone except the current highest bid has passed.
The winner of the auctions puts the number of white cubes equal to their bid into that companies section and takes the train and a token of that colour.
The Train shows you control this company for the round and the share is used for control of the company at the end of the game.
Once all of the companies have been auctioned off (a player can have control of more than one company) the build phase begins. This is where company owners build rails to earn money…
Each connection between cities shows the cost in cubes to build the route and each city has a value. When you connect from a starting city to an adjacent city you move the value of that company up the track equal to the value of the destination.
So if you connect to a city worth $30, then on your next action go from that city to a city worth $40, the company will be worth $70.
Players take turns building one track in company order and once a company cannot build a new rail they pass and this phase continues to the next player. This continues until every company passes…
The order is important here…
This track shows the order companies build and below it is the order they pass in… The order they pass determines the new build order in the next round.
Once everyone has built players gain money equal to that companies value. This value is then reset and each player gets more white cubes to add to the ones you didn’t spend in the previous round.
The cities are divided into sections of one of five colours, each with a different number of cities of that colour on the board.
After the 5th round, players will have 5 shares and may have current control of a company if they won an auction in the last round. Players then take control of companies if they have a majority of the shares in that company. Ties for control go to the player closest to the current owner of the company clockwise…
Each City connected by a track then has a cube of it’s colour placed on it… Any cities connected by only 1 colour track are claimed by that company and added to that companies box.
Then in order, owners of the companies draft cubes from any city that has at least one piece of track from that company connected to it.
You get money per set of different colour cubes if you own the company, the more cubes in the set the more you get and you can make as many sets as you like.
Most money wins.
This is a very clever game. You bid to control companies and get shares, but not own them until the very last round. The differing build order makes the company value change from round to round.
In the first round Red builds first so it’s worth a bit more… kinda… But the company that is unable to build first in the first round builds first in the second.
So you have to consider where a company can build and how much can you get from that, how may cubes you need to bid to have enough to build where you want to, the build order, if you need a share for that company and closer to the end of the game, if you need to control the company or not…
Very good game.