Age of Reduction

 

At game night this week I played Age of Industry for the second time.  We were four, and it proved popular with all players.  Last time I rated it a strong “good”, but this time I joined with the rest of the players in rating it “excellent”.  Which is to say, we are likely to play more of it.

It is very tempting to compare it to Brass, as it is clearly a refinement of the ideas laid out in Brass.  But I will clearly state that Age of Industry is a different game.

A few thoughts:

  • The game is modular, and I am interested to play on the map of America which has seemingly different challenges built into that scenario due to the differing features on the board.
  • The pace of the game is driven by the players decisions around how many cards they wish to draw.  A player can hasten the end of the game by playing short-handed towards the end.
  • Cards have a hard-to-calculate value.  Early on location cards seem best, as building your network is a slow brick-by-brick process.  In the midgame the specific industry cards seem a bit better, as they give you more flexibility to work within the network you have crafted.  But by endgame, it becomes nearly hopeless to have the right card, so the double “wild” action begins to beckon.
  • Over building your own industries late in the game may be the only viable move unless you have planned better than I managed in our game.
  • Strike when players give you opportunity.  In our game Chester was very opportunistic, while I was very methodical adhering to my development plan.  Chester came in first, I came in fourth.

I am challenged by Age of Industry.  I fear I have some hard lessons ahead of me, and however odd that may sound, it makes me like the game more.  It seems to occupy the same basic game space of Brass, but perhaps it plays a bit faster, and has a few less embellishment to teach.

Brass remains slightly higher in my estimation, but Age of Industry is a worthy game, and I am glad to own it.  I am also pleased it can handle a fifth player, although I have not yet taken advantage of that feature.

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One Response to “Age of Reduction”

  1. Chester Says:

    I actually WAS pursuing a strategy. I think the bigger difference in the game than my opportunistic moves was the fact that I was dealt (or drew) a LOT of regional cards. Without having to worry about my rail network for access, I think it allowed me to pounce on a lot of impromptu builds while still getting my factories out by the end of the game (which is what I was strategizing).

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