During the nineteenth century a web of steel was created around the world. Men, money, and vision built the railroads that made the modern world possible. Nowhere is this more evident than in the United States of America.
The advent of the locomotive gave America the means to exploit her wealth of natural resources, transforming her into a world power. It is the construction of America's railroads that is reflected in 'Steel Driver', albeit in a very simple way.
The name refers to the Legend of John Henry. He was a steel driver, someone who hammered blasting holes in solid rock with sharp steel spikes. In the tale John Henry pits his strength in a race against a steam-powered hammer. He won the contest but died of exhaustion at the day's end.
'Steel Driver' is for three to six players and takes around sixty to ninety minutes to play.
Each player uses their investment cubes to bid for control of companies, (six in all). When you take control of a company you receive one share, which means that only one share per turn can be purchased. The cubes you bid with go into the company and allow it to build track.
Each location has a value which determines how much profit you receive for connecting it. After companies have built as much track as they can players are paid the profit that each company they control has made this turn.
Profit levels are reset for the following turn. Players get another set of cubes to bid with and then bid again for control of companies.
Cash earned from shares is really victory points, it cannot be used to bid on future shares. As each player receives the same number of investment cubes each turn there is no positive feedback for owning the best shares.
The game lasts five turns. At the end of the game each company will pay out an additional amount of profit to each share held. This level is determined by how many different regions a company is connected to, (it's a little more involved than that, and colored cubes are moved around!).