Age of Steam is a wonderful game system, unfortunately it is ugly visually and difficult to parse the game state due to the layout and art used for the administration boards and game map.
I started with the administration boards, in the game you get two large boards with black and white art, and a series of numbered boxes to track a number of game mechanisms. This is fine, but it makes it very difficult to understand the game at a glance from round 3 or so. I combined both boards into a single board, and I play tested different arrangements of the various tracks for the most ideal play experience. In example the goods display is extremely important information so I made sure it was front and center, and didn’t interfere with the other tracks.
Next I made player aids. They include a run down of the round sequence, tile manifest and costs, as well as some handy reminders for the two largest phases of each round. Lastly I placed an end game scoring reminder on the bottom so players can keep that important info in mind during the game.
Lastly I redesigned the maps to be high contrast and legible from a few feet away, that way players can be aware of the game state without having to squint or lean in. I redesigned the entire map system, with a consistent look and feel, using minimalistic textures and decorative lines to give it a nice look without disturbing it’s high readability. I also chose colors that will have a high contrast with the cardboard tiles that are placed onto the map over the course of the game making it very easy to see who has built track where during gameplay.