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Taking face down travel cards (blind draw) seems likely to be an even more common play in Rails & Sails. I think this is where a significant amount of the complaints about additional randomness are coming from.
I already think that may be a little too common a play in TTR so I don't really want to see it increase. I thought of some variant rules which may work but I'd appreciate any feedback.
1) No blind draws
You must take a face up card. This will mean that sometimes you have to take cards that you have no use for in the hope of turning up a useful one. It means that you can't gamble on getting lucky. It also means the face up cards will change more often so there are more likely to be cards you want showing.
I don't know about other people but I have played games where many turns go by with nobody taking a face up card so I think causing more churn in those cards would be good.
2) Only one blind draw
You can take a single face down card but the other draw must be from the face up set. You can still get lucky and get a wild card or the correct colour but your chance is halved. The face up cards will be changed so the next person may either see the card they wanted be taken or get turned up. The new rule about drawing from a specific deck will kick in every time someone draws.
3) A single blind draw is your entire action
If you choose to draw blind you only get one card. This is the price you pay for the chance to get a wild card or the colour you want.
This might seen to be the same as a regular face up draw since you will be able to take what used to be the top face down card as soon as it is drawn to replace the card you picked, however you can't get a wild card that way. I do think this is a weak action though. You have a small chance to get a wild card and you might get lucky and get the colour you want without revealing to everyone else what that is but that's not going to be a good enough reason do this most of the time. I don't have a problem with making blind draws a lot less popular, however if they become useless then you might as well use variant number one.