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Luk
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Introduction
As one of the reactions on my review on Ticket to Ride Asia, CarlG suggested to try the Team Asia rules on the USA map.

Junesen has already posted his USA team variant, assuming that you only have TTR USA, the 1910 expansion and some spare cardholders.

According to CarlG's suggestion, I launched the idea of playing a team variant on the USA map in my Friday night gaming group and they really liked the idea, so we had a new mission.

Rules for Team USA and Team Asia
As we really liked the team play of Alan Moon, we decided to change as less as possible to the rules.
1. We took 54 trains per team, 27 per player (where junesen only took 24 (or 25) per player, as in the standard TTR USA box).
2. We used all 69 destination tickets from the USA 1910 Expansion because TTR USA only has 30 of them, while Team Asia uses 60 tickets.

All other rules of Team Asia applied (as can be easily find in other reviews or on the Days of Wonder website), so absolutely no other rules changes as junesen did (no offence though).

Some Thoughts During Play
Our first game was a real mistake. With only 4 players (2 teams) we automatically used all double routes as double routes rather than allowing only one route to be claimed. Halfway the game, we realised this was completely wrong as there was really no tension, no stress in the game. If ever a route was blocked, you just took another route resulting in incredibly high scores for both teams were the team with the best (luckiest?) draws in destination tickets actually won the game.

Ok, we learned a lesson, that's ok. 2 teams equal 2 players, not 4, it all seems logical afterwards. So we immediately started another (two teams) game, this time allowing only one route of the doubles to be claimed. The game play became harder, the choices more difficult (draw cards first and claim later, or just claim as soon as possible)... the tension mounted as it should for a nice session of TTR.

For our next sessions of TTR, we decided to alternate Team Asia and Team USA, just to keep our thoughts and experiences as fresh as possible.

Conclusions
It is perfectly possible to have an excellent team play experience on the USA map, using the team rules by Alan Moon, assuming you have enough trains per team (if you only play with two teams, this can be easily done taking 2 colours per team), you have the 1910 expansion and you find some cardholders.

Nonetheless, I found, realised, experienced,... that (although I cannot tell you exaclty why)
* Team Asia is a little bit tougher than Team USA
* luck plays a bigger role in Team USA drawing new destination tickets
* the Himalaya-tunnels, although they play a minor role in the game, balance the game a little bit more than USA (drawing 4 upto 6 cards when claiming a tunnel (instead of 3 in Europe, Switzerland and Nordic Countries))
* blocking in Team USA is very polarized (black-white): either you make it impossible to reach the destination, either you hardly make it more difficult to reach the destination, while blocking in Team Asia is always extremely annoying but rarely a totally lost case (okay, there are exceptions).
* there is less overlap in destination tickets in Team Asia than in Team USA, so you really have to think twice wether you draw additional destination tickets or not.

Finally, to repeat my conclusions of my review on TTR Asia: "The team variant is really fun and is probably the only reason why this game will ever hit the table again."
So if you do not care about another map and will only play a team variant from time to time, I do not think TTR Asia is really a must buy as you can (easily) play a team variant on the USA map.
On the contrary, if you like playing in teams and do care about the Asia map, just run to your local game store and get the game.

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Larry Buckel
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Whittier
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We also played a couple of team games using the USA map and the mega expansion tickets. We got extra train cars from a second copy of the game and I have wood card racks I bought from Ebay for less than $10. After one game we discovered that indeed blocking was potentially more crippling on the USA map. As an adjustment, I removed the 19, 20 & 21 point tickets from the game. It is more difficult to complete these 'long routes' as a team and removing them shrank the deck down to 60 tickets, the same number contained in the Asia team game.

Granted they are two different maps with different numbers of cities. If you want a more difficult game, leave the big tickets in. We got stuck with 2 however and had the worst score ever! The highest Asia ticket is 17 points so perhaps Mr. Moon left out these larger point tickets on purpose. I agree with Luk the OP that I am satisfied with team play on the USA map. It takes a little getting used to but the team play really adds life to the game.

Next up: Team USA with Alvin and Dexter!
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Jeff W
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Parker
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Vitriool wrote:

1. We took 54 trains per team, 27 per player (where junesen only took 24 (or 25) per player, as in the standard TTR USA box).

We also wanted to modify as little as possible from Alan Moon's designs. The USA map has been playtested with a total of 45 trains per player. Since a team is a "player", we started with a total of 46 trains per team. However, we found out that we came across the "fragmentation" problem with the first play--a team would have a total of 5 trains, but cannot complete a 4 route because the trains were split 2/3 among the players. So we upped it to a total of 50 trains. The danger of having too many trains per team is that the game lasts longer and the tickets become easier to fulfill.

Quote:

All other rules of Team Asia applied (as can be easily find in other reviews or on the Days of Wonder website), so absolutely no other rules changes as junesen did (no offence though).


The only rule I added was the "token". This "token" is pretty much the same idea as the stations in TTR:Europe (but you only get one per player). It is more restrictive as in you can only use it on a "double" route and you have to be able to claim it. The reason for this was that it was too easy to block out sections of the map with 2 players on a team going one after another (so you cannot respond to the move). We didn't want the standard opening to be NY/Boston and Boston/Montreal. I don't think Alan Moon intended Boston to be as easily blocked as Las Vegas. We also played with 6 players. The 3 player game is known to be the tightest map, and making it into a partnership made it too tough. I don't know if the tokens are needed in a 4 player partnership game since the 2 player game of TTR is looser. We found the token to be a great addition--you are never hopelessly out of contention, but you still cannot go everywhere. In my first game without the "token", one team went NY/Boston and Boston/Montreal on the first move (and I had a couple of Boston tickets). Needless to say, it was a totally frustrating game. With the "token", Boston has been taken early, and it was a struggle to connect to it, but it wasn't game deciding on the first move.

Quote:

Nonetheless, I found, realised, experienced,... that (although I cannot tell you exaclty why)
* Team Asia is a little bit tougher than Team USA
* luck plays a bigger role in Team USA drawing new destination tickets


My guess is that Team USA is easier because you are using 54 trains per team on a map that is designed for 45 trains. Tickets become easier to fulfill and thus the luck factor in drawing new destination tickets.
 
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Bien HBB
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If you are counting 2 teams as 2 players, would you then count 3 teams as 3 players? On the US map, 3 player games only allow for single routes (no two players can use the same rail segment ). This would make it tighter for three teams, perhaps impossibly tight.
 
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Jeff W
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pagames wrote:
If you are counting 2 teams as 2 players, would you then count 3 teams as 3 players? On the US map, 3 player games only allow for single routes (no two players can use the same rail segment ). This would make it tighter for three teams, perhaps impossibly tight.


Yes, for 3 teams use the 3 players rules (only one team on the "doubled routes"). This makes it extremely tight (not quite impossible, but "no fun" tight), so use my "token" rule: every player gets one token to use the second half of a doubled route. If the token is not used, it is worth 3 points.
 
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Bien HBB
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junesen wrote:
pagames wrote:
If you are counting 2 teams as 2 players, would you then count 3 teams as 3 players? On the US map, 3 player games only allow for single routes (no two players can use the same rail segment ). This would make it tighter for three teams, perhaps impossibly tight.


Yes, for 3 teams use the 3 players rules (only one team on the "doubled routes"). This makes it extremely tight (not quite impossible, but "no fun" tight), so use my "token" rule: every player gets one token to use the second half of a doubled route. If the token is not used, it is worth 3 points.

It might be interesting to try having the TTR Europe stations available instead for the 3-team Team USA format. That may add some leeway, as well as some more tension between teammates.

Just another thought... the Europe map is tight already. So perhaps in the Team Europe format, allow the double routes and eliminate the stations. In a three-team game, I believe all long routes could be in play. So perhaps allow the 27 trains/player. Essentially, it would run as Team Asia runs. Now if I can convince my game group to try this...
 
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Christopher Incao
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Which of your 12 game groups are you referring to???? whistle

pagames wrote:
junesen wrote:
pagames wrote:
If you are counting 2 teams as 2 players, would you then count 3 teams as 3 players? On the US map, 3 player games only allow for single routes (no two players can use the same rail segment ). This would make it tighter for three teams, perhaps impossibly tight.


Yes, for 3 teams use the 3 players rules (only one team on the "doubled routes"). This makes it extremely tight (not quite impossible, but "no fun" tight), so use my "token" rule: every player gets one token to use the second half of a doubled route. If the token is not used, it is worth 3 points.

It might be interesting to try having the TTR Europe stations available instead for the 3-team Team USA format. That may add some leeway, as well as some more tension between teammates.

Just another thought... the Europe map is tight already. So perhaps in the Team Europe format, allow the double routes and eliminate the stations. In a three-team game, I believe all long routes could be in play. So perhaps allow the 27 trains/player. Essentially, it would run as Team Asia runs. Now if I can convince my game group to try this...
 
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Bien HBB
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pennincao wrote:
Which of you 12 game groups are you referring to???? whistle

I've only gotten one game group to try it so far and they've really enjoyed it. There's been a bit of barrier for others. I guess team games aren't as popular.
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