As the evening was winding down, we busted out Ticket to Ride: Europe. It was the same group as before – me, Denise, Tim and Quyen – but as we were still smarting from our last spanking by Denise, we were all gunning – err, railing -- for her in this rematch.
Us three guys had learned our lessons about your initial long destination and this time we all kept ours (in our first game, everyone but Denise discarded their long destination). Like the last game, all three of us kept our short routes as well, while Denise quietly discarded two of them.
My long destination was Cadiz to Stockholm, while my short ones included Barcelona to Munich and two ones near the Black Sea. I figured score! I’ll work two medium sized trains, and not fight the crowd for the 10 pt European Express bonus. What I failed to realize is that I’d have to meander and shunt some on my long destination to make Barcelona to Munich. Adding in the competition for central Europe, and I had way too many 1-2 size routes, which got me virtually no routing points.
The same thing happened for my two destinations in the east – I was forced into several small routes that used up tickets, and especially turns – we are learning that turns are very valuable, and spending a full turn to lay a 1-route is not going to maximize your point scoring. Last game, I really went nuts for face-up engines, which didn’t really work for me. I realized this worked against me somewhat as everyone was building cheap tunnels because they weren’t flipping Engines. This game I grabbed one or two Engines, but other than keeping one in reserve, I tried to spend them at the first good oportunity. I think everyone was on to this, and engines stayed out for a few turns, even accumulating two at several points.
Tim stayed to his southern Europe strategy, grabbing the 15 point ferry early. He also spread out some, going both up into Copenhagen and into Poland. This time Tim opted for completing destinations first over the Euro Express (he had been beaten out of this in our last game). Quyen was all over central Europe and the Baltics, and was trying to be really sneaky about the longest train, but everyone spotted his plan.
Denise played very quiet and stealthy. I weaseled out some of her strategy from her later – she feels that it’s best to connect to your long destination cities first, this way you have more options in the routes between them, and you are deterring other players. This seemed to work for her, and before we knew she had connected up and had one huge train.
Everyone but me had drawn extra destinations – I was still bogged down fighting to complete my split train strategy, and because of all the short shunts, I was clearly out of contention. Quyen was 2nd to last, having got some bad destination draws as well. First place came down to Tim and Denise battling it out. Denise had trigged the end of the game with her monster 44 train for the 10pt Euro Express bonus, and had made 4 destinations. Tim was 4 points behind having also made all of his destinations, with the bulk of his points coming from playing routes (he went for 4 length routes whenever possibly). Tim had had to play a Station to complete his long route, and that had cost him the game. The score was 128 to 124 (with Quyen at 114, and me in the 90s).
Again, a fun lightweight game, but with some subtle strategy that we will be playing again. Next time, I am going to go for more aggressive destination drawing early in the game, and see if I can finally win one.