Todd Barker
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Trains, some people love them and other people hate them, where do you sit? Personally ever since I played the original Ticket to Ride I have been against train games. A few things changed that, first I picked up Trains from AEG, its a Deck/Route Building Game which let me play a "Train Game" without all the focus being on the trains, and even better they just used cubes instead of plastic trains. Trains as a theme has always been a big turnoff for me and why I have had a hard time getting into train games, but lately I have been asking to play one. Next a friend that I got into board gaming discovered TTR on his own and brought it over, having a new tolerance for trains I could not say no and found myself enjoying Ticket to Ride much more than when I tried it previously. Then I discovered TTR Europe, there are a few differences between Europe and the original Ticket to Ride that make it a much more enjoyable game for me, below I will highlight the basics and then the differences between the Europe and the original game, then I will give my thoughts and explain why why it doesn't see much table action.


For the entire review complete with full sized images or to browse more game reviews go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/12/ticket-to-ride-eu...

Objective: In Ticket To Ride Europe your goal is the same as in the original TTR, gather train cards, complete routes between cities corresponding to your Destination Tickets to score points.

Gameplay: On a turn each player will perform one of the following actions:

1. Place Trains: You must complete a route in 1 action (1 turn). In order to complete a route you must play one train card of the corresponding colour for each train you will place on the board.

2. Draw Tickets: You draw 3 destination cards and must keep one of them, you can keep any number of them but keep in mind incomplete tickets count as minus points at the end of the game. Tickets that are not kept are placed on the bottom of the deck.

3. Draw Train Cards: You may take 2 train cards at random or one face up train card of your choice from the 5 face up cards, if you take a face up train card it is immediately replenished.

4. Place Train Station: A train station may be placed in order to use an opponent's route as your own. The first train station you play will cost 1 train card, the second will cost 2 and your last train station will cost 3 train cards, the train cards used to pay for a train station must be of matching colour.

End of Game: When one player gets down to two trains left every player gets 1 final turn and then scores are calculated.

Scoring: Through the game players are awarded points for each route they finish according to the number of trains in the route. At the end of the game players will score points for any destination tickets they managed to complete, in addition players are awarded 4 points for every Train Station they did not use and the player with the longest route is awarded 10 extra points.

Differences:

A lot of people get the wrong impression that TTR Europe is just a new map, well it is not! In fact I don't really enjoy the original Ticket to Ride so let me explain the key differences and why I prefer Europe.

Train Stations: For me this is the big one, not because I dislike getting blocked but because I enjoy the added level of strategy, without them there is only so much planning you can do but with Train Stations Ticket to Ride feels like an entirely different game. With 4 players I feel like they add to the urgent/rushed feeling that TTR creates, at the beginning of the game do you take those valuable routes or stash train cards, you will have to make similar decisions with your train stations.


Destination Cards: In TTR Europe you seperate the long routes from the short routes and players are each given only 1 long route at the start of the game, during gameplay you can only draw short routes. This helps make the game more balanced and strategy based instead of luck dependent, however I feel like it is a bit counterintuitive to introduce this mechanic after adding Train Stations to the game (which fix the long vs short route problem for me).


Locomotives: Locomotives serve two purposes, first they are a wild card that allows you to help construct routes easier, secondly they allow you to use ferries. To build a route over water you will need to play a number of Locomotive Cards equal to the number of Locomotive symbols on corresponding on the route. To me adding new water routes and wild cards are great because they help speed up the game as well as give more options.



Tunnels: These are a special route that may require additional train cards. Tunnels are noted by their dark black border on the game board. When a player wishes to claim a tunnel route they first turn over the top 3 train cards from the deck, for each card corresponding with the colour of the route, you must pay 1 additional train card to complete your route. Note that locomotives always count against you. The way tunnels work also seems counterintuitive to me because they slow the game down while Locomotives seem to be put in place to speed the game up, they also make things more random while Locomotives allow for more in depth strategies.



My Thoughts: Although I enjoy Ticket to Ride Europe it does not get played much, mostly because my main group is starting to get into less light games. I think where TTR Europe sits best is as a family game, it is not nearly as frustrating as the original game and has some fantastic mechanics that make it easy for non gamers to really "get into the game". That being said my personal bias has always been that trains are too boring to hook anyone on our hobby which leaves me with an easy to learn, somewhat addicting, G rated boardgame perfect for families to enjoy together.

Who Would Enjoy Ticket to Ride Europe?

Family Gamers: Ticket to Ride Europe is a great game for families, it has a family friendly theme and the rules are easy to grasp, the box recommends 8 plus. The rules are still deep enough that they allow you to develop a strategy. Also you can learn some geography while playing and playing doesnt take long at all.

Casual Gamers: Ticket to Ride Europe is still every bit as accessible as the original Ticket to Ride and a great way to introduce friends, I like it because it allows room for a bit more long term strategy which is in my opinion a very important aspect when trying to hook new gamers on the hobby. I enjoy TTR as a casual game because of the very fast setup / packup time, and more importantly because turns go around the table at a quick pace.

Gamer Gamers: Although not first choice, many serious gamers I know do enjoy TTR but as a much more cutthroat game where the focus seems to be blocking and keeping hidden the route you are working on is much more important. Although the original Ticket to Ride is better for this, TTR Europe can still be fun and I find makes a much better game to play with your non gamer friends.
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Slobodon Ginfizz
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Re: A Quick Review and Comparison to the Original from a Former Tain Hater
Re: A Quick Review and Comparison to the Original from a Former Tain Hater

Good review, but unfortunately a MAJOR misspelling of "Thane" in the title; you may wish to correct it.

Also, your review is a little light on what caused your turnaround on Thanes. Did you come into some land, perhaps?

UPDATE: How embarrassing! I realize now that the misspelled word is "taint", not "thane". As a result, I withdraw my request for clarification. TMI, frankly.
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Todd Barker
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Slobodon Ginfizz wrote:
Re: A Quick Review and Comparison to the Original from a Former Tain Hater

UPDATE: How embarrassing! I realize now that the misspelled word is "taint", not "thane". As a result, I withdraw my request for clarification. TMI, frankly.


Cheers, not enough or too much Baileys in my coffee and I spill my love for the gooch. arrrh
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Paul Bauman
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Thanks for the review. I was looking into getting one of the alternate TTRs for more of the cutthroat aspect you mentioned at the end. It looks like this isn't that game.
 
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Max Lampinen
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Frohike wrote:
Thanks for the review. I was looking into getting one of the alternate TTRs for more of the cutthroat aspect you mentioned at the end. It looks like this isn't that game.

Märklin or Africa is that game.
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Paul Agapow
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Or Switzerland.
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Stuart McLagan
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Quick question for you all:

I've been given an amazon voucher, and I have the option of buying one of the following:

Ticket to Ride Nordic, Marklin, Asia Expansion, Africa Expansion, India Expansion or Nederlands expansion. I've kind of dismissed the asia one, as it says it's best with teams - 4 or 6 players.

Which one is the best for two players? We've got the Europe game and the 1910 expansion set. My wife doesn't really like board games apart from this one, so I'm looking for something that has extra features, without being so different that it doesn't fell like playing the Europe game.

Any suggestions welcome!!
 
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J. Stimson
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Spikethdee wrote:
Quick question for you all:

I've been given an amazon voucher, and I have the option of buying one of the following:

Ticket to Ride Nordic, Marklin, Asia Expansion, Africa Expansion, India Expansion or Nederlands expansion. I've kind of dismissed the asia one, as it says it's best with teams - 4 or 6 players.

Which one is the best for two players? We've got the Europe game and the 1910 expansion set. My wife doesn't really like board games apart from this one, so I'm looking for something that has extra features, without being so different that it doesn't fell like playing the Europe game.

Any suggestions welcome!!


As everyone will tell you, Nordic, Switzerland, and India (in that order for me, but ordering varies) are the best games for 2 players.

Switzerland is packaged with India, so I think you'll get down to these two options rather quickly.

1) Stations: If you really like the station mechanic of the Europe map, you may be disappointed to learn that stations aren't a part of any of the other games. They actually do work just fine in Nordic Countries, relieving a bit of stress on a very tight 2-player map. I think they're rather fun here, while they mess up the feel and mechanics of the Switzerland and India maps IMO. Advantage: Nordic

2) Variety: Nordic countries is just the one map, and it doesn't introduce many new mechanics (besides some wild-card substitution shenanigans). India has the brilliant Mandala bonus, which changes the strategy of the game in an interesting way and makes for really exciting tense games where you focus on loops rather than efficient lines. Switzerland introduces the Country-link ticket cards, which are a fun twist. Plus, you get two map for the price of one. Advantage: Switzerland/India

3) "Friendliness": If your wife doesn't like board games, the question is why that could be. If she doesn't like the competitiveness, Nordic Countries are not for her, as they are very tight and competitive. It's hard to do your own thing and ignore the other player. Of all the maps, this is probably easiest to do on Switzerland, which is probably the most relaxed game. Whether that's a plus or minus for your wife is subjective of course, but you may find yourself preferring Switzerland for the same reasons some others dislike it. Blocking definitely happens in India, but usually it just prevents you from getting bonuses rather than making all your tickets impossible. Advantage: Switzerland/India?

4) Portability: The India/Switzerland box is smaller, so if you always want to have Europe with you, it's easier to carry around. The Nordic box is bigger, but contains a complete set of train cards and plastic trains, so you can just carry that around and leave Europe at home if you're in the mood for a change. If you do all your gaming at home, it doesn't matter, but TTR is a good game to introduce to family members, so I think it's worth carrying around sometimes. Nordic means you just have to carry one box, instead of a big one and a medium sized-one. Of course Nordic only supports up to 3, while India can handle 4, but that's what Europe is for. Advantage: Nordic?

BONUS ROUND) Prettiness: India has beautiful artwork on the board and the best little designs on the scoretrack of all the boards IMO. Switzerland has my favorite ticket-backs, with a "Swiss Chocolate tour" ticket, but Nordic Countries has gorgeous snow-covered train cars in the ticket deck and cute reindeer and whatnot on the map. Plus the Arctic Circle is visible in a neat way. But what seals the deal is the trains. Nordic Countries comes with Purple, Black, and White trains, instead of the colors you usually use in Europe. Winner: Purple Trains Nordic Countries.

In all seriousness, it's pretty much a tie, think about what you want from the game, beyond being good with two, and let that decide you.
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Stuart McLagan
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Wow, thanks for the quick and detailed reply!!!

So is it pretty much safe to assume that the Marklin, Nederlands and Africa ones are not the best options?

My wife tends to get bored quickly (with games, anyway!!) and doesn't like rules that are too complicated. The portability isn't really an issue, but we would like to have a game that we could play with one or two others if possible, although that isn't a huge consideration. Purple is her favoutite colour though, so that may tip the balance in Nordic's favour!!

I'll speak to her his evening and see what she says.

Thanks again, and any more comments from others are still welcome!
 
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Max Lampinen
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Umbrageofsnow wrote:
Nordic Countries... (besides some wild-card substitution shenanigans)

Yeah, Nordic Countries has really unintuitive wild card rules.. It's still my favorite 2p map, you can scale the tightness easily by either allowing or disallowing usage of double routes in 2p (official rule is disallowed). But yeah - I second Nordic, Switzerland, India.

Sadly, being 'oldschool' pre-map collection TTR, you have to pay for trains etc. again to get Nordic Countries map, BUT purple & white trains are very cool, and the train deck is so beautiful that we use it with any TTR. (Märklin has those colours too by the way & maybe even cooler train deck)

In my opinion Nederland & Märklin are worst TTR 2p maps. However, I enjoy EVERY TTR map with two, so being worst doesn't mean don't buy it.
But don't buy them first, yeah.
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Stuart McLagan
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After discussing it with her, I have bought the Nordic one and put the India/Switzerland one on my wish list!! (It's my birthday on Wednesday!)

Hopefully it will go down well!

Will keep you all posted!

Thanks again for all the advice.
 
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J. Stimson
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Definitely agree that worst 2-player maps are Marklin < Netherlands < Africa but that they are by no means bad games.

If you're getting Nordic Countries, there's likely to be a bit of confusion over the wild-card substitution rules at first, but don't get too hung up on trying to find the most "official" ruling, just make up the house-rule you like the most and run with that, you'll have much more fun.

Being computer/logic types, we play that each ferry route has 1 or 2 "locomotive slots" which must be filled by locomotives OR discarding 3 train cards, and the rest are "colored train slots" which must be filled by locomotives OR appropriately colored train cards. If this doesn't make sense to you now, get the game, read the rulebook and see if it does then, but if you prefer another interpretation, just do that instead.

Every expansion has some little twist on the rules, and although Nordic Countries has a lot of BGG forum arguing about the "proper" interpretation, the changes are actually much more minor than most of the other maps. But if you can't make a mountain out of a molehill on the internet of all places, where can you?
 
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