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Ticket to Ride: Märklin» Forums » Variants

Subject: Using Marklin cards AND passengers on other TTR boards rss

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David Martin
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Long time lurker, first time poster.

I've been recently thinking of ways to "remix" TTR by mixing and matching game elements from different maps. I've seen others discuss using the Marklin train deck on other boards, or the passengers on the USA board with the regular train deck, but I was wondering if anyone had tried playing with the Marklin deck and passengers on other boards - meaning that you place tokens in all of the cities and collect them as you would in Marklin.

My wife and I tried this tonight with Switzerland. Here's how I set up the passenger tokens:

Black: Zurich
Red: Basel, Bern, Chur, Geneve, Lugano, Luzern
Yellow: Baden, Bellinzona, Fribourg, La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Lausanne, Neuchatel, Schaffhausen, Sion, Vaduz, Winterthur, Yverdon, Zug
White: All other cities (none in the other countries)

My logic was that Zurich obviously had to be black, the other "big" cities indicated on a lot of tickets and/or a city-to-country ticket would get the 6 red stacks, and to figure out where to put the 12 yellow stacks, I just hit up Wikipedia and ran down the list of most populous cities in Switzerland (plus Vaduz, because while it's not technically in Switzerland, it's a frequently fought-over spot on the map). The rest got white tokens. This left us with a single white token that went unused. So that worked out pretty much perfectly.

I decided on a whim to use all 45 trains instead of the usual 40, figuring it would give us incentive to build longer routes before going on passenger runs.

Figuring out how the Marklin deck applied to tunnels was interesting. I arbitrarily decided that regular wild cards could only be used in tunnels, and you could draw two on the same turn, as in a normal Switzerland game. +4 wilds could be used anywhere, if the route was four or more spaces. When building a tunnel, if a +4 came up as one of the three cards drawn from the deck, it would only apply to you if the route was 4 or more spaces (seems fair - if you can't use it to build the route, then it shouldn't "match" the cards you played to build it). Passenger cards had no effect on tunnel building.

We drew and discarded tickets according to Switzerland rules, meaning any discards are out of the game, rather than going back to the bottom of the deck.

The only end-game bonus was for Longest Route, again from the Switzerland rules. I thought about also applying the Globetrotter bonus for most tickets completed, but that seemed like it would just make the rich even richer, since a good Switzerland player can already rack up a ton of tickets (especially with the 5 extra trains).

Here are some things I observed during the one (admittedly rather long) game that we played with these hybrid rules:

- The most valuable tokens are almost all along the populous "valley corridor" that folks already jockey for control of in Switzerland anyway. This may skew the game unfairly in favor of the person who "gets there first", but probably won't be an issue with two or three good players all asserting themselves to make sure no one dominates that part of the board.

- A smaller board means less branching off our main lines to satisfy late-game tickets compared to Marklin, and thus a lot fewer points were available on our second and third passenger runs. It got to the point where my wife wasted a few too many turns setting up her final passenger run, only to get 10 points out of it; meanwhile I was busy going on my usual "ticket rampage". We both ran all three of our passengers, but the last one for both of us wasn't really worth the effort spent.

- On the flipside, having most routes end in more valuable cities means that you're likely to extend one or two spaces on the board to a neighboring city in order to not have to start a passenger on a "big city" and miss out on the larger token there. This results in less-visited cities like Delemont or Locarno becoming more worthwhile places to build to - in original Switzerland, you would only ever go there if someone else blocked your Plan A.

- The Italian side of the board is still, for the most part, undesirable. Having more trains meant that I was willing to try a late-game extension down to Lugano (I'd normally dump those tickets in a heartbeat), but with the extra wild cards in the deck and the long tunnels required to get there, it was a bit of a pain. Putting more valuable tokens down that way might help to balance this, but it seems a bit artificial when fewer tickets require you to go down there.

- Given the tightness of the Switzerland map, I was actually surprised that the passenger cards didn't provide as many opportunities for "token theft" as I had expected. My wife was able to use them a few times to loop back from a dead end via some of my trains, so that she could visit a few of her "spurs" without repeating any connections, but it still didn't net her a lot of extra points.

- I probably wouldn't recommend using all 45 trains with three players, unless you like chaos and confrontation.

- End-game point totals are insane in this version. I completed 19 tickets and scored well over 300. Admittedly part of that was because my wife got preoccupied and didn't keep up on the ticket drawing.

Playing other maps "Marklin-style" might work out better than it did on Switzerland, but this was still a fun variant. I look forward to trying this with USA, Europe, and Africa. A few other rule variants I'd have to think about:

- Which cities get the bigger tokens? New York seems obvious for USA, then the 6 reds can go on the other "big cities" as defined by 1910. For Europe: black on London or Paris, red on most of the other "big cities" from 1912 (maybe split the difference between Athina and Angora and put some in Constantinople instead?). For either side of Asia, black goes on Shanghai since there is no Tokyo. For India, Bombay I guess. For Africa, either Pretoria (pretend it's Johannesburg) or Leopoldville (Kinshasa in modern times, though modern population may be a poor indicator of important railway destinations in the early 20th century... oy, this is hurting my brain!)

- Another way to set up tokens, and to change up the layout each time around, would be to draw tickets from the deck one at a time, face-up, until a city appears on at least two of them. That city gets black for that game. Put red on all the other cities (NOT countries - maybe Madagascar in Africa could be an exception, though) named on tickets so far, until you run out. Keep drawing tickets and placing tokens in this fashion until you exhaust the yellow and then the white. Then reshuffle the ticket deck and deal starting tickets to players as you normally would.

- Ticket drawing rules should probably stay as they are for the map being played, though with the 1910 and 1912 expansions, it might be fun to put short and long routes in separate decks like Marklin, just to see what happens.

- Endgame bonuses should probably also remain as they are for the board being played, though it's debatable whether awarding a bonus for Longest Route is necessary when the passengers already provide an incentive to build a long, non-branching route.

- On all maps but Switzerland, the usual rules about drawing a "face-up regular wild" should apply and it should take up your whole turn to do so, but you can still take a +4 and another card.

- Can +4s be used on ferries if the route is shorter than 4 spaces? I'm torn on this one. I want to say no, but I hate waiting for those "regular wilds" to come up and having to burn a turn when I'm desperate to get one.

- Can +4s be used as terrain cards in Africa? Probably not, because you never play more than two in a single turn.

- How would passengers and +4s work in Team Asia? That would be fun to try someday.
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Paul Edgar
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Thanks for sharing,

I had thought about trying this with the European map but never tried it. I will pull out Europe and Asia over the weekend and see what fun can be had

 
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Sven F.
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murlough23 wrote:
Black: Zurich
Red: Basel, Bern, Chur, Geneve, Lugano, Luzern
Yellow: Baden, Bellinzona, Fribourg, La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Lausanne, Neuchatel, Schaffhausen, Sion, Vaduz, Winterthur, Yverdon, Zug
White: All other cities (none in the other countries)

My logic was that Zurich obviously had to be black, the other "big" cities indicated on a lot of tickets and/or a city-to-country ticket would get the 6 red stacks, and to figure out where to put the 12 yellow stacks, I just hit up Wikipedia and ran down the list of most populous cities in Switzerland (plus Vaduz, because while it's not technically in Switzerland, it's a frequently fought-over spot on the map). The rest got white tokens. This left us with a single white token that went unused. So that worked out pretty much perfectly.

- Which cities get the bigger tokens? New York seems obvious for USA, then the 6 reds can go on the other "big cities" as defined by 1910. For Europe: black on London or Paris, red on most of the other "big cities" from 1912 (maybe split the difference between Athina and Angora and put some in Constantinople instead?). For either side of Asia, black goes on Shanghai since there is no Tokyo. For India, Bombay I guess. For Africa, either Pretoria (pretend it's Johannesburg) or Leopoldville (Kinshasa in modern times, though modern population may be a poor indicator of important railway destinations in the early 20th century... oy, this is hurting my brain!)

- Another way to set up tokens, and to change up the layout each time around, would be to draw tickets from the deck one at a time, face-up, until a city appears on at least two of them. That city gets black for that game. Put red on all the other cities (NOT countries - maybe Madagascar in Africa could be an exception, though) named on tickets so far, until you run out. Keep drawing tickets and placing tokens in this fashion until you exhaust the yellow and then the white. Then reshuffle the ticket deck and deal starting tickets to players as you normally would.

The black city should be the one which most often is the busiest junction, shouldn't it? So I don't think London is an option for the European map, and not Shanghai for Legendary Asia (to mention maps I've played to some extent).

The idea is interesting though, and I like the fact that you have given it not only one thought but many!
 
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David Martin
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Fomalhaut wrote:
The black city should be the one which most often is the busiest junction, shouldn't it? So I don't think London is an option for the European map, and not Shanghai for Legendary Asia (to mention maps I've played to some extent).

You're right. Paris or Berlin might work better for Europe. For Legendary Asia... I don't know; seems like there are fewer ways in and out of every city on that board. Dihua seems to get fought over a lot, but that's almost literally the middle of nowhere (near the farthest point on land from any ocean in the entire world).

I think about this stuff a lot because I am a geography nerd. Makes me kick myself for not discovering TTR way sooner.
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