Go get 'em, Floyd.
We decided to break this out as a two-player game. We have played Ticket to Ride a lot and have generally found it slightly less fun as a two-player game than with four or five, so I was prepared for a “mediocre” first impression of this version.
There is certainly enough that is different from the base game to make this worth playing. When I was describing it to Lucy (who would have been happy sticking to the base game), I kept adding things (rather like Michael Palin describing the chief weapons of the Spanish Inquisition). “Oh, the cards are larger … and these are ferries … oh yes, and these are tunnels … oh, and there are stations, and they work like this. Oh, and you get one long route … .”
I drew Edinburgh to Athens and Lucy drew Copenhagen to Erzurum. I spent the first few moves fixated on the fact that there is only one route out of Edinburgh (bearing in mind that parallel routes are not used in the two or three player game). Then I decided that Lucy must be extremely unlikely to have any Edinburgh routes [are there any short routes that go to Edinburgh?] and that I needn’t panic unduly. Still, it was the first route that I claimed.
As far as the game itself, we encountered a bit of a bottleneck around Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest and each ended up playing one station. The ferries and tunnels seemed to add a little, but not much. I guess there might be more demand for locomotives in a game with more players, but there were often one or two sitting among the upturned cards without either of us getting very interested in them.
We both completed our long route and the two short routes that we had retained, and the scores were pretty close, around 35 points each. We were struck by the lack of opportunity to claim five or six carriage routes and by the relatively low scores at this point. We both finished these initial routes at around the same time and looked at each other, almost as if the game had ended. The only problem was that we each had around 20 carriages still to deploy. This is where our strategies differed completely. I started drawing new route cards, keeping the one card each time that overlapped most or was closest to my exisitng network, while Lucy started claiming the longest single stretches of track that she could find, regardless of where on the board they were located.
In the final scoring, Lucy was ahead by 99 to 86, and also succeeded in picking up the “longest route” card, albeit with a route of only about 23 carriages. [Oh, I’ve just realised in finishing this report that we forgot to award points for the unused stations. Still, as we each played a single station, this wouldn’t have affected the result.]
I’m looking forward to playing this again with four or five – I rather suspect that the demand for locomotive cards will be greater and it will also be interesting to see how stations are used.
I came. I saw.
I lost miserably.
A very nice first play. The scores are really quite low for what I normally see in a two player game, but that is probably because we take more route cards and get scores around 120 without scoring the stations for the reaon you mentioned. If one person has used more stations than the other, we give points for the difference, but in a two player game we generally only use one.
There is one other route card that goes to Edinburg from Paris, but in our games it is rarely kept by anyone besides the person already going there.
You are correct in assuming the game plays differently with more players. The board gets a lot more crowded, leading to more competition for routes, especially with 3 or 5 players. I prefer the game with those numbers of people, but I still really enjoy the two player game. Try it a couple more times, and the feel of the two player game changes. Good luck.