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Subject: "Fishing for cards" for the win. Hmm, good or bad? rss

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Aaron Chasteen
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I've noticed this mechanic in various games, but the main ones that come to mind are Ticket to Ride and The Prince of Florence. These are highly popular in my gaming group.

I've noticed there is a common strategy players lean towards - drawing routes or goal cards that are already complete. People are hoping to draw those quick easy points. It's like the game shifts away from the board to randomly getting lucky for the win.

I like randomness in games, but it becomes blatantly obvious the winner relies on this strategy. I really want to like these games, but I feel a few things are happening...

1. In my own flaw, I am not accepting the game for what it is.

2. The game has a minor flaw, but people are too distracted to be bothered by it.

Has anyone else had similar feelings?
 
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Phoebe Wild
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In Ticket to Ride, drawing routes at the end / close to the end of the game is only a viable strategy if you have a good network of routes and know that there's a high chance you'll draw a route that you've completed.

There is obviously luck involved, but there's also skill / risk assessment in that you have to know the possible routes, where to build to be able to randomly draw completed routes and whether you have a high or low chance of doing so. If you don't do that and just draw routes, you usually end up with far more lost points.

I don't think it's a flaw in the game. It's a viable strategy if it's implemented correctly along with other strategies.
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Holger Doessing
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As Phoebe already pointed out, you need a good network in TtR to be able to pull this off. Because you need a central network, this effect is sometimes lessened with more players, as the central routes are often gone before you know it. TtR has a number of different maps that cater to different numbers of players. The strategy you mention is particularly successful on the Switzerland map (2-3 players), but, in general, it will work on other maps, if they're not too crowded.

It sounds like you're playing nice with each other? TtR can be a very cutthroat game with lots of blocking. This is not for every one, though. In fact, you'll see many online games, where the person hosting the game specifically invites people for a 'friendly' game, or asks for 'no blocking'. The European map has rules for Stations that allow you to circumvent some blocking, but it remains a central part of the game. Unfortunately, once people realize that blocking is a viable strategy, the game tranforms from a family game to something much meaner, so beware of that.
 
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Jay Lacson
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You also have to consider that you're required to keep at least one destinaton card. What if you can't fill that route? You risk losing points every time you draw destination cards.
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Pete
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The thing not mentioned yet is that if you've completed all your routes, in many cases you should probably be looking to aggressively end the game by laying out track, not delaying the game by drawing tickets. Drawing tickets, at a minimum, gives your opponents one more turn to complete their tickets, because that's a turn you didn't lay track on.

Pete (usually looks to end the game ASAP if his completed tickets net 25 point or more in a 4-player game)
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Phoebe Wild
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plezercruz wrote:
The thing not mentioned yet is that if you've completed all your routes, in many cases you should probably be looking to aggressively end the game by laying out track, not delaying the game by drawing tickets. Drawing tickets, at a minimum, gives your opponents one more turn to complete their tickets, because that's a turn you didn't lay track on.

Pete (usually looks to end the game ASAP if his completed tickets net 25 point or more in a 4-player game)


Unless you end the game and use your very last turn to draw tickets.

If you do that with the right network, it can be fantastic. I've pulled 40 points in the last turn because I knew that I had a route made that no-one had picked up and knew there was a very high chance of pulling it for myself.
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