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Subject: Another game the whole family can play rss

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Matt Campbell
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Description: Transamerica is primarily a game of efficiency and getting others to do your bidding. Each round you are dealt 5 cards, 1 from each region of the map, representing a different city. Your goal is to connect all 5 of your cities before anyone else does the same. You can use any track you are connected to after placing your starting tower. It features an accelerated ending based on how well or poorly the players have done in the first two rounds. This nice feature prevents the game from dragging too long and adds a sense of urgency to it.

Gameplay: The gameplay mechanics are very straightforward which makes the game accessible to everyone. After you are dealt your cards each player takes a turn where they place their colored starting tower and then lay 2 units of track. Some of the links on the board require both units to traverse while most only need one. There is some strategy in planning when to cross the doubles so that you don't lose a track lay. After the first turn each player continues to lay two units of track that connect to their tower in any way. This means that once your track touches another player's track you can use all of their network. Timing when to tie in is another key element of the planning in this game. Scoring is handled after someone connects their last city. Play ends and the other players pay 1 point for each unit of track they need to connect the remainder of their cities. Each player starts at 13 so usually their are 3 or more rounds before the game is over. The winner is the player with the most points left at the end. After round 2 the endpoint, which started on zero, is moved to 2 less than the lowest player. This ensures a quicker ending to games where everyone is running close to each other.

Components: The components are very nice. The board is solid and a colorful depiction in the abstract of the continental US. It enhances the gameplay with its easy to see cities and connections. The track links are wood and uniform and the starting towers are wood also. The cards are a little small but this doesn't hurt too much as this isn't a card game and they are only dealt, not played. Overall a very nice set that will stand up to repeated plays.

Value: The price for this game is set pretty low compared to many games on the market. This reflects the relatively low number of components makes it an excellent value. Looked at in terms of gameplay for the money it would be hard to beat this game.


Overall: Transamerica represents a very nice filler game that works well for families or anyone needing a 30 minute game. There is enough luck to keep everyone in it yet enough decisions to let you feel like you can control your destiny. Tension builds throughout as different players connect and you know everyone is closing in. Give Transamerica a try if you get the chance, you won't be disappointed.
 
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