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Subject: Ticket to Ride Custom Maps rss

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Manu
China
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Hi all,


I am planning to make my first custom map and I am looking for some technical help.

I have looked at 2 maps in particular for inspiration: Legendary Asia and Nordic Countries (because they are the best for 2 player in m y opinion).

On average, there are 40 cities and 150 routes, comprising about 450 trains in total for each map. I would like to go with those numbers for my own map. Would you say that's enough?

I am going to do it all by hand, not with a computer, so any tip is welcome...
 
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Sven F.
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M7N6L wrote:
On average, there are 40 cities and 150 routes, comprising about 450 trains in total for each map. I would like to go with those numbers for my own map. Would you say that's enough?


I think you have counted wrong here, because few maps have more than 300 train spaces and none is even close to 450. Of the ones you mentioned Nordic countries has 207 (for 2 players 166-168) and Legendary Asia 268 (for 2-3 players 194). Note however that the number for a "large" map (2-5 player map) depends on whether you use mountain routes à la Legendary Asia, as mountain routes lower the number of trains that are played on the map.

There is a lot of statistics that can be used to make the map better. For example you can compare the percentage of grey train spaces, decide which ferry rules to use depending on how many ferry routes there are on the map, make sure the number of double route spaces fits the number of players and waggons per player, et cetera.

Good luck!
 
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Manu
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Fomalhaut wrote:
M7N6L wrote:
On average, there are 40 cities and 150 routes, comprising about 450 trains in total for each map. I would like to go with those numbers for my own map. Would you say that's enough?


I think you have counted wrong here, because few maps have more than 300 train spaces and none is even close to 450. Of the ones you mentioned Nordic countries has 207 (for 2 players 166-168) and Legendary Asia 268 (for 2-3 players 194). Note however that the number for a "large" map (2-5 player map) depends on whether you use mountain routes à la Legendary Asia, as mountain routes lower the number of trains that are played on the map.

There is a lot of statistics that can be used to make the map better. For example you can compare the percentage of grey train spaces, decide which ferry rules to use depending on how many ferry routes there are on the map, make sure the number of double route spaces fits the number of players and waggons per player, et cetera.

Good luck!



Indeed I counted very wrong. Thank you for the corrections.
 
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Manu
China
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any suggestions about the number of cities and routes?
 
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stephen klump
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Measurements [with Europe examples] I used in developing the Canada map:

Map measurements:
* number of cities [47]
* hub degree of city (heuristic: #links + #neighbours) [e.g., Paris: 17, Zurich: 8, Edinburgh: 3]
* farthest cities ('girth') [28: Lisboa/Moskva, Lisboa/Rostov, Moskva/Cadiz, Rostov/Cadiz]
* total links [101]
* total track length [300]
* double-track histogram [1 double of length 1, 2 of length 2, 5 of 3, 3 of 4]
* total length of double-track [64 over 11 links]
* total 2-player track length [268]
* 2-player track histogram [4 links of length 1, 34 of 2, 32 of 3, 28 of 4, 2, of 6, 1 of 8]
* track colour histogram [37 grey links for total length 104, 8 orange for 24, 8 blue of 23, 8 purple/yellow/green/black/white/red of 22]
* ferry histogram [17 locomotives over 41 length; 13 grey links only]
* tunnel histogram [19 over 58 length: 1x8 9x2, 6x3, 2x4, 1x6; 10 grey of total length 35, 2 yellow for 5, 1 orange/black/white/red for 3, 1 purple/green for length 2]

Ticket desirability heuristic:
Distance + sum of placement scores (1->1, 2->2, 3->4, 4->7, 5->10, 6->15, 7->18, 8->21) on shortest route + sum of hub degrees on endpoints

The idea for the deck was to get at least the long (20/21 length) tickets having as close to the same total desirability as possible, so nobody gets a raw deal from the start. Then make sure that cities are included in the deck about as often as they should be from their relative hub degrees.

The idea for the map should be to balance (non-grey) colour distribution in total track length and link length distribution, for 2-player and multi-player, and in ferry/tunnels (by length histogram), insofar as possible without having too much track for the number of trains.
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David Martin
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The custom maps I've made so far all focus on specific areas of the US,and they have more cities than the original TTR map, usually because I'll have several satellite cities that I think are important surrounding a major metro area (such as Los Angeles and San Francisco/Sacramento on my California map). As a consequence there will be a lot more 1-2 length routes between those cities than usual (think Switzerland or the Western portion of Europe). I just sort of let the natural geography take it from there. Places that are more "out in the boonies" will have longer routes between them - I've always got at least a few 6's, maybe a 7 or 8 depending on what fits, and on my Pacific Northwest map there's a 10-train route!

Regarding tickets, the number of cities more or less determines this. I prefer large ticket decks to small ones, so I always have at least 60 tickets. My philosophy is that every city should show up on at least two tickets. That way you avoid the situation where someone builds a route into City X and you know that the only ticket to City X originates in City Y, which gives you a bit of an unfair advantage if your own tickets go to places that are listed on several other tickets as well. I try to balance it out so that the out-of-the-way spots with fewer tickets requiring you to go there tend to be worth more. I also try to avoid having two tickets originating from the same city that end in neighboring cities (so that there are no super-easy overlaps like Duluth-Dallas and Duluth-Houston in the 1910 deck). Typically I'll give the "biggest" cities 4-5 tickets and then work my way down from there, having 3 to the more mid-size destinations and only 2 to the most obscure ones. It's not an exact science. Just what works best for the way I like to play the game.

Regarding colors, I do try to make sure there are the same number of spaces of each color (excluding grey, which will naturally have way more than the other colors). If my map is heavier on tunnels/ferries, I try to balance those out between the various colors, though if there's one more red tunnel space than there are orange tunnel spaces, I don't worry too much about it. The main point is not to make a specific color obviously more valuable than any other color. So I'll try to distribute them so that visually, any corner of the map you look at has every color somewhere in the general vicinity.

The trickiest thing for me when designing a map is making sure I have enough double routes. Having more cities and more short routes between them can make it difficult to clearly place the names of each city on the map and still have room for double routes in areas I'd expect to be more congested. If this really becomes a problem, I'll remove a few cities or deviate a bit from realistic geography to provide an extra "back road" into an important spot. Ambiguity in the placement of city names next to the actual "dots" representing the cities can lead to people thinking they've completed tickets when they actually haven't. It can be a problem in some of the official TTR maps like Switzerland and India, too. I still think more cities means more variance in how each individual game plays out, but then you don't want to run the risk of confusing new players who might already be unfamiliar with the geography.

In order to not go overboard with the double routes, my general rule is to allow both sides to be used in a 3-player game. I've found that it's really hard to design a map that's tight enough to be competitive for 2 and 4, and that doesn't turn into total frustrating mayhem when played with 3. Opening it up a bit for 3 players seems to solve that problem.
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