Christopher Meyer
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Unless you don't like board games you probably know about Ticket to Ride. You can buy it pretty much anywhere and it's one of the gateway games of this generation. I know it was my first board game, beyond the likes of Risk or Monopoly, a few years ago. Most of my friends who play board games love and own one flavor or another of Ticket to Ride.

If you don't know, which if you don't I recommend you give it a try, Ticket to Ride is a train laying game where you connect cities together. You are given destination tickets and the goal is to connect those cities together in some way. Eventually a player runs out of trains, which means the game is over and everyone counts up there points and a winner is determined. There is next to no direct conflict. Routes are a finite resource so technically you "fight" over them, but there is nothing you as a player can do to harm another player. Unless of course you count blocking other people's routes intentionally, which I suppose is a viable tactic but I don't think it would make for a very fun game for either of the players. In all the games I have played I have never run into someone intentionally screwing someone else like that. Adding in Alvin and Dexter changes that a bit, but that's another post

This isn't about the game itself. It's a great game which I really enjoy. If you haven't played it I highly recommend at least giving it one play through so you know what people are talking about.



What I wanted to talk about was the 10th Anniversary Edition of Ticket to Ride. It's a new version of the game which was released last year to celebrate 10 years of Ticket to Ride. This is the exact same game, with the addition of the USA 1910 expansion included in the box, as the non-anniversary version of the game.

Included in the box is everything you would expect: game board, 5 sets of trains, score markers, and a bunch of cards. What is awesome about this version is what all those things actually are:



-Each of the 5 sets of trains come in a tin and each set is custom, meaning it's not just color which differentiates the players anymore. There is the green caboose, black coal car, blue passenger car, yellow barrel car, and finally the red circus car(complete with giraffe sticking it's head out). Each one is unique and looks great! All of them come in their own tins which tie into the type of car you are, giving your color a bit more flavor. You're not just red anymore, you're the Circus Railway and have trains cars to match it



-The game board is larger and much more detailed. The board is much more colorful with more flavor on it. You can see cars, steamboats, buildings for the cities, etc. They did a great job remarking the board for this edition of the game.



-Cards are now normal sized. This wasn't a huge deal, but it does help. If you played the original Ticket to Ride you might remember the cards included were mini cards. While not bad, they were a bit small. Now with this version(along with the USA 1910 expansion) you have full sized cards to play with. The card stock used is great, they shuffle very smoothly!

-Speaking of USA 1910... That expansion is now included in the game box. Mainly what that means is you get a bunch of new destination tickets and another bonus points condition you can use. These allow for some different sets of destination tickets to be used. For example: Big Cities has every ticket connect into the biggest cities, meaning the deck is much smaller and the competition will be more fierce.

If I had one grip it would be the size of the box. To accommodate the larger board the box has to naturally be larger to accommodate the board. This box is 14 inches x 14 inches, while the original is 11.5 inches x 11.5 inches. It's not a huge deal at the end of the day, just something to be aware of if you OCD about your shelf ascetics.

Overall I think this is a great improvement over the normal Ticket to Ride version. If you're in the market for the USA version of the game, this is the one to buy! Owning the original isn't a barrier of entry either It's a great gift for someone to buy the newer version and give the older game to someone who doesn't have it! That's what we did and my parents now have the game to enjoy. Nothing wrong with sharing the love, right?

This was originally posted on The Gaming Cubicle
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Pas L
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People play this game and don't block? What?
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Thanks for the summary. I saw this in the local gaming store and was debating picking it up just for completeness sake, but one of the store workers told me there wasn't much new to the edition over the standard box. Guess he was wrong (no surprise; half my board game collection is older than he is!).

The prices are getting up there for something that is basically a duplicate of an existing game, but I do like the storage tins!
 
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Patrick C.
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Quote:
There is next to no direct conflict. Routes are a finite resource so technically you "fight" over them, but there is nothing you as a player can do to harm another player. Unless of course you count blocking other people's routes intentionally, which I suppose is a viable tactic but I don't think it would make for a very fun game for either of the players.


lamaros wrote:
People play this game and don't block? What?


Ditto.

Not blocking is fine for casual gamers and some couples who don't like any confrontation. But probably most serious gamers are going to block. Not doing so is going to remove a lot of the tension for a lot of gamers.
 
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lamaros wrote:
People play this game and don't block? What?
There are an unusual class of games that co-exist in two forms - what might be called "casual" and "hardcore", although those terms are not entirely helpful as they imply things that aren't wholly true. But essentially they are games in which the gameplay experience can be materially altered for the worse if it turns out that not everyone who is playing is actually playing the same game.
An early example of this would be Scrabble. Consider someone who has memorised the dictionary of two letter words and consistently plays to close the board down. Or a player in a game of Carcassonne who knows the tileset well enough to be able to place tiles that will ensure that a city cannot be completed.
And, yes, blocking routes in Ticket to Ride falls into this category.

It is generally critical that everyone knows beforehand that the game they are about to play may include actions like this. Otherwise what creates fun for one person will most definitely remove it for others...

(FWIW I consider blocking routes in TtR to be less egregious than those other examples, but mostly because the game often allows for routing around - not always though and that's where it can be unpleasant!)
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Scurra wrote:
lamaros wrote:
People play this game and don't block? What?
There are an unusual class of games that co-exist in two forms - what might be called "casual" and "hardcore", although those terms are not entirely helpful as they imply things that aren't wholly true. But essentially they are games in which the gameplay experience can be materially altered for the worse if it turns out that not everyone who is playing is actually playing the same game.
An early example of this would be Scrabble. Consider someone who has memorised the dictionary of two letter words and consistently plays to close the board down. Or a player in a game of Carcassonne who knows the tileset well enough to be able to place tiles that will ensure that a city cannot be completed.
And, yes, blocking routes in Ticket to Ride falls into this category.

It is generally critical that everyone knows beforehand that the game they are about to play may include actions like this. Otherwise what creates fun for one person will most definitely remove it for others...

(FWIW I consider blocking routes in TtR to be less egregious than those other examples, but mostly because the game often allows for routing around - not always though and that's where it can be unpleasant!)


Not to take it too far off topic, but there are levels within levels.

I once joined a Scrabble Meetup group in Boston where players routinely cheated by using non-words. The idea was that a person with a big enough *Scrabble* (not actual) vocabulary could stymie another player with a smaller vocabulary because you lose a turn in formal play if you challenge a word that is actually a word.

One day of that kinda BS and I was done. It basically meant that the "best" player would always be the person who had memorized the Scrabble dictionary and had a Poker face. So I didn't fit in at all with this group and I found them quite annoying. However, to more casual players I would be considered hardcore because I do know so many Scrabble words.

Not that there are such levels to TtR. Seems like you're either casual or you're not and that's about it.
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I agree with David. Our group doesn't actively seek to block someone's routes just because they see someone needs it. Usually it stems from: "oh, I need that route, I better get it before the other person does".

For me, in most cases when it happens it's more of "that sucks, time to find another way". But, in my play groups, I haven't run into someone purposefully seeking to screw someone over. Though that might be an interesting strategy to try sometime: complete the initial tickets you get(hoping they are small) and then just dump your trains to the board as fast as possible while reading the other players and actively attempting to prevent them from getting what they need.
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oldguyzer wrote:
Thanks for the summary. I saw this in the local gaming store and was debating picking it up just for completeness sake, but one of the store workers told me there wasn't much new to the edition over the standard box. Guess he was wrong (no surprise; half my board game collection is older than he is!).

The prices are getting up there for something that is basically a duplicate of an existing game, but I do like the storage tins!


Contents wise no, what those components are is what's really different =P I did add a sentence stating that in my review, I realized it was implied but never explicitly stated that you're getting essentially the same game as the normal version, but with the addition of USA 1910 expansion.
 
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BreakingPoint0 wrote:
I agree with David. Our group doesn't actively seek to block someone's routes just because they see someone needs it. Usually it stems from: "oh, I need that route, I better get it before the other person does".

For me, in most cases when it happens it's more of "that sucks, time to find another way". But, in my play groups, I haven't run into someone purposefully seeking to screw someone over. Though that might be an interesting strategy to try sometime: complete the initial tickets you get(hoping they are small) and then just dump your trains to the board as fast as possible while reading the other players and actively attempting to prevent them from getting what they need.


I don't know if that's what everyone was talking about. I know I wasn't.

Blocking isn't about going after any player willy-nilly. It's about going after those you think are in the lead. If someone is blocking and it's pretty clear the victim is doing poorly that's just bad manners. But I don't see why going after the person you think is leading is bad or why anyone would be angry. That's what has me scratching my head.

This game is full of luck. One way to take charge is to go after the person who appears to be be doing better, especially if they've been taking a ton of route cards and it looks as if they're going to score a ton of points at game end.

I hated TtR when I first played it. Then I had a chance to try it five player with serious gamers. It was a race. It felt like a race. And there was blocking. It rescued the game for me. If the game didn't feel like a race I'd definitely refuse to play it.
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BreakingPoint0 wrote:
I agree with David. Our group doesn't actively seek to block someone's routes just because they see someone needs it. Usually it stems from: "oh, I need that route, I better get it before the other person does".
Completely agree with this. This is how our games tend to turn out as well.
Claiming a track because you might need it yourself is a completely different mindset than claiming a track just to keep someone from completing their route.

You can play both ways ofcourse, just make sure everyone at the table is aware of that, and OK with it.

Although I am not a casual gamer, I find that the Ticket to Ride games most often hit the table with people who would prefer the more casual approach. I find that this is one of those games in which you can get a feeling of accomplishment, even though you are not winning the game. Completing all your routes, building the longest route, or reaching other 'personal objectives' also tend to satisfy people. Of course, if you only play to win - at all cost! - you might enjoy the blocking strategy better.

We mostly play the Europe map, partly because people cannot be blocked at that map due to the stations.
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travvller wrote:
BreakingPoint0 wrote:
I agree with David. Our group doesn't actively seek to block someone's routes just because they see someone needs it. Usually it stems from: "oh, I need that route, I better get it before the other person does".

For me, in most cases when it happens it's more of "that sucks, time to find another way". But, in my play groups, I haven't run into someone purposefully seeking to screw someone over. Though that might be an interesting strategy to try sometime: complete the initial tickets you get(hoping they are small) and then just dump your trains to the board as fast as possible while reading the other players and actively attempting to prevent them from getting what they need.


I don't know if that's what everyone was talking about. I know I wasn't.

Blocking isn't about going after any player willy-nilly. It's about going after those you think are in the lead. If someone is blocking and it's pretty clear the victim is doing poorly that's just bad manners. But I don't see why going after the person you think is leading is bad or why anyone would be angry. That's what has me scratching my head.

This game is full of luck. One way to take charge is to go after the person who appears to be be doing better, especially if they've been taking a ton of route cards and it looks as if they're going to score a ton of points at game end.

I hated TtR when I first played it. Then I had a chance to try it five player with serious gamers. It was a race. It felt like a race. And there was blocking. It rescued the game for me. If the game didn't feel like a race I'd definitely refuse to play it.


True, I guess I was looking at it a little one sided. Like I said, I don't usually play that way and I haven't run into any others who play that way either. So it would be a new thing for me =)

Traquan wrote:
BreakingPoint0 wrote:
I agree with David. Our group doesn't actively seek to block someone's routes just because they see someone needs it. Usually it stems from: "oh, I need that route, I better get it before the other person does".
Completely agree with this. This is how our games tend to turn out as well.
Claiming a track because you might need it yourself is a completely different mindset than claiming a track just to keep someone from completing their route.

You can play both ways ofcourse, just make sure everyone at the table is aware of that, and OK with it.

Although I am not a casual gamer, I find that the Ticket to Ride games most often hit the table with people who would prefer the more casual approach. I find that this is one of those games in which you can get a feeling of accomplishment, even though you are not winning the game. Completing all your routes, building the longest route, or reaching other 'personal objectives' also tend to satisfy people. Of course, if you only play to win - at all cost! - you might enjoy the blocking strategy better.

We mostly play the Europe map, partly because people cannot be blocked at that map due to the stations.


I will have to ask our group next time to see what they think.

Since it's usually just my wife and I, we usually play Nordic Countries. More recently we have been playing the Big Cities variant since it has tighter competition with every card connecting to one of 6 or so cities.
 
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