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Subject: An "I'd Pay Retail" Review rss

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Jeffery Hudson
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Ticket to Ride - An “I’d Pay Retail” Review

Overview: The first time i really looked into Ticket to Ride I seriously wondered how the game could be so highly rated or sold over 3 Million units and just be about putting plastic trains on a map...and I sure was not going to pay $50 to find out! Lucky for me, I found a copy at a thrift store for $3 and could finally answer that question. Who cares if the box was missing a few of the point counters and some extra trains. Everything I needed to play was in the box, and that’s good enough for me.

The Reveal: The unboxing wasn’t really special, it was actually quite mystifying. Inside you get the mini-cards for both the train colors and the destinations, 45 (plus a few extras) of each color train, the full map board and a 4 page instruction book. It was the rulebook that caught me offguard, who could such a highly rated game be so complex, exciting, and most of all retail purchase worthy at a mere 4 pages, two of which consist of a full color cover image and the game credits on the back page. Reading the two actual pages of rules didn’t clear the matter up either. In the words of my son, “that’s it?”. There was only one thing to do... play it!

Setup is easy.
1. Count out 45 trains for each color per player.
2. Separate the destination cards from the train cards.
3. Deal out 3 destination cards to each player (who chooses at least one two to keep)
4. Take the top 5 cards of the train deck and place them face up in a line next to the deck.
5. The player who last took a vacation goes first.

The Rules: The rules are pretty simple, you're trying to complete rail road routes between cities by collecting colored train cards that match the color and number of the route your collecting. So, if i need to connect Seattle to Omaha I would need 6 yellow train cards and 5 red train cards to connect those two cities, which i can claim in either order. The person who scores the most points at the end of the game wins. Sounds pretty simple...except everyone else is trying to do the same thing. So, how do we do that?

On your turn you can do one, and only one, of the following:

Option 1. Take, one at a time, two cards from the face up train cards or the draw pile.
Option 2. Claim a route by turning in an equal number of matching cards for the route you want.
Option 3. Choose a new destination(s) from the destination deck.

Let’s take a closer look at those options, shall we?

Option 1. The train deck consists of 8 color cards (Black, White, Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Pink/Purple) as well as wild Engine cards that can be used for any color. You may choose any card that is face up (unless you choose an engine, that will take both your choices to do) or choose the top card of the train deck. If you choose a color, you take it into hand and replace it with the new card from the top of the train deck, then repeat the process. There is no limit on the number of cards you can have in your hand.

Option 2: Claiming a route is easy, if you need to claim yellow route between pittsburgh and St. Lewis (4 spaces) you turn in 4 yellow cards from your hand and place your 4 trains on the map. Gray routes are ‘wild’ and may be claimed with any matching color set you choose (So you could claim a 4 gray route with the same 4 yellow cards instead of claiming the Pittsburgh-St. Louis route above). Finally, some cities have two routes connecting them. In a 1 or 2 player game, the first one who claims the route is the only one who may do so. In 3+ player games, two different players may claim the routes.

Option 3: You may take the top 3 cards from the destination deck, but you must keep at least one of them. Sometimes you can get lucky and draw destinations you’ve already completed (small routes that you used to complete larger destinations). Sometimes you draw destinations that you can no longer complete and wonder why you were foolish enough to push your luck.

Scoring: There are three ways to earn points in the game. Each way is vitally important to winning and you should keep them in mind.

1. Completing routes: Each route you complete earns you points. The more trains you used to complete the route, the more points it is worth. Points are scored at the time of completion. Just move your point counter forward that many points (if you remember). Players will have a good idea of who is ‘winning’ and who is ‘not’ by the routes completed...but remember, there are two other ways to score points.

2. Completing Destinations: Each destination card connects two cities together, the father apart the cities are, the more points the destination card is worth. At the end of the game, if you have connected the two cities, you earn the points on the bottom of the card...if you have not, you lose those points instead. Many games are won and lost in what destinations are completed.

3. Bonus Points: There is also a 10 point bonus for the person with the longest line of connected trains (so sometimes it make sense to weave your way around the map to connect your destinations). If two players are tied, then they both receive the bonus.

Simply add up all your points from each scoring category. The person with the highest total wins.

The Judgement: Simply put, Ticket to Ride is a great game. It’s simple enough for anyone to play but the complexities in deciding when to take cards vs when to claim a route vs when to choose more destination cards makes for an all around exciting game. My only disappointment in Ticket to Ride is that I had not checked it out sooner. Out of all the games I’ve thrifted this is one of the two most played. Not only can i say I’d give it the coveted “I’d Pay Retail” approval, but I have indeed paid retail for every expansion and even have made poster quality fan maps printed. High Praise Indeed!
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Eric B
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Thanks for the review - I feel the same way. I had been playing it on iOS for a while but only recently got it in cardboard (and plastic). It feels different on the table and everyone I have introduced it to, gamer or novice, has really enjoyed it. There's a reason its a classic!
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J.L. Waz
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Great Review! I'm super excited now I asked Santa for the 10th anniversary edition for Christmas so I guess I am paying more than retail, but your review and the other trafic I have seen on this game got me excited and I like to look of the 10th anniversary edition. Thanks again
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Eric T
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$3 at a thrift store? I need to move to your area..that's ridiculous.
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Jeffery Hudson
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I'm pretty lucky in that regard. I balk at $5, yet i know some of you are paying more then that. I"ve been pretty lucky so far with my draws. It helps though that we really only have one major thrift store in town and i visit it least once a day.
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Jeffery Hudson
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@ J.L. Waz

My brother in laws have offered me (ok, my mom who is NUTS for TtR) the 10th aniversary for Chirstmas before, but my cheap thrifting blood just can't come to grips on spending that kinda money on a really cool upgrade to a game i already own.

But more power to you! One of my friends is finally getting her copy and she told me what's all in it...it sounds like a really good deal to me.
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Daniel Johns
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Barronmore wrote:

Setup is easy.
3. Deal out 3 destination cards to each player (who chooses at least one to keep)
Is this an error, or are there different editions with different rules? The rules I know say that at the beginning (unlike when a player later takes destination cards) you must keep at least two destination cards.
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BLIND PEW
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I love all the games and can recommend the Nordic countries and Nederland out of the retail expansions (but they're all good). Of the fan expansions that have nothing to do with me, I recommend Sardinia.
I have expanded all the games I play by adding tourist/chance cards which are dealt/picked up in parallel with tickets and also varied the rules. One great new rule is the facility to "burn 5" - as your turn you may lay down any 5 train cards and pick up 5 new ones.
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Jeffery Hudson
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@Daniel Johns

Actually, it's both. Your correct that in base ticket to ride it's deal 3 destination tickets and keep two (I've fixed the review). But each variant of Ticket has different destination draws and different amounts to keep. Some of them also remove any unwanted destination cards from the game. It just depends on which game board your playing on. We play so many that i forget which is which sometimes. :)
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Sven F.
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Barronmore wrote:
Option 1. The train deck consists of 6 color cards (Black, White, Red, Blue, Green, and Pink/Purple) as well as wild Engine cards that can be used for any color.
Small issue, but still... There are cards of 8 colours: yellow and orange in addition to the previously mentioned.

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Jeffery Hudson
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Your right. Thank you. I'll fix that right away.
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Kent Carlisle

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jeremylaurie wrote:
One great new rule is the facility to "burn 5" - as your turn you may lay down any 5 train cards and pick up 5 new ones.
That "Burn 5" is a great idea... Do you use it on a variety of the boards or just USA?
 
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