Bystrice nad Pernstejnem
Is it enough or not? Tens of thousands of kilometers of tracks meander across continents, connecting countries and cultures, but if they encounter water, they always cowardly turn away. Fortunately, harbor finds its way onto the scene. Place, where huge cranes move containers to even larger floating monsters. Route is moved from mainland to the sea. Its not so solid, has no fixed rules, but can get you to your target as well.
And even train game Ticket to Ride will not avoid some modernization. Locomotives and their vagons will get help from ship’s navigation across the ocean. New game is called Ticket to Ride: Sails & Rails and it was created by spiritual father of the series, Alan R. Moon. Game was published under the auspices of Days of Wonder in 2016 and distribution is in the hands of company Esdevium Games.
Box has the same dimensions, but is somewhat higher, because not only double-sided map (world, and a large American lakes) has fit inside, but together with them also huge numbers of miniatures: there are 165 trains and 250 ships. Of these, each player gets 25 wagons and 50 ships in his chosen color to start. But he will not be able to keep all of them. After he gets five tickets, keeping at least three of them, player immediately must decide on sixty transport means to retain. So each rival can place different emphasis on trains or ships, it all depends on the player and his cards. Roads leading on the mainland are shorther, less valuable, while the get longer on the sea.
Even cards have their own separate decks, but always offers same color range – six different shades. Players get three random trains and seven ships separately from the shuffled decks. Remainder then create supply next to the plan and also serves as a source for starting revealed offer of three cards from each of the packages. To complete setup, everyone gets a trio of plastic ports in their color.
Player in his turn has to choose from a variety of options, but four out of five activities are only complementary. He can draw any combination of two travel cards, thus getting colored cards of boats or cars (from an open menu or from drawing stacks). Instead, he may also draw four new tickets and always keep at least one of them. And even that decision he made at the beginning of the game is not final. For one action, players may exchange trains and ships from their suppy with those he did not use at first (although it comes with a cost).
The main action is connecting cities. To do this, player needs a set of cards of ships or wagons in a color corresponding to the route. Their sets are collected in his hand during rounds, hidden from sight of others, in a quantity that has no limits. Paths can be built in any order and do not need to be connected in any way during the game. Their connections become important at the end of the game. However, player gets points for their length immediately after construction and values are graduated from one point to maximum twenty-one (eight car road).
Construction is getting difficult with so-called double boxes indicating complex terrain. This route requires pairs of cards of the same suit, but entire set does not have to follow the same shade. Game is also affected by raising ports. Player can build it in any seaside town, where some of his own connections leads to.
Once one of the participants is left with last six or fewer pieces, end the game is coming. Now, players evaluate their ticket, that will give them brownie points for their completion. Conversely, if someone holds in his hand a route, he did not completed with pieces of his color, then value of that task must be deducted from his total. Bonus points are given for ports, if they are endpoints of any ticket player owns. Only after the sum of all these parameters, players find a winner among themselves with the most points gathered.
We have now described the larger variant, which takes place on the world map. The other side comes with Great Lakes, it has a different ratio of water and land. It also allows players get to receive another ration of miniatures for start. The total sum of fifty miniatures must again be spread freely between ships and trains. The course itself is also different, and even offers a route nine frames long worth twenty-seven points.
Ticket to Ride: Sails & Rails is a game, that builds on the functioning phenomenon. Adding a second type of transportation makes the whole collecting cards more difficult and players themselves must choose, what is truly good for them. Boats and trains form an important proportion of success and you have to choose their ration wisely. Players can run routes by land, water or in a combination. There are different paths to success.
Earnings cards remains purely luck-based. In the menu are three cards of each type revealed openly, but they are often not the colors you need and collect. So you can take a risk and draw blindly from the deck, but you still many times have to settle for less interesting card. This chance is part of a whole Ticket to Ride gameplay and it is not possible to criticize Sails & Rails for it separately. And because the gaming system passed the test of time and kept us entertained (and many other players too), some proportion of luck probably corresponds to its target groups.
Seemingly, the initial choice of the ratio of ships and trains is really important. But we did not mention one important specialty. If you change vagons to ships or vice versa, yo do not lose only your turn, but also have to give up one point for each figurine that is swapped. And with that comes a lot of pressure on the players, because at the beginning of the game, they have to really well choose tactics according to their tickets in hand.
If choosing tasks is what you like on Ticket to Ride the most, then you will be really satisfied. Here, the choice even more difficult, because players must take into account more variables. The tasks themselves are of course the deciding factor at the end of the game, because most games are pretty close up to that point.
There are also double ships on the cards. This is a counterweight to jokers, which are only part of train deck. Thanks to that, each transport type has its own specifics with regard to planning. Ports are very important, and they are not easy to build. You can pay for them only with cards with the symbol of the anchor (in the middle), two ships and two trains. Unfortunately, this is where the most apparent luck influence comes in, because if someone gets the right ticket, then he receives far more points for ports, than his rivals. But this in turn forces the player to use their cards differently and in fact only increases the number of opportunities to score.
Game takes a little more to complete, than classic one hour, we are used to. Game gets closer to ninety minutes in this matter. This is because players have more miniatures to play (around twenty more), which has to clearly manifest on length of the match. Due to the size of the map, it is easy to successfully miss each other in a two player game. Therefore, game is definitely better in higher numbers, at least with three rivals. With five, match gets more interesting, but also stretches further.
Both maps are also very interesting and sufficiently different. On the world map, there are plenty of ways to cut other chance of success. Players try much harder to read the intentions of the other, because a number of connections is very important (points are scored for it). But what is perhaps even more important is the fact, that the world map does not end with the edge of the plan! Route continues towards the opposite side, creating a real sense of the globe! This significantly changes the overall perception of the game and your planning.
Graphically, Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails went very well. It raises the bar of complexity a little, as well as overal length of the game, which may make it not as good candidate for family play. While the gameplay remains the same fun. So everyone must assess this for himself in the end. Rails & Sails certainly will not embarrass Ticket to Ride family and is really an interesting addition to offer new ways to play. But perhaps making it less straightforward and accessible.
Original review posted on DeskoveHry.com with more pictures:
You can find more our reviews not only on our site, but also on DeskoveHry.com GeekList:
Nice Review! We really enjoy the game too... Glad to see another very positive review...