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Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A glitchy review of TTR: Rails and Sails rss

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Chris S
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Experience with the game
I have been a longtime fan of the Ticket to Ride franchise, from the very first time I played it. The series as a whole is one of my most played games collections. We own everything they have made within the series, and for the most part have enjoyed them. Rails and Sails is an entirely different entry into the collection, and certainly is worth exploring. Fans of the series will instantly understand the game, but there is some added complexity and decision making.

Rules clarity
As always the games has short easy to understand rules which can be taught in just a few minutes. The rules are clear enough that new players can be playing quickly, but the new added rules add some complexity for veteran gamers of the series.

Component Quality
This is Days of Wonder, their quality should be the industry standard. The trains and boats are very well made and easy to handle, the maps look beautiful, and in this version include not only scoring shortcuts on it but also all of the information on what is needed to set up the game. The inclusion of two maps in this game is very much appreciated, and they play differently enough that they are both well worth playing. Both maps have unique and different route mechanisms which make them easy and fun to play.


As always for Days of Wonder the game has excellent production quality.

Gameplay
For the most part, this game is classic ticket to ride. It feels very much the same with just a slight change- carefully picking whether you want boats or trains at the beginning more, and then choosing routes and tickets that allow you to maximize the combination of trains and boats you have taken. This added level of complexity does add some long-term strategy. Are you planning on taking the cross-land routes hoping they will be left available? Or are you going to stick to the water or do a combination of both? The complexity also increases to include two draw piles as well. Again you are making decisions about which pile you want to draw from, knowing that wilds are only present in the train deck, and that playing boats means you can make quick ground with double boat cards. But the double decks also includes one of my issues with this version of the game. While you can choose which cards to take and replace one of the six cards, you can easily end up in a situation where nobody wants any of the 6 cards for a long period of time. I have actually been surprised at how often this happens. The first time I thought it was a bit of a fluke, but as it continued game after game I became aware that for those I played with this was a real flaw in the game. While people may at one point be looking for a specific boat card they replace everything with boats, including trains. Then they suddenly need trains, and no trains are available. It’s an interesting bit of strategy that has been added to the game (you can see if your opponents are looking for trains and replace them with boats etc) but it then leads to these lock-up situations where the pile sits completely stagnant. We have even considered a house rule that if 3 rounds pass with people just blindly draw cards that the available cards get wiped. We haven’t tried it yet, and I really dislike house rules because I think more often than not they unbalance the game, but in this situation the lock-ups really being to drag the game down.

Scalability
Ticket to Ride games scale well. I enjoy playing all of them at every play count. Sure some are more cutthroat than others at certain player counts, but I do find them enjoyable. This game is largely no different. Having played at multiple different player counts I think it is fun from 2 players up. But… the 2 player games exacerbate the problem mentioned above- the lock-ups with no cards of interest available. It happens multiple times a game in 2 player games. With higher player counts this is far less frequent as with more players the likelihood of someone wanting a card available increases. But we’ve seen it at almost every player count, and it is by far more common in Rails and Sails than regular Ticket to Ride games.


The end of a very enjoyable 2-player game

Final Thoughts
For veteran fans of Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails should be a welcome addition. The game is fun, remains light while still being just slightly more difficult than previous versions, adds new strategy, and options. For people like me who enjoy every version of Ticket to Ride available at this point it is a great purchase.

For newbies to the series I’m not sure I can endorse it as heartily. I think one of the more traditional TTR games is still a better bet, and frankly a better game. Rails and Sails adds strategy and tactical decisions but at the expense of ease of play and beautiful simplicity.

Score
7/10*
*Higher for those who love the series.

If you enjoyed my review, see my other reviews here.
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Greg Darcy
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We house rule that boats get replaced by boats and trains by trains. It works for us. It started as a misreading of the rules, but after realising and going to the "correct" rules, we quickly decided we preferred our way.

Yes we are aware it removes a level of tactical maneuvering, but as you say, playing "correctly" can lead to frequent lockups. We play almost exclusively 2p, so that may have a bearing.

I WOULD recommend it to newbies of the series. Just not newbies to gaming.
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Chris S
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GregDarcy wrote:
We house rule that boats get replaced by boats and trains by trains. It works for us. It started as a misreading of the rules, but after realising and going to the "correct" rules, we quickly decided we preferred our way.

Yes we are aware it removes a level of tactical maneuvering, but as you say, playing "correctly" can lead to frequent lockups. We play almost exclusively 2p, so that may have a bearing.

I WOULD recommend it to newbies of the series. Just not newbies to gaming.

That's actually a really good way to handle it as well, at least 2 players. I might try it out.
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Kent Carlisle

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[q="GregDarcy"]We house rule that boats get replaced by boats and trains by trains. It works for us. /q]

Yep... We do that too... Not a cut-throat bone in my wife/daughter's body, at least when we play Ticket to Ride games... And it works well that way too... I also like the above mentioned idea of wiping after two or three rounds of passing on all available face-up cards...
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Chris Lesher
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I'll have to go back and reread the rules. We have been playing that train cards replace train cards and ship cards replace ship cards. There are always three of each face up. Near the end of the game this is also a problem because hands keep growing waiting for the right cards. We implemented a house rule in our recent plays that any four cards can be used as a wild card once per turn. This helps keep hand size manageable and also returns cards to the deck that others may need.

I also like the idea of wiping the face up cards after three complete turns of blind draws.
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BLIND PEW
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chrisoc13 wrote:
Experience with the game


Component Quality
This is Days of Wonder, their quality should be the industry standard. The trains and boats are very well made and easy to handle, the maps look beautiful, and in this version include not only scoring shortcuts on it but also all of the information on what is needed to set up the game. The inclusion of two maps in this game is very much appreciated, and they play differently enough that they are both well worth playing. Both maps have unique and different route mechanisms which make them easy and fun to play.



Truly a great game.
The ships and trains are pathetically bland and far too alike for easy play.
The cards are beautiful but again the distinction between ships and trains (especially black)(why choose to keep black instead of orange or blue)is very poor.
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