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Subject: Convoluted, Inelegant and Dreadfully Dull (a Cheeky Buddha Review) rss

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Randatollah
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Let's be honest. Most games are actually dreadfully dull. Ticket to Ride is no exception. Sure, it has its fans, but some people just like doing boring things. I'll bet there are people out there who enjoy doing their taxes. I think that is a pretty apt comparison. Ticket to Ride is about as enjoyable as doing your taxes. If I had to choose between the two, I would probably choose TtR, but that's mainly because when I play it, there's no money on the line. The money that I so unfortunately spent on this game is long gone, the definition of a sunk cost.

You might object, "well if that's the case, why have you played over 100 times?" The answer is that I was forced to, under duress from my wife. Hearing that, you might ask, "then why do you rate it a 9?" The answer to that is that there's a glitch in BGG. I keep going to the game's page, and moving my pointer over to the second star, but right when I click, the pointer jumps over to the ninth star. It's very annoying, and I wish they would fix it. No wonder BGG's ratings are such poor indicators of what an individual gamer will actually enjoy.

Enough about me and BGG glitches. Let's talk about this mess of a game, Ticket to Ride. The problems with this game are evident from the moment you look at the components. It has cards, AND a board, AND plastic train cars? What is all this? And that's not all. There are actually two completely different kinds of cards in the game. One wonders whatever happened to the idea of elegant simplicity.

The tale of woe continues once you get into actual game play. I think we can all agree that a good family game should have streamlined play and easy to understand rules. TtR is horribly lacking in this regard. The rules claim that on your turn, you only do one thing. However, you actually choose which of several things you do. Also, depending on what you choose, you are liable to actually do multiple things.

Consider your options. You can either draw train cards, draw destination cards, or play train cards to claim a route. If you draw destination cards, you (1) draw the cards, (2) decide which ones to keep, and (3) place the ones you don't want at the bottom of the destination deck. That's three things, not one! It's even more complicated if you draw train cards. In that case, you choose whether to pick up a face up train card, or from the face down pile. If you pick up a face up wild card, that's all you get. Otherwise, you actually get two cards. And that's true even if you draw a wild card from the face down draw pile! Drawing two cards is doing the same thing twice, which counts as doing two things. If you play cards to claim a route, you (1) discard the cards, and (2) place your plastic train cars on the route on the board. So you see, you almost always actually do more than one thing, and sometimes you actually do three.

Going back to the act of claiming routes, the process is messy. You aren't just allowed to discard whatever cards are convenient to you. No, they all have to be the same color. Also, that color has to match the color of the route on the board! How am I supposed to keep all of that straight? And if I am, through some miracle, able to do so, there's another wrinkle thrown in: wild cards. These cards can count as if they are any color. They're actually very helpful if you are able to draw them, but that is a lot to remember.

Ticket to Ride's scoring system is also unnecessarily complex. You get points not just for completing destination cards, but also for claiming routes. Seriously? And on top of that, you don't just score a set number of points per train car placed on a route. No, that would be too easy. Instead, it is a graduated number, so that a one car route is one point, but a six car route is fifteen. It's so ridiculous that we had to keep referring back to the chart the first time we played.

I can hear the TtR apologist now, saying, "but what about now? Don't you have the route scoring memorized by now?" This is the kind of ridiculous thing a brazen fanboy would say. What, you expect me to learn? These are GAMES, they are supposed to be fun!

As if that were not enough, each destination card is worth a different number of points. The point values seem to bear some vague correlation to the number of train cars required to complete the destination, but it's still ridiculous to have this additional source of scoring.

There is also a bonus of 10 points for having the longest continuous line of train cars at the end of the game. The way this is calculated is especially arcane and cumbersome, so I will not attempt to describe it here. Just be aware that you will have to curl up with the rulebook and study it like a textbook before semester exams to make sense of it.

A final point about the unnecessary complexity of the scoring system: scores can go well over 100. Is this really appropriate for a family game? That's THREE digits. Some of us don't have advanced degrees in Mathematics. That doesn't make us stupid.

At this point, you may be thinking that I just dropped in here to unload a whole bunch of negativity on a game I don't like, and then run away. However, I do have some suggestions to improve TtR, and make it more family-friendly. One is to do away with the requirement for your cards to all be the same color when you claim a route. Having to match is so annoying, and my wife is always managing to get bunches of the colors she needs, while I am always stuck with one on every color. Why are you trying to prevent me from having fun, stupid game? Just let me play whatever cards I like.

Another suggestion would be to make every route worth one point per train car. That makes scoring easier, and stops my wife from getting tons of points from those stupid six car routes.

My final suggestion would be to do away with the destination cards entirely. It's totally ridiculous and confusing to have two completely different kinds of cards in the same game. It would be so much simpler and more fun with just the train cards.

So there you have it. Three simple suggestions change this chore of a game into something that would be fun for everyone. I am amazed that the publisher hasn't thought of this already.
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Mark Delesdernier
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Bwahahahahahaha!!!
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Richard Irving
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Comedy is hard shake
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Tomello Visello
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big_buddha wrote:
However, I do have some suggestions to improve TtR, and make it more family-friendly. One is to do away with the requirement for your cards to all be the same color when you claim a route.
...
Another suggestion would be to make every route worth one point per train car.
...
My final suggestion would be to do away with the destination cards entirely. It's totally ridiculous and confusing to have two completely different kinds of cards in the same game.

I urge you to contact the publisher. Soonest. I think you just invented a new box for the series: My First TtR.



Bound to outsell Candyland on first printing.
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Tomello Visello
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big_buddha wrote:
My final suggestion would be to do away with the destination cards entirely. It's totally ridiculous and confusing to have two completely different kinds of cards in the same game.
I was going to recommend Transamerica as being more suitable, but I see TransEuropa already in your collection.


although the rating demonstrates it is not well loved
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Chris Wood
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A Cheeky Buddha......review?
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Kinda reminds of an Agricola review I once read.
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David Gezelius
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Haha☺
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TonyKR
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Totally agreed. When I've played I at no point ever felt like I was traveling around America or Europe by train. However, I did once feel all the excitement of being stuck in Pennsylvania while playing the Pennsylvania map.
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Bill Eldard
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Twister replaced Ticket To Ride for me. More interactive.
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Candace Mercer
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I can't tell if it is sarcasm. We can argue on fun, but it is not that hard to track that stuff. I guess we could argue on complexity, but not here? I mean OP is entitled to their opinion, but I am not sure you are gonna get much sympathy here on the complexity when most of the games geeks play are a couple levels more complex.
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Werner Bär
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big_buddha wrote:
As if that were not enough, each destination card is worth a different number of points.

You copy mus be incomplete.
In my copy, there are several destination cards with the same values, for completely different routes.
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Eric Selander
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You forgot the worst part: other players can actually block you out of connections that you need! Often, (and this has happened many, many times during my dozens of plays of many of the variations of TTR) someone else just manages to draw the right color cards before I do, and they take that connection first. Then, I have to save those cards for somewhere else, and find an alternate path to my destination! Which reminds me—there’s no hand limit, so pretty soon, I can’t even hold all the cards I have, which is really frustrating. Just give me a hand limit I can manage!
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Ken
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As far as complaints about a game I think this was one of the beat.

big_buddha wrote:
A final point about the unnecessary complexity of the scoring system: scores can go well over 100. Is this really appropriate for a family game? That's THREE digits. Some of us don't have advanced degrees in Mathematics. That doesn't make us stupid.


Needing an advanced degree in mathematics to count over 100, well done.

[Edit: P.S. when I started reading this (above) I thought he was serious.]
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Bill Eldard
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Eldard wrote:
Twister replaced Ticket To Ride for me. More interactive.

And now Sudoku has replaced Twister for me because I don't like player interaction.
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Eric Selander
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Just want to clarify that this form of player interaction is way too frustrating for a family game! TTR utilizes player interaction I like to call "Blocking," rather than a classic "Take That" form of interaction. With "Blocking," you never actually get to enjoy owning the connection before someone takes it. I almost said "takes it from you," but Noooo, you never got it in the first place! It would be so much more friendly if other players could only take connections you want after you built them, so you could at least have the satisfaction of completing them first, and think you were gonna complete that destination.

I guess Alan Moon buys into the whole "Loss Aversion" theory that Geoff Engelstein is always promoting. Well, Alfred Lord Tennyson said, "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."
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Humor is not your forte.


Stick to Story Cubes.
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Randatollah
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markgravitygood wrote:
Humor is not your forte.


Stick to Story Cubes.

Thanks for the kind words! My daughter loves Story Cubes.
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Eric Selander
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big_buddha wrote:
markgravitygood wrote:
Humor is not your forte.


Stick to Story Cubes.

Thanks for the kind words! My daughter loves Story Cubes.

Maybe that was aimed at me?
 
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Randatollah
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grithog wrote:
Maybe that was aimed at me?
No, sorry, I was responding to the gentleman who kindly recommended Rory's Story Cubes to me.
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Eric Selander
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big_buddha wrote:
grithog wrote:
Maybe that was aimed at me?
No, sorry, I was responding to the gentleman who kindly recommended Rory's Story Cubes to me.

Right--I was referring to his comment, too.

Your review was hilarious. I used "voice over" on my iPad to "play" your review for my family in the car and they all loved it--even my wife who does NOT like TTR. We had fun expanding upon your thoughts....
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Randatollah
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grithog wrote:
Right--I was referring to his comment, too.

Oh, I'm with you now. It's not clear which of us he was expressing disdain for.

grithog wrote:
Your review was hilarious. I used "voice over" on my iPad to "play" your review for my family in the car and they all loved it--even my wife who does NOT like TTR. We had fun expanding upon your thoughts....

Awesome! I glad you guys liked it.
 
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Sven F.
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grithog wrote:
big_buddha wrote:
grithog wrote:
Maybe that was aimed at me?
No, sorry, I was responding to the gentleman who kindly recommended Rory's Story Cubes to me.

Right--I was referring to his comment, too.


This thread only becomes even funnier each day.
 
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Jamesh Bond
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Jeff Black
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All joking aside...TTR is not one of my favorites. When I got it I was very psyched to try a game that I had heard so many good things about and which seemed like it would be right up my alley. Trains, route building,etc. Oh how wrong I was. This game (at least in my groups) has just been an arena for messing with each other and stabbing each other in the back just for the sake of doing it, and we are not typically drawn to games where those things are prevalent.

[I'm making a brief edit to clarify]...It's possible that my experiences result from the unique cast of characters with whom I've played it. That said, within 2 turns, our group forgets all about whatever routes they might build and launches into attacks on whatever anyone else plays. Or perhaps I'm missing the point...

Maybe I just misunderstood and that type of play is meant to be an emergent characteristic of the game. I guess I expected sabotage and the like to play a smaller role...the way it seems to in Carcassonne when my group plays that.
 
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