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Subject: Session Report rss

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Jay Bloodworth
United States
South Carolina
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Gerry, Julie, Michael, and I played it Saturday. I think everybody was pretty impressed; I know I was. The board is huge and great to look at it; the cards and little plastic trains are fun too. My only complaint from the artistic side is that the cards for the orange routes on the map are brown.

Game play is fast-paced. The essential choice every turn is drawing versus claiming routes. It sometimes feels a little frustrating doing nothing but collecting cards for several turns, but everyone has to do some of that and the game moves quickly enough that you still get to play trains plenty often. Besides, waiting for just that right card to show up and joining that it's till there when it gets to be your turn is tense and fun. I also think that with more experience we all would have played more defensively, and more often spent turns laying small routes to block opponents.

Since nobody was spending much effort on blocking, I was able to keep a pretty big lead for most of the game by saving up to claim big valuable routes. This also gave me the longest route bonus at the end, and made it pretty easy for me to connect my two starting destination tickets, one of which was worth a lot of points. Julie gave me a run for my money on longest route, and Gerry made a late game push to score points by taking new destination tickets, which almost payed off for him except I played my last trains on a couple of big routes to end the game while I had a pretty big lead.

At least three and maybe all four of the final scores were above the eighty points on the boards scoring track, so that's a minor complaint. But again, more experience and more defensive play I think would have mitigated that a lot. I'm quite sure that won't ever be able to make the "big route" strategy work so well with any of those guys again.

Long story short, I think it's a pretty great game, an opinion only biased slightly by the fact that I won on my first play (something that rarely happens). I think it'll play pretty kid-friendly, something important to me as a game club sponsor. It will almost certainly be a part of my next order.
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