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Subject: My First Step into a Larger World rss

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heath fowler
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I've been here at BGG for a little while now but haven't really played any real games as strange as that sounds. That all changed last night. I've played some online versions of some of the games on here and of course I've played the expected Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble. But until last night I was a real board game virgin.

I finally broke down and bought Ticket to Ride. Besides "Carcassone: The Discovery" (which I think would have been another good pick for a newb such as myself) TtR was the only really gateway-ish game that my local board game shop had. I played the game with my wife.

The mechanics of picking cards, placing trains, getting new route cards, moving the counters, etc was all kind of awkward at first. The game itself is simple to understand (thanks to the video at Board Games with Scott http://www.boardgameswithscott.com/?p=19) and after a few minutes of discussion we were off and running. The first game was fun but we both made some route mistakes and kept routes in the beginning that were too short, etc.

But we had fun. It took a while as we had to get used to the more involved mechanics of the game compared to the old Monopoly, Clue type of games. I won the first game by a considerable margin but only because I had tried a couple of online games at Days of Wonder's website prior to playing so I had a better handle on what to do.

The best part was that after we were finished, my wife actually asked to play again. Part of it was because she lost the first game and wanted to beat me :) but the other part of it was that we both had so much fun. The 2nd game was a lot better. We now had the mechanics down and were seriously diving into strategy. The 2nd game she won (of course).

Then she wanted to play a tiebreaker round (hooray, I've got her hooked) but we'd had a long day and were tired so I thought that if we waited until another day for the tiebreaker then we'd have a good reason to play again soon.

All in all, it was a great gateway to the hobby and I've got to say I know I'm hooked now. I'm already thinking of friends and family members that would enjoy playing this that we could invite over. Plus I'm already looking to see what the next game is that we should should buy. The game would need to be able to be played by 2 people so that my wife and I could play together but also be expandable to more people for when we have company. And couldn't be very heavy as I don't think either one of us is quite ready for a heavy game yet.

I'm hooked, I'm happy, and I'm ready for suggestions...bring it on. :)
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McDog
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Glad you enjoyed the game! My wife and I started gaming 4 times a week earlier this year and I bought a ton of games during that time so I can help with some we've played.

Lighter games:

Alhambra - works with 3 or 4 but I think it's great with two. One of my wifes favorite games.

Kingsburg - Plays well with 2, better with 3 or 4. We've played many 2 player games and it's quite fun. If you like dice, this might be your game.

Wyatt Earp - A rummy card game with an intersting theme. She loves this game too.

Jambo - Not her favorite because I always seem to win but it's a fun 2 player card game of buying and selling.

Mr Jack - One of my favorite 2 player games. Really fast but lots of fun. We drag this one down to the pub if we're going to have a couple pints.

Odin's Ravens - Just started playing this very cool card game. Pretty tense most games.

Pandemic - Good game for 2,3 or 4....it's fun two player but hard (it's a cooperative game) and I like to space out my plays but it's defiantely worth having in the collection.

Downfall of Pompeii - A game I really really like....plays well with 2,3 or 4.

Heavier games

Shogun - Not all that hard but plays pretty well with a 2 player variant. I really enjoy this one with 2,3 or 4.

Power Grid - Not as good 2 player but fantastic with 3 or 4.

1960: The Making of a president - Great two player election game. Game is
very thematic and has great components.

Imperial = Fantastic game but maybe not for everyone. It's an economic game that feels alot like a wargame. Plays just fine with 2,3 or 4.


Twilight Struggle - I love the game but it's pretty hard to play really well. The cold war theme really shines in this 2 player game.

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Branko K.
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mrwolf710 wrote:
It took a while as we had to get used to the more involved mechanics of the game compared to the old Monopoly...


To be honest, Monopoly has much more complicated game mechanics that TTR. You have auction mechanic, acquisition management.. all in all the rules are a bit more complex then TTR. However Monopoly always had the home field advantage - everyone learned it in their childhood and noone is intimidated by its rules (and almost noone plays it the way it shold be played, but that's another story).

Good luck with your TTR career - if you find you really enjoy it I would suggest looking up the USA 1910 expansion (you get more routes and you get large train cards that replace those small fiddly ones). The Swiss expansion is also frequently suggested as a great TTR version for 2 players, although I find its production values a bit lacking and the gameplay pretty unbalanced and biased towards insane piling up of destination cards. But it DOES spice up the TTR experience by introducing a new, radically different map and (for me) the quite amusing tunnel mechanic.

As for other games, Apart from the usual suggestion of Carcassonne, if you're into something different check out Pandemic (an easy-to-learn co-op game which plays rather nicely with 2 players). When you're ready to try something a tiny bit more complex check out Agricola - it's considered "medium/heavy Eurogame" but there's a "family" version even a child can learn. Both of these games aren't currently available but should be any month now. Also, there is now a TTR card game which is getting fine reviews (although I personally ain't too fond of it) but if you really dig TTR perhaps you may find it enjoyable.

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EDIT: added some dice games 5/18/2008

For quick reference, be sure to check out the Game Weight info located in the Statistics section for each game. My pics for relatively light 2p games, but expandable to more players include

Samurai 2-4p
game rules are easy to learn, and only consists of 4 pages (the other half is in German). There can be alot of thinking involved, but else, the range for 4p is 45min to 1hr. For 2p, a friend and myself finished a game as quickly as 15min, with a higher 2p range at 25min

Blokus 2-4p
20 to 30 minute games. You're trying to block opponents from being able to place all of their tetris pieces, pentominoes, and 1 to 3 unit pieces while trying to place as many of your own as possible

Blokus Trigon 2-4p
Similar to above, but you're playing on a hexagonal board on a triangular grid, with pieces whose units are made up of triangles, not squares. Creates a shift in mentality since most of us are used to square grid games. Pieces need to be rotated certain ways to fit

Blokus 3D 2-4p
aka Blokus 3d. The objective is to arrange and place 3d blocks such that your color of blocks has the most units visible from a birds eye view (straight above). 6 different board layouts and an included turntable make this a good production value as well as for replayability
Rumis+ is the 5/6 player expansion for Rumis and 2p standalone game of Rumis, but as noted in the description there may be compatibility issues with US sets. Better to do some reserach about that first

Aquädukt 2-4p
25 to 35 minute games. Easy rules to pick up and play. It's one of those underrated games IMO. Place houses, try to water them, screw each other over in the manner that is your typical eurogame. Similar gameflow here as with Ticket To Ride.... "do one of 3 things on your turn..."

Ingenious 2-4p
abstract game matching colors with an interesting scoring system. Your lowest score among the 6 colors is your score.

Careers or Careers 2-6p
It's like Monopoly (or Life as some say), but a whole lot better. You define your own career goals in terms of fame, happiness, and money (fortune) and win if you're the first player to achieve them. There are special cards like experience cards that let you move the # of spaces on the card instead of rolling (make your own luck) and opportunity cards to let you move to specific spots on the board. This means there's more planning and some skill involved, and games don't take 3 hours to forever unlike Monopoly. A 6p game for us ended in just over an hour while two 4p games took 1.5 hours since I messed up some of the rules for those games.

Zooloretto and Aquaretto, both 2-5p
Again, similar gameflow here as Ticket To Ride in terms of "do one of 3 things on your turn...". You're taking animals from delivery trucks and trying to organize them in your zoo and pens for the most points. Similar concepts, but they play different. Aquaretto has more flexibility in the way animals are arranged, but is more harsh on the way 'unused' animals are stored. Zooloretto has fixed zoo spaces, but has more freedom in how they're stored in the barn. The 2p variant is different from the 3 to 5p variant, but I hear they work well none of the less.

Tutankhamen 2 - 6p
A think game of how you're gonna plan out and collect sets of tiles to be the first to score a certain # of points. The "board" actually takes a relatively long time to set up, but it does play fairly quick

Combo King 2-4p
When I was introduced to this, the game owners scaled it to 6 players by getting out another set of 'casino dice' and placing the reference card for chip actions so multiple players can look on and reference it. Straight up dice game. It says 20min, but grueling games to the very bitter end can end up taking longer, even beyond an hour

Pickomino 2-7p
Another dice game. Not too much thinking, very casual. Great to suit that type of 'mood' in your gaming nights. With 7p, I'd set aside an hour for play. Sometimes the game ends sooner, but sometimes not.


Ticket to Ride: Switzerland 2-3p
was brought up. I don't know what's more nerve-wracking. The fact that the rainbow train cards are no longer wilds, but ONLY used for tunneling (e.g. need to claim a route of 4 green trains? You'll need to pray for 4 green train cards at some point since locamotives won't bail you out of this one), or the fact that attempting to build a tunnel can be hit or miss, but either way, you're gambling.... If you'll ever find that 4th green train within a reasonable time frame or if you'll have the resources to build a tunnel, or should you just wait to accumulate more train cards to be sure you'll do something that turn?


baba44713 wrote:
mrwolf710 wrote:
However Monopoly always had the home field advantage - everyone learned it in their childhood and noone is intimidated by its rules (and almost noone plays it the way it shold be played, but that's another story).
Good luck with your TTR career - if you find you really enjoy it I would suggest looking up the USA 1910 expansion (you get more routes and you get large train cards that replace those small fiddly ones). The Swiss expansion is also frequently suggested as a great TTR version for 2 players, although I find its production values a bit lacking and the gameplay pretty unbalanced and biased towards insane piling up of destination cards. But it DOES spice up the TTR experience by introducing a new, radically different map and (for me) the quite amusing tunnel mechanic.
They say of the Romantic languages, American English is among the most difficult. Spanish, French, German, etc. often get ripped on for being difficult, but really, "American" has so many exceptions in spelling and pronunciation, it's really amazing that foreigners manage to learn it.

Surprised to hear someone say TtR Switzerland is too much on destination tickets but gloss over that with TtR 1910. In the 1910 variant for TtR 1910, you only use specific destination tickets (all of them new to 1910 IIRC, none from the base game). There's no Longest Route bonus, but there is the Globetrotter bonus of 15pts to anyone who has the highest # of completed destination tickets. Hocking LR for the GT bonus pretty much puts a direct emphasis on completing destination tickets. In the Mega Game variant for 1910, you use all the destination and can get both LR and GT bonuses. Furthermore the dest tickets are created such that they encourage drawing due to overlapping paths. Can't comment on the Big Cities variant though
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heath fowler
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Wow, thanks for all the replies and suggestions everybody. Very helpful stuff there. I actually didn't know about the avg. game weight indicator. That will help a lot.

They had the 1910 expansion at my local shop and I thought about getting it. But I wanted to just try the plain vanilla game first, though, and see if it was even something we'd like. Now that I know we like it I'll probably just order the exp. If nothing else we want it just for the larger cards. I'm not quite ready to drop another forty-something dollars on a whole new game though like Marklin or Europe, although I like the idea of the passenger/token mechanic of Marklin. I think our next game will be something other than a TtR game just to branch out.

I may try a cooperative game like Pandemic next. From what I've read it's slightly heavier than a game like TtR which would be a good next step. I just like the idea of the completely different mechanic of beating the game rather than beating each other. If we could find a 3rd or 4th player I would absolutely love to play Shadows Over Camelot as I just love the theme and the amazing artwork. Same goes for Descent. I was never a D&D player but my wife played some when she was younger and it sounds like Descent is a what D&D would be if it was a board game.

BTW, we played another couple of games of Ticket to Ride today before lunch. Once again I won one and she won one. The battle wages on... (cue dramatic music and fade to black)
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I actually didn't start paying attention to Game Weight till recently, even though I know all along it was there blush

As for cooporate games, Pandemic is among the shortest at 45 min. Next game group or so, I'll have to insist that we play it b/c I haven't tried it yet, but heard nice things about it.

There's also.....

Shadows Over Camelot which you mentioned. There's an add-on... the 8th knight, but that's not really necessary. The game is still pegged at 3 to 7p despite having 8 figures after getting that add-on, but the game designers' idea behind that was the game works better (in their opinion anyways, hasn't stopped some from palying it w/8p) with max 7p. The extra knight just gives players an extra special ability to work with (which is really the only different thing about each knigh gameplay-wise). In a pinch, you could just pretend one of the 7 is the 8th knight.

The anticipated Merlin's Company, the expansion to SOC is set to come out (IIRC) early July for Europe and early August for North America. It will be 3-8p, have up to 2 traitors per game, and have 8 additional knights and their abilities to be used (same figure for both, u just use the side of the coat of arms card you want for that character)

Betrayal at House on the Hill
is yet another. Various scenarios (ghosts, corpse brides, monsters, or just straight up stuff you see in standard horror movies). Last I checked, this game is out of print and hard to find

Lord of the Rings
This says it finishes in 1 hour, but can take 1.5 hours or more depending on conditions. If you liked the movies or just the franchise, this is nice. The expansions can be found for as cheap as $5 each.
 
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tim
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Rastak wrote:

Pandemic - Good game for 2,3 or 4....it's fun two player but hard (it's a cooperative game)

I think easiest with 2 players.
 
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eightbit wrote:
Rastak wrote:

Pandemic - Good game for 2,3 or 4....it's fun two player but hard (it's a cooperative game)

I think easiest with 2 players.


Hmmm, not my experience. More players equal more infecter turns but I could be off on this.

 
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tim
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Rastak wrote:
eightbit wrote:
Rastak wrote:

Pandemic - Good game for 2,3 or 4....it's fun two player but hard (it's a cooperative game)

I think easiest with 2 players.


Hmmm, not my experience. More players equal more infecter turns but I could be off on this.

Same number of infector draws.
 
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Rastak wrote:
eightbit wrote:

I think easiest with 2 players.


Hmmm, not my experience. More players equal more infecter turns but I could be off on this.



There was already a few discussions of this in the Pandemic forum. The consensus is that the game IS easiest with two players (easier coordination, more actions per player).

Anyways, Pandemic is a nice choice, but you have to wait until Z-man decides to publish the second print. Should be any day now, at least he says so..

Also, amazing how Settlers of Catan didn't even get an honorable mention...
 
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baba44713 wrote:
Rastak wrote:
eightbit wrote:

I think easiest with 2 players.


Hmmm, not my experience. More players equal more infecter turns but I could be off on this.



There was already a few discussions of this in the Pandemic forum. The consensus is that the game IS easiest with two players (easier coordination, more actions per player).

Anyways, Pandemic is a nice choice, but you have to wait until Z-man decides to publish the second print. Should be any day now, at least he says so..

Also, amazing how Settlers of Catan didn't even get an honorable mention...
Well, we went from 2+ player games to cooporative games. We'll get to Settlers soon enough
 
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eightbit wrote:
Rastak wrote:
eightbit wrote:
Rastak wrote:

Pandemic - Good game for 2,3 or 4....it's fun two player but hard (it's a cooperative game)

I think easiest with 2 players.


Hmmm, not my experience. More players equal more infecter turns but I could be off on this.

Same number of infector draws.



LOL, I guess that is true, it's just spread over more players. It seems like more since there will have been more than one infector phase since your last turn was played.


Anyway, sorry for the thread Jack.
 
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heath fowler
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Settlers is an option of course. With so many people liking the game I guess it wouldn't be a bad choice.
 
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