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Subject: An Ideal Gateway Game, but Fun for Gamers, Too! rss

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Ian Klinck
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Ticket to Ride is a great gateway "train game". Players attempt to connect specific cities (as specified on randomly-drawn "tickets"), by collecting sets of train cards of a specific colour: e.g. a set of 3 green train cards allows you to build on a 3-space green segment. Engine cards are wild, and many routes can be claimed by a set of any colour.

While the game is fairly lightweight, it does have enough interesting decisions to keep a more serious gamer interested. Do I build a route this turn, or collect more cards? Who is building in the same area? Will they block me? Should I try to block someone else, even though the route won't help me with my current tickets? Should I draw more tickets when I've completed the ones I have, or will I end up with tickets I can't complete, and lose points? Should I keep the longer tickets, for more points, or the shorter ones because they're easier to complete?

There is a certain luck factor involved in the game, affecting which tickets and train cards are available to each player, and whether two players' routes will overlap, resulting in a lot of competition for specific routes. However, there are enough decisions involved that luck is unsually only a significant factor on an occasional turn, and it does not drive the game.

What I like:
- This is probably the perfect gateway game: It's easy to learn, and the concept is pretty clear, but it's still fun for more serious gamers.
- It plays well with anywhere from 2 to 5 players.
- My wife enjoys it. (Always a key factor!)
- It plays quickly: A game often runs less than an hour, and there is minimal downtime between turns.

What I don't like:
- The cards that come with the game are small, and can be a little annoying to play with.
- The game, ultimately, has limited depth. It's good enough that I expect I'll always be willing to put it on the table for a game or two, but it doesn't scratch the "gamer's itch" the same way that something like Puerto Rico or Race for the Galaxy will.

(It's worth noting that the Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 expansion provides larger cards, and adds more tickets that provide some nice variety - I'd strongly recommend picking this expansion up.)

Ticket to Ride: Europe and Ticket to Ride: Märklin are variations on Ticket to Ride, and each add more complexity to the game. I have played Europe, and I think it's a slight improvement, but I have not played Marklin. Ticket to Ride: Switzerland and Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries are, essentially, new maps, which use the Europe rules.


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J A
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Very good summary.

Additionally TTR: Europe has regular sized cards rather than the tiny TTR ones. When playing TTR I usuall use the 1910 expansion.
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iklinck wrote:

- The game, ultimately, has limited depth. It's good enough that I expect I'll always be willing to put it on the table for a game or two, but it doesn't scratch the "gamer's itch"


I disagree. I don't think Ticket to Ride is fun enough for gamers. For the gamers sake I think Ticket to Ride: Europe scratches the itch just fine. If too intimidating you can scale back the rules for the first play. (no stations,ferries or tunnels).

I can see the Euro-map turning off some new-comers. I would be willing to trade this for my total boredom in pulling out Ticket to Ride.soblue
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Yep. Darn near the perfect game to introduce people to gaming as we know it. Despite what Kevin says, gamers love T2R... nearly 10,000 here own it and rate it. I'm no beginner and I like the game very much for the reasons you suggest. In fact, I pulled it out a while back for one group of hard core gamer types (who had never played it) and it was a hit all around.

T2R is better than Settlers for a more gradient introduction into gaming beyond Monopoly and party games. It whets the appetite and is so darned simple and easy to play that it's always going to have a place on my shelf.
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Donald Cleary
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Marklin adds some interesting "wait and see" elements that can make or break you if someone comes out early running passengers.
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DWTripp wrote:
Yep. Darn near the perfect game to introduce people to gaming as we know it. Despite what Kevin says, gamers love T2R... nearly 10,000 here own it and rate it. I'm no beginner and I like the game very much for the reasons you suggest. In fact, I pulled it out a while back for one group of hard core gamer types (who had never played it) and it was a hit all around.

T2R is better than Settlers for a more gradient introduction into gaming beyond Monopoly and party games. It whets the appetite and is so darned simple and easy to play that it's always going to have a place on my shelf.


Okay, I can grant that I'm in the minority on the geek; for now. Lets see how the ratings for each TTR and TTR:Euro go over the next few years though.

My bet is on TTR:Euro continuing its steady lead well over TTR's rating.
Currently TTR:Euro has it beat by only a .01 margin.

As for TTR, I see it as a better overall gateway yes; but as the best gateway for the gamers sake, nah.
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Christopher
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iklinck wrote:

- My wife enjoys it. (Always a key factor!)


I follow you there: this is a key factor!
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