William McDuff
Prince Rupert
British Columbia
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"'A grey man,' she said. 'Neither white nor black, but partaking of both. Is that what you are, Ser Davos?' 'What if I am? It seems to me most men are grey.'" -- Lady Melisandre of Asshai and Ser Davos Seaworth from A Clash of Kings by G.R.R. Martin
A small part of a 17,000 pushpin video game art project I was involved with.
Well, I finally finished my education. Sent the last one away, and with that, I'm just awaiting graduation. My reward? Although I haven't found employment yet, I picked up Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. I bought the shiny box, quickly printed out my tuckboxes, then opened it up at my parents house to play with my mother and father.

Both my parents are not board game players; both were willing to help me out, but generally they prefer TV. I set the board up, pulled out the five extra trains from each set, and set them up. I love the snow covered cards; they're pretty neat.

I did my best to explain the rules, having played the ordinary game, but not the Nordic version. The wild cards kind of threw me; I'm used to playing TtR and TtR:Europe online, where locomotives are wild all the time. I didn't understand that they were still wild on ferry and tunnel routes, which was a major error.

The other error that came up was that Mama, for the life of her, could NOT find the cities on the map. The cards didn't help; while they gave her a sense of direction, she was always looking in the wrong area.

Both of these problems was dealt with after the game with files from the Geek; thanks folks!

Anyway, the game itself. Momma went first, followed by Papa, then me. Papa Duff started off claiming Arhüs to København, Mama up in middle Finland, and I in the ferries in the middle. Cautious, we were all drawing few tickets, trying to get the cards we needed to claim routes, which was doubly difficult with the misunderstanding of the rules. Mama then asked where her cities were on the map so I took a look...and one of those was Arhüs. Papa locked her out next turn, showing his dark side. We did give him the black pieces...I think in the future I better be opaque about what routes I want...

I found myself assembling routes piecemeal, not really getting what I needed. Mama was having a worse time, unable to get a blue card she needed to connect Vaasa and Sundsvall (with locomotives just sitting there, too, in retrospect). I was getting the fingers of my 'tree' but was lacking my central trunk to connect it all. Papa seemed to be doing well collecting routes in the south.

A round of tickets were collected, mine before I had any tickets actually filled. Mama picked up some more tickets a short run in Finland, and a longer north-south run she had half completed. Papa picked up more in the south, while I extended my branches, still lacking the north-south branch.

Mama finished her routes quickly and drew again. Needing help to find the cities again, two cards were just short extensions away into Køberhavn and Oslo. She was going to discard the last, Bergen-Køberhaven, until I pointed out that this one was just one more route if she connected the other two. Talked into it, she kept it.

We quickly began filling in our routes, and with a dozen trains left, I finally hooked my branches together, saving myself from a completely embarassing loss. Suddenly, Papa noted two trains left. We all picked up some extra routes, and it was over.

Papa was at 48, and Mama and I tied at 52. We double checked the trains then added the routes. I set the bar at 95 points, then we started counting Mama's. Mama, never getting cards, having trouble with her connections, unable to find the cities in the board got to 103, then back 6 due to the locked out route, then I noted the Globetrotter bonus, and we counted. Mama had six completed routes to Papa's and my five each. 107 was her total. Papa's five completed routes only brought him up to 83, leaving Mama with her first win in our first game.

Looking forward to playing it again soon, with the correct rules and a ID map for Mama (and seating Mama at the bottom of the board). It was fun, but I think it'll be better next time, if I can talk them into it again!
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