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Subject: First Impressions of Transamerica rss

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Colin Kameoka
United States
San Gabriel
California
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After a game of Ticket to Ride someone suggested we play Transamerica while waiting for another game to end.

A small orange box was pulled out and a map of the US was unfolded. Then a bunch of cards were dumped on the table. The game owner said, "Ok the game is setup".



image uploaded by werbaer

We were told to grab 5 cards. One of each color. There were blue, green, yellow, orange and red cards. Each card had a symbol in them to help with color blind gamers. (Often overlooked) The object to the game was connect all 5 cities while laying 1 or 2 tracks on our turn. Double spaces cost 2 "lays" while single space cost 1. Each space were short when the round ends costs us 1 point per track lay were short.



image uploaded by tabbysunlion



image uploaded by henk rolleman

The game had 3 rounds before someone ended up taking 6 points and pushing past the end game marker. Game time was under 30 minutes.

Pros:
1. Game is fast to play and setup
2. Rules took all of 2 minutes to explain
3. Game is very easy for new players to pickup and not feel intimidated by.
4. US map should be easy for US players to find the cities on.

Cons:
1. "Veteran" gamers might be turned off by a game with a 1 page rulebook and very simple gameplay
2. Limited "control" choices but the vexation expansion helps with this.


Summary:
Transamerica makes a good "gateway" or icebreaker game for new gamers. It does not have dice. Some people think games require dice to have fun. This game is a good introduction to "diceless" games. Once the new players want something "meatier" add vexation or its time to pull out a meatier game. This game makes for a good choice in the game library since "new" gamers should always be added and welcome to any gaming group to keep it alive and fresh.


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Hunga Dunga
Canada
Coquitlam
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I've heard the vexation variant makes the game less interesting.
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Colin Kameoka
United States
San Gabriel
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Could be. It does get some extra mileage out of the game. As I said, most likely when its time to add in vexation its probably time to move to a meatier game.
 
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Pete Grey
United States
Portland
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I enjoyed this intensely the first dozen games or so. But for me it did not have any gas to take it beyond that. Even with Vexation.
 
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Bryan Maxwell
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Burtchville
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Vexation makes the game a little nastier. I haven't played with it enough to say whether it's better or worse. I enjoy the base game the way it is.
 
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Colin Kameoka
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San Gabriel
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Transamerica is good as an intro game. Taking it beyond that point is asking for trouble.

Its a good game for the game library as long as you have new victims players coming in. Once they get their feet wet with Transamerica its time for something tougher.

petegrey wrote:
I enjoyed this intensely the first dozen games or so. But for me it did not have any gas to take it beyond that. Even with Vexation.
 
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Walt
United States
Orange County
California
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Hungadunga wrote:
I've heard the vexation variant makes the game less interesting.

It's just different, In normal TA (or Trans Europa) you're playing a subtle game of manipulation against your opponents. It's so subtle that some people don't see it and attribute wins and loses totally to the luck of the draw and the chaos of opponent play. Some people only realize there's some strategy there when they realize they're losing far more often than their model of the game would predict.

Vexation offers in your face blocking. You would never in the normal game start on the West coast--it's always last because playing to one city can hand victory to an opponent in one move. It's just too dangerous. With Vexation, starting on the West coast is fine as long as you block all the easy routes you take so it's expensive to take advantage of your track.

The TransEuropa map is, I think, more interesting to play with Vexation. At several points of the map, passes can be blocked for one Vexation placement that will take three or four normal placements to bypass.
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Brian Robson
Scotland
Edinburgh
Midlothian
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Tall_Walt wrote:
The TransEuropa map is, I think, more interesting to play with Vexation. At several points of the map, passes can be blocked for one Vexation placement that will take three or four normal placements to bypass.


I agree - it can be a real pain trying to get to the UK & Ireland when someone blocks the only Channel crossing in play. We like TransEuropa/Vexation as a filler but never consider playing TA.
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Colin Kameoka
United States
San Gabriel
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I think if you want vexation just pull 3 of the colored roads out of a Settlers set and use them. No need to spend money for vexation.

I'm on the fence with vexation. I think if the new players want more its time to introduce them to a new game. While vexation might squeeze out a few extra plays of TA, it would probably be better time spent teaching another game.

Just my .02 GG
 
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Linda Baldwin
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White Plains
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Haven't tried Vexation, but I like this as a little filler. I agree, though, that there's more strategy than is immediately apparent. But if you to prove it, play two-player. Makes for a whole different game. (Personally, I like this with as many players as possible between heavier games.)
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