these are my overtexts and
now I am without geek gold :(
I chose Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries for my first review. This game has been my most played game due to its simplicity, attractiveness and gameplay.
Like all TTR games this game consists of collecting cards and claiming routes to connect cities to score points based on route lengths and completing 'tickets'
Thanks goes to Laihanen for uploading this gorgeous photo of the components which I have shamelessly stolen.
As you can see from the photo (a finish language copy) that the components are pretty, vibrant and are in usual fashion of a Days of Wonder Production.
Included in the game are:
-3 sets of player pieces in Purple, White and Black as well as a score marker.
-a deck of train cards which form the base of the game
-a deck of train tickets which are the routes you try to complete
-a large mounted board which the game is played on
-all the rest of the stuff like the rules and some extras
The bits are winter themed with snow covered train cards with a different train car for each colour.
thanks to cnidius for a shot of the cards
The glistening locomotive card has a dusting of snow. The cards are a treat for the eyes and are made of a very durable yet easy to shuffle.
The board is durable thick and well printed with vibrant colours... I think I said that already. It unfolds flat with minimal back bending and makes me wish more games were pretty like this.
The trains are... acceptable for plastic trains. The colours are a nice change from the primary colours of the base game and while not being as bright are easy to see. The tickets are well designed with the names of the cities indicated by a dot on a mini map on the card. A very welcome addition that could have easily been missed in the design. This makes locating cities, many of which are unfamiliar to most people much easier to spot and aid in both learning the locations of the board but gaining some geographic knowledge.
While there are more rules than the original Ticket to Ride the rules are most similar to the Europe version of the game. Players may either
A) Draw cards, choosing 1 or 2 face up cards or drawing blind from the stack. There is no penalty for selecting locomotives... this will be explained in a moment
B) Claim a route by playing the coloured train cards which match the route. Grey are wild routes and can be claimed by any colour. Routes must be claimed in full and there is 3 special routes.
i)Ferry routes - have a locomotive on at least one of the train spots, these require a locomotive per indicated space plus any of the required colours. The full route could be claimed by only locomotives AND any 3 cards can make a locomotive
ii)Tunnels - The cost is never known. Locomotives may be played in part or by themselves to claim these routes. Once the intent is made flip the top 3 cards from the draw deck and if a matching route colour or locomotive is flipped another matching card or locomotive must be played. It is helpful to come in with at least one extra to claim one of these routes.
iii)The Murmansk route this is a ridiculously long route on the very north end of the map. It must be completed with any one colour and any 4 cards can make up a card of the required colour. This route is out of the way but is worth mad points. As it is not easily built I have only seen it built once in around 15 games.
As you claim a route you score points based on the length of the route
This part is often forgotten and I generally recount all the players point total before the final tally
C) Take more route cards, Draw 3 new route cards and you must keep one.
-Locomotives may not be played other than for tunnels or ferry routes unlike in the other versions, this is why there is no draw penalty.
That is essentially all the rules of the game.
The game ends when any player has 2 or fewer trains to build with, there is then a final round then the score is tallied. RECOUNT the players scores then add points for completed routes and SUBTRACT points for uncompleted routes, There is essentially a double hit for not completing routes as not only do you not score but you loose points. This was readily discovered in my first ever game where I had a final score of -25 points as I failed to notice the double loss. The person who completes the most tickets gets 10 bonus points.
Gameplay and Thoughts...about time, I know
The game is quick, and fun and although I enjoy heavier games I enjoy this light family game and I will go as far as saying it is the only gateway game I own or have played that I would regularly play. The different building plans one can work on lead to different results. I have played about 2/3s of my games 2 player and scores have varied widely due to playing on opposite sides of the map or in direct competition for every route. This leads to a problem some people may have
The dick move, This game has some tight spots and if you don't assert yourself you may be pinched out of a critical route. One such route is the Torino Boden route at the north end of the inlet? I make sure to tell newbies that if they need this route to claim it early as someone may take it if they see some building into that area.
Some observations I have made:
-Claim the tight points early if you need them... Or if you don't
-If you are near completing your tickets, draw some more, especially when people still have ~15 cars left, you may often get tickets you have already built or almost completed.
-Think ahead and plan your ticket collection and building plans as the game can really speed up with a plan.
-DONT FORGET TO SCORE YOUR BUILT ROUTES. I hate having to count everyones scores because I am the fastest at math.
-The trains make a fun plasticy klinky sound
-If you round the board and are on the right side of the map you have a good score, if you round the bottom or get onto the left side you have a great score. If you get over 200 you have a really good score.
-It is a good game and my favorite of the TTR series.
Unfortunately the game is currently out of print which may make it difficult to get at the current time but it sounds like there will be a reprint before christmas 2010.
Have fun and happy gaming.