This one I bought on a whim, and admittedly, due to hype. It's put out by Days of Wonder, who know how to produce games. Matthew over at Defective Yeti gave it high marks, I had birthday cash, and with a game order pending (San Juan), I felt compelled to add this title.
This is also a light strategy game, with a little less depth than San Juan, but with more depth than one would suspect. The board is a map of the United States (and part of Canada) with dotted lines connecting selected cities.
On a turn, the gamer chooses one of three actions: a) draw train cards, which are the currency needed to complete a connection, b) connect two cities, which scores you points (on a graduated scale) and help you complete tickets, or c) acquire more tickets to try and complete.
The balance here is nicely accomplished. Completing tickets seems to be the way to go to get the most points, but the more you have, the greater the risk that you won't be able to complete them. Tickets range in worth from (about) 8 to 25. If you complete a ticket, you get the points. If you don't, those points are deducted from your score.
The player with the longest train line at the end of the game also scores ten points.
The good: it's very accessible to the non-gamer, easy to teach, and easy to play.
The not-so-good: play can seem dull at times when players are just drawing cards round after round.
My wife rates this one an 8/10 and I rate it a 7/10.