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Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Post-Monster Invasion thoughts rss

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Stuart Roberts

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On paper it looks like a picture-perfect marriage. Personally, I love monster movies (If you haven't seen The Host then stop reading now; go to the video store; rent it; and send me a thank you message). I also really enjoy Ticket to Ride USA.

If I'm honest though, I have found 'ol TtR getting a bit stale of late - despite purchasing the 1910 expansion. I think at the heart of it is an innate desire for competition. I like messing up other peoples plans. I enjoy watching chaos cascade. Perhaps I have an inner Dexter waiting to be released. Consequently it was with utter excitement that I first read about the Alvin and Dexter expansion for my beloved, yet stale, Ticket to Ride.

The Components
They are cute. I particularly like the Dexter miniature that seems to loom over the hapless trains during a game. The yellow plastic is a bit unsightly but that'll be solved when I paint my guys. Equally, it has been mentioned elsewhere that the packaging seems more concerned with showing off the miniatures then efficiently holding the components - it is annoying but not a deal breaker.

The Rules
Alvin and Dexter cause mischief, any city they are in shuts down in anarchy and chaos. In effect they prevent players building into, or out of, the city that they are occupying.Fortunately, they are easily moved - but at the cost of 1-2 locomotives.

Players accumulate Alvin or Dexter cards which accumulate and award bonus points at the end of the game. Finally, at the end of the game, missions that initiate or end in a city with Alvin or Dexter are worth only half points. This can work both ways, either reducing the benefit of a great train line, or halving the points you lose for an incomplete track.

The Gameplay
I have so far only played with Alvin and Dexter in 2-player games with my wife. On the whole it was really fun.

1- It made it clear that we were playing a competitive game, thus allowing me to block much more regularly.

2- Being able to move Alvin and Dexter encourages you to view the board in an entirely different fashion. Previously I was worried about the distance between cities and their colour. Now I need to consider if my vital destination is within a radius of three of a monster. It is fun new way to consider the board

3- Strategically it allows you to block with minimal cards. I saw my wife building away from Los Angeles, dropping a monster on top of her last city purchases time.

4- Interesting, these guys allow you to "bags" locations. I was desperate for the 1 carriage connection at Little Rock. Normally I'm in strife, with this new expansion I can move a monster there and buy some more time.

5- Locomotives are a premium! This is the only detriment of the expansion, I found our last few games REALLY slow down as we cycle through the deck, desperate for a locomotive to move a pesky monster on.

The Rub
Overall , I appreciate the slower - more strategic - game of TtR that my wife are playing with the monsters. Importantly, this expansion has really hydrated my strategy for TtR - far more than the 1910 expansion did. I feel as though drawing from the deck is more valuable than it used to be. Equally drawing missions is still fun if I can push a monster around. Personally I think this is a gem of an expansion and I look forward to reaping more havoc in USA soon.
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Judy Krauss
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Nice review. Thanks. I bought the expansion a while ago, but haven't had a chance to play Ticket to Ride since.
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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BeansHarpoon wrote:
Game play aside, isn’t anyone annoyed by the completely ridiculous unrelated theme? I’m a big fan of M’44. But you know what would make it better? CLOWNS!


I remember reading somewhere that TTR was originally Japan not USA and that Alan R Moon always intended for some sort of Godzilla scenario. Not sure where I read it but it was something similar to that.
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Judy Krauss
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BeansHarpoon wrote:
Game play aside, isn’t anyone annoyed by the completely ridiculous unrelated theme? I’m a big fan of M’44. But you know what would make it better? CLOWNS!


No, they wouldn't...but Godzilla might!
 
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If I was truly the product of “Intelligent Design,” I’m pretty sure my fingers would be smaller or my nose would be bigger.
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I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.
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BeansHarpoon wrote:
Game play aside, isn’t anyone annoyed by the completely ridiculous unrelated theme? I’m a big fan of M’44. But you know what would make it better? CLOWNS!


As long as they are KILLER NAZI CLOWNS!

How in the world did enough people at DoW think this expansion was a good fit for it to be produced. What were they thinking/drinking/smoking?

I can only imagine the brainstorming sessions:
"How about adding 'Cybermen' or 'Daleks' to Small World -- they never go into decline and can't be conquered."

"What if you could bring the USS Nimitz into Pirate's Cove and bomb an island so it can't produce any supplies?

Or at some other game producers:
"You know what would make Carcassonne REALLY cool? If Godzilla could come in and smash someone's city, eliminating those points!" "Sure, why not? It can't screw the game up any worse than adding the dragon expansion, or the catapult."

"How about if, in Agricola, you could plant genetically-modified vegetables, with a 10-to-1 yield ratio?" "Yeah! And if you play the 'Processing Plant' card, your animals turn into three times as much food?"

"What if, in Container, one of the containers has a small nuke inside and it goes off in your opponent's port?"

"What if someone could play a 'Revolution' card in Puerto Rico so all the workers are freed, and vandalize the warehouses?"

Anyone else got some great ideas for game expansions? Should I turn this into a Geeklist?


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Jeremiah
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Games will be made with themes that don't appeal to everybody. And some people will find these themes very appealing.
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Mathue Faulkner
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kvenosdel wrote:
BeansHarpoon wrote:
Game play aside, isn’t anyone annoyed by the completely ridiculous unrelated theme? I’m a big fan of M’44. But you know what would make it better? CLOWNS!


I remember reading somewhere that TTR was originally Japan not USA and that Alan R Moon always intended for some sort of Godzilla scenario. Not sure where I read it but it was something similar to that.


Quoted from: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/598688/alvin-and-dexter-expa...
alanrmoon wrote:
Hi All,

The third TICKET TO RIDE map I designed was Japan, back in 2005. At that time, Days Of Wonder was trying to license the game to a Japanese company and we assumed they would want a Japanese map rather than the USA or Europe maps. In the end though, Bandai decided to put the USA map in their edition.

My Japan map included Godzilla right from the start. It just seemed like a natural fit to me. Part of the inspiration came from my enjoyment of playing MANHATTAN with the Godzilla rules. If you've never played MANHATTAN this way, you should give it a try.

As time went by, it seemed like the Japan map wasn't going to be published, so I suggested to Days Of Wonder that we publish a small Monster Expansion for all the maps instead. They tested my first prototype and didn't think it was enough, so I went back to work. I added a second Monster (originally Rodan), changed the way the Monsters were moved on the board, and much more. I don't know how many different versions I tested, but this last one is definitely the most fun. The addition of the Monster Cards, and giving the player who moves each monster points at the end of the game, was the final step.

I hope you all enjoy it.

Happy New Year!
Alan R. Moon

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Jeremiah
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Some people actually like this kind of irreverence. In fact, some people seek it out.

I think the "snoopy houses" are meant to look like the stations from the Europe game.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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mfaulk80 wrote:
kvenosdel wrote:
BeansHarpoon wrote:
Game play aside, isn’t anyone annoyed by the completely ridiculous unrelated theme? I’m a big fan of M’44. But you know what would make it better? CLOWNS!


I remember reading somewhere that TTR was originally Japan not USA and that Alan R Moon always intended for some sort of Godzilla scenario. Not sure where I read it but it was something similar to that.


Quoted from: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/598688/alvin-and-dexter-expa...
alanrmoon wrote:
Hi All,

The third TICKET TO RIDE map I designed was Japan, back in 2005. At that time, Days Of Wonder was trying to license the game to a Japanese company and we assumed they would want a Japanese map rather than the USA or Europe maps. In the end though, Bandai decided to put the USA map in their edition.

My Japan map included Godzilla right from the start. It just seemed like a natural fit to me. Part of the inspiration came from my enjoyment of playing MANHATTAN with the Godzilla rules. If you've never played MANHATTAN this way, you should give it a try.

As time went by, it seemed like the Japan map wasn't going to be published, so I suggested to Days Of Wonder that we publish a small Monster Expansion for all the maps instead. They tested my first prototype and didn't think it was enough, so I went back to work. I added a second Monster (originally Rodan), changed the way the Monsters were moved on the board, and much more. I don't know how many different versions I tested, but this last one is definitely the most fun. The addition of the Monster Cards, and giving the player who moves each monster points at the end of the game, was the final step.

I hope you all enjoy it.

Happy New Year!
Alan R. Moon



Thanks I knew it was there somewhere!
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Kenny VenOsdel
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BeansHarpoon wrote:
jBullfrog wrote:
Games will be made with themes that don't appeal to everybody. And some people will find these themes very appealing.
Don’t get me wrong, a giant monster theme is great. But these are two polar opposites and I’m sorry, it’s just down right stupid. DoW could have achieved the same gaming benefits with a theme that doesn’t make me feel like an idiot to play it. And what the hell is with the little Snoopy houses?!


So don't use it if you don't like it. There's nothing wrong with a boardgame company having a little fun too. Besides that this expansion was done by the DESIGNER of the game.

I suppose you aren't in favor of the Legendary Deck for Agricola either?

I think BGG could do without the comments that belittle and insult just because the poster doesn't like a certain map or expansion. Other people do and don't deserve to be insulted because of it.
 
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Stuart Roberts

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I don't think there has to be an initial sense of humour to justify a humorous expansion, after all Agricola is a pretty vanilla game until you play with the Gamers Deck...
 
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Adam Deluca
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I agree it does not match the original theme and flavor plus the changes it makes in game play seems rather annoying and unnecessary rather than fun and exciting. It appears to be nothing but a blatant cash grab.
 
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Steve Tanner
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adamtdot wrote:
the changes it makes in game play seems rather annoying and unnecessary rather than fun and exciting.


It's obvious that you haven't actually played with this expansion
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François V.
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Well you can always replace the Goldorak-like monsters by "chinese railways workers on strike" tokens, "stampede bunch of western outlaws attacking trains" tokens or "local railways mogul going bankrupt" tokens or whatever suits your mood and keep the same rules. (*)

Re-theming a (very) good game to fit your taste is always a (very) good idea.

Or, on the opposite you can replace those strange Alvin & Dexter (who are those guys anyway?) miniatures by nice tornadoes ones.http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/sav_enc_gallery/windfiend_...

Or Cthulhu's looking ones if you want your monsters to be local http://gadgets.boingboing.net/prototype-monster-03.jpg laugh


We have tons of ideas... whistle


(*) OK my references here (chinese workers, outlaws, moguls) are more american that european. But I can't use a French one : nobody here would beleive that you can ONLY have 2 cities out of 40 going on railways workers strike at the same time.
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Roesti Graben
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Am I right in thinking that Alvin & Dexter is to TTR, what Princess and the Dragon is to Carcassonne? If so, I won't go near it. Whenever we have used the dragon in Carc, it either ended in fights, or players deliberately sent the dragon into a corner. Now we only ever use the tiles, and the dragon is firmly locked away.
 
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