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Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Your Guide to Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912 Expansion rss

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Derek Thompson
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Ticket to Ride has become an international phenomenon since its Spiel des Jahres win in 2004, so much so that I recently was happy to discover a few copies at the local Barnes & Noble. Mainstream market penetration is no easy feat in a country dominated by thousands of themed reprints of Monopoly and Clue. There’s no denying that Ticket to Ride is a fantastic game worthy of its success, but you probably already knew that. Maybe what you don’t know is the best way(s) to acquire and play the game, now that it’s become quite a production with four stand-alone board games, a card game, and five expansions for the board games (and a sixth on the way).

Rather than post a regular review for each one, I intend to make this a multi-part series where I give you a survey of what I like and don’t like about each entry in the series. Here we'll cover the Europa 1912 expansion for Ticket to Ride: Europe.

Europa 1912

Europa 1912 is an expansion for Ticket to Ride: Europe, much akin to the 1910 expansion for the original game. This expansion comes with a plethora of new tickets and various ways to use them, as well as a new piece for each player, called Depots, and rules for using them. Let’s talk about the tickets first.

Since your tickets may have worn thin by now, the expansion includes the original tickets - a nice touch. In addition, there are 19 new routes to add to the base game, 6 new long routes, and 30 new "Big Cities" routes. Unfortunately, they get just enough wrong with every combination of tickets that I’m left very frustrated.

The "Big Cities" variant uses the 30 new Big Cities cards along with 15 from the original ticket deck, and the long routes are not used. The gimmick is the same as the same variant in 1910 - each of the tickets goes to at least one of the Big Cities - and in this case, there are nine instead of seven. However, this ticket distribution is much unlike the one for the U.S. map, and in my opinion, much worse. The key is that in the USA version, the tickets mostly go to one big city - only 23% of the tickets (8 of 35) go from one big city to another. In the Europe Big Cities variant, 80% of the tickets (36 of 45) go directly from one big city to another. This means that as long as you go from one big city to the next, ticket diving is a sure thing, and you’re bound to clean up every time you look. Furthermore, the tickets vary wildly in value, going all the way up to 25. When you know exactly the 9 cities that everyone wants, the bluff in the game is gone, and so is part of the magic. Suddenly there becomes very few strategies - the game comes directly down to blocking and repeated ticket diving, with no other option. Playing this variant was a huge disappointment.

The "Mega Europe" variant had the perk of having more long routes to choose from at the beginning of the game, but it requires you to mix in all cards, including the far over-valued Big Cities tickets, making it extremely random, if less linear, compared to the Big Cities game. The worst part is that the new long routes have a blue back, not just a background on the ticket info, so now it is painstakingly obvious when you keep a long route, ruining one of the things I enjoyed about the original game.

The last variant is called "Europe Expanded," which involves adding 19 regular (non-Big Cities) routes to the base game, and changing no other rules. This is a good way to mix up the original game a bit, but 19 cards are definitely not enough to get $20-kind-of-excited about. The worst part is that you can’t even use this the way the original game was intended. The reprints of the long routes, including the original ones, have that blue back, but you can’t mix the new 19 cards into your original Europe deck either, because the new cards have a tiny "1912″ logo on their backs. What would really make this variant worth it, would be using all 12 long routes (if they had proper backs) and dealing out 2 to each player, and letting them look simultaneously at all of their starting tickets, but only allowing them to keep one long one. I can only assume the blue back is to make sure someone doesn’t keep both in the Mega game, but if they did cheat in such a way it would become painfully obvious when the game was over. It wouldn’t matter if they kept them anyway, since the Mega game has tickets worth more than any of the so-called "long" routes!

The last part of the expansion is the depots. Each player is given a warehouse (a flimsy cardboard sheet to stick train cards under) and four wooden depots. At the beginning of the game, each player places a depot. Whenever a player draws train cards, first he places one face-down under any player’s warehouse card, and then later when any player connects to any other player’s depots, the connecting player may discard a depot of his own to gain all of the cards in the depot owner’s warehouse. You can also add more depots to the board whenever you want. Each player with the most unused depots at the end of the game gains 10 points. Most interestingly, depots and stations cannot coexist on a city.

Unfortunately, this part of the expansion was not very good either. It sounded interesting, but it’s entirely too swingy - having situations where a player can gain 6-10 cards while claiming a route leads to situations where no other player can catch up in time before that person has claimed all of their routes, again making for a frustrating game. Furthermore, well-stocked warehouses lead to players arbitrarily blocking routes to gain access to the warehouse cards, which can also be frustrating. I’m assuming the depots were meant to allow an interaction with the stations in the game, but they seem again to only add randomness to the game, and they’re also awkward and fiddly to use. Even if you don’t plan on using your depots (so as to gain the 10 point bonus), you still have to remember to always burn a train card when you decide to take cards. It’s not that I mind the series adding another layer of complexity - I really enjoy the Passenger rules in Märklin - but these just add frustration, randomness and confusion, without a true extra layer of depth. They also don’t look very nice - they’re not cheap or anything, but the wooden components stick out like a sore thumb on a board covered in plastic trains and plastic stations. Furthermore, if you bought this expansion because it had "a special expansion compatible with all Ticket to Ride maps!" and you only own Nordic Countries or Märklin, you’ll be very disappointed by the lack of purple or white depots.

That’s a long way to say that I really do not care for this expansion. If the new long routes did not have a different back, I would still begrudgingly want the expansion so that I could expand the base game with more long routes and more short routes. As it stands, I can’t even use any of the tickets to expand the base game as it was designed to be played. Furthermore, I have no idea why no Globetrotter bonus card was included (although you could certainly add that bonus on your own, maybe using the card from another game). Add in the fact that the Big Cities variant and the Depots are just flat-out frustrating, and this expansion gets two thumbs down.

Pros: some new short routes and long routes for the base game

Cons: Big Cities ticket distribution is horrible, depots are frustrating to use, blue back on long routes ruins the bluffing aspect of the tickets, no Globetrotter bonus card

The actual Europe map is an exciting, fun map with some very good additions to the series, and only one poor addition (tunnels). However, unlike the USA map, the Europe map had nothing needing fixing, leading to a relatively useless expansion, marred further by some poor printing decisions. Hopefully at some point they’ll reprint the expansion, or include the extra short and long routes in the base game. Either way, Ticket to Ride: Europe is already very fun on its own, a much more tense game than the original without being mean-spirited or frustrating. The extra routes are a great addition, but probably not worth the price.


Originally posted on http://www.meepletown.com
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Stewart Bushman
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Agree 100%. After one play, TTR:E1912 went into storage. Probably should see about trading it.

-S
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Derek Thompson
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Well, while you have it, I would still use the extra regular routes. It's possible my feelings could be swayed, but at this point, my primary gaming partners (mostly my wife) have no interest in trying the other parts of the expansion again. That's the curse of a growing hobby - you have to be really good the first time to rise above.
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Andy Andersen
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Excellent review. I guess I'm not as excited about this expansion as I was
 
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Derek Thompson
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It does have -some- merit - you'll eventually need more long routes once it becomes too easy to guess, and the extra regular routes are nice. If you like chaos and conflict (which I do, just not in TTR), you might like the Depots more than me. Even without them, if you feel like 1910 is worth the money (which I don't -quite- think it is, even though it's necessary), then you could make the same argument for 1912 based on the extra routes (which is essentially all 1910 has).
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Jeff Shoot
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Thanks for this review! Saved me some money...

Sounds like the ol' adage is true again: "If it's not broken, don't fix it!"
 
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Gabriele Pezzato
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My personal view as for why no globetrotter bonus was included in this version.

To me is quite obvious that a globetrotter bonus would defy the strategy of stations. Since you lose 4 points whenever you use a station, the decision to place one is quite strategical. But if by completing more tickets you gain an additional 10-15 point bonus, then it becomes almost irrelevant losing the station points
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Derek Thompson
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GabrielGeek wrote:
My personal view as for why no globetrotter bonus was included in this version.

To me is quite obvious that a globetrotter bonus would defy the strategy of stations. Since you lose 4 points whenever you use a station, the decision to place one is quite strategical. But if by completing more tickets you gain an additional 10-15 point bonus, then it becomes almost irrelevant losing the station points


Makes sense - and in light of newer maps with other bonuses (Asian Explorer, Mandala) - I would have just liked to have seen -some- other new type of bonus to shake things up, it didn't necessarily have to be Globetrotter.
 
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The Soot Sprite
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Thanks for the review. Sounds like I'll stick to other maps and expansions for 2p games.
 
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Derek Thompson
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spritey wrote:
Thanks for the review. Sounds like I'll stick to other maps and expansions for 2p games.


The India/Switzerland expansion is the 2p thing to get, since both maps are aimed at fewer players (2-4 for India, 2-3 for Switzerland)
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Stanislaw Juzwicki
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As far as your thoughts about the additional tickets go: wouldn't it be possible to sleeve them with CCG sleeves with solid backs? That way you get away with the problem of knowing whether someone has a base or an expansion ticket.

I know that it is a design mistake and we shouldn't be forced to fix it with custom sleeves (which would probably cost about the same as the expansion itself), but still it is an idea.
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