Merric Blackman
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Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
This was my fourth game using the India map from the latest Ticket to Ride Map Collection; it was Jesse's first. We are united in our love and awe of this map, especially for two-player games. Both of us thought the Asia map was pretty good, but the India map really has us thinking as we play the game, which is a good thing.

I must emphasise that it isn't the same level of deliberation as occurs when we play Maerklin; no, this is far less brain-burning, and, as a result, far more enjoyable.

On my first turn, I claimed the single route between Agra and Jaipur. This immediately worried Jesse, and he had to bring forward his plans: rather than building up a stock of train cards, he was forced into competing with me over the tracks between Agra and Patna. In fact, Jesse rather interfered with my plan of just having a straight ride there, giving my track a rather odd, interweaving effect between the cities.

Once we'd finished our duelling over this route, our attention turned to actually completing our other tickets. India is interesting in having a massive ticket deck - which allows you to complete a lot of tickets if your desire takes you that way - but also in having bonus points for completing two separate routes for a ticket. As such, I planned to make a loop between the three tickets I'd kept, and the rest of the game kept me mostly occupied with that.

Jesse, on the other hand, had gone for much longer tickets, and loops were not easy for him to come by. They were made even harder as I played one or two trains just to disrupt his play. I did outsmart myself, though, taking the Calcutta-Waltain route when he was actually saving for the massive 8-long-route Madras-Chittagong! However, a quick claiming of Bezelda-Madras and from there forcing the end of the game left Jesse without any loops.

I'd planned my loop carefully - claiming all the 2-length ones first, then finally the 4-length connections. A study of my tickets revealed that I'd forgotten to connect Delhi into the loop, but I was able to do that just before I ran out of trains, and I ended the game with four complete tickets (worth 5, 5, 5, and 6 points), but the loop award gave me an additional 30 points - well enough to get clear of Jesse's points from his five completed tickets. Jesse had actually probably been conservative in the number of tickets he'd taken; it's quite possible to win India without looping.

Final scores: Merric 124, Jesse 102.

I'm yet to play India with more than two players; my expectation is that it's going to be tight. I love the play of this map, which is probably my favourite in the TTR family.

Merric=green, Jesse=black
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