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Ticket to Ride» Forums » Variants

Subject: TTR: Railroad of the Confederacy (US Civil War) rss

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David Thompson
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Just checking to see if there is any interest in a TTR variant depicting the railroad network of the Confederacy during the US Civil War.

I made this before I realized there was an active community here making variant TTR map, so this draft doesn't have an "official look," but I'd like to update it with the right borders, trains, cities, etc if I can get my hands on the .psd files.

In the mean time, if there is any interest, maybe you all could take a look and see if there are any glaring mechanical issues with this.



Thanks!
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Sven F.
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I like the idea! You have obviously made a thematic map, not only pictured an area you like. However, I see some things I would definitely change if I were to make this map.

* Number of train spaces are 264, which is a strange number. The larger maps (for 2-5 players) have 300-315 (North America, Europe, and Märklin); NC and Switzerland (for 2-3 players) have 205-207. Legendary Asia has 268, but in that game train cars are removed from the game in another way than just being built.

* There are a lot of cities with one, or maximum two, routes leading into that city. It will be way too easy to block those cities out. In a game with few players (i.e. only one of the double routes can be built), it will be more or less impossible to play if someone plays a blocking game. (The area north of Gordonsville is extreme in this sense!)

* One solution is to remove some cities. They are now 46, which is a lot more than any map except Europe (47) and Team Asia (46). Other maps have 34-39.

* To have more connections: introduce ferries. There are ferries in many existing maps (Europe, NC, Legendary Asia, India, as well as the upcoming African map). You can build them at sea, in rivers, and in channels (if there are any in that area?).

* The ratio of grey routes is very low. I calculate it to be 18%, which is a lot fewer than any map except Nordic Countries and Team Asia. Usually they are 24-30 %, except for the previous mentioned, and Europe's 37 % (but Europes ferries are all grey). I'm not sure if this is an issue that makes the map more difficult to play, but it struck me from a statistical point of view.

[Edit for grammar.]
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Sight Reader
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Skirmish_Tactics wrote:
Just checking to see if there is any interest in a TTR variant depicting the railroad network of the Confederacy during the US Civil War.

Well, the war would have been a lot quicker if Lee's army could simply take the train to Washington.

On an even less serious note, you could put a little Sherman piece in a space between tracks. Spend a few to move him and he'll blow up the track he crosses (ok, ok, maybe he'll just turn the line into a tunnel... the only people left there would be six feet under anyways)
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David Thompson
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Sven, thanks for the great info.

This was really designed for my parents, with the occasional play with others, so I'd say it needs to support two players - but I'd like for it to go up to 5.

I need to check into the ferry rules. I'm really just familiar with North America TTR. I wonder how to relieve the problem in the area north of Gordonsville while staying relatively true to the historical rail lines? Maybe the idea of a ferry running up the Ohio river would be able to connect Paducah and Wheeling.

It sounds like if I introduce ferries, try to connect them to the areas where there are issues (north of Gordonsville, maybe around Memphis, etc?) and have the ferries spaces mostly gray, that would solve a lot of the issues, right? And maybe I can remove some of the cities in the northeast section of the map to reduce some congestion. Not sure if that will help.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
David Thompson
www.skirmishtactics.com
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Sven F.
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An Ohio river ferry seems a good solution – if you can make it a little shorter than, would it be 14 spaces with the present scale?
(Smaller scale adjustments can be made by stretching or compressing the map a little, vertically or horizontally, where the cities are too close or too far apart.)

If you are new to ferries, I recommend the Ticket to Ride: Europe rules (and maybe its forums here at BGG). Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries introduced non-grey ferries and a new rule on how locomotives are used, for ferries and on other routes (a rule change that at least works well with maps for 2-3 players).

One thing that effects gameplay, is how your destination tickets are designed. Congestion around Memphis, for example, is depending on how many tickets lead there.

As the map looks now, a Wheeling-New Orleans ticket would be extremely risky to keep, as it could mean a big points loss. Wheeling-Baltimore could be worth the risk, as it would give the ticket holder no more than a 7 points loss. (Which could be worth the risk, if there is a bonus for most completed tickets.)

Historical accuracy is always an issue. Earlier this autumn I made a map as a birthday gift for a friend (Ticket to Ride: Östergötland), and in that case the map and its accuracy were more important than game play. I placed three cities at "dead ends" (giving them only one short ticket each), and included three railways that were never built (but in those days seriously projected, so in a sense they were accurate).

In another map I work with, historicity made it important to include a feature where standard gauge and narrow gauge form two separate (but combineable) networks, which meant I had to invent a suitable new "gauge rule". That is also a way to go – inventing new rules! Unfortunately they might increase more complexity, however.

I hope some of these thoughts might be of some help. Good luck!
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Barry Wonson
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As a great fan of TTR I would really enjoy a variant based on the ideas presented to date. I hope you are able to take everything on board and come up with a great game. I talked to one guy who created a map and it took him just on 5 years to get to the point where he was happy with it.
 
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David Martin
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I've been doing custom maps of various corners of the U.S., and the South is one that had interested me, but I didn't know enough about it to narrow down which states/cities I wanted to include. Setting it in the era of the Confederacy/Civil War is definitely an interesting twist. I look forward to seeing how this evolves.

I agree with the earlier comments about there not being enough tracks/connections to certain cities. It's notable that on all of the "official" TTR maps, there's only ever been one "dead end" city - Edinburgh in TTR Europe. And that map allows the use of train stations. I think adding connections rather than removing cities is the way to go. With fewer cities, your game is more likely to become redundant after you play it a lot. Having more cities and a larger ticket deck tends to keep things fresh.

I've found in creating my own maps that sometimes playability has to win out over historical/geographic accuracy. If there are so many chokepoints that one or two moves can block everyone else out of a city or section of the board, then you need to open up the board more. (Unless stalemates and mutually assured destruction are the vibe you're going for. You'll definitely experience low scores all around unless someone gets lucky.)

Plus, I've always seen TTR as a game of "what if?", not just "what was". Not every connection between cities that can be built is one that actually existed in history. (I'm pretty sure some are physically implausible if not downright impossible, like that epic tunnel from Stockholm to Petrograd in TTR Europe, or most of the routes across the jungle in TTR Africa.) Maybe that's just something I tell myself to justify the geography wonks on the maps I've created. But I figure that for every rail line which was actually built, they had to consider several different options in terms of how to route it from Point A to Point B. The map represents the possible ways that this could be done, not all of the ways that it actually was.

I second the suggestion about putting ferries on the map. You've got the rivers on your map already (plus there's a location named after a ferry), so it would certainly fit your theme. These routes could serve as shortcuts that come at a price, since ferries require the use of locomotive cards.

Tunnels are also a good idea - you've got a mountain range running right through the center of your map, so it seems logical that a few routes over/through those mountains would be riskier to build.

Hmmm... it just dawned on me that tunnel routes in this game would be a literal Underground Raiload.
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